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Test your luck: Gateway to Fishing Adventures around Williams Lake

Check out these detailed lake listings for fishing

These lake listings are part of the publication, Gateway to Fishing Adventures in the Cariboo Chilcotin, available now at the Williams Lake Tribune, 100 Mile House Free Press and Quesnel Observer newspaper offices

Highway 97 South


Turn east from Highway 97 onto the Knife Creek Road, near 141 Mile. There are numerous beaver ponds in the creek that offer some good fly fishing or spin casting with small lures for rainbows that will go to one pound in weight. Access to the creek may be across private property in many cases, so make sure to get permission to cross the land. Stream fishing regulations for Region 5 apply.


Located at the headwaters of Knife Creek, this lake can be reached by turning east off Highway 97 (Cariboo Highway) at 141 Mile on the Knife Creek Road. The road can be tough for conventional vehicles, so inquire locally before attempting it and use a four-by-four vehicle if the weather has been wet. The wild stock lake is two km long and has rainbows that average about one pound, but five-pound fish have been landed here. It is a relatively shallow lake and suffers from occasional winter die-offs. Flies, spinning or trolling are all effective, but warm weather will put the fish down. Early summer is the preferred time and offers the best bet for success. There’s camp space and car-toppers can be launched, but no other services or facilities are available.


This lake lies parallel to the Cariboo Highway, on the south end of the city of Williams Lake. Trolling will produce rainbows that average around 14 inches, with some larger trout taken occasionally. All facilities and services are available in the city, including a campground, but there are no boat rentals. Fishing can be fair in early summer, but comes to a near standstill as the season progresses.

Dog Creek - Chimney Valley


Sixteen km south of Williams Lake on the Chimney Lake road, this lake features rainbow trout to 14 inches that have made their way down from Chimney and Felker Lakes. Angling pressure is light and there is a forest service recreation site on the north lakeshore.


This lake is located 33 km south of Williams Lake on paved road. Fly fishing, spinning and trolling will take rainbows from 10 to 18 inches with early spring being a favoured time. However, it will continue to produce fairly well throughout the season. Stocking of the lake with kokanee has produced a good ice fishery for fish to 13 inches. Summer fishing for kokanee should be good — try a wedding band behind a willow leaf at depths of five to 10 feet (May) and 30 feet deep during the warmer months. Chimney also gets heavy summer use for other recreational activities, such as water skiing and swimming. Camping and boat launching are available, as well as other regular services.


Head 24 km south of Williams Lake on the Chimney Lake Road and catch rainbow trout to 14 inches here by fly fishing, spinning or trolling. Hot weather can turn this lake off, but it’s a fairly consistent producer if weather stays moderate. Camp space is available, with good access for boat launching.

Horsefly and Likely Roads


This lake has been stocked with rainbow trout and is located close to the Horsefly Road, about 55 km from Williams Lake. Turn north from the highway and drive 200 metres to a gravel parking area where there is a 400-metre, good walking trail to the lake. Some of these trout will go to seven pounds, but the average is closer to two pounds. Lots of feed in the lake makes for uncertain catch success. Well-presented flies or trolling gear should get some action, however. Special restrictions: bait ban, single hook, electric motors only. Engine power restriction - 7.5 kW (10 hp).


Eight lakes strung together by Beaver Creek for about 32 km occupy this valley that runs in a northwesterly direction from Horsefly. These lakes all contain rainbows and kokanee. The rainbows will go up to four pounds, but the average is closer to a couple, with the kokanee averaging around one pound. Both fly fishing and spinning will get reaction during the summer months and a canoe trip through the lower lakes can be a pleasant experience. There are coarse fish in the system, but they don’t seem to hamper the sports fishing. There are several places where access from the road can be gained and car-toppers can be launched. Special restrictions: closed to all bass fishing - includes Beaver, Chambers, Joan, McCauley, Opheim, Robert Lakes, Lake George and the unnamed lake locally known as Rye Lake.


