Douglas Lake Ranch Lakes

#1
Anyone here fish them? Apparently it’s the largest cattle ranch in BC and has several resorts on large lakes as well as small pay lakes. Given the current exchange rates the RV spots seem like a nice place to stop and spend a couple days on my way to and from Jasper/Banff this summer; swimming pool, laundry facilities, etc. Pay lakes at $40-55 CAD-per rod seem pretty reasonable as well.
I was thinking of Salmon Lake Resort in particular, it’s close to Kamloops and has been chosen as the FlyBC spring fish-in in May, so it should be a pretty good fishery. My dates would be between last week in June to second week in July depending on whether I stop on the way up or on return; June being preferable as it may be early enough to find fish in the shoals before the summer heat kicks in.
 

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
#2
Fished them many years ago before the lodge was built on Stoney.
Pitched a tent about 5' from the lake.

Did most of our fishing on Stoney but also fished Minnie.
We caught a lot of big, beautiful hard fighting fish.
SF
 
#3
Did most of our fishing on Stoney but also fished Minnie.
We caught a lot of big, beautiful hard fighting fish.
SF
SF, sadly, those big fish no longer exist. I have fished Stoney and Minnie every year for more than a decade (and continue to do so for reasons beyond the quality of the fishing).

My best advice is don't bother with either of them until they get their fish mis-management problem solved. Heavy overstocking has left them both shadows of their former trophy-lake selves... trophy-tiddler-ponds.

Robert, it sounds like Salmon lake is your best bet on the DLR, given the amenities you mention. June is better than July. Don't expect anything too big out of Salmon either though.

There are so many great options in the Merritt/Kamloops area. Keep investigating.
 

Vladimir Steblina

Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working
#4
Agree with Bruce.

The target size fish for Minnie Lake is 19 inches. So I am not sure that they are planning to start growing larger fish. They did make some interesting decisions early on after the winter kill, however, recently the fishing has become more consistent, but as noted I think they are focusing on MORE fish, rather than LARGER fish.

The last 20 years have been a roller coaster ride, but mostly going downhill. It is still a fun lake to fish. Nice setting now that the botched timber sale is growing over.

There are reasons to fish Minnie Lake other than fish size. It is important lake in the history of lake fishing in the northwest.

There is also a public access issue currently going on with the lakes that could significantly change things depending on the outcome with Minnie Lake.

Some of the other lakes on the ranch provided great fishing in the past, but now it appears most of the lakes are delivering smaller fish than in the past.

I have always fished it in the spring. I would be interesting to fish in the fall.
 
#5
Thanks for the insight fellas; sounds a bit disappointing but their website mentions the pay lakes as producers of 1-1/2 to 3 lb. fish with some bigger fish, lake depending so one can’t say they are wildly inflated in their claims. If it’s not too far off the road a couple days doing laundry, swimming, catching up on emails while the grandson catches some 2+ lb. fish sounds reasonable.
I do have a couple of bigger fish producers on the radar (Courtney and another) but knowing they can be fickle DLR may be good back up for the grandson to get some numbers.
 
#6
If you’re going to Courtney, and you’re looking for a pay-to-play lake, then Corbett lake makes a lot of sense. It’s literally right next door. Unless you like rustic, make sure you get one of the two luxury cabins.

While Corbett has had a similar shift from large to not-large fish, the fish there are still bigger and healthier than Minnie fish.

The bonus is that management cares about your business at Corbett and, frankly, doesn’t have its head up it’s own ass, à la Stoney/Minnie.

One final note. As you may know, pay lakes don’t mean an automatic good day. They can be every bit as moody as the public lakes. What you are usually paying for though is a day out without crowding. The rest is just a bonus.

You may want to check out fishinggurus.ca for some BC based pay-to-play lake reviews.
 

Vladimir Steblina

Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working
#7
[/QUOTE]
.................The bonus is that management cares about your business at Corbett and, frankly, doesn’t have its head up it’s own ass, à la Stoney/Minnie....................

.
I must say that the management at Stoney/Minnie has been outstanding over the years. Many years, it was better than the fishing!!! Cannot complain about how we have been treated over the past almost 20 years. More than fair....outstanding customer service.

The only complaint I have is the use of the Lodge facilities if you are staying in the yurts or one of the houses, but that decision was made at higher levels than the people running the day to day operations.
 

Freestone

Not to be confused with freestoneangler
#8
I have only fished up there once and only fished a couple of the 'cheap' lakes. I camped at Salmon and drove to the designated lakes each day. The cheap lakes were like $40-$50 dollars. I don't know how they compare to the famous lakes like Stoney and Minnie but I certainly felt like I got my money's worth! Lots of good sized trout. It was a very last minute trip for me and on the Canadian Memorial Day weekend so I was surprised that I had such good fishing. One lake had no one besides me and the other had 1 or 2 guys part of the time. The fishing was so good that twice when I nodded off in my Water Master (after a brutal work week), I hooked fish while sleeping - and proceeded to land them!

