Fishing forum > Houseboat Vacations on Shuswap Lake, BC - Guilt Free Fishing for 7 Days!

Author Topic: Houseboat Vacations on Shuswap Lake, BC - Guilt Free Fishing for 7 Days!

Being a family man I find it difficult to combine family weekends with fishing ;-) And this post is dedicated to all the fathers who understand what I am talking about.

Houseboat vacations on a Shuswap Lake proved to be a perfect answer over and over again. For the whole week you are 100% of the time on water ... fishing for the most part. And your family is having all the fun as well - no complaints received.

Yeh, you cannot troll in proper patterns or even make circles over the best spot, not to mention the sheer size of the houseboat itself, which spooks all the fish in 200m radius ;-) But since the boat does not travel fast anyways, whenever you are moving you can actually troll.

Sport fishing restrictions may seem to be rather brutal - no rainbows under 50 cm or char under 60 cm - and I had to release a dozen of fish just because they were shy 5 cm from the limit. But nevertheless, we had fish on the table almost every day...

This year on Shuswap is probably one of the best.

And prior to this catch, I didn’t really believe Rainbow Trout can be that BIG (69 cm)! Somehow I didn’t miss Spring Salmon fishing at that time…

This trout is "just" 60 cm!

And for all of those who think clumsy houseboat is not a serious fishing vessel - here is the prize - 70 cm Lake Trout aka Lake Char!

Couple days into houseboat vacations - and you completely forget what day of the week it is...

Now that was an excellent post/report. Very interesting.

Can you shed any light on whereabouts you tend to get the far from shore, time of day, bait, depth, location. Do you use your own gear or does it come with the houseboat rental? I assume you were out just recently? Any feedback is much appreciated!

Great trip you had. Some big fish too wow!
Never rented a house boat before, what are they like on gas?

i thought i lost some old boots in that lake years ago, i guess i was right.

thats one big rainbow , seems like you had fun

In late spring/early summer, while the water is still very cold it is quite productive to troll large black leeches on a No3 sinking line as close to the shore as possible and as slow as house boat can do. Let as much line as possible, including some of the backing line. That technique of bucktailing generally brings good size rainbows. I've tried faster speeds, but it didn't produce. Olive leeches, which were recommended by local shops also didn't do much for me.

In the summer or early fall, when the water is still warm, you will have to go deep and fly lines won't cut it. I've tried to use portable downriggers, but that was way too much trouble and had to spend too much time managing them. I've tried weights, but eventually opted for diving planks (deep six worked the best). I was using my salmon trolling rods with 25lb mono lines and then a 8lb 5-6' leader with small spinners, such as Panther Martin, Blue Fox (gold, red worked the best). I've tried other lures (spoons, plastic, Rapala, etc.) but they didn't produce.

For lures the best approach is to troll slightly faster. Pattern is different, instead of trolling along the shore, I used zig-zag going away from shore (almost to the middle of the lake) and then coming towards the shore. Crossing the lake between points was also reasonably productive. Most of bites happened when I was approaching the shore.

My understanding is that in summer larger fish is chasing schools of bait fish. Fish finder may help to locate these schools. Then try to do circles over that place trolling at the proper depth (diving planks come with a chart: depth vs. line out - then use a line counter, which you can get in Canadian Tire).

As for best spots I'll try to find a map of the lake an post it later with my remarks.

On a separate note: there are a lot of huge Squa Fish (Northern Pik Minnow). Every morning tons of them come to house boats and swim in their shadows. You can get them with small plastic jigs. A lot of fun for kids. Sometimes suckers (black back) are also present. They take plastic worms.

Thanks for the detailed info Alex. I did in the past wonder about fishing from a houseboat on Shushawp. Now you've really piqued my interest! You're right, guilt free fishing for 7 days

Now I gotta look up what a 'diving plank' Look forward to you posting the map and a few spots. Thanks again.

Here is the map of Shuswap. Red line indicates the most productive shorelines.

Locals point to the central part on the intersection of all the arms of the lake as the best spot, but it didn't produce for me (even though fish finder indicated there were plenty of fish).

North end of the Eastern arm is very shallow and I saw thousands of large suckers (darker) and squa fish (lighter back) crusing in shallows.

The very end of Salmon Arm (South/West arm) has lots of algae and water is not as transparent as everywhere else. Plenty of large carp there, especially at the dock area.

I've mentioned the coarse fish because kids might have a lot of fun with fast action for large fish. Trolling for large rainbows/chars takes patience and time ;-)


This is what I was referring to as "diving planks" (diving sinking/planers). Luhr Jensen's Deep Six is the most reliable and easy to manage. It dives about 100 feet and when you retrieve your lure it will "release", making much easier to reel in your tackle.


And one more thing - secure your rods well!!! On my first trip I've lost a fly rod to a large rainbow. Setting on the reel was too tight and without a rod holder it just flew out of the houseboat...

Also it worked the best for me, when I put rods at the front deck rather then at the end of the houseboat - much easier to get to on a strike. Simply let more line out to let it dive as deep as possible and stay behind the boat.

Wow this is starting to look like the old Sharphooks where fishing repots and info was on here!

Yes, gotta agree. Alex you put in some reel (hahaha)effort in your posts and I'd say you've single handedly improved this site a lot. You'd be a great houseboat rental salesperson cause you've almost got me hooked (oops...again)

ps. sorry to hear about your fly rod, guess something like that kinda dampens the spirit for a bit, but still sounds like a great fishing time with the family.

Photo: rainbow @ night on Shuswap

Yeh, regarding that rod - my wife said she thought one of our kids must have fallen out of the boat when she heard my loud cry ;-) Not to mention large trout that was jumping on the surface while spitting the hook - sort of a celebration of fooling the angler ;-) lol!

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