For many years now I have been visiting and fishing the waters of Glimpse Lake
on the Douglas Lake Ranch south of Kamloops. I was first
introduced to this fine lake by my brother, who had
fished it in the spring of 1982 and related the tale
of a lake he had discovered where the fish kept rising
to some unknown insect hatch. A bit of verbal investigation
revealed that the insects had been a hatch of traveller
sedges. I marked the lake on my map of places to visit
and made a mental note to schedule some time for it
the following spring.
When I finally fished Glimpse, I discovered a highly productive
lake with easy access, plenty of camping area, and Kamloops
rainbows averaging one to three pounds. I had good success
that trip, and have never been skunked there (one of the few
places where I can make such a claim). As a matter of fact,
the best day I have ever had fishing was on this lake.
Four of us had arrived at Glimpse the last week of June and
had settled in nicely to the Forest Service campsite on the
south shore of the lake. By noon the wind had picked up slightly
and, although it had produced a pretty good ripple on the
water, it was not too difficult to cast if you went with it.
Over the next half hour or so, I started to notice the odd
splashy rise, although the waves made it hard to see them.
I switched flies to a #10 olive deer hair caddis and cast
it out towards the last rise. The surface wave action caused
the fly to skitter and duck under the water in a very erratic
manner. "Just like the natural." I thought. As it
turned out the fish thought so too. I hadn't retrieved the
fly 10 feet when a nice rainbow snapped it up it with unexpected
ferocity. She took off in the opposite direction, line in
tow, repeatedly jumping high out of the water as these rainbows
tend to do. After a few minutes tussle, I netted her, removed
the hook and set her free. I repeated this procedure over
and over that afternoon, and in the hour and a half I fished
the rise, I hooked and released at least twenty rainbows,
all more than 14 inches long (about a pound or so), deep,
and as silver as a newly minted ingot. I had never had such
luck before and haven't since, but that afternoon will live
in my memory forever.
As you can well imagine, that experience got me hooked on
Glimpse Lake and although I have never had success like that
since I have certainly had exceptional fishing there, and
I have taken rainbows in excess of three pounds on almost
There used to be a lodge at the northeast end of the lake.
It was old, but it served its purpose admirably. Around 1985
it was purchased by European interests and although it was
supposed to reopened two years later, apparently some legal
roadblocks were encountered by the new owners and the lodge
has remained closed ever since.
The closing of the lodge has lessened the pressure on the
lake, but the fishing has always been pretty good, thus I
haven't noticed any appreciable increase in the size of the
trout or the success rate of the anglers.
The northwest shore of the lake has been subdivided, and
cabins and summer homes have sprung up all along it. It's
too bad really; it detracts from the beauty of this lake.
I don't know what sort of sewage system they are on but I
fear the worst for the future of this place. The area where
the homes have been built is on a heavy slope leading down
to the water and you can imagine where any accidental seepage
will end up. Hopefully the powers that be will keep a close
watch on things and help to avoid excess pollution in the
Glimpse Lake has three campsites that occupy its
shores: one on the southwest side that you encounter
as you arrive at the lake coming north from Merritt,
another at the western tip, and the third about half
way down the northern shore as you head east. Each campsite
is easily accessible by car, although the southwest
site can give low-slung vehicles some problems. Each
of the campsites has multiple units with picnic tables
and outhouses. The northern and southern sites have
easy boat launching areas, but the western site can
cause major problems for boats in the summer due to
the shallow water.
A point to note: there is an old black bear that hangs around
the campsites, especially the southern site, and he loves
to invade your groceries. Don't leave anything out unguarded,
especially at night. I have encountered him four times in
the last eight visits and he will usually just nose around
and then leave if there is nothing for him to munch on. Whatever
you do don't feed him; you'll just compound the problem.
The lake itself is very productive. There are profuse drop-offs
and shallow weedbeds which are amply populated with the various
freshwater insects that make up the trout's diet. This lake
even has a respectable hatch of speckled mayflies (Callibaetis);
a bonus for us fly-fishermen. The big attraction to this lake
though is the profuse hatch of big traveller sedges. The lake
has an electric motor only restriction on it and I have no
doubt that this regulation has helped maintain these insect
hatches. The absence of oil from outboard motors (which forms
a film on the surface) allows the insect pupa to breath when
they reach the surface to hatch. This, in turn, allows the
insects to complete their life cycle and thus provide an abundant
amount of food for the trout.
The best times to fish Glimpse are from
ice off in early May through mid July, and then from
late September through to ice up in late October - early
November. If you want to hit the sedge hatch plan to
be there around the last week of June.
The best fly patterns to use are a black leech such
as the woolly bugger, Raymond's Golden Shrimp, an olive
damselfly nymph, and the pupal and adult stages of the
big olive traveller sedges (caddisflies). The trollers
usually use a small willow leaf and the spin-casters
should try a black and yellow Panther Martin.
Access to Glimpse Lake is easiest from Quilchena. You turn
off the old Merritt to Kamloops highway (highway 5A) at the
Douglas Lake Ranch road and follow the signs to the lake;
about a half hour from the highway. The other way in is from
Kamloops, where you turn off the highway at the access road
into Peter Hope Lodge. Drive past the lodge staying to the
east of Peter Hope Lake and follow the main logging road over
the hump and down to Glimpse. This is more difficult than
it sounds; there are many turnoffs that can fool you. A good
map that indicates campsites and access roads can be obtained
from the B.C. Forest Service office in Merritt and I highly
recommend that you pick one up before attempting the trip.
Even though civilization is slowly encroaching upon Glimpse
Lake I will continue to visit it annually for as long as I
can. So long as the lake produces fish and the loons sing
me to sleep at the end of the day's fishing I will fish its
waters and ponder man's priorities of progress over conservation.
The cabins don't bother me yet; they seem as much a part of
the scene as the cattle or the old lodge. I hope that the
political powers see fit to restrict further development in
the area. There is enough fish and land for everyone now and
it can remain so with a little forethought. It will be a sad
day when I decide to no longer visit this, one of my favourite
lakes, because I can no longer enjoy a bit of peace and quiet
with a decent chance of fishing success to add to the day.
For now though, the loons call and the fish await...tally
Bill Luscombe has been hunting and fishing for most of his
42 years. He has been flyfishing for 20 years. He instructs
flyfishing, and has done so for the past 12 years. He also
instructs the federal FSET firearms course and the BC CORE
hunter training course. He is an award-winning outdoor writer
and has been writing freelance since 1987. He has been published
in BC Sport Fishing Magazine, Outdoor Edge, BC Outdoors, Western
Sportsman, Island Fish Finder, and the BC Hunting Guide.
Bill Luscombe was born an army brat and raised in Ladner
(Delta, BC) where he was raised hunting waterfowl and pheasants.
He presently resides in North Cowichan on southern Vancouver
Island where he has lived and worked full time as a professional
forester since 1982.
He presently works in Nanaimo for the BC Forest Service and
continue to write the fly-fishing column for BC Sport Fishing
Magazine as well as contributing articles freelance to various
outdoor magazines in western Canada.
Bill Luscombe is also a BC Director of the Northwest Outdoor
Writers Association. "Catching fish is not hard. You simply
need to understand what makes them tick. If you think like
a fish, you will catch fish. It’s as simple as that."- Bill
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