About 54 km northeast of Williams Lake on the Likely Road, this lake has rainbow trout, lake trout and stocked kokanee. The rainbows will average around one pound and trolling is the popular fishing method, although fly fishing, and spin-casting meet with success. The lake trout in Big Lake can be of trophy size with reports of 20-pounders being landed. There are also reports of rainbows weighing as much as 12 pounds, but these have to be exceptions. The best fishing occurs in early and late summer, but it will produce some action throughout the season. All regular services and facilities are available. Lake trout daily quota = 1; lake trout release Oct 1-Nov 30.


Twenty-four km east of Williams Lake on the Horsefly Road, this is a small lake stocked with brook trout and rainbows that respond to both flies and small lures. Brook trout are the main attraction at Dugan, and these will average close to two pounds with the odd one going larger. The rainbows are about the same size on average, but there are reports of 10-pounders being taken with fair frequency. It’s a very popular lake during the winter ice fishing season. There is a nice recreation site at Dugan Lake that offers camp space, a small boat launch as well as a wheelchair-accessible dock to fish off and walking trails. Although there is no season that it won’t give up some fish, it is slower in the heat of summer.


Just a few kilometres down the Horsefly Road further east from Dugan Lake, this small lake is a gem for those in search of small or large rainbow trout. It is stocked with rainbow trout every spring and there is an RV-accessible forest service recreation site on the north shore with a car-top boat launch. Regulations include no ice fishing, as well as trout release; bait ban, single barbless hook.


These two lakes are about 60 km northeast of Williams Lake, just off the Likely road and about six-and-a-half km from Beaver Valley. Wild stock rainbows to 16 inches take readily to flies and to spinning lures. From May through October, this fishing should hold up in these small lakes, but bring your own car-topper as there are no facilities or services here. The Gavin Lake Forest Education Centre offers youth camps for children at Gavin Lake, but it’s not a public facility.


Just a few kilometers west of Big Lake, this lake features wild stocks of rainbows that will go around two pounds and these are fished for with trolling gear, spin casting or with flies. The road in from Big Lake isn’t the best, so caution should be taken, especially in wet weather. Reports on the lake don’t rate it higher than “moderate,” and warm weather can turn it off completely, so try the cooler weather in summer. There are no facilities or services and only limited camping is available.


Thelargest of these wild stock lakes is about eight km long and the other about three km. Not noted as really great fishing lakes, mainly because of the heavy population of coarse fish, they do have rainbow trout that may weigh up to two pounds. May and June seem to be the best months to fish them as they won’t provide much action once the warmer weather begins. The lakes can be reached by branching off the Horsefly Road at the north end of Dewar Lake (Spokin Lake Road) about five km from Dugan Lake or by taking the Moffat Creek road south from Horsefly.


This lake is on the south side of the Horsefly road, 39 km east of Williams Lake and it has good fishing early in the season. May through June is probably the best period, but if the lake doesn’t warm up too much during the summer, it will continue to produce some action. Rainbows average less than three pounds, but some will weigh up to three pounds. There are many residences on the lakeshore. All facilities and services are available at the lake.


Located just east of the Likely Road, about 54 km northeast of Williams Lake, this lake has been stocked with both rainbows and brook trout that are reported to offer good fishing for two pounds trout. With support from the Habitat Conservation Fund, this lake is artificially circulated through the winter. The addition of oxygenated water enables stocked fish to successfully survive over winter in this productive lake. Electric motors only. Engine power restriction - 7.5 kW (10 hp). Warning: Dangerous thin ice due to aeration.

Highway 97 North

BLUE LAKE (G, <><)

This small lake is about 35 km north of Williams Lake. Turn off Highway 97 at Soda Creek onto a dirt road. The lake produces rainbows that average about one pound and five pounds are common. Spokane were introduced to Blue Lake, and are now reproducing. The rainbows will go for small spinning lures or flies. Services and facilities are available at the lake, including camping and trailer space. May through Oct. is the fishing season here with June recording the best success. Special restrictions: electric motors only; engine power restriction - 7.5 kW (10 hp); no ice fishing; single barbless hook; one trout per day quota none under 50 cm.


Turn off Hwy 97 at McLeese Lake on Gibraltar Mine Road. This stocked lake offers good fishing for rainbow on a fly or by trolling. Full facilities are available.

