Fishing The Shuswap

Author: Todd Kelly

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When you say the name Shuswap Lake most people think about boat rides with friends and family, pulling tubes, cruising in houseboats, or chilling on a remote beach, but very few think about setting a hook and reeling in a trophy fish. Unknown to most visitors to the area, swimming underneath them as they surf the wake behind their boat is an abundance of Trout, Char, and Salmon.

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The Shuswap Lake system flows from the far reaches of the Monashee Mountains where ancient glaciers and the last winters snowpack melt into the interconnected Mabel, Mara, Shuswap, Adams, and the little Shuswap Lakes where the combined waterways find their way into the South Thomson River that flows unimpeded to the Pacific Ocean via the Fraser River. This entire system is the birthplace of Chinook, Coho, Pink, Chum, and is home to the world-famous Adams River Sockeye run. This abundance of salmon is the key to the fantastic fishing the Shuswap system has.

Shuswap fishing

The Salmon Fry that dump into the aforementioned lakes during the early spring combined with the fall Salmon return that fill the spawning areas with Salmon eggs and flesh from post spawned fish keep the resident Rainbows, Bulls, Lakers, Kokanee, and various other coarse fish well fed. There are also countless streams and rivers connecting and flowing into these waterways that have epic fly hatches that provide the juvenile fish with seemingly endless amounts of food to grow. 

With the large size and depth of these lakes, it can seem like an intimidating adventure to get into but with the numerous food sources in these waterways, it provides fishing opportunities whether you have a large well-outfitted boat with downriggers and sonar or are solo paddling around in a canoe. The area truly offers fishing opportunities to everyone and every skill level of fishermen, never mind the many pothole lakes surrounding the Shuswap system. 

Shuswap Fishing

Some of the most popular ways to hook into these stunning wild fish are running saltwater style gear like flashers and dodgers with spoons or hoochies trailing behind, or pulling plugs and bucktails on the surface. You can also find success fly-fishing creek mouths and spring run-off areas with leeches and nymphs, or try your luck at the exciting sight-casting method targeting aggressive Rainbows attacking the various schools of Salmon Fry as they make their way to the Pacific Ocean. 

So, the next time you are hooking up the boat and loading up the wakeboards, toss in a couple rods and lures and try your luck at catching a few Shuswap beauties. Just remember to check the current BC Fishing Synopsis as the various bodies of water all have different regulations regarding size restrictions, single barbless hooks, bait bans, closed areas, and Conservation Surcharge Stamp requirements. 

Shuswap fishing