Went Fishin’


Blair and I recently went on a fishing trip to Corbett Lake, a small deep lake home to BIG rainbow trout. The lake is located about 20 km from Merritt on the Highway to the Okanagan and Kelowna, and in fact one part of the lake lies within 100 feet of the highway.

The fishing experience was exciting and dramatic and very satisfying, but what made it a much richer experience for me was returning to the part of the world where Blair and I had once lived and fished when he was just a little guy. That was while we lived in Kamloops, 100 kilometres (60 miles) north of Corbett Lake.

Kamloops lies in a mountain shadow that extends all the way south to Merritt and Corbett Lake. I always enjoyed the area, dry almost desert country but interlaced with lakes and creeks and rivers and rolling hills. It is the reverse of the rest of BC, having dry valley bottoms and trees on the hills.

Some of the earliest settlers to the west took up homesteads in this area during the time period 1850 to 1900. The Douglas Lake Ranch is the largest active cattle ranch in Canada and is located in this same mountain shadow. Cattle have been raised at Douglas Lake continuously for 142 years.

Located to the west is the Nicola Lake Ranch, equal in size but not currently as active as is Douglas Lake. Depending on the area of Federal range-land included these two ranches each cover about 500 square miles.

The CPR extended a branch rail line to the area in 1907 to service the ranches, farmers and miners active at that time.

The Douglas Lake Ranch, although a modern cattle ranch, maintains its touch with tradition.  Cowboys on horseback are still part of the operation and living the life of yesteryear. I recall seeing them in Kamloops on Saturday nights, seldom very far from the local pubs, combining a swagger with their big hats, tight jeans, and cowboy boots.

Corbett Lake Lodge is a development consisting of 15 or so buildings providing cabin space for about 25 people. The Main Lodge includes a Dining Room, closed during this Covid pandemic. We had our own fully serviced cabin with kitchen and sleeping accommodation. It was a very rustic and comfortable arrangement.

The Lodge is located at the south end of Corbett lake. The property is surrounded by the lands of both large ranches with the Douglas Lake ranch on the Right hand side of the lake as shown in the photo and Nicola to the Left.

The lake is less than two kilometres in length and a third of that in width. The edges of the lake are shallow with a 60 foot deep section running in the shape of a pan handle for the length of the lake. The shallow sections are covered with heavy green weed as is clear in the photo above. The health of the lake is maintained by pumping air into the water.

This little lake is one of the most well known fly-fishing lakes on the continent, and sometimes serves as one of the lakes selected to hold the North American Fly Fishing Contests. The largest rainbow on record caught in this lake was 18 pounds. The Lodge stocks the lake annually with mature rainbow trout weighing from 2 to 8 pounds each.

It is a fly-fishing only lake, catch and release the rule, while the use of barbless hooks is mandatory. The biggest threat to the rainbow population is a family consisting of a momma Otter and three active pups. These chaps do NOT release their catches.

During our stay we saw a bald eagle, the family of otters, a nest full of ospreys on the shore of the lake and dozens of rainbow trout both in the crystal clear water, in our fishing net, or while tossing the hook from their mouths while airborne! Moose occasionally show up around the lake.


Top photo shows typical Douglas Ranch cattle range.

Photo on the Left shows cowboys and horses still used to herd cattle and on the Right modern equipment harvesting grain.

Fishing and Eating Pics.