If you continue north for another mile past Little
Knouff you will come to Badger Lake. There is a private
campsite for trailers on the southeast corner that you
will encounter when you first spot the lake, but you
must continue along to the Forest Service campsite further
up the east side to gain public access.
The Forest Service campsite at Badger Lake provides
many spots for tents or truck campers. Toilets, fire
pits, and picnic tables are supplied, and there is ample
room to launch a car-top boat or bellyboat. The sites
are user maintained now because the old garbage cans
attracted bears and were removed.
Badger is a favourite of mine, although it was better
a few years ago. It used to be designated as a trophy
lake because of the very large rainbows it supported.
Unfortunately, a number of years ago the lake was accidentally
overstocked with trout fry and the "trophy"
designation was removed to try and clean out the excess.
Big trout are still there however . . . a few years
back I nailed a beauty in excess of six pounds and several
smaller trout in the two pound range, all in an afternoon.
Hopefully with the removal of the trophy designation
the fish population will be reduced and the average
trout size will again increase to its original immense
If you row your way across Badger from the Forest Service
campsite to the western shore you will encounter a small
straight. This straight leads to Spooney Lake, southwest
of Badger. Spooney is nearly round in shape and has
its entire shore lined with marl shoal and weedbed.
The fish are not quite as large as the trout in Badger,
probably because the big ones fear the shallows of the
straight, but they still average in the two pound range.
The shoal and drop-off areas are highly productive and
a late June-early July evening spent here during the
caddis hatch can produce your limit in less than an
hour. A damselfly nymph, leech or scud cast or trolled
along the drop-off during the day will consistently
produce fish and the lake's small size and timbered
surroundings help to shield it from the wind. Be sure
to take your camera if you visit Spooney, it is a beauty.
If, instead of turning left at
the fork into the Forest Service campsite at Badger,
you stay right, you will travel a very rough road
for about 2 miles to Little Badger Lake. The road
is not passable for a two wheel drive vehicle
anymore; you need a 4x4 with lots of clearance
to get through. My Jeep Cherokee made it to within
400 yards of the campsite, but there is a very
rough washed out creek crossing just before the
campsite that I didn't want to chance losing my
oil pan on, so we parked there and launched our
bellyboats just south of the washout. As it turned
out, we found a very good path to the lake further
to the south right off the main access road. If
you keep an eye open, you will spot it on your
right side just as the lake comes into view. The
path is less than 50 yards to the lakeshore and
wide enough to pack and launch bellyboats or even
smaller cartop boats.
Little Badger is a small lake and bellyboaters can
cover the entire lake in a few hours. The fish aren't
large, but there are lots of them and they fight very
well. One pound fish (12 to 14 inches) seem to be the
average, but we saw larger fish jump although we weren't
lucky enough to hook into any.
Little Badger sits in a bit of a depression surrounded
by forest. Its waters are crystal clear and because
of the poorer access you often find yourself alone on
this beautiful lake.
All four of these lakes have good caddisfly hatches
in the spring, as well as the standard trout fare of
scuds, leeches, and chironomids. Fly-fishers would be
well advised to stock up on these patterns and pack
at least half a dozen of each in their boxes when they
head out. The chances of hitting into some very large
trout are better than average and you may lose a fly
or two before the day is out.
To get to these lakes head north from Kamloops on Highway
5 to the Heffley Creek turnoff (about a 30-minute drive).
Turn right onto the Heffley Creek Road and follow the
signs to Knouff Lake. For those who want a shorter route,
drive past the Heffley Creek turnoff for another 10
minutes or so and you will spot a small sign on the
left that says "Vinzulla" and a turn to the
right. Turn there and follow that road up the valley
until you meet a "T" intersection (about a
15 minute drive from the highway). Turn left here and
you will come upon Knouff Lake after another mile's
The Knouff - Badger area of High Country has been one
of my annual destinations for well over 10 years now.
With the combined efforts of the various provincial
government ministries and the B.C. Fishing Resorts and
Outfitters Association to manage the fishery and viewscape
as a prime fishing/tourism area, it will continue to
be a most excellent place to cast a fly and pursue the
famous Kamloops rainbow trout.
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."-
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