Fishing the lakes and rivers in the Nicola Valley British Columbia Canada.

Merritt Ice Fishing – Fishing Nicola Valley

A Lake A Day As Long As You Stay

A day ice fishing with friends and cousin at Marquart Lake

Merritt Ice Fishing is a great example of why we cherish our year-round fishing destination and winter wonderland. With over 200 lakes to choose from in and around Merritt and the Nicola Valley. We chose Marquart Lake. Who would ever think you would be able to catch a fish through a 10 inch hole and a 12 inch thickness of frozen ice.  I am sure the ice was thicker at some of the lakes higher up the mountains but this lake was perfect for a newbie.

Merritt Ice Fishing Prize of the Day

Cousin Guide Jay with his prize

Merritt Ice Fishing in The Nicola Valley

For one, who has only fished in an open body of water, the anticipation and excitement of trying to catch a fish through a 10 inch hole in 12 inches of thick ice was an experience like no other. Although fishing is is a great outdoor sport that is relaxing and fun, ice fishing is a unique experience adding a whole new dimension to excitement and pleasure. I didn’t exactly get to experience catching a fish myself, on this first ice fishing expedition but I did see evidence, that pulling a fish up through that 10 inch hole is how it works. It is a little difficult to put this experience into words, but I can definitely say this. I can see a healthy addiction blossoming real fast.

Ice Fishing through the hole

The Hole That Holds Anticipation

Let’s Go Fishin’

Jay and Dana my cousin fishing guides picked me up and we were on our way. The weather was overcast and snowing, although beautiful when we arrived at Marquart lake, About 10 minutes east of Merritt, BC. Situated on the Lundbom Lake forestry road.

Once we stopped, the cousin guides took 2 big sleds out of the back of the truck. They started loading it with stuff that made me wonder of we were going fishing for a week. Although they had  filled me in a little about the process of ice fishing. They forgot to tell me about the getting ready part. Like what has to happen before you get to the lake.

2 Sleds of gear for ice fishing

The Cousin Guides, Jay and Dana with 2 sleds of gear.

Answers To The Before Fishing Questions

They started out with. “Don’t let the cold stop you from having a fun filled day of fishing.” Ice fishing is a safe winter sport but it does involve a bit of preparation. All you need is some safety tips and tricks, a bit of basic equipment, some warm gear,  and you’re in business.

First Things First

Along with a fishing license, some minor safety equipment and tips are first on the list. It is important to learn to check the thickness of the ice.  Use a spud bar (a long piece of steel, about 4-5 feet in length with a tapered point at the end,) or an auger to check the thickness. If you are able to hit the ice twice in the same spot with a spud bar and the ice remains solid, you know it will be safe to step on it in that area. If you can break through it, the ice is to thin. Continue testing as you walk out onto it. Don’t ever assume all ice is safe because it can be inconsistent thicknesses throughout the lake. Watch for rotten ice. You can spot rotten ice by its discoloration, cracks, holes and any water flows underneath it may have.

Some basic rules to follow for ice thickness:
  • A minimum of 4 inches for people
  • At least 6 inches for snowmobiles and sleds
  • A minimum of 7-12 inches for light cars
  • At least 14-16 inches for full sized trucks

Bare Bone Gear For Fishing

According to the cousin ice fishing guides you will be needing some unique gear and some gear with a different twist:

  • Ice fishing Rod – 24- to 36-inches will make sense for an ice jigging rod when  you hover over an eight to 10 inch hole in the ice. 
  • Reel – popular ice fishing reels are spinning and inline. Even though spinning reels may be the most common, that doesn’t mean they’re the best. As the inline reels continue to gain ground, they will easily become the go to reel for ice fishing.
  • Rod Holder – Rod holders are a handy little gadget. There are a couple of choices. Some fit conveniently on the rim of a five-gallon bucket. The  stand-alone model  elevates your rod and reel just off the ice for easy positioning over the hole. Try both designs and decide which one best suits you.
  • Lures – Trying to find the fool proof lure is nothing less than a process. You have to try various lures to figure out what will work for you. I was told the three best places to get the lures you need to try or need for Merritt and the Nicola Valley was from Ponderosa Sports , Gun Fishing located in Merritt. Lucky Bug Lures  Products and information can be found in above sporting stores as well as on-line. You will need some hooks, split shot weights and a bobber (optimal).
  • Bait – Worms, Corn, Maggots, Krill, Shrimp.
  • Staple Tackle – line clippers, fish grabbers, pliers, hooks, sinkers, weights etc…

Ice Fishing Must Haves

  • Auger and Ice Scoop – Ice auger is what you use to cut the hole in the ice. Gasoline or battery powered augers takes the physical labor out of hole cutting and allow you to cut more holes than you would by using a hand Auger. Augers come in a variety of sizes to create holes ranging from four inches to 8 inches in diameter or larger. Make sure you have a strainer-type ice scoop, to scoop ice shavings and snow out of the holes.
augers in action in merritt

Cousin Guide Dana checking the ice and drilling a hole

Some Handy Extras

Ice fishing exposes a unique set of weather challenges for both the fisherman and his or her equipment. Let’s just say, ice fishing is one of those sports where preparation is just as important as the action of fishing itself.

  • Ice Fishing Shelter – it’s vital to your comfort, and even your survival, when you’re out in cold for extended periods of time. Of all the gear that you need on an ice fishing adventure, your ice tent may be the most important.
The Nicola Valley Eskimo hut

Cousin Fishing Guide Jay Setting up The House

  • Seat/bucket – Five-gallon buckets are a must piece of equipment. You can use them to carry gear, rest rods, and store your fish. The bucket caps are designed for your seating comfort while you patiently sit and stare at that rod watching for the big hit. The cap also doubles as storage for tackle storage.
  • Propane Heater – When ice fishing, a propane heater is sort of a must-have item for your tent. It takes the chill out of the air and lets you sit and watch that rod in comfort.
  • Comfy Chair – You’re likely going to be sitting for a large part of the day if you’re ice fishing. So your best bet is to choose a chair that is easy to carry, offers custom options when it comes to comfort, is sturdy enough to withstand 200 pounds in weight and can collapse easily for transport.
  • Sled –  An ice fishing sled is often overlooked. Sleds are a rugged and light polyethylene tub designed to haul all of your fishing gear and glide over ice and snow. Pick a size that should be able to  carry everything you need to go fishing. You might need 2 but 1 should be good if you choose the right size.