ELK LAKE (G, <><)

Another small, rehabilitated lake about three km east of Jackson Lake, the rainbows in here will run between one and two pounds with the constant chance of connecting with larger trout. Rainbow stocking has been increased over the past two years so fishing success should improve. The fly-only regulation has been removed from the lake, however, the many shallow areas make trolling gear a challenge. A small boat launch and a good recreation site are available at the lake. Special restrictions: electric motors only maximum 7.5 kwh; no ice fishing; one trout per day quota none under 50 cm and single barbless hook.

FIR LAKE (G, <><)

Turn onto the Old Soda Creek Road, cross the Fraser River at the Rudy Johnson Bridge and continue on the Mackin Creek Road to km 67. Turn left and drive for six and half km, then left again and drive one km to the lake. Boating access is fair, although hampered by shrubs. Over land access is fairly good around most of the lake, but difficult in some places due to deadfalls. A camping area is available for tents and RVs and there are no noted restrictions.


Turn off Highway 97 near the Deep Creek Store onto the Lyne Creek road and at eight km, branch south and drive for another two-and-a-half km to the lake. It is stocked with rainbows that now will weigh as much as 20 pounds or better. Local anglers regard this as a trophy fishery where catch and release is practiced and encouraged. It attracts a large number of non-resident anglers that come for the renowned fly fishing. As summer warm weather progresses, fishing success slows down somewhat and reports say the trout develop a muddy taste. Special restrictions: Trout daily quota = 1 (none under 50 cm); artificial fly only, bait ban; engine power restriction - 7.5 Kw (10 hp). The current Fresh Water Fishing Regulations Synopsis should also be consulted before angling in Forest Lake. No ice fishing.


Continue past Blue Lake on the same road for another 11 km. This lake was stocked with rainbows that should be in the one-and-a-half pound range and possibly larger. There is a recreation site on the northeast side of the lake.


This rehabilitated lake is situated 19 km east of McLeese Lake. It has plentiful rainbows that will weigh one to two pounds and possibly heavier. There is camp space available and car-top boat launching, but no other facilities or services. It gets fairly heavy use through the season, but early summer is most popular. Access can be difficult if weather is wet. Special Restrictions: artificial fly only, bait ban, electric motors only maximum 7.5 kwh.


About 45 km north of Williams Lake just off Highway 97, this lake is about five km long and is well known for both rainbow and kokanee fishing. Rainbows will average 14 inches with occasional fish to three pounds. A kokanee stocking program has developed into an excellent fishery especially late spring and fall. Trolling and spinning are the primary producers. For anglers with limited time this is an easy lake to get to with both public and private facilities including several boat launches. Boat rentals, fishing gear and licenses available locally at the lake. Excellent ice fishing lake for kokanee as well.

TYEE LAKE (F, <><)

Turn east off Highway 97 at McLeese Lake and Tyee Lake is about 23 km on good gravel road to the north end of the lake. Access to the east side of the lake and forest sevice rec site may also be gained by leaving Highway 97 at Deep Creek and driving approximately 15 km on good gravel road. The lake is about eight km long and has rainbow trout that will average 14 inches, but some will run to five pounds. Try a spoon trolled through the deeper parts of the lake. Trolling and spinning are the best producers and May through October is the season. The lake features good catch rates for pan-fry kokanee. Daily quota of kokanee is five per day.

Horsefly / Likely Area


The third small lake in this group is south of Freshette Lake and has given up some large fish. Again, it’s a walk-in proposition and a bit more difficult to reach than the other two, but it gets very little pressure and is well worth visiting. The trail isn’t well-marked and there are no facilities.


This six-and-a-half km-long lake lies just east of the Beaver Valley Road and has wild stock pan-sized rainbows and kokanee that can give a lot of fun on light gear. There are some reports of the odd kokanee going to 16 inches in here. Although not a particularly productive lake, it doesn’t get a lot of pressure. Access is by a dirt road that can give plenty of trouble in wet weather, and even in dry weather, a conventional car is not the best vehicle. No facilities or services are available.


