Chilko Lake Fishing Guide (Don’t Get Skunked…)

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Nestled in the heart of the Chilcotin Plateau, Chilko Lake is a breathtaking freshwater paradise for fishing enthusiasts. At 1,175 meters elevation and covering 180 square kilometers, this pristine lake is the largest natural high-elevation lake in Canada. Surrounded by the majestic landscape, Chilko Lake offers more than just a great view. Our fishing trip here will create memories to last a lifetime.

As the head of the Chilko River, the lake thrives as a leading large-lake fishery resource in the Cariboo Chilcotin region. The waters of Chilko Lake are home to thriving populations of bull-trout and rainbow trout, making it an ultimate fishing destination for both beginners and experienced anglers. Our journey to this amazing location will provide us with the opportunity to reel in some impressive catches, as well as immerse ourselves in the stunning, untamed beauty of British Columbia.

While trolling is the favored method to catch the larger fish that inhabit these waters, fly fishing is also a popular choice for anglers seeking the thrill of catching the vibrant and acrobatic rainbow trout. As we explore Chilko Lake and its surrounding areas, we’ll soon discover why it is regarded as the top fishing spot in the region. With its lush landscapes, exceptional fishing opportunities, and incredible wildlife, this truly is a dream destination for any fishing enthusiast.

An Overview of Chilko Lake

We, as Canadian wilderness enthusiasts, must introduce Chilko Lake, located in the pristine Cariboo Chilcotin region of British Columbia, Canada. This glacially fed, freshwater lake boasts crystal-clear turquoise blue waters and is flanked by the commanding Coast Mountains to the west. As one of the most visually appealing wilderness lakes in North America, Chilko Lake is a true gem in the Canadian wilderness.

The clear waters of Chilko Lake can be attributed to the glacial streams that supply it. These glaciers, nestled high in the surrounding mountains, gradually melt and flow into the lake, providing a constant source of fresh water. This phenomenon contributes to Chilko Lake’s reputation as not only one of North America’s clearest lakes but also as a top freshwater fishing destination.

Another significant aspect of Chilko Lake is its accessibility. To reach this enchanting location, one would follow the Chilcotin Highway (Hwy 20) west from Williams Lake, BC, to Tatla Lake. After a left turn (south) onto the Bluff Lake road, drive for 4.2 km (2.6 mi.), keeping left on the Tatlayoko Lake Road for another 16.3 km (10.1 mi.), before arriving at the Chilko Lake Road. Precise navigation and a sense of adventure are key ingredients in accessing this remote Canadian treasure.

As fishing enthusiasts, we can’t help but appreciate the high-quality angling opportunities that Chilko Lake offers. The lake is known for its abundant populations of bull trout and rainbow trout, making it a premier destination for both experienced and novice anglers. The serenity and natural beauty of Chilko Lake, combined with the high catch success of native sport fish, create an unforgettable angling experience in the heart of the Canadian wilderness.

Chilko Lake is more than just a fishing destination; its impressive surroundings include some of the highest and most vibrant volcanic mountains in British Columbia. These geological wonders add to the lake’s appeal and emphasize the untamed beauty of this remote, yet accessible, part of Canada’s vast and diverse landscape.

Fishing in Chilko Lake

Chilko Lake, located in the Cariboo Chilcotin region of British Columbia, offers a variety of fishing opportunities. As one of the leading large-lake fishery resources in the area, anglers can expect high-quality angling experiences while visiting this pristine body of water.

When it comes to species variety, Chilko Lake is home to several different types of fish. One of the top attractions for anglers is the wild and native rainbow trout. These vibrant fish are known for their colorful markings, remarkable size, and powerful fighting abilities. They are especially eager when biting on large, visible dry flies, making fly fishing an ideal approach when targeting these lively fish.

In addition to rainbow trout, Chilko Lake also offers opportunities to catch bull trout, which can reach up to 10 lbs in weight. These fish, along with mountain whitefish, lake trout, and cutthroat trout, provide a diverse selection for anglers to pursue. While sturgeon can be found in other regions of British Columbia, they are not commonly encountered in Chilko Lake.

On Chilko Lake, fishing techniques such as trolling, fly fishing, wet fly fishing, and dry fly fishing are popular among anglers. Depending on the time of year, specific locations, and targeted fish species, different methods may be more effective than others. For instance, wet fly fishing proves to be excellent in mid-June for both rainbow trout and bull trout, while dry fly fishing typically dominates throughout July and August.

