Fishing forum > Early ice-off lakes in Merrit/Kamloops Region?

Author Topic: Early ice-off lakes in Merrit/Kamloops Region?

Hi, I'm planning a trip to Merrit / Kamloops region April 21 for a few days. Does anyone have any suggestions on which lake is fishable right now? I phoned several resorts in higher elevation (Heffley Lake/Knouff Lake/Lac Le Jeune) and there's still ice. Does anybody have any suggestions for any lower elevation lakes? Even better, does anyone know any lakes in that region that have turned over?

The Yak

try Stump Lake, Leighton Lake, Tunkwa lake, and Kidd Lake..

I hear there was a bit of a winterkill on Leighton Lake (lots of 17-22 inchers washing up on shore) so try Tunkwa , it's probably your best bet.

Check the regs before you go though, im not sure if its open yet,...

tunkwa and leighton is closed till may1

lac la jeune also isn't open till may 1st.
Stump lake...Slow but getting some at the south end of lake
Jacko was good but turning over.
Courtney lake
Barnes lake
Kidd lake off but closed till May 1st.
Marquart and Lundbom should be iced off.
salmon assasin

What is a winter kill

Yak & Abito, thanks for the info. It's close but not it doesn't appear to be the best time to hit the region as alot of the good lakes are actually still iced over or closed. Tunkwa and all those above 3000ft in elevation are iced over. Stump, Marquart, White, and Lundbom are ice free and may have even turned (or in the process of doing so) but since it's still early, the action may be slow. I'm just a bit too anxious to get out and may be jumping the gun a little.

Anyone know if the Voght Valley Lakes are ice free? Salley, are you there?

Salmon, winter kill occurs when there's not enough oxygen in a lake to support fish. It can happen when fish and decomposing vegetation uses up all the oxygen in a shallower lake that's iced over. Similar thing can happen in the summer when water warms up resulting in reduced oxygen levels. They call that summer kill.

Hi there.You can try mammit lake it is usually pretty good, but not from shore you should use a boat there, the south end is the best part to fish, around the island. You could also scope out nicola lake in the Bay areas or along the highway side by the boat launch. Marquart and ludlom are quite slow the odd fish comes out but not much action. The best time to fish the lakes in Merritt is when the ice just comes off up until July. The vought Valley road is really muddy right now and I Don't know If they are ice free.

Thanks Salley. I'm a little intimidated fishing a large lake like Nicola, mostly because I wouldn't know where to start. Although Mamit is quite large, it seems it's not as deep and as such, perhaps it has a more fishable shoal areas? Although I haven't quite decided where I'm going, I'm getting a better idea of the choices available to me.

Can you suggest any lakes with campsites?

I'm was leaning towards White Lake? The description on looks really good but I understand it can be a very difficult lake to fish. Even pro's have to work hard for their fish there.
The Yak

here are a few pictures of the dead fish, winterkilled at Leighton Lake
The Yak

looks like a lot of really nice fish were killed... what a shame... but unavoidable
salmon assasin

ya I heard most of them were 17-22 inches

Is the ice off the Chataway plateau lakes? If not, when can we expect it to come off?

white lake is a great lake to fish with very clear water..can be real rewarding with fish into double digits. Knowing how to chironomid fish would be an asset at this lake as that is probably the most productive way to catch fish there.
Look for cruising fish on the extensive shoals and the edge of drop offs. The lake has very clear water so look for fish before you anchor.
The Yak

where is white lake?..
nice fish BTW

Nice fish Abito. Yes, I hear it has strong chironomid hatches. I associate chironomid fishing with patience, and with the clarity of this lake, it certainly sounds like a test of one's patience and skills. So were you night fishing there? It looks pretty dark.

Yak, the lake is about 60 km east of Kamloops near Sorrento. It's quite a ways out there from Vancouver.

Weather forecast certainly doesn't look too good next week as of now.


Yikes, I almost missed the pics you posted Yak regarding the winter kill on Leighton. What a waste... imagine what fun it could've been hooking all those rainbows on a 4 wt. rod. Oh well, it's a natural phenomema, and plus they'll feed back to lake with lots of nutrients, enriching plants and insects, and ultimately back into the whole food chain for more rainbows.

it wasn't night..i don't know why the back ground came out so dark.

regarding winter kill at Leighton got to take the bad with the good. The bad being that there has been a winter kill there this year. But the surviving fish will have that much more feed to grow much bigger at that lake.
Leighton in my opinion had too many fish in that lake to grow some real trophy sized fish. I fish there quite often, there were lots of 18-22" fish with alot in the 14-16" range but none of the hogs some other lakes have. But with less fish with the unbelieveable amount of feed in that a year or two we might be seeing some monsters in there.

here is one of the bigger ones out of the lake
The Yak

nice fish abito... what weight rod are you using there?..

Alright, that's it. Your teasing has got me really anxious about the trip. Nice fish though!