Continue along the road down the south side of Spanish Lake for another two km. This will take you to a logged area from which an 800-metre walk puts you at the lake. One km farther down the road is another walk-in trail to the right. Neither of these accesses is well-marked so keep a sharp lookout for the trail heads. Catches of five pounds trout should be incentive to walk the short distance from the logging landing. There are no facilities.


If you are looking for a great fishing lake for beginners and families, Bootjack Lake near Likely is the perfect choice. There is an RV-accessible Forest Service recreation site with a boat launch. Bootjack Lake is abundant with rainbow trout and kokanee and is accessed from the Moorehead- Bootjack Forest Service Road off of Likely Road. Located 10 km south of Morehead Lake on a fair road, wild stock rainbows are about one pound, taken on troll or with spinning gear. They’ll also take flies when the weather isn’t too warm. A camping/RV area and good boat launch are available. This lake provides a wonderful fishery for kids because of the high success rate and is worth a try any time from May through October. Special restrictions: trout daily quota - eight.


This lake can be reached by a good gravel road from Horsefly via Crooked Lake or from 100 Mile House on the Hendrix Lake Road. By way of Horsefly the distance from Williams Lake is 185 km and if weather is wet, local inquiries should be made concerning road conditions. The lake is a reasonably reliable producer of wild stock two pound rainbows and reports state trolling will, on occasion, connect with five pounders. There are also lake trout in Bosk, but they’re not the major species. June to October is the recommended time for the most successful fishing here. No accommodations or services are available at Bosk, except for camp space.


Take the Keithley Creek road for about 24 km north of Likely. The lake is about 14 km long and has wild stock rainbows, lake trout, kokanee and bull trout. The rainbows will average about one-and-a-half pounds, but there are reports of much bigger trout being taken. It’s possible the lake trout will reach 12 pounds and the Bull trout, four pounds. Trolling is the most popular method of taking fish at Cariboo Lake, but spinning will also produce results. Early summer and early fall are preferred times, but fishing will usually hold up throughout the season. There are no organized facilities or services and the road gets heavy industrial traffic.


This river flows into and out of Cariboo Lake and offers good fly fishing for wild stock rainbow trout and spinning for bull trout. July through September are the most popular months with the river anglers. Chinook and coho salmon that enter the river are closed to angling. Special restrictions: bull trout release.


This lake is about nine-and-a-half km long and can be reached from the south of the Hendrix Lake Road or from the west by way of Horsefly. Both of these access routes can be regarded as good for conventional vehicles. Rainbows of up to 16 inches can be taken with flies, spinning or trolling from late May through September. Boats and cabins are available and there is camp space. Consider a family fishing vacation here.


About 160 km east of Williams Lake and south of Horsefly River on a good gravel road that is rated as all-weather, there are both wild stock rainbow and lake trout in Elbow Lake, but it’s not a really hot fishing lake. Trolling is the best method to take either of the species present in the lake, but don’t expect too much action. Camp space is available and car-top boats can be launched, but there are no other facilities.


This is another small lake that can be reached by a half-km walk from the south end of Benny. Fly fishing or spin casting should produce action from the rainbows that will weigh around one pound, with a chance of hooking into trout of up to five pounds or better. The trail between the lakes is not well-marked and a compass could be of assistance. There are no facilities available at the lake.


A logging road running southeast from Bosk Lake provides access and it’s about five km to the lake. Both wild stock rainbows and kokanee are present, but reports on size and success are a bit hard to locate. Car-top boats can be launched, but there are no other facilities. Special restrictions: trout/char daily quota - two, bait ban, single barbless hook.


One kilometre past Jacques Lake, turn right onto dirt road that can give problems to conventional vehicles if the weather has been wet; otherwise, this road can be regarded as good. The rainbows in this lake will average around one pound with eight pounders reported. Favourite fishing times are June and October, but any time during the summer, action can be expected. Flies, spinning or trolled gear all produce results. There are some basic camp spaces at this lake. Watch for log trucks on the road.


