Bridge Lake is located in the beautiful Interlakes District on Highway 24, the Fishing Highway, in the South Cariboo region of British Columbia. This tranquil and beautiful area of rolling hills and pine forests boasts approximately 125 lakes loaded with rainbow trout, lake trout and kokanee.
While the fishing in the area is legendary, this is also ranch country, with plenty of trails for horse riding and opportunity for horse riding lessons. Winter activities include snowmobiling, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and ice-fishing. Summer sees hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, boating and swimming.
Location: Bridge Lake is located on Fishing Highway 24, midway between Lone Butte (Hwy 24) and Little Fort on Highway 5, approximately 6 hours northeast of Vancouver, 2 hours from Kamloops in the Thompson Valley, and 35 miles (56 km) southeast of 100 Mile House on Cariboo Highway 97.
Bridge Lake features the interesting Bridge Lake Ice Caves, accessed from the top of a hill on the southern shoreline of the lake.
Fishing is great in the Cariboo; there are literally thousands of lakes, ponds, and rivers in this region, and the lakes in the Interlakes District are among the best of them. Sheridan Lake and Bridge Lake are the largest of hundreds of lakes dotted along Highway 24, the Fishing Highway, which runs about 60 miles (97 km) east to the North Thompson River and the town of Little Fort on Hwy 5.
Bridge Lake has numerous bays and both large and small islands, offering good fishing for Rainbow trout, lake trout (lake char) and kokanee, as well as ling cod and burbot. June offers the best fishing for the 3 to 5-lb kokanee, a favourite among anglers, and spring and early summer is the best time for rainbow trout.
Sheridan Lake holds spectacular-sized rainbow trout in the 14 to 16 pound range, best caught by bait, trolling or on the fly. The crystal clear lake is fed by underground springs and is stocked with 350,000 rainbow trout every year. The best time to try your luck here is as soon as the ice is off the lakes in May. Mayfly hatch brings out the fly-fishers for rainbow trout as well as burbot.
Ice Fishing in winter is popular on many of the approximately 125 lakes in the Interlakes District.
To the south of Bridge Lake is Bonaparte Lake and Valley, the dominant lake and river system in the south Cariboo (accessed by heading west of Hwy 5 from Barriere), offering excellent freshwater fishing.
Trails: The area around Sheridan Lake boasts an extensive multi-use trail system suitable for hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. The 130 miles (208 km) of mapped and signed trails are maintained by the Interlakes Snowmobile Club, the Sheridan Lake Quad Squad and The Friends of Sheridan Lake Society.
The small but beautifully situated Bridge Lake Provincial Park is particularly popular with anglers looking for rainbow and lake trout. It will win the heart of anyone who has the good fortune to spend a night here, particularly in fall once the mosquito season has ended. A walking trail skirts the lake and provides an excellent afternoon’s exercise. There are vehicle/tent sites and walk-in and horseback riding are all popular; the undulating plateau and highlands around the lake have become a cross-country skiing paradise; sandy beaches dot the irregular take a part-paved, part-gravel road for about 34 miles (55 km) east of 70 Mile House.
Nearby Green Lake in Green Lake Provincial Park is wide and shallow, fed by two small creeks, lake-bottom springs, and upland runoff. Since its outlet only functions in high-water periods, there’s lots of time for algae and other micro-organisms to form: hence the lake’s greenish hue and its name. This lake is excellent for both summer and winter recreation. Swimming, boating, waterskiing, paddling, and horseback riding are all popular; the undulating plateau and highlands around the lake have become a cross-country skiing paradise; sandy beaches dot the irregular shoreline at five spots.
Cross-country Skiing: Cross-country ski enthusiasts travel from all parts of the world to experience the wonderful cross-country skiing in the mellow, rounded hills and snow-carpeted meadows in this area. Whether you’re interested in groomed trails, backcountry, or just looking for some peace and solitude along a trail, this is the place to discover it. Sun Peaks Resort and Harper Mountain both offer groomed trails. Known for its pristine snow, the area is also an ideal location for snowmobiling and snowshoeing.
Purists looking to cut their own cross-country tracks in the Cariboo can also head to Canim Lake, accessed via Mahood Lake Road off Highway 24 at Sheridan Corner (Sheridan Lake). In summer this is serious angling country, but once the 23-mile-long (37-km) lake freezes over, the landscape turns into significant backcountry touring turf. Several lodges at Canim Lake and nearby subalpine lakes remain open year-round.
Skiing: Once the leaves have fallen from the trees and the birds have flown south, the region becomes a winter wonderland bursting with activity. The closest ski hill is Clearwater Ski Hill near Clearwater, and Mt. Timothy, north of 100 Mile House to the northwest of Bridge Lake. There are two downhill ski areas near Kamloops, southeast of Bridge Lake: Harper Mountain and Sun Peaks Ski Resort.
Skiing & Winter Activities in the Cariboo.
Snowmobiling: The Interlakes District, Bridge Lake, Green Lake, and nearby Clinton and 100 Mile House all have active snowmobile clubs. Members clear and maintain a network of trails that lead from Kamloops to the Fraser River, providing terrain for all skill levels. Most lakes will have a pattern of sled tracks throughout the winter, and the area abounds with fields and meadows, rolling hills, forests and mountains.
Whitewater Rafting: One of the most exhilarating outdoor activities has got to be whitewater rafting, and you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to indulge in it while you’re in this chock-full-of-rivers region. For easygoing paddling, the North Thompson River is perfect, using North Thompson River Provincial Park as your base. The current gently pulls paddlers downstream all the way to Kamloops, although you’ll need several days to cover the entire distance. River Rafters can ride the swift currents through the canyons of the Clearwater River, and savour the highlight of the trip, a run through the Grade 5 Saber Tooth rapid.
Camping: Provincial campgrounds are located at Bridge Lake Provincial Park and Green Lake Provincial Park. There are a number of well-maintained private campgrounds in the Interlakes area, and forestry campgrounds are located at Crystal Lake Recreation Site, southwest of Bridge Lake on Bonaparte Road, and Phinetta Lake Recreation Site east of Bridge Lake off Eakin Creek Road.
Wildlife: If ospreys and eagles are your kind of bird, consider a visit to Green Lake. The shallow, reedy west end of the lake is attractive to waterfowl as a nesting and migratory resting area. Bridge Lake Outlet is also a good wildlife viewing site. Motorists should be alert for moose along Highway 24.
Aerial Tramway: The Little Fort Ferry, an aerial tramway for passengers only, operates across the North Thompson River at Little Fort when the water level is high or icy. Crossing time is 5 minutes, and the ferry operates on demand; 7:00 am – 6:45 pm (except 11:45 am – 1:00 pm and 4:45 pm – 6:00 pm).
Don’t miss the annual Bridge Lake Rodeo in July.
To the east of Bridge Lake, at the junction of Highway 24 and Highway 5, is the small community of Little Fort, known as the Hub of the North Thompson. The economy of Little Fort is boosted by traffic on the Yellowhead Highway, while relying on traditional businesses like farming, forestry, fishing resorts, and guest ranches. Little Fort offers visitors and weary travellers a restaurant, a cafe and pub, hotel, campground, gas station, general store, craft store and a fishing tackle shop.
To the west of Bridge Lake on Highway 24 is the quiet little town of Lone Butte, once the Cariboo’s largest town and now a busy centre for the ranchers who settled in the area between the turn of the century and the 1950’s. At the centre of countless lakes providing great swimming, boating and fishing, Lone Butte offers a BC Railway station, cafes, restaurants, shops, a rather impressive log pub, and numerous resorts, guest ranches and campgrounds to offer the visitor.