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The Chilcotin is well-known for its premier sports fishing. Pick a lake or a river and you'll probably have a great fishing experience. In fact, the Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championships were held on the Dean River in 1993, featuring singer John Denver as the celebrity angler who was happy to spend his down time jamming with some of the locals.


Many of the lakes in the Chilcotin are cold, clean, and have lots of freshwater shrimp for feed. As a result the fish grow large and are great fighters.

Starting from the west and heading east, the Bella Coola Valley has the Atnarko and Bella Coola Rivers that abound with Pink, Chinook, and Coho salmon. Right next door at the Turner Lake chain in Tweedsmuir Park you can find Dolly Varden, Rainbow and Cutthroat trout.


The Dean River is famous for its fly fishing, and the lakes along this river such as Anahim Lake and Nimpo Lake are full of Rainbow trout – all wild and never been stocked. In fact it's difficult to look out at these lakes without seeing the fish jumping. The lower Dean River is a fly-in destination that has some of the best Steelhead fishing anywhere. A little further down Highway 20, Tatla Lake is a popular Kokanee fishery while nearby Bluff and Horn lakes have Bull trout up to 10 pounds.

All of the lakes of the southern Chilcotin are loaded with fish. Chilko Lake has Rainbow trout up to 6 pounds, Bull trout to 10 pounds, and Sockeye salmon as well. The Chilko River is a fine fly fishing river where you can find Rainbow trout, Bull trout, and Dolly Varden.


Puntzi Lake has both Kokanee and Rainbow trout, and the resort owners on the lake hold a fishing derby every year around the last week of June.


There are numerous back-country lodges that offer excellent fly-in fishing vacations. Check our list of Operators for more information.

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