Electronics for Ice Fishing

One of the advantages to having fishing electronics is to help you find fish faster and mark hotspots for future trips. Having the cream of the crop equipment on the ice makes for a more comfortable, successful on the ice/water.

  • Fish and Depth Finder – Knowing how to use a fish finder for ice fishing is an essential part of your electronic gear. The first step is keeping the hole free of slush and finding bottom by using your depth finder. After you find bottom, slowly drop your lure down the hole. You should be able to find and see your lure as you slowly lower the lure. As you continue to lower the lure further down the water column, it will be easier to find. Reason being the depth-finder cone angle widens as the depth of the water increases. One advantage to using a sonar while ice fishing is you can move until you find or see fish. You are not going to catch fish that are not below you. Fishing without a Fish Finder is like looking for the needle in the haystack.
  • Underwater Fish Camera – An underwater fish camera is an essential tool to be able to  get a full picture of your fishing conditions. Underwater fishing cameras are great for ice fishing. Giving you a real-time video of fish and terrain, they also provide a better view of the lake bottom, including weed beds, and any fish swimming by. 
Reading the depth finder

Using the Fish Finder Checking Depth of Water and looking for fish

Dressing For The Fish

One thing I figured out real quick is that Mother Nature isn’t one of the most hospitable hosts I’ve ever come across. Assuming I was dressed pretty warm with a few layers. I was starting to freeze in about 3 hours. This encouraged me to do some investigating about exactly how to dress for ice fishing.

Cousin Guide Jay said, “Who do you think you’re dressing for? The fish don’t hold fashion shows.”

keeping warm fishing

Dressing for the ice fishing occasion

Ice Fishing Dressing Tips

  • Base Layers – Base layers keep your bodies warmth close to the skin. Long underwear is the most basic base layer and works fine. New advanced fabric base layers are lightweight and very thermally efficient.
  • Outer wear – Despite fishing from an ice shelter. Proper pants and jackets are important,  The best ice fishing jackets and pants are Insulated, windproof, and waterproof. 
  • Headwear – At minimum, you should wear a quality stocking hat. Even better are fur or fleece lined hats with ear flaps. Balaclavas are even better, as they have complete face and neck coverage.
  • Gloves – Fingers need protection from the cold and wind. Ice fishing gloves are waterproof, and have flip open finger covers to make dealing with fishing line easier. Gloves that have wrist coverage and can slide up underneath your jacket sleeves are ideal.
  • Boots – Insulated, waterproof boots are best for ice fishing. Keeping your feet warm is key to keeping the rest of you warm.
The End Of The First Merritt Ice Fishing Experience

Ice fishing is definitely a magical, social, exciting fun filled adventure that tends to get overlooked as a winter activity. Up until now I didn’t have a clue about ice fishing. This experience has opened my eyes to what a healthy, natural outdoor sport it is. A simple sport that you don’t need a boat for and little gear to get started. While this is true at the beginning, I can see adding the bells and whistles as you get hooked on ice fishing.

With Merritt having A Lake A Day As Long As You Stay it is inevitable that Merritt, BC is an Ice Fishing Destination.

Fishing Contest – Enter before March 30th, 2021

Ice Fishing Contest - Wes David ice fishing with Wes David

ICE FISHING PHOTO CONTEST
Win a $100 Gift Certificate for fishing gear and an opportunity for your photo to be used showcasing our Nicola Valley ice fishing season on the Fishing the Wild West TV Show with Wes David (30+ Million Viewers).
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Outdoor Winter Activities

Adventures for the Family in the Nicola Valley

Winter activities enjoyed by all 

We in the Nicola Valley enjoy our outdoor winter activities despite the dark colder days of winter. Albeit, Canadian winter’s can be long and enduring. Although with a bit of incentive everyone can enjoy a winter day like no other.  Beating the winter blues with outdoor winter activities in the Nicola Valley.

Winter Outdoor Activities

Nicola Valley. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Outdoor Winter Activities Like Footprint Tag

Play tag as you normally would…but stepping only in others’ footprints. It should be noted to not have Bigfoot play with you. A slight size advantage there right? As a night time game, we would suggest using glow sticks or flashlights so it makes it even more challenging and interesting. 

Foot print tag. Photo courtesy of Sheldon Quewezance.

Night time tag or hide n seek! Photo by Tania Stewart.

Golfing in the Winter Snow 

Snow golf anyone? Take some time to smooth out a fairway and a green. Take an open can and plant it in the snow. This becomes the whole in one shot! Make sure to color your golf balls and tee’s. Truly easier to find in the snow. Indeed this is how we do golfing during Canadian Winters.

Winter Bocce Ball 

Bocce ball Covid style. Say what! How cool is this to play in the snow.  Bocce ball sets can be found at local Canadian Tire. Truly a ton of laughter will be heard.  

merrittBC

Bocce Ball.

Outdoor Curling Rink?

Due to Covid19 many avid curlers are without a rink to go to. Build a rink in your own back yard or on a lake. Come together as a family and throw some rocks. Good time safe bubble sport with social distancing. 

outdoorwinteractivities.

Outdoor curling rink. Photo courtesy of Pixel.

Other Winter Outdoor Activities

Go on a winter photo scavenger hunt.  This is how you start. Take a picture of an outside recognizable feature. Within the agreed radius. Each participant sends picture to all participants and the hunt is on to locate feature. Clearly it could be a tree or a street name, or even a snowman down the road. Importantly it is an outdoor adventure that is full of fun. Furthermore this winter outdoor activity could include you community. Social distancing while connecting and having fun. Winner’s photo will be shared on social media. 

