Boating on British Columbia's Kootenay Lakes






Boating in British Columbia

Boating the Large Lakes of the BC Rockies
Kootenays Region

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  • Kootenay Lake:

    The largest inland lake in British Columbia is Kootenay Lake, in the heart of the Kootenay region. It is 156 km. (97 mi.) long and ranges from 2 km. (1.24 mi.) to 6 km. (3.72 mi.) wide. The lake is too wide to bridge. Therefore, a fleet of free ferries operated by the provincial government, carry vehicles and passengers across. This fiord lake, created millions of years ago is bordered by the Purcell Mountains in the east and the Selkirk Mountains to the west. The scenery surrounding Kootenay Lake is spectacular and secluded. This region has a rich history in mining, when the ore ran out, the people in the area turned to agriculture and tourism. Lifestyles in this part of BC are unhurried.

    Kootenay Lake is known for fishing and boating. The lake is well stocked and home to such game fish as Dolly Varden, kokanee and native Gerrard rainbow trout. In fact, the lake is famous with anglers for the world's largest rainbow trout. Check with the locals for the latest fishing hot spots. When not fishing or boating, enjoy the many other recreational activities that this area has to offer. Go houseboating, canoeing, hiking, swimming, golfing, mountain climbing, horseback riding and spelunking. Visit the many museums, old abandoned historic sites, craft shops and galleries.

    The city of Nelson, the largest centre in the Kootenay region is situated on the west arm of Kootenay Lake offers everything the visitor needs and wants. A Walking Heritage Tour of Nelson will take you to more than 300 buildings of historical value and an interesting way to learn about the city and the surrounding area. Nelson and the many other places along the lake offer excellent accommodations, restaurants, shopping, entertainment and campgrounds for tenting and RV units. Kootenay Lake with many sandy beaches, water access parks and marinas along the shore is truly a large outdoor playground for everyone to enjoy.

    Arrow Lakes:

    The Arrow Lakes owe their present size to the Hugh Keenleyside Dam near Castlegar. Prior to 1969, the Arrow Lakes were two smaller lakes joined by a 32 km. (20 mi.) river. Combined the Upper and Lower Arrow Lakes stretch for 220 km (136 mi.) never getting any wider than two km. (1.2 mi.). This water system running from Revelstoke south to Castlegar, with Kootenay Lake and the Kootenay River, is the main drainage system in this region.

    The area is made up of mountains, valleys and lakes. Scenery is spectacular with snow-covered peaks guarding green lush forests, rushing rivers and long narrow lakes. This is angling country. Lakes large and small are teeming with rainbow and cutthroat trout, Dolly Varden, and kokanee.

    Boating, fishing, swimming, and sunbathing are fun activities on Arrow Lakes. On shore, enjoy golfing, hiking, horseback riding, biking and mountain climbing. Visit the abandoned historic sites, stroll through mining ghost towns, check out the museums, take a helicopter tour, and go backcountry camping in the mountains. Browse through the art galleries and shop the boutiques and craft shops. Finish off the day with a leisurely soaking in one of the hot springs.

    Needles ferryTwo different ferries, a continuation of the highway system, cross Arrow Lakes. The Upper Arrow Lake Ferry travels from Shelter Bay and Galena Bay connecting Highway 23. Cross the Lower Arrow Lake on the Needles Ferry that connects Highway 6.

    The communities lining the Arrow Lakes offer visitors RV and campgrounds, motel and hotel accommodations, cafes and restaurants, quaint pubs and theatres. Also, in the area are BC Provincial Parks with excellent RV camping and tenting facilities. Take a page from the Kootenay country lifestyle and leave the hectic pace behind. Enjoy a boating and fishing holiday at Arrow Lakes and the surrounding region.


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    Boating on British Columbia's Kootenay Lakes