Skitchine Lodge: Home to wilderness fishing and much more
By Cary Ordway
Nowhere in British Columbia do you get a better taste of the “Super Natural” than at a remote fishing lodge – an oasis of civilization deep in the backcountry of the rugged B.C. interior. Skitchine Lodge, is a case in point.
This remarkable lodge is located 50 miles from Kamloops, B.C., in the historic Bonaparte Plateau and is renowned as a fishing camp, yet comfortable enough for the entire family to enjoy. Like other wilderness lodges, Skitchine can be reached by helicopter or floatplane (by special permit), where you will be flown directly to the lodge. You can also travel by car to the park boundary where you will be met at the trailhead and driven by camp transport a short distance to the lodge through spectacular forest scenery. We chose the latter option.
Rounding a bend and descending a hill just behind the lodge, the first sight of Skitchine and its several private cabins is exhilarating. The buildings are perched on a peninsula with picturesque Dagger Lake visible on three sides. Across the lake is a high butte, a scenic and fitting backdrop for this unusually placid lake.
We were quickly shown into the main lodge for a glass of wine and snacks, a nightly social event for lodge guests. A fire crackled in the lodge lounge, its warmth evident throughout the lodge, in contrast to the nip in the nighttime mountain air. Since we arrived at dusk, it wasn’t long before we retired to our cabins where we found logs in the fireplace already radiating warmth.
Part of the appeal of Skitchine is the accommodations. This is not a posh resort by any stretch of the imagination, yet it’s a comfortable place to stay when you consider you are surrounded by some of the most beautiful wilderness around. When we came here a few years ago there was no power and, if you had to make a late night visit to the loo, you did it in the cold with a propane lantern to light your way. The lodge and cabins are now powered by solar power and a generator.
There is no doubt that Skitchine Lodge appeals mostly to avid fly fishermen, who enjoy the sport of creating flies to catch wild Kamloops trout – one to eight pounds in any of the 15 small lakes near the lodge. With an average of 14 guests or less at any one time you could end up with a lake all to yourself. The lodge also targets families and couples who find this remote location a good spot to enjoy and learn about wildlife.
Meals are included in your daily rate and are hearty and satisfying. You have unlimited fishing, with fish packed for travel, and the ground transportation to and from the trailhead is included. Kamloops is about a three-hour drive north of the Canada/U.S. border station at Sumas.
The fishing season runs from June 1 through October 30. The lakes are open to fly fishing or light spinning gear only, and three of the lakes are catch-and-release only. Limits vary from two to six fish per person per day. There are small row boats on all of the lakes with motorboats on the main lake.
In the summer there are numerous hiking trails in the area with abundant wildlife and beautiful displays of flora and fauna.