Species
Trout, Rainbow Trout, Bull Trout
Destination Type
Lodge
Fishing Style
Drift Boat, Dry Fly, Wading
Season
June - October
Rate
$$
Why We Go
  • Fish for wild rainbow trout in four river drainages and many lakes
  • Enjoy a wild and remote region where other anglers are rarely encountered
  • Relax in a family friendly lodge with options for single anglers and groups alike
  • Experience a place where high catch rates are common
Overview

Located in central British Columbia along the shores of Quesnel Lake, Northern Lights Lodge is an unpretentious classic fishing lodge that prides itself on fishing lightly pressured BC waters for wild rainbow trout. They boast a seemingly endless array of waters to explore including four freestone river drainages and multiple lakes. July and August offers great high catch rate fishing with dry flies and the fall months present an opportunity to target large lake-run rainbows that follow the salmon into to two key spawning tributaries of Quesnel Lake. While most of the fishing is boat-based, wade fishing opportunities are also available.

Fishing Program

When fishing the rivers, guests will likely be drifting in inflatable rafts with fishing frames. The lodge has access to four river systems in the Cariboo Mountains, three of which are best accessed by boat throughout the season with options for a day of drift-access walk and wade fishing. These rivers are wild and permitted, with very few permit holders. Most guests will likely see more wildlife than other anglers. Anglers will fish two per boat and can expect dry fly or dry/dropper fishing on most sections, with great euro-nymph and streamer options as well. The lakes lend themselves to a wide range of techniques including using big dry flies for surface cruising rainbow trout or streamers to bring up large bull trout. Anglers will fish two per guide from a pontoon boat predominately with dry flies.  Anglers will be fishing primarily for rainbow and bull trout throughout their trip. There is a prominent sockeye salmon run in the fall that offers excellent egg fishing for rainbow trout, and guests should be aware that guides will not fish on spawning grounds and all fishing is catch and release. The days on the water can be as easy or technical and as physically challenging or laid back as the anglers choose. This is a great place for beginners to get a feel for the sport, and for advanced anglers to hunt for sizeable trout. 

Accommodations

The lodge is a log-cabin style building with a few large dining tables and a comfortable lounge for guests to use at their leisure. The lodge has a very laid-back old-school atmosphere and guests are encouraged to come and go as they please. Hunting and fishing décor give the main lodge a classic mountain cabin feel. The living room has comfortable furniture and a large fireplace adding to the homey atmosphere. Guests will sleep either in one of eight rooms in the main lodge, or in one of the seven cabins located a short walk away. Each option comes with a double occupancy room and ensuite facilities.

Breakfast and dinner at Northern Lights Lodge take place in the main building and include fresh, home cooked meals that are hearty and best described as “comfort food”. Dinners include house beer and wine, and lunch will be served on the water with your guide each day and include standard packed lunch options. Dietary restrictions can be accommodated with advanced notice.  

Additional Experiences

When not fishing, guests have an option to go hiking, berry picking, gold panning, wildlife viewing, historic site seeing or enjoy the shoreline of Quesnel Lake from the lodge. Guests who wish to accompany an angler but not fish during the day can do so with an additional fee.

Itinerary
  • Day 1: Arrive Vancouver, B.C. and overnight in your chosen accommodations (not included)
  • Day 2: Take your flight to Williams Lake (most flights are offered either at 8:30 AM or 11:55 AM). A lodge representative will be waiting for you and will drive you to the lodge. Enjoy an afternoon of unguided fishing near the lodge or enjoying the amenities.
  • Day 3 - 7: Full day of guided fishing
  • Day 8: Depart for Vancouver, B.C. to overnight or catch an evening flight home
Rates & Details

2024 Rates: Per person based on double occupancy

6 night/5 day package: $3,500 - $5,000

Included: Accommodations, meals, beer and wine, guided fishing, all equipment, transportation to/from Williams Lake, B.C.

Not Included: Flights to Williams Lake, gratuity, GST, fishing licenses, liquor

Species: Rainbow trout, bull trout

Season: June - October

Capacity: 25 guests

Fly Water Q&A

What are the top reasons to go?

  • Fish for wild rainbow trout in four river drainages and many lakes
  • Enjoy a wild and remote region where other anglers are rarely encountered
  • Relax in a family friendly lodge with options for single anglers and groups alike
  • Experience a place where high catch rates are common

Who is best suited to this destination?

Anglers who appreciate wild places and lots of action will appreciate this lodge. With numerous rivers and stillwater options to fish throughout the season, this place is well suited to new anglers or those looking to introduce someone to the sport. Any angler with an appreciation for wild country will enjoy this place. This lodge is also very accommodating to single anglers, with no upcharge for single rooms or one -on-one guiding when needed.

Where is the lodge?

The lodge is located along the banks of Quesnel Lake, about an hour and a half drive from Williams Lake, British Columbia.

How do I get there?

Guests will fly into Vancouver. From there they will take a one-hour air taxi flight to Williams Lake where a lodge representative will pick them up and drive them to the lodge. Guests who drive will have a 7.5 hour drive from Vancouver, British Columbia on paved roads.

When should I go?

May through October. May and June are primarily stillwater focused, July and August are prime dry fly months on the rivers and stream. September and October are very popular months when anglers target the largest fish of the season a that are following the spawning salmon.

How will I fish?

