Column: Walk-in lakes and where to find them

Shuswap Outdoors by Hank Shelley

Going back a good number of seasons, stocking lakes with trout in remote locations required a plane with a metal chute. Bags of 100 fingerlings, in water-filled thin plastic bags were slid through and onto the water as the plane flew at about 100 feet above the surface. Trout were also transported by backpack and oxygen tank from the hatchery truck with not more than 11 degrees difference, to a walk-in lake.

Going back even further, a very small hatchery at Taft, ran by Bert Cullis, provided trout to many small walk-in lakes. Most trout were transported by cream can and horse. Although time and Bert have passed on, at the time, trails were slashed out and provided access to sub/alpine lakes back before the First World War. Up Crazy Creek and near the alpine were Windy, Rocky and Twin lakes. Further north was Goose. Across the North Fork forestry road, two more small lakes were stocked with native rainbow fingerlings. Many local Malakwa folk knew about the lakes which Bert encouraged them to fish after a couple years, but the war broke out and many men went to war, some not to return.

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A friend and I hiked into these lakes seasons ago. The trout were very small due to not being fished. To hike up to these lakes, go up Crazy Creek road to about 9 km, then climb into the alpine above. Watch for grizzly bears.

Another interesting ATV trip (North Fork Road) is up the powerline at 53 km, to Palmatier, Flynn and Pettapiece lakes. They have been fished frequently over the years and the trout are small. The scenery is marvelous looking down into the Kerbyville/Downy loop.

There are other small fish-filled lakes in the Seymour area. Wright, Sunset and one above the landfill site/hydro line. Rush and Pappy Graham, back in the 1940s, took trout from Bert’s hatchery and packed them in by horse up Hummingbird Creek to stock Tanaka and Twin lakes. Tanaka sits in the bottom of a large bowl accessed by the old Thorlakson sheep trail and Tower on Hunter’s Range.

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Blue Lake is situated over on the east range. Caribou and Cummings lay high above Yard Creek. Take the left turn at the junction at about 9 km and drive to the parking area. It’s a kilometre hike into the lake. Cummings is on a very rough road to the right. Google earth will hilight most of the lakes mentioned.

Bert’s hatchery ran for many years, and at his home looking down on the Eagle River just past the former Beardale Castle/Skyline truck stop. Many great stories were told by Bert while on fisheries patrols with CO Les Molnar and RCMP member John Ollinger (Canadian Wildlife Service) in gentler times when there were more salmon and trout with a bit of help from a legend of his time.


@SalmonArm
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