Winter Outdoor Activities.

Scavenger Hunt. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Merrittwinteractivities.

Winter Games. Photo by Tania Stewart.

Outdoor Winter Activities for the Whole Family in the Nicola Valley.

Build a snowman or snow fort. How about a snowball fun fight? Round up your neighbors and have a friendly winter competition. Divide and conquer. Snowball fight bring it on! Follow up the fun with a creamy hot chocolate and a backyard winter BBQ.  

 

Feeling Artistic?

Host a snow sculpture competition within your neighborhood. Firstly find some  judges. Snowmen consist of three large snowballs of different sizes with some additional goodies for facial and other features. Common accessories include branches for arms and a rudimentary smiley face, with a carrot used for a nose. Clothing, such as a hat or scarf, may also be included for all!​

Winter Beauty is ours to enjoy! Photo from Tania Stewart.

More Outdoor Winter Activities

Ice fishing is considered one of the most recognized  Canadian winter activities. While some fishermen prefer to stay out in the open, most prefer a shelter.  Equally some people like to go big with luxury fish shacks that have heaters, stoves, beds and even T.V’s. My idea of ice fishing! Experience ice fishing in the Nicola Valley.

Ice Fishing

Ice Fishing Nicola Valley.

merritt ice fishing

Enjoy the solitude ice fishing in the Nicola Valley. Photo by Greg Girard.

There are numerous small lakes that are pure gems for ice fishing enthusiasts. Connect with the great outdoors and spend quality time with friends and family while on your Nicola Valley Ice Fishing Adventure. Safety first when you head out on the ice.

Ice skating and Pond Hockey.

Ice skating is truly a Canadian winter activity. Whether being a backyard rink or a frozen pond. Many Canadians can proudly say they spent many a winter days learning to skate and play on outdoor rinks. Apart from the usual sport, how about elevating it. Alternatively adding “Bowling” into pond skating. Set up some pin’s and bowl with skates on. Keep score and have a bawl with this. 

Merritt Cross Country Skiing 

Truly  cross-country skiing is one of the best ways to enjoy a crisp winter day. The Nicola Valley offer’s superb trails. Cross country skiing in the Nicola Valley starts and ends on the Kane Valley xc ski trails. With over  50 kilometers of groomed trails ideal for wilderness Nordic skiing. Consequently, the trails are well marked with signage, decorated with shelters (warming huts) and there are washrooms on site too.

merritt cross country skiing - kane valley

Cross country skiing on the Kane Valley Trails. Photo by Greg Girard

“First of all remember these 2 words – Kane Valley. That is all you have to do to get your next xc ski fix in the Nicola Valley.” Greg Girard.

Additionally, there is also sledding, snow tubing, snowshoeing, fat biking and winter hiking, as well as, stargazing. Merritt BC offers some of the best stargazing without big city light pollution. Truly ideal to stargaze. Each year the Merritt Astronomical Society hosts a large and roomy Star Party.  

Perfect Stargazing outside Merritt BC.

Snowshoeing 

Snowshoeing is the new winter hiking. Utilizing and exploring the same summer trails. Equally provides a winter perspective to the scenery. Lastly, snowshoeing trails are available in the Kane Valley region of the Nicola Valley. Plan a day picnic while  snowshoeing within Merritt’s beautiful backcountry. 

merritt snowshoeing

What a great day to go winter snowshoeing in Merritt. Photo by Pixel Bay

While there is always “Skijoring”

Skijoring,  is a winter sport that originates in Scandinavia, where it has been practiced for centuries. Laplander’s skied on Nordic skis holding the reins attached to reindeer. Subsequently by the mid 1950’s, skijoring found its way to North America. This time ranchers would attach a long rope to the saddle horn while being pulled on ski’s down a straight-away. Important to note the rider determines the pace and route for the skijoring adventure, while the skier attempts to hold on. Extreme maybe? Fun is what I  would say!

Horse Skiing. Photo “YouTube”

 
In Conclusion it is “Fun”

Despite the dark colder days. Nerveless we can all enjoy outdoor winter activities, especially when living in the Nicola Valley. Albeit Canadian winter’s can be long and enduring. Although with a bit of incentive everyone can enjoy a winter day like no other. Who is to say we can not enjoy summer activities during winter months. Playing summer games during the winter months can be hilarious as well as a lot of fun.  Ideally the point is to get outside with family and friends and have a lot of fun with a barrel full of laughs. And if feeling really brave try out Big Foot tracking. Enjoy all activities outdoors during our winter months in the Nicola Valley.

Winter Outdoor Activities.

Big Foot Tracking in the Nicola Valley. Photo Tania Stewart.

Merritt, BC, Canada

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Paska Lake is camping near Merritt BC

Paska Lake – Shirley Reynolds Photo

Camping Near Merritt BC Canada

Paska Lake is a good reason to come camping near Merritt BC

“Paska Lake is just one of almost two hundred lakes that are within an hours drive from Merritt. This is one of the reasons I love living in Merritt.”

I have talked about Camping near Merritt BC before where I outlined the pleasures of camping in the Kane Valley at Harmon Lake. This time we will travel 45 minutes north of Merritt to Paska Lake.  You will find the turn off to the lake on Hwy 97D between Lac Lejeune and Logan Lake.  You will travel up a narrow road that could use a few of the potholes filled.  However the travel is well worth it like most lakes when camping near Merritt BC.

The Forestry Site is Magnificent for Camping near Merritt, BC

This forestry site is on a gentle hillside and contains around 50 sites.  Each site is easy to back into and gives you stunning views of the lake.  When we arrived we were lucky to find a lakeside site available which we grabbed right a way.  The view was exquisite from this vantage point.

camping near merritt bc

campsite view -Tom Reynolds photo

Camping Near Merritt,BC- Bring on the Birds

Geese Familu

Geese Family – Shirley Reynolds Photo

One of our favourite activities is to watch for the various birds in our area.  However, we are not birders and therefore could not necessarily name all those birds that we noticed.  Having said that, we had no difficulty in naming the Canadian geese that were hanging around the lake shore.  This lovely family came by our site every morning at the same time.

