Personally, there is nothing like relaxing in my float tube catching rainbow trout on my favorite BC fly fishing lake. It’s better than my easy chair in my living room. Yes, belly boating became a mainstay of my fly fishing vacation or day trips back in the late 1990’s when I traded my truck in for a mini-van.
Belly boating or float tubing is a whole new experience. The best thing is how relaxing it can be especially when you have the opportunity to anchor or drift. If you are lucky (and most lakes in the Kamloops area are like this) you will get to witness eagles, ospreys and waterfowl at a closer range because they are less bothered by your intrusion. Wildlife like bear, deer, moose or coyotes often come to waters edge to relieve their thirst.
There are lots of lakes throughout BC that are accommodating to float tube fishing. To make the experience as enjoyable as possible there are a few considerations to review such as access. Access to the lake and on to the lake are probably most important factors when choosing your fishing body of water.
Here are some important factors when considering your belly boating fishing trip. It pays to be prepared when looking for float tube fishing locations.
1. Prospects – I first decide whether I want lots of fish or big fish. The two are occasionally synonymous however I have learned not to stretch my expectations. I’d rather be surprised. The Kamloops Area and Roche Lake Area in BC have many lakes that have limited bag limits (or even catch and release only). Usually these lakes have trophy sized fish and are harder to catch. However, for the fisherman who likes to eat their catch, there are also many opportunities to catch both many fish and reasonable sized fish.
2. Access to the lake body – we are looking for a smooth, tapering launch. No sense in slogging through mud, rocks and sticks that result in getting stuck in the mud with your fins or damaging your waders or tube. Another consideration is access to the shore from different parts of the lake. Looking after ‘personal business’ requires getting to a landing quickly and peeling down the waders. When the water is cold, this event can spring up on you quickly.
3. Access to prime locations on the lake – the smaller the lake the better. Float tubes are not known for their speed (pontoon boats are quicker) so you want to get to the prime fishing spots (shoals, drop-offs, weed beds) as soon as possible.
4. Susceptibility to wind – Wind is the single most annoying factor while float tubing fishing. You don’t have the advantage of sitting high in a boat and casting distances can be considerably shorter. It is important to me to be able to find some shelter from whatever direction the wind is blowing. Look for odd shaped lakes with sheltered bays. Waves created by wind can also be a challenge when trying to return to your vehicle, so keep this in mind when wandering a long way from your launch site.
5. Vehicle Access to the Lake – paved, gravel or 4×4. The nice thing about a float tube is that it can be easily deflated enough to fit in a car, car trunk or other two-wheel drive vehicle. Many of the lakes in the Interior are quite accessible by 2 wheel drive vehicles. On the other hand, there are no shortage of 4×4 or hike in lakes that are willing to reward the adventurous.
Visit here for a list of some of my favorite float tube fishing lakes in BC.