This 48-km-long lake is 70 km east of Williams Lake on a paved road. The lake produces wild stock rainbows, bull trout, lake trout and kokanee from May through to October. The rainbows can be really big, with 12 pound trout being taken fairly regularly. The lake trout can also offer some great sport with 15 pound fish not too uncommon and the promise of a 25-pounder a possibility. Trolling is the most popular method for going after these big fish, but good sport is had with spinning gear. This is a beautiful spot in the Cariboo and is an ideal lake for a family vacation. Fishing will hold up throughout the summer, but because of its size, small boaters should be cautious of weather that can bring a storm. Horsefly Lake Provincial Park offers a popular 23 site campground and day-use area which has a developed beach, a boat launch, a horseshoe pit and a nature trail.


Sixty-four km east of Williams Lake, this river supplies some good sport for anglers who prefer moving water. Wild stock five pound rainbows are the attraction, but this is a catch and release fishery, artificial fly only, and a bait ban. No angling from powered boats from Woodjam Bridge to Quesnel Lake. Angling for Chinook or Coho salmon is closed all year, while trout are open only from June 1 through Oct. 31. All services and facilities are available at the village of Horsefly. Special restrictions: The Horsefly River is occasionally closed during extended hot spells; the current Fresh Water Fishing Regulations Synopsis should be consulted before angling in Horsefly River.


Located about 100 km northeast of Williams Lake, about five km east of the Likely Road, this wild stock lake has rainbows that run between 10 and 14 inches. These can be taken by fly fishing, spinning or trolling. Usually best early in the season, choose your own time during the summer months, but warm weather won’t help. Dirt road after leaving the main Likely road may require a four-by-four vehicle in wet weather. There are no facilities or services, except for limited camp space. Special Restrictions: trout daily quota - eight.


Thirty-four km northeast of Horsefly on the Quesnel Lake road, this three-km-long lake has wild stock rainbows up to five pounds but the average trout coming out is less than one pound. At its best early in the season, it will still give good action throughout the summer. Fly fishing and spinning get excellent results, but trolled gear is popular here. A Forest Service recreation site at the east end of the lake offers good camp space and access for car-top launching, but there are no other services or facilities.


With access from the Horsefly-Quesnel Lake road, Keno is about 97 km from Williams Lake. The lake is a little less than five km long and its rainbow trout average around one pound, with the occasional fish topping out at four pounds. It produces best early and late in the season, but trout can be taken all through the summer. There is very limited camp space that is more suited to day use. This is a popular lake where fly fishing, spinning and trolling all produce action. Special restrictions: trout daily quota - eight.


This is a small lake just south of Quesnel Lake and about five km north of Keno Lake on the Horsefly-Quesnel Lake road. It is a spring-fed lake with rainbows averaging two pounds on occasion. There’s very small camp space where car-toppers can be launched. Although motors aren’t prohibited, their use is discouraged.


Access is from Williams Lake via Horsefly on good road. The lake is about seven km long and produces both rainbows and lake trout. The lake trout will go to eight pounds and the rainbows should average around three pounds, with the occasional one going to eight pounds. Trolling is the most successful method of fishing McKinley, but spinning lures will produce. Any time from May through October should see some action, but don’t plan too heavily on taking a limit. There are no facilities here except camp space.


This is a walk-in or fly-in situation as there’s no road access. McNeil is located south of Gotchen Lake and has a good population of both rainbows and kokanee, with lake trout and bull trout also reported. Half-pound kokanee and rainbows to a couple of pounds or better will respond to all angling methods and gear. No facilities are available. (Special angling restrictions: consult the regulations synopsis). Special restrictions: trout/char daily quota - two, bait ban, single barbless hook.


This lake lies north of the north arm of Quesnel Lake and is about 20 km long. Access is by float plane only. There are both wild stock rainbows and bull trout in Mitchell and both species will average around two pounds with the occasional fish nearing 10 pounds. June and July are the best months with fly fishing, spinning or trolling all meeting with success. No services or public facilities are at the lake, but charter air services and accommodations can be arranged at Williams Lake or through Quesnel Lake resorts. Mitchell River, flowing out of the lake into the north arm of Quesnel Lake, also has a catch and release regulation on all trout and salmon species, as well as a gear restriction requiring single, barbless hooks only and a bait ban. Special restrictions: no fishing within 100 m radius of the weir at the lake’s outlet and no fishing from Mitchell Lake to Cameron Creek. Consult the regulations synopsis to view all the restrictions.