The loons were too far out to get their picture but we enjoyed watching them dive and then trying to guess where they would show up.  I am amazed at how far they can travel under water.  Their haunting sound reminds you that you are not in the big city any more.

You can’t beat the food when camping 

The best part about camping is the food.  For some reason everything just seems to taste better outdoors.  For example, one of our go to breakfasts is blueberry pancakes.  It seems like the berries are fresh picked.  Bacon is tasty wherever it is served but is still better when camping.

Breakfast is part of camping near merritt bc

Breakfast at camp – Shirley Reynolds Photo

Biking while camping near Merritt, BC

One of my favourite activities when I go camping is to go for a spin on my bike.  The Paska Lake area has lots of trails and logging roads to explore.  However, this trip I decided to tour the little community just down the road from our campsite.

Since I am now in my seventies I find riding my bike uphill has become a real chore.  However, my friend Travis Fehr at Breathe Bikes came up with the perfect solution. He turned my bike into an electric bike by installing an e-bike system.  Now I don’t care about hills anymore because my new system assists with the hills.

Tom's bike

Tom’s electric bike – Tom Reynolds photo

With my electric assist on I was a able to pedal from the lakeside up to the road with ease.  Around a kilometre from the campground is a group of cottages.  While cottages are disappearing, to be replaced with monster houses, this area still has the classic cottage.

Classic Cottage

Classic cottage-Shirley Reynolds Photo

Other Activities at Paska Lake

This lake is great for swimming.  I was surprised that the lake temperature was actually decent considering it is a high mountain lake.  Anyway, the kids in the campsite next to us spent a lot of time in the water.

Of course camping near Merritt, BC would not be complete without fishing.  There is nothing better than rainbow trout done on the grill.

When we were there the weather was perfect for kayaking as there was no wind. We were able to travel around the lake with ease.

Camping near Merritt, BC is endless,

Paska Lake is just one of almost two hundred lakes that are within an hours drive from Merritt.  This is one of the reasons I love living in Merritt.  If you can’t be as lucky as I am you can always come and spend a little time in the Nicola Valley on your holidays.  Once you do you will want to come back again and again.

Camping Near Merritt, BC

Adventures of Paska Lake

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Hiking Merritt, BC

Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park

A Walk in the Park

 

I have talked about hiking near Merritt, BC before but focused on the trail network within the City of Merritt. Therefore this time I want to take you further afield to Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park.  Our park destination is a mere 20 to 30 minute drive from downtown depending on traffic. (Just kidding, there is no traffic in Merritt).  Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park is located off highway 5A just passed Aspen Grove.

Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park

Colours of Kentucky Lake-Tom Reynolds Photo

Kentucky Lake-Hiking Trail near Merritt, BC  

I have chosen this trail because it is relatively easy.  However, those who are looking for a greater challenge you can check out a book by local author, Murphy Shewchuk,  Coquihalla Trips and Trails.

For this 4 kilometre hike near Merritt, BC you can choose which way you wish to hike around Kentucky Lake.   You can take the trail from the parking lot which will take you clockwise around the lake.

South East Trail Head

Trail Head for Clockwise Travel-Tom Reynolds Photo

However if you wish to go the other way – counter clockwise – you have to walk into the campground and head over to the boat launch where there is another trail head.

 

Trail Head South West

Trail Head South West-Tom Reynolds Photo

This hiking Trail near Merritt, BC is for the whole family

The hike is generally considered fairly easy as it follows along the lake shore and there are not many hills.  However, the recent windstorms this Spring knocked down a lot of trees that are covering the trail.  We noticed that the Parks crew have been working hard and have removed most of the fallen trees from the trail.  Having said that, there are still one or two that require circumventing.  As long as you have decent foot wear you should be OK.

 

Tree Across Trail

Tree Across Trail-Tom Reynolds Photo

sky through forest

Sky through Forest-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

In some sections of the trail there is a rainforest like feel as the trees are much larger than in other areas of the trail. Take the opportunity to do some sky gazing and look up during your hike and take notice of just how tall some of the tress are.   

Walking in Forest

Walking in Forest-Tom Reynolds Photo

This is a great example of how easy the trail is.  While coats and hats were needed on this day because it was cool.  Normally summer temperatures are more conducive to shorts and T-shirts

End of Trail

This is the end of the trail-Tom Reynolds Photo

This is the trail that takes you back to the parking lot.  In other words, this is the end of the hike

What to look out for when hiking near Merritt, BC

When you are walking the trail around Kentucky Lake you will not find flowers as prolific as those in the alpine meadows but there is still beauty in what you will see such as mushrooms, saskatoon bushes, Arnica and Indian Pint Brush to name a few.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms Tom Reynolds Photo

Saskatoon Bush

Saskatoon Bush-Tom Reynolds

Arnica

Arnica-Tom Reynolds Photo

Indian Paint Brush

Indian Paint Brush-Tom Reynolds P

Besides hiking near Merritt, BC you can do these things

One of the favourite things to do is fish.

fishing at the lake

Fishing at the lake–Tom Reynolds photo

 

These people are enjoying fishing from an outcrop.  The colour of the lake is spectacular. The kids have their own lake for fishing.  This little lake is close to the campground.

 

Kids Fishing hole

Kids fishing hole-Tom Reynolds Photo

Camper Van

Camper Van-Tom Reynolds Photo

 

This camper van is situated close to the lake trail. Most of the sites are typical provincial sites with lots of room and trees.

 

Kids Playing

Kids Playing–Tom Reynolds Photo

 

Not all the fun is on the lake.  As you can see these kids are having a great time going through the culvert.  This is not a great activity for spring time.  Guess why?

Hiking near Merritt is unlimited.  I will be providing more hikes in the near future.  Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park is the home of this hike. You can check out the website and see that the park offers other activities besides hiking.  For example, you can swim , fish, canoe, kayak or check out the natural environment.  Whatever you choose you are sure to have fun day.