As Vlad said, I found the staff to be very helpful and congenial. They took quite a bit of time on the phone to help put me on the right lakes and I was very pleased with the whole experience. I look forward to returning some day.
 
#9
To be clear, I have only ever found the people at the customer service level (i.e. the staff) to be very good - although we’ll see what’s Bryan’s replacement is like. Nor are my comments directed at the Salmon Lake operations, which I hope was clear from my post. The issue is the actual management of the fishing/resort operations for the DLR, which is not good.

Vlad, given your lengthy experience there, I’m guessing you might agree that in the past 5 years or so the quality of the fishing and the “privileges” accorded to those not staying in the lodge have decreased precipitously. The two lakes, unfortunately, do not deserve their “fame” as trophy lakes anymore. That is the main issue I have with how things are being run. And why I am not optimistic about a return to their being quality lakes.

Probably more than enough said...
 

Vladimir Steblina

Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working
#10
The fishing has REALLY varied over the past 20 years. One year it was so bad.....that we got the following year for free. That is good customer service. I guess I really don't expect everything to always be perfect, but how a business reacts to adverse situations determines whether I will continue to do business with them. On that note, as mentioned before, their level of customer service has been very good.

Yeah, I do have a issue with access to the lodge. That is a class thing I guess and Canadians are more into that sort of thing. It is a foreign country.

On their "fame" as trophy lakes I tend to agree with you. My largest fish last year was 25 inches and it came from a regular limit lake close to Wenatchee. In previous years, my largest fish always came from Minnie. Not sure if it is the "new" spawining channel increased fish production or a management decision to increase fish numbers and therefore decrease fish size. With the natural reproduction in the lake it is more difficult to control size.

It will be interesting to see how the fishing is this spring at Minnie. Then again, I spent most of last spring fishing "winter-killed" lakes in Washington state. Minnie was the highlight of last years fishing trips.
 

sroffe

Active Member
#11
My first trout on a fly was on Stoney Lake. It turned me into a fly fishing snob... :) I enjoyed it up there, beautiful country. Minnie, was cool too. My dad lost his rod one day on that lake to a fish. We were able to dredge it up the next day. Sad to hear that the glory day of those lakes has waned. Hopefully they get it back up to some trophy fish.
 
#12
Robert, I last stayed at Stoney Lake Lodge almost 3 years ago. The fishing was good but not great. My biggest fish in 4 days of fishing was 22 inches. Most fish were 17" to 19". The cost was $250 Canadian per day with a shared room, 2 beds which I thought was a good value considering all of the amenities including a beautiful lodge, great staff, 4 star food and use of their boats with electric motors ( or your own pontoon, etc) Unless things have changed since then, I recommend it for a fishing vacation but not for a trophy fishing destination.
 
#13
@bobl, thank you. Not really looking for trophy sized fish, nothing wrong with consistent 17-19” fish with a chance at something bigger. More focused on a spot not too far off the 97/1 in Kamloops area where we can spend a couple days recharging, laundry, etc. Stoney and Minnie are a little further south than Salmon which is more what I had in mind as it looks pretty full featured as far as an RV park with some decent fishing close by. Actually thinking about Tunkwa, close to Highway on return to Washington and some decent fish.
For 20”+ sized fish I have a couple of lakes picked out on the way to Jasper, one near Little Fort that produced well for me two years ago and one further south that is known to have big fish and can be stingy. But that’s part of the appeal, figuring it out.
 

Jeffer

Active Member
#14
I stayed there about 25 years ago. They stuck us in an out of the way cabin away from the lakes. I think it was probably the Minnie Lake Ranch House. Some guys were sitting around drinking when we got there with our gear and I recall hearing kind of a crazy somewhat familiar laugh. It was Dick Balch if any of you remember him!
Anyway we ended up fishing Minnie Lake the entire time. It was cold and windy and fishing was kind of slow. Hook one up about every half hour or so. The loons would not leave us alone. They kept following us around waiting for us to hook a fish. Pretty interesting to me.
We also attended a wonderful evening seminar given by Brian Chan in the main lodge. It was extremely helpful! He explained the fishery and the proper use of certain flies. Brian was a distinct pleasure to meet! Extremely helpful and friendly.
Neither of us hooked any trophies but we did catch some larger fish. I would like to go back again sometime. Enjoyed the trip very much.
 
#15
Jeffer,
That was my group, Dick is my brother in law.....that's funny! Small world or too many people? I was going to chime in on this post but it's been a long time since I fished there.
 

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