This lake is about five km long and has wild stock rainbows that will weigh one pound or better. It is located right beside the Likely road, 105 km northeast of Williams Lake. Although the trout aren’t whoppers, they’ll hit spinning and trolling gear fairly readily. They also take flies in late May and June and also in late September through October. Like many lakes, hot weather will slow down fishing. All regular services and facilities are available at the lake, including boat launching and camping. Special restrictions: trout daily quota - eight.


With a depth of 530 metres, this clear fjord lake is the deepest of its kind in the world, as well as being the largest lake in the region. Measuring 100 km in length from west to east, the lake also has three major arms. The mountains surrounding it are beautiful but they may cause winds that can make the lake dangerous for anything but good-sized seaworthy boats. Rainbow trout, bull trout, lake trout and kokanee are the species that get the attention of most sports fishermen. Lake trout in Quesnel Lake reach 20 pounds and 10 pound rainbows don’t make too much news. There is year-round fishing for the lakers and rainbows and trolling is the main method used. Spinning gear also meets with success. However, in the spring, fly fishing can work on both these species. Bull trout are catch and release only to conserve this species. Kokanee population has severely declined. Access to the lake is by way of Likely or by travelling east from the community of Horsefly. Public camping and boat launching are available and a few resorts offer all services and facilities. For further information, contact the Williams Lake Visitor Info Centre. Special restrictions: consult the current Fresh Water Fishing Regulations Synopsis before angling in Quesnel Lake as there is a size and quota restriction for rainbows.


Flowing west out of Quesnel Lake near Likely, this river features wild stock rainbows and bull trout from one pound to 14 pounds, caught from July through October. Flies will get action. Services and facilities are available at Likely and at Quesnel Lake resorts. Special Restrictions: consult the current Fresh Water Fishing Regulations Synopsis before angling on Quesnel River.


Continue north from Wolverine Lake about nine km. The road is suitable for conventional vehicles, but a good map and directions from local residents will be of help. Wild stock rainbows here will go better than two pounds and will take flies, lures and trolled gear. Another very small lake two-and-a-half km south of Rollie is reported to offer some good rainbow fishing.


This 10-km-long lake east of Likely and 134 km northeast of Williams Lake, produces wild stock rainbows to two pounds. There are also bull trout and fishing for these near the creek mouths is said to be good, but reports on their size or numbers are sketchy. June through October are the recommended months, and fly fishing, spinning and trolling will all produce. Camp space is available and car-top boats can be launched, but there are no other facilities. Supplies and services are available at Likely.


This very small lake south of Horsefly can be reached by taking the 108 Road. It’s about six-a-half km off this road, which is reported to be good in all weather. The lake has rainbows that can go as heavy as two-to-three pounds and will take flies, lures and trolled bait. Fishing should hold up from May through to freeze-up. There are no facilities available.


Located in the same general area as Elbow Lake, road access is generally good, but in wet weather it’s a good idea to check locally regarding the last piece of the road. Tisdall Lake is about five-and-a-half km long and has wild stock rainbows that will weigh around two pounds. These trout will take flies, spinner and trolled lures, have a reputation for providing lots of action, and should produce well throughout the summer. Camp space, small boat launch, washrooms and accessible washroom and fishing dock for disabled available.


Located west of Bootjack Lake, this small lake can be reached via the road running south to Gavin Lake from Bootjack. It has rainbow trout that run to about two pounds. Car-top boats can be launched, but no camp space or other facilities are available.


Located south of the north arm of Quesnel Lake, just west of the Billy Miner Creek, access is via the Bouldery Creek Road. There’s a BC Forest Service recreation site available.


Turn left from the Keithley Creek Road, north of Likely just after crossing the Cariboo River. This wild stock lake is about three km from this junction. Although it isn’t a large lake, it can turn out some very respectable rainbows to fly or spin anglers. There is camp space and car-top boats can be launched, but no other facilities are available.