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Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park

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Merritt BC Outdoor Activities Covid 19 Style 

Social Distancing Outdoor Activities with Family & Friends in The Nicola Valley

Here are 5 outdoor activities in the Nicola Valley to be enjoyed while physical distancing

 

Merritt BC outdoor Activities throughout the Nicola Valley and in Merritt BC Canada. As a result of Covid19 we have spent months on end in our homes. Undoubtedly this is trying on the nerves and sanity. However, there is a glimmer of hope as Canada B.C is restarting the economy and loosening the travel restrictions. Now, with safety and respect in mind, we can now enjoy certain activities. Therefore here are “5” Activities we can all enjoy while safe distancing Covid19 Style around Merritt BC.  The following activities can be enjoyed during the upcoming summer and fall!

Merritt BC Outdoor Activity 1 : Horseback Riding 

Click for a complete list of horseback riding ranches, tours and guides in the Nicola Valley

Absolutely one of my favourite outdoor activities! Truly practicing social distancing while being outdoors taking in the beautiful “Nicola Valley”. Could it get any better than this! Playing cowboy / cowgirl in the wilderness backcountry of British Columbia. There are many options when it comes to horseback riding in the Nicola Valley.

Merritt BC Outdoor Activities

Horseback riding with our friends at AP Ranch. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

Exploring the Nicola Valley on Horseback

Horseback riding is great exercise for the horse, and somewhat for yourself. The Merritt adventure offers a number of health and fitness benefits including the development of leg muscles, as well as, improving balance & posture. Most importantly, horseback riding reduces stress and refreshes your inner self. That is my take on the healthy benefits of horseback riding in the Nicola Valley. 

Outdoor Activities Covid19 Style. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

“What better way to enjoy the wilderness” Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

 

Outdoor Activities Covid19 Style in Merritt BC.

Riding with a friend, Experience Nicola Valley Blogger Melvina White. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

Merritt BC Outdoor Activity 2: Lake Fishing

Click for a complete list of fishing resorts in the Nicola Valley

It should be noted that the Nicola Valley boast’s some of the best fishing in the World! There are over 200+ lakes in the region. Many are prime lake fishing destinations. Some are even ideal ice fishing destinations as well during the winter season. During the spring, summer and fall,  Corbett Lake Lodge is one of the fishing resorts and lodges in the Nicola Valley. 

Outdoor Activities Covid19 Style

Corbett Lake Lodge, Merritt BC. Photo courtesy of  Corbett Lake Lodge.

Fishing Outfitter Store in Merritt BC     

Whether you are looking to catch that elusive “Big One” or just trolling, enjoying the outdoors, dropping some lures in a lake or riverbed.  But stuff happens! Oh no… you forgot your favourite fishing lure. Maybe the fish are biting but you do not have the right fly? Or the scorching sun is so hot, you need a good fishing hat? What ever your fishing needs drop into Ponderosa Sports downtown Merritt BC.  The outfitter shop specializes in trout flies & lures, and much more! 

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For that “Big One”. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

 

Outdoor Activities Covid19 Style

Everything you may need. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

“Best” Fishing Holes

Many arrive in the valley to fish… but where to fish is the biggest challenge? We do have over 200+ lakes. One place to start is researching using the most complete and largest Nicola Valley adventure website. Once you have your bearings than check out some of the fishing experiences on this blog site. Last, but not least, ask a local or contact us.  First hand information as well as the right lures are essential.  

Merritt BC Outdoor Activity 3 & 4 : Camping & Water Sports

(kayaking, canoeing, boating and swimming)

For a complete list of kayak and canoe activities in the Nicola Valley  and for paddle boarding too

Without a doubt “The Nicola Valley” offers some of the best lakes for every avid outdoors person. The valley is home to so many water activities for all ages. Come visit the valley for a day of fun or a week or two of camping in Merritt at one of our privately operated campgrounds or at one of our forestry wilderness campsites.  

“My favourite spot for camping in Merritt BC Canada, Harmon Lake in the Kane Valley,” Experience Nicola Valley Blogger Tom Reynolds

 

merritt bc camping

Harmon Lake. Photo courtesy of Experience Nicola Valley Blogger  Tom Reynolds.

Outdoor Activities Covid19 StyleMerritt BC.

We also have a beautiful Provincial Campground Park located 22 kms north of the community of Merritt, BC, Canada. The park? The park is called Monck Park

The Nicola Valley Provincial Park offers a wide assortment of recreational activities including camping, picnicking, swimming, fishing, boating, water-skiing, wind-surfing and hiking.

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Summer Boating can u beat it? Photo courtesy Tania Stewart.

Merritt kayaking

Kayaking on Lundbom Lake. Photo courtesy Tania Stewart.

 

Absolutely Beautiful Alleyne!

Nicolavalleycovid19

Alleyne Lake. Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart.

Merritt BC Outdoor Activity 5: Mountain Biking

Merritt Mountain Biking Association 

Located here in the Nicola Valley, the Merritt Mountain Biking Association is truly a great resource for mountain biking when you have arrived in the community.   Incidentally one of their primary goals is advocating for long term trail access by working with Government and community groups. Consequently, the MMBA was one of the first groups in the province to have an agreement with the crown to manage the trails they ride.  Get a hold of Jordan Pinto for more information. And dare to ride! 

 

Photo courtesy of  Jordan Pinto.

“Our intentions are to make the riding in the Nicola Valley a great experience,” Jordan Pinto.

Watch Video 

Filmed by Jordan Pinto going down the “Willow”

In Conclusion

Physical distancing refers to staying away from group gatherings and large public spaces where a virus can be easily spread, and keeping a distance of around two metres. Moreover we all must practice safety and “Wash your Hands”. Even though our country is opening up again, we all need to stay aware while enjoying our outdoor activities we love so much. Play safe. Play often. 

