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Bass Fishing in BC: South Okanagan – It’s All About Size

Bass fishing in BC is synonymous with the southern Okanagan. A chain of warm water lakes connected by the Okanagan River provides a quality fishery for largemouth and largemouth bass with fish caught in the 8lb + range on an annual basis.

The sunny Okanagan is British Columbia’s backyard. The valley is literally lined with recreational lakes from Vernon to Osoyoos. Recently, BC Fish and Wildlife has begun to pay more attention to the bass fishery in the valley. Trust me, it has paid dividends. If there is a record largemouth caught in British Columbia, it likely came from this valley.

Skaha Lake

Lake Skaha is a fairly large lake on the south side of Penticton, known primarily for its recreational activities such as boating, beaches, and other water sports. Don’t let that fool you. This lake has big fish and bass fishing is improving. Lake Skaha can be accessed from several areas, depending on where you want to fish. The most popular area for fishing seems to be in the far south, near the lake outlet. I have seen little ones up to 5 pounds fishing from the shore with cork and worm. Other areas of the lake worth trying include the weed beds that run almost the length of the lake on the east side. There are a couple of approaches on Eastside Road, as well as on the west side of the lake in Kaleden. Lake Skaha can also be fished for large rainbows and kokanee up to 11 pounds. Accommodations and services are available in Penticton, Kaleden, and Okanagan Falls.

Muddy lake

If there is a record to have, it must be in Vaseux. Vaseux Lake is located along Hwy 97, between Okanagan Falls and Oliver. The lake is bordered by the Vaseux Lake Provincial Park, the Vaseux Bighorn Wildlife Area, and the Vaseux Bird Sanctuary. Possibly the best bass lake in BC, Vaseux has been churning out 9lb + bass for over 20 years (that I know of). If you stop by the provincial Fish and Wildlife offices in Penticton, you might ask to see the 9-pound largemouth bass mounted on their wall (they provide good information, too). Unlike Duck Lake (Kootenays-Creston) in structure, bass here are more likely to respond to undersea minnow-type lures or flies. Don’t discount the other baits and techniques because, like any lake, it can be tricky. Fish near the weed beds on the north end and west side of the lake to the island. Large rainbow trout, kokanee and perch are also residents of Vaseux. Spring and fall are the best. NO MOTOR BOATS, including electric motors of any kind, are allowed on the lake, so be prepared to paddle or row your way. The lake can be accessed from the provincial park or through the complex at the southern end of the lake. If you’re tired of fishing, take advantage of the hiking and wildlife viewing areas that surround the lake. Fantastic bird sightings and the California bighorn sheep are nearby. An advert. There is a healthy population of rattlesnakes along the dam at the Ducks Unlimited project, located at the north end of the lake and along the old Kettle Valley railroad bed on the west side of the lake. If you want to hike, wear suitable clothing and use a hiking pole, it might help. Accommodations and services can be obtained from the provincial park, the resort, or any of the nearby towns of Okanagan Falls, Penticton, or Oliver.

Osoyoos Lake

Located in the southernmost part of the Okanagan, Lake Osoyoos is a large warm lake (reputed to be the warmest freshwater lake in Canada) that straddles the US-Canada border. A recreational lake with growing residential and agricultural development, Lake Osoyoos competes with Vaseux for large wolves and is reported to hold the provincial record. Fishing is best in the spring, but can be productive year-round for largemouth, smallmouth, crappie, and perch. The Osoyoos Oxbows that line the northern end of the lake where the river flows can also be very productive for large bass.

Osoyoos offers all the services and with its warm desert climate (yes, winter comes … sometimes snow), it is fast becoming a retired haven. The Osoyoos area is home to a unique diversity of plants, birds, and animals. Oliver – Osoyoos is also the wine capital of British Columbia and produces award-winning wines. If the fishing is slow, you can always go on a wine tour. While in the Okanagan area, take advantage of the other recreational opportunities available or just take time to enjoy the spectacular scenic drives. The Okanagan is famous for its vineyards, fruit orchards, beaches, water sports, hiking, biking, golf, and much, much more. With its generally moderate climate and exhilarating landscape, the Okanagan is one of the most desirable places to live or visit in all of BC and Canada. Kelowna is equipped with an international airport that is served by major Canadian airlines and their subsidiaries.

Other Okanagan Bass Fisheries

Lake Gardum – Vernon Area, Lake Shannon – Kelowna Area, Lake Christina – Grand Forks Area, Lake Tuc-el-nuit – Oliver Area, Osoyoos Oxbows – North of Lake Osoyoos

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