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Get Hooked on Fall Adventures:
Explore BC's Little Fort Highway

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Driving past Lac des Roches along Highway 24, The Fishing Highway

Stretching between Little Fort (at Highway 5) and 93 Mile House (at Highway 97), this 97-kilometre drive goes by a number of different names—“the Little Fort Highway”, “the Interlakes Highway”, and most often, “the Fishing Highway.” Regardless of what you call it, the BC-24 will capture your adventurous spirit, hook, line, and sinker (even if you’re not an avid angler).

With approximately 100 refreshing lakes dotting the landscape this diverse area in BC’s Land of Hidden Waters boasts a variety of water-based adventures, as well a other activities including horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, and bird watching. Whether you’re dropping a hook or venturing overland into the wilderness, this is one area in BC you’ll want to explore this fall. 

The adventure begins before you even arrive at Little Fort: Begin your adventure in the outdoorsy and eclectic city of Kamloops (just one hour from Little Fort), then let the good times roll.

Heading out fishing on a misty morning on Lac des Roches | Andrew Strain

Where to Fish and Paddle

There’s an old saying in the Land of Hidden Waters: “Fish a lake a day, for every day you stay.” 

The abundance of insects and invertebrates in the area’s still waters makes a prime feeding ground for several fish species who grow quickly due to the food surplus. Fall, in particular, is the perfect time to snag a robust rainbow trout as they head to the shallows to stock up on small shrimp and leeches before the lakes freeze over. And while the lakes are dominant with rainbow trout, you may also hook an Arctic Char, Kokanee, Brook, or Barbot Trout. These same still waters offer easy, gentle paddling experiences with plenty of quiet and beautiful natural scenery.

With so many lakes to choose from, where does one even begin? Swing by Little Fort Fly & Tackle or Lone Butte Sporting Goods Store to stock up on supplies and glean local knowledge before heading out. Most resorts also offer canoe, kayak, paddleboard, and small boat rentals. Start with some of the larger lakes, to get your feet wet, as it were. 

 

There are three major lakes, each with a number of resorts, boat launches, and an abundance of wild and stocked fish. Lac des Roches is known for its trophy Gerrard Rainbows and freshwater cod, while the fishing paradise of Sheridan Lake boasts 208 km of multi-use trails. Bridge Lake, with its 27 islands and untouched shorelines, is habitat for hefty Lake Trout (for catch and release only). At 37 km in length, Canim Lake is one of the larger lakes and offers great fly-fishing against the backdrop of forest and mountains.

Once you’ve had your share of tight lines in the big lakes, tackle a few more: Green, Loon, Horse, and Fawn lakes, are just a few of the smaller, less frequented, ones. 

The desert colours of Lac du Bois Grasslands Protected Area in Kamloops | @putsky88

Hit the trails on the way

Mountain bikers, fresh from epic rides in Kamloops, can continue the fun as they head towards Highway 24. Drive 16 km northeast of Kamloops and you’ll find Lac Du Bois Protected Grasslands. After your ride, you can take a detour to visit Privato Vineyard and Winery for a tasting. Halfway between Barriere and Little Fort further north, you’ll find the Chu Chua trails, a growing network built and maintained by the Simpcw Nation Trail Crew. 100 Mile House and neighbouring 108 Mile Ranch, just 10 minutes from the 93 Mile House, offer a number of beginner and intermediate bike trails. 

 

There’s plenty of hiking along the Fishing Highway, too, and many of the lakes that dot the route are home to multi-use trails for biking and hiking. Stop by the underdeveloped Eakin Creek Floodplain Provincial Park to see old growth cedar and cottonwood trees, caves, and a variety of bird species. Visit the lakes and wetlands of Emar Lake Provincial Park near Little Fort to explore its campsites, trails, and canoe circuit. Or check out the Bridge Lake Ice Caves Trail to view the cracks and holes carved deep in the canyon (the ice won’t be prevalent until winter).

Just before you reach the official end of the Fishing Highway, stop at the historic town of Lone Butte, where you can hike and visit the historic water tower, which supplied pioneers with drinking water and helped to power steam engines in the early 1900s.

The lakeshore cabins and restaurant at the Lac des Roches Resort | Andrew Strain

Places to Stay

From camping to glamping and guest ranches to rustic cabins, the Fishing Highway has a wide selection of places to hang up your waders for the night. 

Lac Des Roches Resort is open year-round, offering wood cabins and RV sites, as well as an Italian restaurant. Rest your head and get your fish on at a peaceful setting at Loon Bay Resort on Sheridan Lake, which has an on-site tackle shop, small boat rentals, and guiding available. 

If you want a cozy setting with delicious food, stay in Little Black Bear Lodge, nestled in the forest on an 11-acre property, and located just minutes from a private boat launch on Bridge Lake. Experience country lifestyle on Wettstone Guest Ranch, where you can stay in a trapper’s cabin, a rustic ranch house, a chalet, guest suits, or RV sites. They offer hearty home-style meals, and access to a variety of activities, including horseback riding, mountain biking, ATVing, and fishing (of course). 

Want to experience the whole Fishing Highway? Try Moosehaven Resort in Lone Butte for a stay on a small, quiet lake. Or head east to Little Fort and check out Meadow Lake Fishing Camp, a great spot to build memories.

Stay lakeside in cabins, condos, RV pads, or tenting sites at South Point Resort. Situated on the shores of Canim Lake, this comfortable resort offers WiFi zones, a games room, a boat launch and moorage, plus pontoon boat and stand-up paddleboard rentals.

Plan Your Stay
The McLure Ferry crossing the North Thompson River | Andrew strain

Getting Here

To get to Highway 24 from Kamloops, drive 93 km north on Highway 5. You’ll find the turnoff about 20 minutes north of Barriere in Little Fort. Follow the Fishing Highway west, stopping in at points of interest and lakes along the way until you reach the 93 Mile. You may wish to stop in at McLure, where you can cross the scenic North Thompson River via the cable operated McLure Ferry to visit the scenic country roads of Westside Road (you can also make a similar crossing in Little Fort). Return to Kamloops by heading south on Highway 97, with visits to 70 Mile House, Clinton, and Cache Creek. From here, you can opt to continue south to Vancouver, or east to visit more of BC’s Interior.

Featured image: Heading out fishing on a misty morning on Lac des Roches Photo: Andrew Strain

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Mentioned in this story

Amber Turnau in Squamish
WRITTEN BY: Amber Turnau

From: Squamish
Amber is a freelance storyteller and outdoor adventurer who has spent nine years living in the beautiful Sea-to-Sky Corridor. When she's not writing, she spends her spare time snowboarding, hiking, biking, and SUPing her way through the wilds of BC. Fun Fact: Amber spent the first seven years of her life living on a sailboat and travelling the world with her family. Now, she has the best of both worlds, splitting her time between ocean and mountains—and loving every minute of it.