As the fishing season progresses, salmon begin to make their way into the Chilko River, drawing in hungry rainbows and bull trout to feast on their eggs. This migration offers an exciting opportunity for anglers who wish to take advantage of the fish’s increased feeding activity during this time, usually in September.

In summary, Chilko Lake is a haven for sportfishing enthusiasts who are looking for a diverse and memorable angling experience. With a variety of fish species available and numerous fishing techniques to utilize, Chilko Lake truly provides a unique fishing adventure for all anglers who visit its crystal-clear waters.

Species in Chilko Lake

Chilko Lake is home to a variety of fish species that attract anglers from all over. In this section, we will discuss the main fish found in Chilko Lake, focusing on salmon and trout.

One of the most popular species found in Chilko Lake is salmon. There are several different types of salmon available, with Chinook, coho, and sockeye being the most common in this area. The total possession limit of salmon in the lake is eight, with no more than four allowed to be Chinook or King salmon. This ensures that we maintain a healthy population of fish in Chilko Lake.

Chinook Salmon are prized by anglers for their size and strength. Also known as King Salmon, these fish tend to be the largest of the salmon found in Chilko Lake. Their presence makes fishing in Chilko Lake an exciting and challenging experience.

Coho Salmon are another valuable species found in Chilko Lake. These fish are smaller than Chinook and are known for their acrobatic jumps. Anglers can often spot them leaping out of the water, making them a favorite for many who fish in Chilko Lake.

Sockeye Salmon are also present in Chilko Lake, although often in smaller numbers. They are known for their incredible flavor, vibrant red color, and the long, challenging journey they take to reach the lake from the ocean, making them a sought-after catch for many anglers.

In addition to salmon, Chilko Lake has a healthy population of trout, particularly rainbow trout and bull trout. These fish offer excellent opportunities for fly fishing, spinning, or baitcasting, and their presence means that the chances of getting a bite in Chilko Lake are quite good.

Chilko Lake’s diverse fish species make it an excellent destination for anglers seeking various fishing experiences. With ample salmon populations and the opportunity to catch trout, we can confidently say that Chilko Lake offers something for everyone to enjoy.

Guided Fly Fishing Services

At Chilko Lake, we offer a variety of guided fly fishing services for anglers of all skill levels. Our expert guides are passionate about sharing their knowledge on fly patterns, fishing techniques, and the history of the area. As an Orvis Endorsed Lodge, we pride ourselves on providing top-quality services that cater to each angler’s needs and preferences.

One of our most popular services is our fully-guided fly fishing trips. These trips typically last for seven nights, during which you’ll have six and a half days of guided river fly fishing for trophy native rainbow trout. Additionally, anglers have the opportunity to fish for bull trout on Chilko Lake itself, which spans over 50 miles and is surrounded by the majestic peaks of the Pacific Coast Mountains.

During our guided fly fishing trips, we utilize drift boats to ensure a comfortable and productive experience on the water. These boats allow us to cover a vast expanse of water efficiently, increasing your chances of catching the highly sought-after rainbow and bull trout that inhabit these pristine waters.

Our fly fishing trips are available from mid-June to mid-September, with the dry fly fishing season occurring in July and August. This period offers the best conditions for catching large, scrappy rainbow trout that are known for their vibrant colors and acrobatic fighting skills.

In addition to our guided fly fishing trips, we also provide a range of services to enhance your Chilko Lake fishing experience:

  • Equipment rental: We offer high-quality fly fishing gear for rent, including rods, reels, waders, and more.
  • Casting lessons: Our knowledgeable guides can provide expert casting lessons to help you hone your skills and increase your chances of success on the water.
  • Fly-tying workshops: Learn to tie effective local fly patterns to match the hatch and attract trophy trout.

By choosing our guided fly fishing services at Chilko Lake, you can expect a memorable and rewarding experience tailored to your needs and preferences. Our expert guides, comfortable drift boats, and remarkable fishing opportunities make for an unforgettable adventure in this incredible wilderness setting.

Chilko River

The Chilko River, located in British Columbia, offers an unparalleled fishing experience for anglers looking for a pristine and untouched destination. As a 100% wild river, it boasts excellent water quality and a healthy aquatic ecosystem with vibrant coloration. It is important to note that the fishing season here usually begins in mid-June and lasts until mid-September, with the best dry fly fishing for scrappy rainbows occurring in July and August.

