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

Fishing for bass in BC is synonymous with the South Okanagan. A string of warm water lakes connected by the Okanagan River provides a quality fishery for both small and largemouth bass with fish taken in the 8lb + range on an annual basis.

The sunny Okanagan is the interior playground for British Columbia. The valley is literally lined with recreational lakes from Vernon to Osoyoos. It’s just been recently that the BC Fish and Wildlife have started paying closer attention to the bass fishery in the valley. Believe me, it has paid dividends. If there is a record largemouth to be caught in BC, it’s likely to come from this valley.

Skaha Lake

Skaha Lake is a fairly large lake on the south side of Penticton, mostly known for it’s recreational activities like boating, beaches and other watersports. Don’t let that fool you. This lake has big fish and the bass fishing is just getting better. Skaha Lake can be accessed from a number of areas, depending where you want to fish. The most popular area for fishing seems to be at the south end near the outlet of the lake. I’ve seen smallies as large as 5 lb taken fishing from the banks with bobber and worm. Other areas of the lake worth a try include the weed beds that stretch almost the entire length of the lake on the east side. There are a couple of accesses on Eastside Road as well as on the west side of the lake at Kaleden. Skaha Lake can also be trolled for large rainbows and kokanee to 11 lbs. Accommodation and services are available in Penticton, Kaleden and Okanagan Falls.

Vaseux Lake

If there is a record to be had it should be had at Vaseux. Vaseux Lake is situated along Hwy 97, between Okanagan Falls and Oliver. The lake is bordered by Vaseux Lake Provincial Park, Vaseux Bighorn Wildlife Area and Vaseux Bird Sanctuary. Arguably the best bass lake in BC, Vaseux has been producing 9 lb+ bass for over 20 years (that I know of). If you stop at the Provincial Fish and Wildlife offices in Penticton you could ask to see the 9 lb largemouth bass mounted on their wall (they give good information too). Different from Duck Lake (Kootenays-Creston) in structure, the bass here are more likely to respond to underwater minnow type lures or flies. Don’t discount the other baits and techniques because like any lake, it can be finicky. Fish near the weed beds at the north end and west side of the lake all the way down to the island. Large rainbow trout, kokanee and perch are also residents of Vaseux. Spring and fall are best. NO POWER BOATS including electric motors of any kind are allowed on the lake so be prepared to row or paddle your way around. The lake is accessible from the provincial park or through the resort at the south end of the lake. If you are tired of fishing, take advantage of hiking and wildlife viewing areas that surround the lake. Fantastic bird watching and California Bighorn Sheep are nearby. One word of caution. There is a healthy rattlesnake population along the dam at the Ducks Unlimited project, located at the north end or the lake and along the old Kettle Valley railway bed on the west side of the lake. If you want to hike around, wear proper clothing and use a hiking pole, it could come in handy. Accommodations and services can be had at the provincial park, the resort, or any of the nearby towns of Okanagan Falls, Penticton or Oliver.

Osoyoos Lake

Located in the most Southern Okanagan, Osoyoos Lake is a large warm lake (reputed to be the warmest freshwater lake in Canada) that stretches across the Canada – US border. Mostly a recreational lake with growing residential and agricultural development, Osoyoos Lake rivals Vaseux for large bass and is reported to hold the provincial record. Fishing is best in the spring but can be productive throughout the year for largemouth, smallmouth, black crappie and perch. The Osoyoos Oxbows that border the north end of the lake where the river runs in can also be very productive for large bass.

Osoyoos offers all services and with its warm desert climate (yes, it does get winter… sometimes snow), it is fast becoming a retirement haven. The Osoyoos area is home to a unique diversity of plants, birds and animals. Oliver – Osoyoos is also the wine capital of BC, producing award winning wines. If the fishing is slow, you can always take a wine tour. While in the Okanagan Area, take advantage of the other recreational opportunities available or simply just take the time to enjoy the spectacular scenic drives. The Okanagan is famous for it’s vineyards, fruit growing orchards, beaches, watersports, hiking, biking, golfing and much, much more. With it’s generally moderate climate and stimulating scenery, 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 serviced by major Canadian airlines and their subsiduaries.

Other Okanagan Bass Fisheries

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

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