 

Merritt BC Outdoor Activities in the Nicola Valley

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

FLY FISHING IN MERRITT AT CORBETT LAKE LODGE 

Nicola Valley Corbett Lake Lodge Adventures

BC FLY FISHING AT ITS FINEST

 

Fly Fishing in Merritt at Corbett Lake Lodge is truly a great fishing experience. In the early 1940’s, the Grandby Consolidated Mining Corporation established the lodge as a worker retreat.  At that time the lake was not much more than a pond that was fed by underground springs.  But with the creation of a dam the pond grew to be the great lake it is today.

merritt bc fly fishing

Fishing Corbett Lake in Merritt BC – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

FLY FISHING IN MERRITT HISTORY 

The Merritt BC Canada lodge was purchased by Peter McVey, the dean of fly fishing in the Nicola Valley.  Peter built a solid reputation for fishing at his lodge.  As a result people have come from all over the world to experience this resort.  Peter not only looked after the nuts and bolts of the resort, he was the chef in the restaurant which also added to the notoriety of his establishment. If you ask nicely he would bring out his guitar and have a little song to sing.  

Peter McVey - Corbett Lake Lodge fishing

Peter McVey – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

NEW OWNERS

In 2013 Peter sold the resort to new owners.  Luckily Peter made sure the buyers were able to maintain the integrity of the resort. Not only did the new owners want to maintain Peter’s legacy, they have taken steps to improve the resort in many areas.

FLY FISHING IN MERRITT AT CORBETT LAKE LODGE IS UNBEATABLE

Corbett Lake Lodge has  a very solid reputation.  Just read what this blogger had to say, (you will have to scroll down the article to find the story). Also in 2016, Canadian Fly Fishing Championships were hosted, in part, at the lodge. The North American and Canadian Championships were scheduled for this year.  Not to mention, the American Loch Style Championships were held at the lodge in 2017, 2018 and 2019.  All these events clearly showing the quality of fishing in the lake.  You can’t beat the fishing at Corbett Lake Lodge near Merritt, BC

WATCH VIDEO

“Today Corbett Lake takes care to maintain Peter’s legacy of great fishing, fabulous food and endearing hospitality”– Ann Thomson — Manager, Corbett Lake Lodge.

North American Loch Style Championships-Fly fishing at Corbett Lake Lodge

North American Loch Style Championships – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

great rainbow trout fishing

Fishing in Merritt with Corbett Lake Lodge Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

THE FACILITIES HAVE RUSTIC CHARM

From the main lodge to the cabins there is much to appreciate. The main lodge has a great sitting area with a beautiful stone fireplace where you can relax, tell your fish stories or read a good book.  There is a dining area for serving meals and for entertaining at events. The resort continues to upgrade the facilities to improve the comfort of their guests.

Fishing Cabins at Corbett Lake Lodge

Cabins at Corbett Lake Lodge  – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

Cabin bedroom

Cabin Bedroom – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Lodge Fireplace

The Lodge Fireplace – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

Merritt cozy eating spot

Cozy eating spot – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO AT CORBETT LAKE LODGE NEAR MERRITT, BC

Whereas fishing is the main attraction at this resort near Merritt, BC, there are many activities you can do to have a great time.  Make it a relaxing retreat reading, star gazing and/or lounging around doing nothing? If this sounds like you then grab your lawn chair, book and favourite beverage and head down to the lake shore.

Perhaps painting is your thing? If so just bring your easel and paints and Corbett Lake Lodge will provide the scenery. 

Throw your canoe or kayak on your back and explore the shoreline, and photograph the birds and other creatures.  Just remember to respect the fisherman and stay clear of  their areas.

merritt bc fishing

Artists At Corbett Lake Lodge, BC – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

Eagle at Corbett Lake

Eagle at Corbett Lake – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

Turtles at Corbett lake Lodge, BC

Turtles at Corbett lake Lodge, BC – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

 

EATING IS THE BEST AT CORBETT LAKE LODGE NEAR MERRITT, BC

gourmet dinner

Gourmet dinner – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

The meals are nothing sort of sensational. Many dishes use fresh locally sourced ingredient.  

The dining room

The dining room – Photo courtesy of Corbett Lake Lodge

PROXIMITY TO OTHER ADVENTURES

The nice thing about Corbett Lake Lodge is that it is close to several other areas that are worth a visit.  For example, just around the corner is Kane Valley where your options are wide open.  You can try more fishing on several lakes in the area.  Harmon Lake is my favourite. There are 55 KM of snowshoe trails which are excellent for hiking or mountain biking.  The back country logging roads in the area provide safe ATV riding. 

The Forestry Ministry has campgrounds at Kane Lake and Harmon Lake.  The Harmon East Campground not only provides camping, it is the trail head  to the Forestry Interpretive Hiking Trail where you can learn more about the local flora and fauna.

If you’re looking for some urban activity, take the fifteen minute trip to the booming metropolis of Merritt, BC. (population 7,200)

 KEEP YOU COMING FOR FLY FISHING IN MERRITT AT CORBETT LAKE LODGE 

 

WATCH VIDEO

In addition to fly fishing in Merritt at the Corbett Lake Lodge, they host and cater to reunions, weddings, corporate retreats and many local events.  

FLY FISHING IN MERRITT AT CORBETT LAKE LODGE IN THE NICOLA VALLEY

Nicola Valley Fishing Resorts


Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Camping in Merritt BC and the Nicola Valley

Harmon Lake in the Kane Valley

My favourite spot for camping in Merritt BC Canada

I have talked about camping in Merritt BC and the Nicola Valley before but this time I want to introduce you to one of my top spots – Harmon Lake in the Kane Valley.  I know we have shifted into winter and camping is probably not high on your list of things to do, but I need to get this down on paper now so you can file this under–“remember for camping season” 

What do you like to do when camping in Merritt BC?

We like to start our day with a delicious breakfast.  There is nothing better than eating pancakes with homemade blueberry syrup and bacon beside a beautiful lake while camping in Merritt BC and the Nicola Valley! Scrambled eggs and gourmet sausages are pretty good too.

