Mostly known for it’s fantastic vineyards and wineries, Oliver BC is also home to many spectacular waters that offer great fishing. One fishery in particular that is known to locals as a hotspot is Ripley Lake. Not more than a 20 minute drive from downtown Oliver, Ripley Lake is a great fishing destination year round. Due to it’s easy access in the winter months Ripley is especially popular for it’s ice fishing. It’s a smaller lake with 13.5 acres of surface area and a max depth of 50 feet. There are two Forest Recreation Campsites on both ends of the lake equipped with picnic tables, fire pits and outhouses which makes it the perfect family outing destination. Ripley Lake is normally frozen over enough (6 inches or more) to go ice fishing from mid December and fishes well into mid February.
Even though this fishery is very popular and receives a decent amount of fishing pressure throughout the year it still can produce a decent day of fishing. The fish average in size between 1 and 2 pounds; but some over 4 pounds do lurk in these waters. Since 2009 the Freshwater Fishery Society of BC (FFSBC) has stocked over 15,000 trout in the lake to help keep up with the angling pressure. Some of these fish are also Triploid Rainbow Trout that tend to grow in good size as they don’t reproduce; instead they spend their energy and efforts on feeding.
There are two deep holes in the lake, one on the east side and one on the west. The pools create excellent drop off points where the trout like to cruise between the depths and the shallows looking for food during hard water season. In the morning and late afternoon hours of the day target the shallow areas along the weed-lines in about 3-10 feet of water. As the mid day sets in the use of glow-hooks tipped with shrimp and dew worm jigged in the deeper waters can also do well. Tying on a small Gibbs silver spoon as a flasher then followed with an 18 inch leader to your hook can help attract the fish on the slower days.
One good hotspot is the southwest side of the lake near the mouth of Victoria creek, here you will find heavy vegetation in shallow water. Locate the area where the vegetation ends and the drop off begins. This area holds a lot of fish as it is easy for the fish to retreat to the depths but yet still come up to cruise within the decaying vegetation to scour for food such as invertebrates.
Travel south on Hwy 97 to Oliver. Turn right on Fairfield Rd, the intersection at the 7-11 service station. Follow Fairfield Road past the Old Golf Course Rd turnoff. Continue on the dirt section of Fairview Rd until you see a small road veering off to the right marked Madden and Ripley Lake. If you have past the large power lines on Fairview Rd you have gone too far. The turn off is approx. 100m before the power lines.
Ripley Lake is truly a jewel nestled between the mountains of Oliver and Keremeos that should not be overlooked as a great fishing destination. While you are at Ripley Lake you can also check out Madden Lake just south of it. Both lakes provide an easy accessible opportunity to get out fishing during the ice fishing season.
For more information about Ripley Lake please feel free to contact us at BC Fishn’. If you have some good fishing stories or tips about fishing the Oliver area we’d love to hear about it so please comment below. Don’t forget to stop by the BC Fishn’ Facebook Page to connect with other anglers and to share your fishing photos.
Tight lines & Conserve our Waters!