Leighton Lake, Tunkwa Lake Provincial Park
By Rodney Hsu
Leighton Lake at Tunkwa Lake Provincial Park is one of the more popular recreational fishing lakes in the Thompson-Nicola region. Due to Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC's successful stocking program, this man-made lake provides excellent fishing for rainbow trout in many different size classes throughout the year. Beside fishing, the area also offers other recreational activities such as camping, hiking, swimming and boating.
How to Get There?
Leighton Lake is located in Tunkwa Lake Provincial Park, which is around halfway between Logan Lake and Savona. From Vancouver, it takes around four hours to reach by car. From Kamloops, it takes around 45 minutes by car. Tunkwa Lake Road, which leads to the provincial park, is a paved road from Logan Lake or Savona. Once inside the provincial park, the road is gravel but access is not a challenge.
Camping or RVing is available at two different provincial sites at the southern end of the lake. There are no stores nearby so be sure to stock up on your groceries in either Merritt or Kamloops before making your way into the park.
In the winter months, ice fishing for rainbow trout is available for those who are willing to brave the cold. Spring and summer fly fishing can be excellent while fishing in fall can be unpredictable.
A boat is required when fishing at Leighton Lake while shore fishing can have some success. Between May and August, fly fishing usually produces the best result as a chiromonid pattern dangled below an indicator resembles the fish's diet more accurately. In early spring, chironomids in size 14 to 16 are most commonly used, while larger patterns (size 10 and 12) are used in July and August to imitate the "bombers" hatch. A 4/5wt outfit is best suited for this fishery.
For anglers who do not fly fish, they can still use the above fly patterns under a float. Most rainbow trout found in Leighton Lake vary between 14 and 22 inches long with the occasional larger fish, so an outfit rated between 4 and alb test is best. If this style of fishing does not interest you, then trolling is another alternative and may just entice the bigger fish that cruise around in this lake.
This lake can be rather windy at times, so two anchors (one at each end of the boat) are required to ensure that your boat is not blown from your anchored spot easily.
Before your first fishing trip to Leighton Lake, please make sure you know the following information:
- You must have a valid British Columbia freshwater fishing license.
- Leighton Lake is located in Region 3 in the British Columbia freshwater fishing regulations.
- Leighton Lake is located in a provincial park, which is used by campers and other recreational groups. Please respect other users when using the area. Keeping the noise level down and picking up your own garbage make everyone's experience enjoyable.