The Chilko Lake Watershed is one of the last untouched systems. Chilko River and Lake support four ocean runs of fish; the Steelhead, Coho, Chinook and our largest, the Sockeye Salmon. The Sockeye run averages around one million returning fish per year to the upper Chilko River and Chilko Lake.
The Sockeye Salmon enter the Fraser River System in early August near Vancouver, BC. They travel well over 500 miles to reach the Chilko. During late August you will see the Xeni Gwetin, the local First Nations People, harvesting the running salmon on the Chilko River at their traditional campsites with the aid of "gaff hooks". By the early part of September the Sockeye are starting to congregate in large numbers and will begin their spawn.
Jumping from the river and lake water, the valley is alive with the sounds of fish. The numbers of Sockeye is so large that it seems that the river turns red! Bald Eagles, Ospreys, Blue Heron, Ravens, Seagulls, Coyotes, Lynx, Black Bears and the mightiest of them all, the Grizzly Bear will start to feast on the dead salmon in preparation for the long winter ahead.
Grizzly Bears Galore
Bear watching during the morning and evenings along the lake or river can be very exciting. We do not wish to disturb the natural feeding of the bears, but would just like to catch a glimpse of them and watch them gorge on this seasonal meal. The Chilko Valley is an important breeding ground for the Grizzly Bear; we see many Sow and Cub combinations. It is wonderful seeing the bears in their natural environment, doing what they always have been doing!
Outstanding Trout Fishing
Fishing during this time of year can be outstanding. We do not target any of the salmon, but fish for resident Rainbow Trout and Bull Trout. Spending time near the water, whether fly fishing or horseback riding, is a real treat.