I think you're right about the possibility of larger fish with a drop in the number of fish in Leighton.

yak i use two rods, 3 and 4wt Sage SLT
The Yak

whats the biggest fish you've caught on your 3 weight. I have and Orvis 3 weight clearwater classic and a 4 piece Redington RS2 in a 5 weight. I've only used my 3 weight for small trout on the dry fly and am hesitant to use it on the big fish in the interior even if its got the lifetime guarantee. i like that rod too much to be without it for a while should it break and need to be sent in.

last year i landed some fish over 10pounds on the 3wt. It all depends on the rod and how you play your fish. I am very aggressive when i play fish and put quite alot of pressure when playing them and get them to the net very fast. I have seen people with heavier rods like 6and7wt rods that take longer to bring fish in then i do with a 3wt. Some people don't realize that fish will fight more if you put more pressure on it. See so many people playing fish with barely a bend on thier rod and tiring the fish right out.
Plus the Sage SLT i use for stillwater fishing,even though has a softer top end the bottom half of the rod has got alot of backbone.
I don't know what action your orvis has but you can always give it a try and see if the rod can handle bigger fish.
here is a fish around 24" on a 3wt
salmon assasin

nice pic thats a Big fish
The Yak

hell ya... that is a big fish... nice work...
My Orvis is a medium action rod so it has a nice balance of flex as well as some backbone...maybe not as much as your Sage but I think it'll handle it..
Im going to put my 3wt to the test this spring...

Another nice one. Judging from all the nice pics you posted, it certainly looks like you fish the interiors alot Abito. Lucky you.

I use a 4wt LL from Sage and am very happy with it's performance and handling, even with larger fish. It's definitely a slower action rod but it's got alot of backbone. I love the flex on the rod when fighting larger fish. The thing flexes almost right down to the cork handle.

yes i fish the interior alot. Last year i probably got up there once a week. I live in Langley and it's only 2hours to Merrit. Sage LL series is a nice rod, I was gonna get one but went with the SLT instead, just a little bit more back bone.
I do alot of chironomid fishing and a softer rod is a must. You will land way more fish with a softer rod. ALot less break offs on the strike.

Hi there. "The ice should be coming off of Chataway lake soon if it already has not. The high elevation lakes are usually clear by the middle of May. The lakes with campgrounds that are pretty good are Boss and Davis lakes, Tunkwa and leighton, also Helmer lake has a small forestry site at the south end of the lake. You catch a lot of fish but they are small.....up to a pound. peter Hope lake has a forestry campsite as well and has good fishing.
salmon assasin

abito i was looking at your pics of coho on the fly in fishbc and there is a slough in the background of quite a few pictures.I have seen that slough thousands of times before in other pictures and was wondering what the name of the slough is?here is that pic and by the way nice fish

that peticular area in the pic is the vedder. Key to catching coho on the fly is to find slough like water or so called frog water. This spot later in the season was gone.
The other places is either other spots on the vedder, harrison, or the Nicomen

abito, what kind of boat is that your in that picture?
Its sweet!
I bet its light too, you probably can just carry it from your car to the lake.

it's called a steveston skiff. Made is richmond.
I have a friend who is selling his. It's brand new, never been used.

Thanks for the update Salley. I was planning on trying marquart or courtney. Do you know the ice if off Davis and whether the roads are clear?
The Yak

how much abito... and why is he trying to sell it?

I cant tell, is that some sort of plastic or fiberglass?
& i noticed the trolling motor there too, like I said before, sweet boat!
Ive already got a boat but how much for one of those things?

it's fiberglass, he needs a bigger boats so he is trying to sell it.
It's 9'4" long 52" wide. Very stable boat and weighs about 70-80pounds. Easy to load and unload by yourself.
The boat comes with oars and oars locks for 1295.00 and taxes.
His boat has three scotty flush mounts and two anchor locks custom built into it. you can get rod holders to use with the flush mounts also. I have the same set up and it's sweet.
He wants 1300.00 so basically he is willing to eat the taxes and the cost of the scotty anchors and mounts.

Hi rise> I have ice fished marquart every year for about 10 years and have had action only once..... tough lake there are big fish but not many.. The spring is a little better to fish that lake. Courtney has good fishing. nice sized fish. As for Davis the road is really muddy the loggers are on breakup now so tough to get in and it would be really cold camping at night. As for the ice being off I don't know, but it gets better around next month this time.

Thanks for your help Salley.
The Yak

Nice boat.. but out of my price range... If i had the dough i would be on it like flies to shit.

I just bought a new complete 5wt set up so Im done for "fishing" pruchases for a while..

Thanks for all the help everyone. The trip was good. The fishing was a bit slow, probably due to the strong winds during my stay there. I checked out a handful of lakes for my next trip, and although some still had traces of snow, none were iced over. Most (or none) have not turned yet. Lakes I checked out include Marquart, Lily, Courtney, Corbett, Kane, Davis and Boss. Unfortunately, I didn't get to fish them all, which is probably not all that bad since there are alot of spawners during this time of the year. I caught a few fish, with the largest being 21 inches / 4 lbs.


I caught a 12 pounder on Kidd May 2/04, First cast of the year-and not on a choronomid. Lots of May flies hatching there as well. My digital camera was in the shop for repair. What a pity-only fish of the day and what a fish!!! Even the water on Kidd lake is a decent temperature for belly-boating. I was in for 6 hours and my feet were toasty. Good luck and tight lines. Wade.

nice 24" on a chironomid caught by my girlfriend on her first day of fly fishing
The Yak

what lake is tha abito?

yak that was from corbett another pic..this is about the average sized trout there.
The Yak

i think im going to try and go there, maybe on the 22nd or the 23rd...

Fishing forum > Early ice-off lakes in Merrit/Kamloops Region?


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