Camping in Merritt BC

Great Breakfast With Family

Post breakfast activities

After breakfast we grabbed our bikes and headed out on a little trip along Kane Valley Road.  There are many lakes to see on this road with wild life on either side, especially birds for people who are into this activity.  Bikes can also be used on the 55 kilometers of x-country ski trails with the added bonus of picnic tables and pit toilets in various places along the trail.  These facilities are not maintained in the summer so please be kind to your fellow adventurers and leave the places clean.

Merritt BC Camping

Game night while camping

We interspersed our activities with some serious reading and outstanding meals.  As well, we filled in our night time with Board Games and sitting around the fire.

Nicola Valley campfires

Nicola Valley Campfires and stories

“There is nothing like sitting around the campfire and reading a good book”–Andrea Reynolds

How to get to Harmon Lake in Merritt

From Merritt, BC you take the Okanagan Connector (Hwy 97C) towards Kelowna for approximately 14 kilometers.  You will see the sign for Harmon Lake (if you missed that sign look for the x-country ski sign–it will get you to the same place). Make the right turn onto Kane Valley Rd and follow it approximately  8 kilometers.  At this point you have a decision to make.  On the left you will see the entrance to the east campground.  If you stay on Kane Valley Rd for about 800 meters you will come to the West Campground. (link to map)

experiencemerritt

Heading west 

The west campground in my mind is prettier than the east campground and the sites are further apart.  The down side is that it can be windier than its counterpart.  The east side has more amenities such as the boat launch, the campground host, access to the lake and hiking trails.

What you need when you are camping at Harmon Lake

My family prefers non motorized activities and so we bring our bikes, kayaks and hiking boots

Harmon Lake in Merritt adventures

If you like motorized vehicles there are plenty of places to use your ATV, dirt bike or fishing boat with a small motor.

Harmon Lake in Merritt BC

Looking out from the shoreline trail at Harmon Lake

Hiking in the Kane Valley

Hiking is one of our favourite things to do.  The easiest hike is the shoreline trail that takes you around the lake.  One of the bonuses of this hike is that it is located in a Forestry Recreational Area. It has an interpretive site that provides a lot of information on the eco systems of the lake area.  This is an easy hike and takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

There are 55 kilometers of ski trails with varying levels of difficulty.  They all provide a great forest experience. Times of these hikes vary with length and difficulty.

Kayaking on Harmon Lake

Harmon is great for this activity.  The lake is small so you are usually not far from any edge of the lake so you really don’t have to worry about falling in the Lake!  It is a beautiful lake but it seems even prettier when you are looking on shore from your Kayak

Kayaking in Merritt BC

Cruising on Harmon lake

When all is said and done it is easy to see why one of my favourite places to camp in Merritt and the Nicola Valley is Harmon Lake.

Harmon Lake is camping in Merritt BC

Nicola Valley Campgrounds

Great places to go camping in the Nicola Valley.

Some great camp sites around Merritt.

Never a lack of things to do while out camping in the Nicola Valley.

Camping in the Nicola Valley is by far one of the best pass times in the spring, summer and fall.

You can start by checking all the provincial and forestry camp sites. There is a great map to look at and see what they have available at each. You can take a look at the interactive map from Ministry of Forests. From there it would be easy to decide on which site has what you are looking for in terms of hookups, power, showers, lake , fishing hiking etc.

I have done this a couple times and it can be very convenient. I may decide to do this again one day. But right now I prefer a little more rustic way of camping in the Nicola Valley. It opens up so many more options and places that you can go.

Provincial Camp sites.

Some great provincial campsites around the Merritt area include Kentucky Alleyne. Located off of highway 5A between Merritt and Princeton. There are some great hiking trails, fishing and geocaching. There is also a great kids pond between the two lakes where children can fish in the stocked trout pond.

fishing kentucky lake

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Another great site is Monk park on the north west side of Nicola Lake. There is also great fishing here and if you have a boat you can get out into the deeper channels to fish. Rainbow, and kokanee are among the fish you can catch in Nicola Lake. You can get there by following highway 5 from Merritt towards Quilchena. Then take the Monk Park turn off just before the Nicola Lake dam.

fishing Nicola Lake

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

More rustic camping in the Nicola Valley.

There are plenty of great forestry campsites through out the Nicola Valley as well. Some of them include Tyner, Boss, Shea, Davis, Kane, Lundbom, Marquart and so many more. Each of these lakes has it’s own pro’s. There are usually quite nice set ups for camping at all of these forestry sites and each lake has good fishing, trails and an abundance of wildlife.

Lundbom is a great place to camp for those who love to take their horses along. There are corrals and some great trails and open range land. Makes for an amazing camping trip.

Rustic Camping

We usually just drive to a nice spot in the bush by a lake and camp. No power, no hookups, no water. Sometimes we are not sure if our trailer will make it in but we do. If for some reason the road it not safe to take the trailer we will take the tent.

camping Helmer Lake

Photo Credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Our trailer is always loaded with food.

We always bring our own water, propane, battery or solar lights. We even make a portable out house. And last camping trip we lined the path to the outhouse with solar lights. It was great.

camp at Rey Lake

Photo Credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Canoeing, kayaking and boating

All of these lakes would be great to take your canoe, kayak, boat, belly boat or even pontoon boat. They are all easy to access. There are so many lakes close to these lakes as well so you can travel a short distance to a new lake and a new experience.

Loons

We love going fishing to catch our dinner or just catch and release. It’s all about getting out and enjoying the day. One lake we go to has a resident loon that will come and try to steal the fish right from the side of your boat or belly boat. You have to be very careful and keep a watch or your fish will either get taken or have some pretty good marks in it from the loon’s beak. It is quite exciting and kind of scary at the same time. You can get some great photos of the loon though. 

loon wanting to steal fish

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Eagles

I remember another lake where you had to be careful as the resident bald eagle likes to come and steal the fish right off your line. Have to keep your eyes open and reel like crazy to get the fish in before the eagle steals it. It makes me laugh every time I think about it.

