|Image: Copyright Heidi I. Koehler|
Considering that British Columbia has more than 20,000 kilometers of coastline, tens of thousands of kilometers of streams and rivers and over 50,000 lakes and ponds that hold a large variety of all kinds of fish species you can say without brag: “BC is the best place in the word for fishing”.
Having said that, the best place to fish in British Columbia is without question right here in the Thompson – Nicola District. Be that one of hundreds of lakes and ponds, the rivers Fraser, Thompson, Coldwater or Nicola or any of the many other streams that flow though our region you can be assured there are fish to catch. From the prehistoric sturgeon to salmon, trout and many other fish species we have it all here. It has been said, and I believe this to be true, that you can fish in the Thompson-Nicola Region every day for all of your life and you still have not managed to fish every place.
The long warm season plus nutrient-rich and clean water in our area are a perfect mix to sustain large and healthy fish populations. In addition, many of our lakes are annually stocked by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC with millions of trout of different species. The diversity of fishing opportunities offers a variety of angling experiences for both the beginner and the expert. There are many lakes with a large population of smaller catchable trout that can reach up to four pounds with the average being 15 to 20 inch fish for the angler wanting to catch many fish and for the beginner who is learning how to fish. Then there are the lakes that are managed for large fish, with trout of up to 15 pounds and higher, providing the opportunity to catch the biggest trout of a lifetime. Most of our lakes are easily accessible for fishing from shore and most also feature boat ramps. Some other lakes, often where the best trophy fishing is to be had, are not those easily accessible making a four-wheel drive vehicle a necessity. These lakes also usually have equipment use restrictions (such as fly fishing only) and reduced limits or are catch and release only.
Some years ago Merritt used the slogan “Fish a lake a day for as long you stay.” That was a good slogan because it was factual. It also was a testimony to the fact that the majority of the people living here are avid outdoor enthusiasts. As anglers we’re a truly privileged people to live right here in the best place on earth to fish. Unlike the thousands of anglers traveling hundreds and often thousands of kilometers from all over Canada, the USA and the world to come to British Columbia we are never more than an hour’s drive away from world class fishing. Best of all this has been made possible because anglers provide the millions of dollars needed to keep and manage our fishery. For those of you that are not into fishing and wonder what the long lines of vehicles pulling boat trailers are all about on the highway heading towards Merritt, now you know; they are all coming to the place where fishing dreams come true.