Courtney Lake is found south of Merritt on the Okanagan Connector about 20kms from the junction from the Coquihalla Highway. This 74 hectare lake is located just after Corbett Lake on the East side of the road. Many anglers over look this lake because it is located just off the highway. From the highway the lake looks more like a slough than a trophy trout fishery. What most anglers don’t know is that Courtney Lake has two large deep holes, one on the north end and one on the south end.
The lake has numerous hatches throughout the year that offers great fly fishing! A few years back Red-sided shiners were illegally introduced to this lake. These shiners tend to eat the same food source as the Rainbows Trout do, but in return these shiners offer a great food source for the Blackwater Rainbow Trout strain that the lake is stocked with to combat these intrusive species. The Blackwater Rainbows grow to trophy size with fish reaching 15 pounds in Courtney Lake.
Courtney Lake has been managed as a trophy fishery very well over the past 5 years. The limit is only one fish per day and no fish under 50cms. The lake is highly restricted with a bait ban, single barbless hook and no ice fishing. Fisheries have aggressively stocked this lake over the past 5 years with close to 20,000 Rainbows.
The best place to target these big Blackwater Rainbows is on the ledges and drops. The large holes on the lake reach 10m’s in depth and that is were the big fish can be found. In the spring time a good chronomid hatch occurs which offers great fishing along the shallow benches. Muddler minnows or other streamer patterns can attract the larger fish. Caddisfly and leach patterns can also draw some great action on the fly rods.
Gear anglers can approach this lake with spinners such as Mepps and Martins in red patterns. Silver Flatfish and Apex Rainbow colours produce well. Silver and brass spoons worked along the drop offs can lure in the aggressive fish.
So the next time you are fishing the Nicola Valley stop on by Courtney Lake and try your luck in hooking into a beauty Blackwater Rainbow!