The Okanagan region has long been a coveted luxury destination for many Vancouverites. From the vast kilometers of the country’s best and most famous wine region, to the excellent hiking trails and pristine lakes, the Okanagan is an oasis. However, many Vancouverites never get to experience wonders of the Okanagan in the winter. While ski hills like Big White and Silver Star might come to mind, an activity that is often overlooked is ice fishing.
What You Need
Ice Fishing in the Okanagan allows you to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and escape to the quiet of the Greater Kelowna wilderness. One of the essential ice fishing items you will need is an ice fishing rod. These vary from traditional fishing rods because they are only around 2 to 4 feet in length. This means that they are much easier to maneuver, which is important if you are trying to fight your way through a hole cut in a frozen lake or pond. Ice fishing rods are also designed to be especially sensitive, since bites from fish in such cold temperatures can be a lot lighter than one would expect in the summer. As for your reel, it is ideal to use a smaller model for ice fishing.
In order to cut through Woods Lake (located just outside Kelowna) to access fish, you are going to need an ice auger. If you are a beginner, it is recommended to purchase a manual auger. While manual means more work on your part to cut through the ice, these augers allow you greater mobility and are lighter, so they are easier to carry onto the ice without the aid of a sled.
Be sure to buy a fishing line that is specially designed for ice fishing. A regular fishing line will not hold up against sharp ice, which is why buying ice fishing line is so important. For bait, you can use live varieties or artificial alternatives. For a beginner ice fisher, all that is usually needed is a small selection of jigs, sinkers, and bait hooks. If you like an extra hand detecting strikes, a simple bobber can also be used. Before you head out for a day out on the Okanagan ice, make sure you check to see which types of baits and tackles are legal in the region.
Where to Go
The last thing you need for your Okanagan ice fishing adventure is to choose one of the region’s extraordinary lakes. One of the hidden gems of the Okanagan region is Idabel Lake, located just 30 minutes from Kelowna. The lake even features a small resort which is the perfect place for a family wilderness adventure or a romantic winter getaway. Another ice fishing gem that is a favorite with Okanagan locals is Shannon Lake. This picturesque lake is located in the heart of West Kelowna and is the perfect mix of the great outdoors and the city. Next, all you need are a few warm jackets, a thermos of hot chocolate and you are ready to enjoy the best of ice fishing in the Okanagan.