Updated: Jan 21, 2021
Corbett Lake from the air
Corbett Lake is located close to the small town of Merritt, British Columbia (Population 7134 - 2016, Elevation 1950 ft). There are lots of conifers, deciduous trees, brushes and grasses in this beautiful landscape. Corbett Lake is located near a main highway, but the highway is above the lake and is barely noticeable when fishing. In my opinion it is not a distraction. The highway does provide excellent and easy access. The lake is big enough to support quite a few fly fishers, but small enough to get around easily with an electric motor. It is a fly fishing only lake.
We adventured out the third week of June.
We stayed and fished at Corbett Lake Lodge which is just a few minutes from Merritt. About three hours from Vancouver, BC and five from Seattle and Spokane. The lodge has nice rooms and comfortable cedar cabins to stay in, boats if you need them, and other amenities for the fly fisher. They do offer incredible gourmet meals on certain nights if you let them know you are interested. They are very friendly and great to work with. The road is very good all the way to the lodge. No need to four-wheel drive.
We started the day fishing with blood worms under a strike indicator. We positioned our Dogfish Boats over the drop off area and used the depth finder to determine that the depth was 14 feet. Then set our strike indictors for a depth of about twelve to thirteen feet so the fly would be a foot or two off the bottom. There was a little breeze to move the indicator and fly, but the fish did not seem to need much movement. The takes on the bloodworms were soft. After the catching slowed with the bloodworms, we switched to a sinking line, stripping in a balanced leach. We would cast into the deep water and then let it sink for a few seconds before stripping. The highlight of the day started in the early afternoon when we noticed fish rising. We knew there was a good afternoon Mayfly hatch, so we switched right away and were immediately rewarded with a nice trout on the dry. It quickly turned into one of the best dry fly experiences on any lake we have fished. For the rest of the afternoon and into early evening we cast to active fish and watched many suck in our dry flies with abandon. Even when the fish were not taking our flies it was fun to watch them rising all around us. One of the Mayfly patterns was pretty sparse and the fish seemed to like it low in the surface film. Sometimes even sunk and moving just a little bit. We also caught fish with a fuller Mayfly pattern. What fun fishing. The fish were very active and jumped a lot. We ended up catching more than a dozen fish from two to four pounds.
Bloodworm setup: We fly fished with a nine-foot five weight rod, casting a floating line and a strike/release indicator. We used a 9 to 12 ft poly leader and then added a few feet of 4X tippet to get the overall length enough to get down fifteen feet or more. When casting the sinking line, we used a nine-foot seven weight rod, a 7 ft leader with a short section of 3X tippet. When fishing the dry flies, we used the floating line and a 9-foot leader, then a short section of 3X and 4X tippet to get down to 5X in the end. Always wear eye protection.
Standing in our Dogfish Boats casting to cruising Rainbows
June is a good time of year to fish Corbett Lake. The best fishing is usually April and May. Obviously, you can stay at the lodge and fish or you can stay in Merritt or even camp and pay the daily rod fee. Some type of boat is needed. We used our Dogfish boats because we love being able to stand up when needed. There are a couple of Sporting goods stores in Merritt. We got flies from Ponderosa Sports and they had a great selection. Of course, the Lodge has flies as well.
Beautiful large Rainbow. One of many caught.