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Ice Fishing In The Cariboo


This Popular Sport Is Attracting More Women And Beginners

As the days get colder and the lakes begin to freeze over, you can often see people in the Cariboo heading down to the lake for a spot of ice fishing. Upon first glance, ice fishing can seem daunting to many, and indeed, whilst the lakes are filled with keen anglers during the summer, they are decidedly less populated during the winter. Despite this, the sport is steadily rising in popularity, especially amongst women.

So it isn’t just a man’s sport?

Absolutely not! There are many women who regularly ice fish.

“Thanks to social media, women are able to share their successes and inspire other women to take part,” says Lynz Zagar, a Cariboo resident, long-time angler, and host of the Annual Canada Day Fishing Derby at Sulphurous Lake.

“I have fished many of the beautiful lakes around the Cariboo, although not all as there are so many!”

ice fishing canim lake
Lynz Zagar Suggests Women Give Ice Fishing A Try

“I have not been successful at every lake, but it’s not just about reeling in a catch,” she says. “Of course, it can be very frustrating when you don’t feel any bites, but you feel so blessed just to be able to enjoy the view, the crisp, fresh air, watching the frost spiral off the lake above the snow… for me it’s also about the experience, not just the end result.”

Leanne Sallenback, owner of South Point Resort agrees that the sport is becoming more popular.

“We get a lot of people who stay with us that love ice fishing together,” she says. “South Point Resort is a great place to try it out as we have condos just steps away from the lake and we rent out all the gear.”

“I, myself, enjoy ice fishing with my husband – once I caught a burbot, which is a huge prehistoric looking fish. It’s pretty amazing reeling one of those in when you’re sat inside an ice fishing tent – they take up a lot of space!”

Leanne has plans to host a number of Lady’s Ice Fishing Getaways at the resort in future years.

“It’s a great outdoor activity for friends, couples and families that I can definitely see continuing to grow in popularity in the Cariboo region.”

What will I need?

“Ice fishing is actually perfect for a lot of people because you don’t need an enormous amount of gear or boats,” says Mark Roseboom, owner of Lone Butte Sporting Goods. “Really all you need is a small assortment of tackle, an auger, and some bait.” 

If you fish during the summer months, you are perfectly able to use the same rod for ice fishing, especially if you are just starting out. However, if you decide the sport is for you, Mark recommends investing in a shorter rod, around 24” is ideal.

The auger is the most vital part of your new ice fishing kit – but can also be the most costly. Power augers take most of the work out and can drill multiple holes at a time. They are efficient, easy to use and relatively low maintenance, however they do come at a price.

If you’re on a budget, take a look at hand augers. They obviously require much more manual labour, but what a perfect way to warm up. Hand augers can drill holes fairly quickly, but it will take more time and effort than power augers.

Both kinds of augers come in three standard sizes: six inches, eight inches and ten inches. The sizes correlate to the size of the circular holes they cut in the ice.

The bait used for ice fishing is essentially the same as what would be used in the summer months and is specific to the type of fish you will be targeting.

“Maggots, meal worms, krill, shrimp, and a whole assortment of artificial baits are available at most sporting goods stores,” says Mark. “We would be happy to advise you on what would work best for you.” 

Be sure to check the ice thickness before walking out on the ice.  Six inches of good clear ice is a good indicator but continue to make checks as you proceed out on the ice by drilling test holes. Often the thicker ice will be around the shoreline, so it’s important to test regularly.

Where can I go?

The good news is that the Cariboo could not be a more perfect place to fish. There are five species of fish that are generally sought after; Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Kokanee, Lake Trout, and Burbot, and an overwhelming number of lakes in which to find them.

For Kokanee, try:

  • Horse Lake
  • Bridge Lake
  • Sulphurous Lake
  • Hathaway Lake,
  • Ruth Lake
  • Timothy Lake

Rainbow trout are often found in:

  • Sheridan Lake
  • Watch Lake
  • Fawn Lake
  • Lac Des Roche

If you’re searching for Lake Trout, they tend to be in the larger lakes such as:

  • Deka Lake
  • Canim Lake
  • Lac La Hache
Shannon Skeels
Author: Shannon Skeels

Shannon is the head writer and content manager for Visit The Cariboo. She has a journalism degree from the UK and resides near 150 Mile House. Shannon is passionate about horses and also teaches riding.