The Chilko River’s captivating landscape features a variety of riffles, white water rapids, and peaceful pools that are excellent for both experienced and novice anglers. Due to the alternating and diverse riverbank structure, there are countless opportunities for adventure and exploration. The differing water conditions provide an optimal habitat for species such as Rainbow trout, Bull trout, Dolly Varden, Rocky Mountain whitefish, and Steelhead trout.

With our extensive knowledge of the Chilko River, we can comfortably say that it is a world-renowned fly-fishing destination. To enhance the fishing experience, we suggest exploring the mouth of glacial streams on Chilko Lake. Having over 52 years of experience at Chilko, our expertise ensures a successful fly fishing adventure in this rugged wilderness.

In summary, a fishing trip to the Chilko River offers the perfect opportunity to indulge in an awe-inspiring and pristine environment. The river’s diverse landscape and array of fish species create an unforgettable experience for those who venture into its captivating waters.

Chilko’s Adventure and Recreational Activities

At Chilko Lake, we take pride in offering a variety of exciting and unforgettable outdoor experiences. The unspoiled beauty of the British Columbia wilderness is the perfect setting for a range of recreational activities suitable for every skill level. Here, you will find endless opportunities to explore the stunning landscapes in various ways.

Our stunning Tsylos Park Lodge offers horseback riding that lets you experience the rugged beauty of the region in a unique way. As the snow begins to melt, our trail horses receive their spring tune-ups, making them ready to explore the terrain. With our experienced guides and well-trained horses, you’ll feel right at home traversing the extensive network of horse trails.

If you’re looking for a serene way to take in the breathtaking views, we offer kayaking and canoeing on Chilko Lake. The crystal-clear waters allow you to glide peacefully along the shores, providing you with an unparalleled opportunity to spot the local wildlife. Don’t be surprised if you catch a glimpse of moose or bears wandering along the beach.

For those interested in exploring the pristine wilderness on foot, Ts’yl-os Provincial Park boasts a variety of hiking trails suited to all abilities and interests. Wander through lush forests and marvel at the beautiful flora and fauna that make this region so special. The park’s expansive nature provides ample opportunities to observe wildlife in their natural habitat.

When the day’s activities are done, we invite you to relax your body and rejuvenate your spirit in our inviting hot tub. At Chilko, our aim is to ensure that you have an unforgettable experience that leaves you feeling refreshed and connected to the incredible natural world around you.

Accommodation and Meals

At Chilko Lake, we have a variety of accommodations to suit your fishing adventure needs. For a truly luxurious stay, consider The Chilko Experience Wilderness Resort. This gem is nestled in the pristine wilderness of Chilko Lake, British Columbia, and offers top-notch service, cleanliness, and value. As the top-rated specialty lodging in the area, you’ll be able to relax in style after a long day of fishing and exploring.

Another fantastic option is Bear Camp. This unique campground offers deluxe safari tents equipped with either a king bed or two doubles, perched on a 630-foot long deck 16 feet in the air above the water’s edge. With excellent location, cleanliness, service, and value ratings, Bear Camp is perfect for those seeking a more nature-immersive experience.

No matter which accommodation you choose, you can expect a serene retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life. In line with this commitment to tranquility, both lodging options enforce a no mobile phone police. This allows you to fully immerse yourself in the stunning Chilko Lake environment and focus on the incredible fishing opportunities available.

When it comes to meals, both The Chilko Experience Wilderness Resort and Bear Camp provide delicious options to satisfy your hunger after a long day on the water. Typically, these establishments serve locally sourced, fresh ingredients, ensuring a true taste of the region. Additionally, the lodges cater to various dietary preferences and restrictions.

During your stay at Chilko Lake, we are confident that the accommodations and meals available will exceed your expectations, allowing you to fully enjoy the incredible fishing the area has to offer.

Tsylos Park Lodge

Tsylos Park Lodge, nestled in the heart of Canada’s unspoiled wilderness, is a prime location for an unforgettable fly fishing experience. As an Orvis Endorsed Lodge, it exemplifies professionalism and a commitment to conservation. At McLean’s Tsylos Park Lodge, we offer unparalleled dry fly fishing for wild rainbow trout, set against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty in Chilko Lake, BC, Canada. Our fishing season starts mid-June and runs through mid-September, with the dry fly fishing season in July and August.

