British Columbia: Lakes and Rivers

Submitted by The Catt-Trax2 Team on Fri, 2007/01/12 - 3:31pm.

Report prepared by students in BCIT’s Fish, Wildlife and Recreation program.

British Columbia is Canada’s most diverse province in terms of natural flora and fauna, wildlife, and ever-changing landscapes. Thousands of rivers and lakes are stretched across the province. Some rivers are small and meandering while others are vast and rush along. One can find huge lakes tucked away in the wilderness or high up in the mountains and even in your backyard. Rivers and Lakes are not only the circulatory system of terrestrial life ─ transporting, filtering and storing water and nutrients ─ but are also worlds of life unto themselves (272, Cannings, et al.).

Every region in British Columbia provides a variety of lakes and rivers that support recreational activities like kayaking, fishing and whitewater rafting. They provide food, water and habitat for many mammals, birds, amphibians and fish, making them great places to view wildlife.

Lakes and rivers have also played an important role throughout history, especially for the Aboriginal peoples of British Columbia. They hunted and gathered along the edges of the water and used waterways for trade and transportation. Many lakes are medically important, such as Spotted Lake in the Okanagan, where a high mineral content has therapeutic properties.

British Columbia’s many rivers offer endless opportunities for outdoor recreation. Whether you are looking for spine tingling thrills, or simply to relax, the opportunities are out there. For the more adventurous type, the Northern Skeena and the Stikine rivers offer some of the greatest fishing and rafting in the world. Or if you’d rather camp with more predictable weather, then the Fraser River, the Kootenay and the Columbia are perfect. Rafting adventures are also very popular on the Fraser and the Kootenay and the fishing is exceptional.

The Fraser River is the biggest river in the province, and home to some of the largest runs of salmon in the world. The population of white sturgeon in the Fraser is the healthiest and largest in the world. The Skeena river is second to the Fraser in size and every year it receives in excess of five million salmon each year (some of which have been recorded to exceed forty kilograms!). The Kootenay feeds into the Columbia River. The Kootenay is a renowned rafting river; it also offers anglers great fishing opportunities.

No matter what you are looking for (as long as you like the outdoors) the mighty rivers and pristine lakes of British Columbia have it.


  • British Columbia: A Natural History, by Richard Cannings and Sydney Cannings.
( categories: | | | )