Anglers will fish two per guide from jet boats, drift boats, fishing rafts, pontoon boats or on foot depending on the location and angler preferences. Methods will vary throughout the season.

Is there wade fishing?

The majority of fishing is done from watercrafts, but during river season there are wading opportunities on all of the rivers.

Where will I fish?

The lodge accesses four main river systems in the Cariboo mountains between June and October, each offering a different experience through the season. The rivers are accessed by jet boats, drift boats, or fly fishing rafts with some options for walk and wade fishing. In the early season the lodge has a number productive and seldom fished trophy lakes they frequent.  In May and June the lodge program is stillwater focused and they fish numerous lakes that surround the lodge that hold either stocked trophy rainbow trout or wild rainbow trout and lake trout. Lakes are fished from inflatable pontoon boats. During the river season the lodge fishes 4 major rivers in the Quesnel drainage from drift boats, jet boats, fly fishing rafts and walk and wade.

How long does it take to reach the fishing grounds?

Anglers will travel anywhere from a 15-minutes to just under an hour to reach their fishing grounds.

What type(s) of fish will I catch?

Rainbow trout can be caught at all times of the season at the lodge. In late June and July they can also target lake trout and from mid-August until mid-October bull trout can also be targeted in the rivers with good success.

How many fish will I catch?

An average of 20 fish per person day is common in this area depending on the river or lake, and method used.

Will I see other anglers?

This place is big and wild, and Northern Lights Lodge holds the majority of permits on the rivers. With that in mind, it is unlikely you will see many other anglers on the water. On Quesnel Lake, there will likely be other anglers, but the vast size of the lake makes finding a private spot to fish easy.

What are the guides like?

The guides are all Canadian and well versed in both fly and conventional fishing, but they emphasize fly fishing whenever possible.

What are the physical demands?

This trip can be as physically demanding or relaxed as desired. Days can be spent in boats with little physical activity, or wading gravel bars, up tributaries, or lake shores to find trout.

Are there any special skills required?

There are no special skills required.

Does the lodge provide equipment?

The lodge provides all equipment and flies needed for this trip.

What is your favorite setup for the trip?

A 5- to 7-weight rod will be suitable to all methods in this area.

REDINGTON TRAILBLAZER 590-6

REDINGTON RUN 5/6

RIO GOLD 5wt weight-forward floating line

What are the top flies?

Flies will range extensively throughout the season. For a list of flies during a certain window, please call us and we can help you put together a box for that period of time. Your guides will have all the flies you need for your trip, so guests may bring flies if they choose but are by no means expected to provide their own flies.

What are the options if water conditions become challenging?

There are many locations to fish, so if conditions in one place are challenging, they may be alright in another place. In the rare circumstance where weather altogether precludes fishing, there are wonderful walking, wildlife viewing, gold panning, hiking, and site-seeing activities nearby.

What is a typical day like?

Timing will vary throughout the season based on the temperature and conditions, but an average day in July and August will typically include breakfast between 7:00 – 8:00 AM. Your guides will pick you up at the lodge and take you out to a fishing spot determined based on what you told the lodge manager the evening before. Guides will do their best to cater each day to the angler’s request keeping conditions and best fishing venues in mind. Anglers will eat lunch on the water and be back to the lodge around 5:00 PM to clean up and get ready for dinner. Guests may fish from shore after dinner if they like.

What is the general vibe, atmosphere and style of the lodge?

The lodge is a classic log-cabin style building complete with hunting and fishing décor, comfortable plush furniture, and a well-kept fire in the hearth. There is a family feel in the common space overlooking the lake where all guests will spend their free time and dine together.

Is there an on-site owner, manager or other point-person at the lodge?

There is an on-site manager at the lodge at all times who will help coordinate your stay including your lodging, meal-times and what time you will meet your guides.

Where do we eat, and what are the meals like?

Guests dine in the main lodge at three large tables. Meals are hearty and home-style and often including a salad, meat, and potatoes or pasta-type faire.

What is the alcohol policy?

The lodge provides complimentary house beer and wine, guests who wish to have certain labels or liquor during their stay are welcome to bring it with them.

Where do we stay, and what are the accommodations like?

There are eight guest rooms in the main lodge and seven log cabins a short walk away. Each room and cabin option has ensuite bathrooms, comfortable bedding and set of drawers. The grounds are well lit for guests walking from the lodge to their cabins. Most rooms come in double occupancy configurations with options for single occupancy and no additional charge. The cabins sleep 2-8 guests and come complete with cookware, utensils, and small decks.

Is there internet and/or cell service?

There is Wi-Fi in the main lodge, there is no cell service in the area.

Are there other activities?

Other activities include hiking, gold panning, site seeing, historical site tours, wildlife viewing, berry picking and enjoying the lake from the cabin shore.

Are there any other expenses?

Guests will need to plan their transfer from Vancouver to Williams Lake, B.C. Additional expenses include gratuity, liquor and fishing licenses.

Do I need a visa?

No.

Are there any health concerns, dangers or annoyances?

There is a lot of wildlife in this area including moose and bear. Be sure to keep your distance from wildlife and listen to your guides who are trained for wildlife encounters. There can be mosquitos in the early season at this destination, pack layers both for mosquitos and weather.

We recommend guests review the U.S. Department of State and CDC websites for updated details about international travel.

Tell us about yourself and we'll reach out to plan the details of your trip