Five Spots to Ice Fish and Camp this Winter in British Columbia

Photo Courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

Photo Courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

Ice fishing is often overlooked as a winter activity, especially if you live in southern B.C.  But fishing opportunities do not stop when the temperature freezes – they only get more exciting. Ice fishing is a very social sport and requires only a limited amount of gear or experience. The entire lake becomes accessible without the need of a boat and you don’t need the often complicated casting techniques required in other fisheries. It’s as simple as drilling a hole and dropping a line. Try some winter camping while you’re at it; there are many parks open year-round close to great hard water lakes.

Here are our top 5 spots to try ice fishing this winter with RV spots close by:

Photo Courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

Photo Courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

Alleyne Lake (near Merritt)

Kokanee provide an exciting winter fishery in this lake. The trick is finding them. Fishing for kokanee with a fish finder is your best bet, but if you don’t have one, start at the bottom and work your way up through the water column until you find the school.

Note: Alleyne Lake is in Kentucky Alleyne Provincial Park. The neighbouring lake, Kentucky, is closed to ice fishing.

Swan Lake (near Vernon)

This is a great spot to fish in the winter. Swan Lake is located moments away from Vernon’s downtown centre. You can catch rainbow trout up to a couple of pounds in size so make sure to use an auger that is at least 6 inches in diameter. Using a float can help you see when the trout are biting, as the fish are more lethargic in the winter and the bites can be fairly light.

Photo Courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

Photo Courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

Edith Lake (Kamloops)

Both brook char and rainbow trout can be targeted in Edith Lake. Try fishing close to the shoreline with mealworms to target the brook char in this lake. It is clear in the shallows, so by laying down and looking down the hole you will be able to see when a brookie is on your line, as the bite can be slight. Move out a little deeper with a flasher and a worm to try your luck at the rainbow trout. If you do not have your own ice fishing gear you can borrow a rod and auger for free at the Kamloops Visitor Centre.

Ness Lake (Prince George)

Ness Lake is currently stocked with both kokanee and rainbow trout. However, brook char are also present in the lake, which means there are many different fishing options for the hard water angler. Ice fishing gear can be borrowed for free for up to a week from the Prince George Visitor Centre.

Photo Courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

Photo Courtesy of Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC

Whiteswan Lake (Cranbrook)

If Lussier Hot Springs wasn’t reason enough to try ice fishing at Whiteswan Lake in Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park, hopefully the quality of the rainbow trout in this lake is. The East Kootenays can be very cold so make sure you pack along the appropriate gear and you may want to think about getting an ice shelter.  Keep in mind this lake is closed to ice fishing from December 1-December 28.

Always make sure the ice is thick enough to ensure a safe trip. Before you walk out onto the ice it needs to be at least 4 inches if you are fishing alone and at least 15 inches before you drive your truck out there. Remember to purchase your freshwater fishing licence and read the fishing regulations before you head out.

These and other fishing spots can be found at GoFishBC and clicking on Where to Fish.

Share your winter BC camping & fishing photos at #campinbc.

Published: January 17th, 2018

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by GoFishBC

The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC is a private, not-for-profit organization, funded mainly through freshwater fishing licence revenues. In partnership with the Province, the Society annually stocks eight million trout, char and kokanee salmon in 800 B.C. lakes. It also manages special hatchery programs for endangered species including white sturgeon, conducts fisheries research, education and conservation programs and works to make angling more accessible for all.

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