Man catching fish in river with net

The Best Places to Go Fishing

June 6th, 2021

Q: Why is it so easy to weigh fish?

A: Because they have their own scales!

Sorry. That was a stinker, but doesn’t that terrible joke make you want to go fishing just to get away from people like me who tell such awful jokes?

The first tip for fishing is to be prepared. You’ll need a Freshwater Fishing License if you are over 16 years old. You can purchase one from Willis Harper Home Hardware on Reid Street in Downtown Quesnel, or at Frank’s Supermarket or Canadian Tire in South Quesnel.  You can also get all of the fishing gear you’ll need to reel in a fish fit for a photo op at these shops and at Rocky’s General Store in the Bouchie Lake neighbourhood.

For all fishing regulations in the area (Region 5), please read and respect all of the rules to ensure the continued conservation and health of all of our local fish species.

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Couple canoeing on Dragon Lake

Springtime on Dragon Lake

As soon as the ice melts from Dragon Lake, (almost the exact moment that the lake becomes liquid again), boats swarm across Dragon Lake to test their fly-fishing technique in dragging in one of the lake’s renowned trophy Rainbow Trout. They’re famous for their fight, not only their size, so get ready for some lively action. This lake is well-stocked with Rainbows that can grow to ten pounds and not surprisingly, prior to the pandemic, folks would travel from all over North America just to fish here. The lake is only 225 hectares with a 26-foot maximum depth and easy to navigate. To make a staycation out of it, stay at Robert’s Roost Resort right in the middle of Dragon Lake. Bring your own camper or rent theirs.

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Ice fishing

Ten Mile Lake in Winter

Ice-fishing is a fun way to get exposed to the quiet of a frozen lake and the sense that the earth has grown, by spending some time catching fish on Dragon or Ten Mile Lakes. Fishing for Dolly Vardens in Ten Mile Lake is a big draw for us locals. This lake is usually frozen safely from December to mid-April, but be sure to chat with some fellow locals to get the up-to-date scoop before venturing out.

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Fly fishing on Creek River

Narcosli (Deep) Creek

For some chubby Bull Trout, check out Narcosli Creek, close to where it flows into the Fraser River. The Creek meanders through a dappled forest and at the crooks and bends in the flow, you’ll find playful Bull Trout. The access has changed in the last two years with the landslide that closed the bridge on West Fraser Road, but you’re still able to access the water. Drive south on the West Fraser Road and park near the concrete abutments marking the end of the road. Continue along the road (on foot or bicycle) and access the river on the right (East) side of the road. There are several roomy pull-outs that will allow you to get close to the action.

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Fish in hands

 Tzenzaicut (Fish) Lake

One of my besties does an annual camping trip to this lake with a big group of friends and it’s a summer highlight for them. The Rainbow Trout and Char are a good size (10-15 inches), but most importantly, there are lots of them! This spot is more of a drive from Quesnel, so you’ll want to pack up and spend a few days here for a May-July camping/fishing trip. There is a maintained BC Rec Site for camping or stay in a cabin at Tzenzaicut Lake Resort.  For access, drive south on West Fraser Road, turn onto Garner Lake Road then onto the Tzenzaicut Access Road at km 58. It will take about 1 hr 45 mins to drive there from Quesnel.

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Man catching fish in river with net

Blackwater River Float Trips

If you really want to immerse yourself in a naturally stunning wilderness and have the time to really sink your teeth into it, a float fishing trip on the Blackwater River will leave you speechless, or perhaps you won’t be able to stop talking about it afterward! Cariboo Rivers Fishing offers multi-day catered float trips on several local rivers, but their trips on the Blackwater River are the piece to resistance.

A quick glance at any map shows you that Quesnel is snuggled into an enormous expanse of freshwater lakes and crystal clear rivers. It really is a paradise for freshwater fishing. Down almost any road, you’ll find a public boat launch where you can cast from shore or sink your boat into clean water and glide out onto a beautiful lake for views, solitude, and a chance to reel in your newest trophy.

By Brenda Beatty