Darkis Lake West
Image Via: Vaughn Smith

Vancouver Island’s Fantastic Lake Fishing

Freshwater fishing action on Vancouver Island

A special feature brought to you by Nikon

Vancouver Island contains many lakes of various sizes. Angling opportunities abound for various fish species. A fishing trip to the island is a treat for anyone. Whether one desires a rustic experience, or one with more refinements, Vancouver Island can deliver. Fly fishing is a popular activity, however many of the lakes permit bait as well.

While some very large lakes, such as Cowichan and Sproat, have great fishing at times, smaller lakes tend to have more productive periods. They also have the added benefit of being safer to fish. The big lakes can be subjected to severe weather that whip up large waves. These bodies of water should be treated with respect by boaters as their large size makes conditions dangerous at times.

Smaller lakes, such as Durrance in the south, or Schoen in the north, offer a more placid fishing experience. They can be fished from shore or with any type of non-motorized craft. In fact, many of the smaller island lakes are restricted to electric motors or paddles only. Be sure to check the BC government fishing regulations.

Darkis Lake West
Image Via: Vaughn Smith

Prospect Lake, and many others, are stocked with trout. An active enhancement program has been in place on Vancouver Island for years. While many of the stocked fish are small, the government often releases good sized trout as well. These range from 6 to 10 inches, (15 to 25cm), and more. Stocked species include rainbow and cutthroat trout.

Native fish species encountered in Vancouver Island lakes include other trout, bass and Kokanee, (land-locked sockeye salmon). Government fishing regulations are often specific about the size, bag limit and gear that may be used. Be sure to review the provincial regulations prior to any fishing trip. This publication also shows those local lakes which have been stocked with game fish.

The smaller lakes of Vancouver Island also offer unrivaled scenic beauty. Many of those located in the mid-island, or in the north, are fairly rustic and unspoiled settings. Lakefront properties are rare so shorelines are completely natural in most cases. This offers tremendous wildlife viewing opportunities while fishing. Birds such as eagles, hawks and various waterfowl are common. These can be studied in detail with the Nikon ProStaff ATB 8×25 Waterproof Binocular, a Nikon spotting scope, or even photographed with a Nikon D3100 DSLR camera.

Darkis Lake
Vaughn Smith

Access to many of the fishing lakes on Vancouver Island is quite easy. Some are located close to major cities, such as Elk Lake near Victoria. Others, such as Dougan or Somenos lakes, are serviced by major roads. Still others can be reached by traveling on the extensive network of logging roads.

Recommended Vancouver Island Fishing Lakes

Mayo Lake, near Cowichan Lake, is a small, pretty lake which offers good fishing for youngsters. It is open to those aged less than 16 years. No license is required.

Durrance Lake, near Victoria, is another small lake. It is located mere minutes from Victoria, the provincial capital. Set in dense forest, it offers scenic beauty near the urban center. This lake is smaller and less visited by anglers than nearby Prospect, Elk and Thetis lakes.

Shawnigan Lake, near Duncan, is a larger lake but which is fairly shallow and irregular. Being larger, boaters must be more wary of local weather conditions, but the lake does have many bays and reaches which are well protected.

Maple Lake is a scenic wilderness located adjacent to the town of Cumberland in the Comox Valley. This small lake is privately held but public access is provided from Mayo Road. Maple Lake is currently the subject of an organized effort to purchase the property in order to establish a community park.

Vancouver Island offers many fishing opportunities virtually everywhere within the 12,500 square mile area. Anglers are treated to good trout and bass fishing, along with scenic beauty and wildlife viewing. Many lakes are located near the populated areas, others are in parks, or in the back country. Fishing here offers many unforgettable experiences.

Compensation for this post was provided by Nikon. Opinions expressed here are that of the author.

Send this to a friend