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Fishing the Similkameen Valley

Imagine a Zen day with nothing more complicated than a hand-tied fly, nice dry hip waders and the sweet dream of landing the “big one.” How about the anticipation of freshwater trout, cooked over an open campfire and placed hot and steamy on your plate. So good you can almost taste it!

No matter what the motivation, anglers have been lured to our rivers and lakes since time immemorial. Freshwater fishing is easily accessible from many sites along BC Highways 3 and 5a and from Princeton to Cawston (and points in between). In summer or winter, there’s plenty to catch in Similkameen waters. So grab your tackle box and BC Fishing License and cast about in our waters. You’ll soon be hooked on the Similkameen.

Top 5 Similkameen Fishing Facts

  1. You need a license to fish our waters! Get one on-line or at select retail locations in Princeton and Keremeos.
  2. The Pike Mountain lakes off Highway 5A offer trophy fishing and a backroad adventure rolled into one — a MUST DO for any serious fly angler visiting the Princeton area.
  3. Tulameen, Otter Lake is one great family fishery, ideal for trolling for decent size Pennask, Rainbow and Kokanee.
  4. Martin Lake, just four kilometres outside of Princeton on the Summerland Road, offers excellent ice fishing, perfect for young families looking to try the sport of ice fishing as they are almost guaranteed to catch fish.
  5. The Similkameen River is becoming very well known as one of the best destinations in BC for anglers wanting to target Rocky Mountain White Fish. Bromley Rock is one of the best spots on the entire river for these fish.

View SImilkameen Valley Fishing Locations Map

Fly fishing, Princeton
Fly fishing, Princeton

Fishing Princeton and Area

Anglers know the best fishing spots are well-guarded secrets. The truth is, there’s no secret that the lakes and rivers surrounding Princeton are some of the best fishing in the Similkameen Valley. Grab your gear and head to Allison, Kentucky, and Alleyne Lakes deep in the heart of cattle country. You’ll find yourself surrounded by rolling grasslands and pristine, turquoise lakes teeming with rainbow trout. It’s best to go early when the lake’s glass surface reflects the sun rising above the mountains, and the fish are ready to bite.

View Princeton & Area Fishing Locations Map

Princeton & Area Fishing Map

Fly Fishing Similkameen River

Try your hand at the art of fly-fishing from shore, or paddle out (no motorized watercraft permitted) to the depths of the lake. A day spent angling these waters will leave you hungry for more. Family-friendly and easy to get to, there’s also a “children’s only” fishery in the ponds between Kentucky and Alleyne Lakes. You’ll be catching memories and triumphant smiles with every bite on your little one’s line.

Fishing the river near Keremeos
Fishing the river near Keremeos

For something more secluded and equally rewarding, drop your line in Chain, Osprey or Link Lakes. It’s easy to get there. Just take a drive along the Princeton Summerland Road. Set against a rugged mountain backdrop, these tranquil spots will tempt you to drop in a line at your first sight of water. Take your time though, the fish will wait.

Make sure you stand in the shadows, out of the sun, because you’ll be less likely to startle your prey. Feel your heart start to race at the first strike of rainbow trout. They weigh up to eight pounds and will set your reel singing. Give it some play. The only competition you have for this catch is the eagles and osprey fishing right alongside you.

Shore fishing
Shore fishing

Shore Fishing

Yellow Lake on Hwy 3A has some of the best shore fishing anywhere in the valley. Troll or belly boat fish for rainbow trout and brook trout. A favourite spot for locals, ice fishing, starts mid-December and runs through to March. This is a high mountain lake at 650 m (2460 ft.), so be prepared with the right gear, and you’ll have a whopper of a story to take home.

River Fishing in the Similkameen

The fish aren’t just biting in our lakes, though. Cast about the Ashnola, Similkameen and Tulameen Rivers. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself in the thick of the action with back-to-back strikes. You never know what could be on your line: mountain whitefish, rainbow trout and possibly the elusive west slope cutthroat. With fast-running currents and deep watery pools, probably the only thing to distract you from landing the big one is the scenery from the river’s shore.

Operator Directory

Lake Fishing

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cathedral lakes.jpg
Cathedral Provincial Park, Keremeos, BC V0X 1N0
Come and join us at Cathedral Lakes Lodge. We are Canada’s highest full service hiking and fishing wilderness lodge. Hike from your doorstep to enjoy meadows of alpine flowers, emerald lsee more
Princeton Castle Resort.jpg
375 Rainbow Lake Road RR1, S1, C10 Princeton BC Canada V0X 1W0
Relax and enjoy the sound of the creek from the deck of your log chalet or rustic cabin at Princeton Castle Resort. Or choose to stay in one of the rooms in our log lodge. If it’s a campsee more
Living Room
2743 Coalmont Road, Okanagan-Similkameen H, BC, Canada
Our private lakefront home is an ideal destination for a family reunion or other group vacation. It comfortably sleeps a maximum of 12 people in its 5 bedrooms, fully finished basement recreasee more

River Fishing

View River Fishing Operator Map

2915 Highway 3, Hedley, BC, Canada
Get away from it all in our rustic cabin located in a park-like setting on Highway #3 only 20 minutes east of Princeton, BC. Take a short hike on the trails and enjoy the small cascading watersee more
Gold Mountain Cabins, Campground & RV.jpg
6169 Hwy 3 (Box 277), Hedley, BC V0X 1K0
We are located on the beautiful Similkameen River, just 4 km from the Mascot Mine Tours. We have full service sites (power, water, sewer), pull throughs, free wireless internet, free TV, hot ssee more
1841 Main Street, Box 3B, Comp. 10, Coalmont BC Canada V0X 1G0
Cycle, quad, geocache, pan for gold, and explore historic Coalmont, B.C.  Relax at day’s end in one of our three comfortable, themed rooms.  The ”Bank” and ”Saloon” sleep two each, whilesee more
Vermillion Lodge.jpg
2891 Coalmont Road (Box 2D, Comp 10) Tulameen, BC V0X 2L0
Vermillion Lodge is a completely outfitted log home and suite on Otter Lake. The lodge features a hot tub, Satellite TV, a great roaring fireplace, and air conditioning in the summer with its see more