Get Hooked on Ice Fishing at Yellow Lake Near Penticton, BC

By Carol Stathers

If you are looking for a great lake for winter activities, check out Yellow Lake in the Okanagan. This well-stocked lake is located along Highway 3A just south west of Penticton.

Yellow Lake is a popular ice fishing lake for locals, as well as those venturing out on a road trip. To get there, from Penticton head south along Highway 97; just past Kaleden, take Highway 3A and the lake will be on your left in about 14 kilometres.

The highway runs along the north shore of the lake; not only will you enjoy the beautiful drive along the lake, there are two pullouts: one at the west end and one at the east end of the lake. The boat launch is at the west end along with a dock, picnic tables and washrooms.  The lake is easy to access.

In the warm months, casting a fly is popular on this lake, as well as jigging a hook along the edges of the lake for rainbow and brook trout.

According to the Anglers Atlas, the trout in Yellow Lake are typically on the smaller-to -average size and well known as being tough fighters.

This 35-hectare lake has an average depth of 20 metres with a maximum of 40 metres, plus the weather is pretty tolerable with the average temperature in December and January of -4 degrees Celsius and 60% of the days being sunny.

In 2019 the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC stocked Yellow Lake with 24,000 Rainbow Trout and 5,000 Kokanee and in 2018,  10,000 Eastern Brook Trout were added.  Don’t forget to pick up your fishing licence with proceeds going towards stocking lakes across the province.  Check here for more information on obtaining a licence to fish in BC. The Freshwater Fisheries Society also hosts learn-to-fish days and in the past has held them at Yellow Lake. It is great for families!

For those not familiar with ice fishing, it involves catching fish with lines and hooks through a hole in a frozen lake. You may even see heated enclosures or ice shacks/huts in the middle of lakes to keep those fishing, warm. An ice augur is usually used to drill a hole in the thick ice and then along with rods, hooks and bait, a lawn chair is a must-have plus warm clothing. Be cautious when it comes to trying ice fishing; make sure the ice is thick enough so you don’t have a mishap and end up going through the ice.

When thinking about what to wear, make sure you are prepared for changes in conditions. Dress in layers from head to toe; make sure you choose waterproof clothing, gloves and boots and don’t forget your sunglasses to help reduce the glare from the sun as it reflects off the snow.  Think safety as well and ask the experts about equipment such as life jackets and other equipment. When I think of comfort, I also throw in hand and toe warmers plus warm drinks when we are out in the cold to keep comfortable.

We have not done it yet, but have read that there is hiking access from the west end of the lake. Apparently the 9 kilometre return trip is a steep, narrow trail which is often overgrown and not overly suitable for children. It is on our list for the spring, summer or fall as the views from the top are supposed to be pretty incredible.

This is a lake for all seasons, but the winter is special.  So get hooked on ice fishing at spectacular Yellow Lake in the South Okanagan!

For accommodation in the South Okanagan and elsewhere in British Columbia check out travel-british-columbia.com

Share your BC travel photos using hashtag #travelinbc.

Published: January 22, 2020

Carol Stathers

About the Author

Carol loves being in the outdoors whether it is hiking, camping, kayaking or enjoying time at the lake. With a health background in nursing, she has written for many health-related journals and is also writing a historical non-fiction book about the Peach Valley area of Summerland where she lives. Along with writing, she and her family love camping. She grew up camping on Vancouver Island and has explored many parts of BC with her husband, three kids and their golden retriever. She and her newly-retired husband just upgraded to a newer trailer and are looking forward to more camping adventures throughout British Columbia.

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