Our setting offers scenic trails and breathtaking views, while our staff at Tsylos Park Lodge is passionate about providing our guests with the highest level of service. We take pride in our knowledgeable guides who have years of experience and are dedicated to ensuring the best fly fishing experience possible. As an organization deeply rooted in conservation, we maintain a strong commitment to preserve the natural environment in which we operate.

Our rates for a week-long Tsylos Park Lodge package start at $5,995.00 USD per person, plus a 2.5% GST tax, based on double occupancy. This includes:

  • Fully guided river fly fishing for wild trophy rainbow trout
  • Horseback riding vacations
  • Horse pack trips
  • Lodging and accommodations

Chilko River fishing is known for its consistent dry fly action, attracting large and scrappy Rainbows that challenge even the most experienced anglers. The wet fly fishing, starting mid-June, is excellent for both Rainbows and Bulltrout.

As we embrace our role as dedicated conservationists, our team at Tsylos Park Lodge is committed to protecting the unique ecosystem that surrounds us while sharing the beauty of this pristine wilderness with our guests. With sunshine and spectacular landscapes greeting us each day, we strive to create unforgettable memories in this beautiful corner of the world.

Chilko’s Fly Fishing in Global Perspective

When it comes to world-class fly fishing destinations, we must definitely mention Chilko Lake in British Columbia, nestled amongst the stunning Pacific Coast Mountains. As passionate fly fishing enthusiasts, we cannot help but compare this pristine lake to other renowned locations such as Argentina, Alaska, Montana, and New Zealand.

What sets Chilko Lake apart is its unspoiled beauty and the abundance of trophy trout that thrive within its waters. The lake is a gem within the Cariboo Chilcotin region and is known for producing high catch success of native sport fish, including bull trout and rainbow trout. Just as Vancouver Island boasts incredible fishing spots, Chilko Lake holds its own in angling circles.

While Argentina and New Zealand are often revered for their top fly fishing rivers, Chilko Lake presents a unique combination of opportunities. Aside from the lake itself, anglers can also explore the Chilko River for drift boat trips and further fly fishing adventures. The diverse ecosystem and the breathtaking scenery of the surrounding mountains make this experience comparable to the famous fly fishing in Montana and Alaska.

During our fly fishing trips, we have access to a range of boats, including canoes, kayaks, and drift boats for exploring the vast expanse of Chilko Lake and its adjoining rivers. We also appreciate the convenience of having charter flights from Vancouver to Tsylos, which makes it easier for us to enjoy a seamless fishing experience.

In conclusion, Chilko Lake is undoubtedly a global contender when it comes to exceptional fly fishing opportunities. As we explore diverse fishing spots around the world, Chilko remains a standout destination, thanks to its pristine waters, trophy trout, and breathtaking mountain scenery.

Additional Information

We would like to share some valuable information to enhance your Chilko Lake fishing experience. Chilko Lake is a well-known destination for its bull-trout and rainbow trout population, beautiful scenery, and the opportunity for an unforgettable angling adventure.

Chilko Lake is abundant with various runs that attract experienced anglers as well as novices. The lake and its surrounding areas provide fantastic opportunities for eagle watching, with many sightings reported by locals and visitors alike. To stay updated with the latest news and happenings around Chilko, joining our mailing list will provide you with firsthand insights and announcements.

For a more immersive experience, we recommend exploring our Chilko photo gallery showcasing the captivating scenery of the area. You’ll discover a glimpse into various Chilko adventures, captivating Chilko tales, and receive a sense of the serenity surrounding this stunning location. Our testimonials page is a treasure trove of insights, experiences, and reviews from anglers who have previously visited the area, further solidifying its status as a must-visit destination.

At Chilko, our passion for fly fishing is brought to life through our fly fishing gallery, which showcases the techniques and equipment used by avid anglers. Float-tube fishing is another popular method here, which gives you the ability to navigate the waters stealthily and access hard-to-reach spots teeming with fish.

Finally, the Chilko riverbank provides ample space for setting up base, taking in the breathtaking views, and planning your fishing strategy. Our commitment to providing a memorable experience is backed by our knowledgeable staff, adherence to clear and respectful angling policies, and the ongoing efforts to conserve the natural beauty and diverse ecosystem of Chilko Lake.

We hope this information will help you prepare for an enriching and unforgettable fishing adventure at Chilko Lake.