We are seriously so lucky to have what we have in our back yard. I remember setting up camp one summer and just going back and forth to work right from camp.

Bruce the Spruce

I have to tell you a fantastic little story about Bruce the spruce grouse. While out driving around, there is one road we always take to see what wildlife we can capture. Once particular day when we stopped at our normal corner I heard a grouse. I started to call it to see if it would come closer and what do you know. This grouse came right out strutting his stuff. He would follow me and even the truck for a little ways up the road. 

NO WAY!!!

On our way back down I didn’t see the grouse again but told my boyfriend to stop and I would try calling him again. My boyfriend said no way is it going to come back again. I got out of the truck and started to call “Bruce…come on Bruce where are you” Well, wholly crap. Here comes Bruce strutting his stuff again. We couldn’t believe our eyes. I got a few more photo’s before heading home for the day.

Week Later

Thinking there is no possible way Bruce would still be there I decided to take my daughter for a ride up the road a week later. I needed some better photo’s. The ones I took the first time were not as good as I wanted. We got to the corner and I got out. My daughter must have though me to me crazy to be calling a grouse. “Bruce, come on Bruce, where are you” My daughter was just floored as out of the bush comes Bruce the Spruce. I got some better pictures this time. Had a little visit and left for home.

When my boyfriend got home and I started to tell him that Bruce was still there. My boyfriends daughters were listening couldn’t believe that I was calling this grouse in. I let them know that we would go out again as soon as we could so they could also see.

Couple weeks after that

It wasn’t until a couple weeks later that we got to head out again. I thought for sure this time Bruce would be gone. But he was still there and came out when I called him. My step-daughters thought it was the craziest thing. I also thought it was pretty wild how this grouse would come out when I called it. He was there and kept coming out for about a month and a half. We would go up and visit for a while and get some photo’s and a couple video’s. 

I am not sure what ever happened to Bruce but he finally did disappear. It was a sad day when I went to see him and when I called he no longer came. I can only hope that he just moved on.

Gardening

I was pretty much ready to start planting a garden out there. Although we were back and forth I did plant some potato’s and lettuce. Our trailer stayed out there from April until the first snow in October. It was the best summer I have ever had. I think  this year I will bring some planters out and have a bit of a container garden. 

Property

Now we live on property and I thought by having property I wouldn’t want to go camping in the Nicola Valley anymore. So I started to get animals to sustain us on our own land. Well, I was wrong. I miss camping in the Nicola Valley. Quading, fishing  going on hikes from out in the bush some where. There is absolutely nothing like it. I love being able to see all the amazing wildlife when I am camping in the Nicola Valley.

bull moose calf

Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

New places to explore

Usually we always camped at Helmer Lake. Unfortunately there was a bad flood that took out most of the camp sites as well as the road. Forestry has not fixed it for the past 3 years. So on to new and exciting places.

We decided to sell all the animals so we can do some serious exploring again. Some of the lakes that we are looking forward to checking out this year are forestry camp sites. But that’s okay. I am looking forward to picking fresh berries and catching my supper again.

Can’t wait to share with you all what I have experienced over the spring, summer and fall and which ones we love. There are so many places to check out when you go camping in the Nicola Valley. Some you may have heard about. Some maybe you haven’t. I will tell you about all of the ones I visit and what I see and experience at each.

Take Care

Please take care of our country so that others may also enjoy it for generations to come.

I would like you to make a promise. When you go into the back country please, leave it like you were never there.  Always make sure your camp fire is out before you leave. If you see someone else has left a mess behind, please make an effort to clean it up then make a note and message me at Experience Nicola Valley. I will make a point to go back and see if there is anything else I can do. Thank you all so much. 

Great places to go camping in the Nicola Valley.

Winter Activities around Merritt, BC

Merritt, not just for summer

There is no better way to spend a winter day than to get out and enjoy what there is to offer with your family.

There are so many winter activities around Merritt BC. You don’t have to wait until summer to come on vacation and enjoy what there is to offer here.

I’d like to take you through some of my favorite winter activities around Merritt, BC. As I go through them you will notice that some will over lap with others because it’s so easy to incorporate more than one at a time. Can’t get any better than that.

Snowmobiling

There are a number of excellent places around Merritt to go snowmobiling. I personally love to take off to some of the different lakes like Helmer, Nicola or Mamit. We love to take the kids out and do some snowmobiling on the frozen lakes. Gives them a place to have fun in wide open spaces.

You can also get a hold of the Merritt Snowmobile Club. There are a number of trails that they look after that would be great to check out.

snowmobiling on Helmer Lake

One of the great winter activities around Merritt, BC.

Ice Fishing

Another one of my favorite winter activities around Merritt BC is ice fishing. There are some really great lakes to go to including Mamit, Nicola, Marquart, Hamilton and Helmer. I am looking forward to checking out a lot more of the lakes in the coming years.

ice fishing hole, drilling, winter fun

Drilling down

ice fishing on Merritt, BC lakes

Line in – soon – fish on

Combine Activities

The best part about getting into some of these lakes is that you get to combine winter activities around Merritt by snowmobiling into the lake to ice fish. There have been many times we have packed up gear and the kids and taken off the for the day. We love going out and having a campfire to roast hotdogs while we ice fish and snowmobile around the lake. Its a great way to spend the day with your family.

snowmobiling Merritt BC lakes

Big boys turn at the snowmobiling.

A few more winter activities around Merritt, BC

X-Country Skiing

X-country skiing is a great winter activity and is also great exercise as well. Kane Valley has some great groomed trails for all levels of skiers.

learning to x-country skiing family fun at Kane Valley

Alisha learning to x-country ski. She did great her first time out.

If your more into adventures and breaking your own trail, you could check out Lundbom or Marquart lakes. Blazing a trail from one to the other or over the beautiful open country side would be a great trip. You could also take your skis with you when you snowmobile out to the lakes and go on a ski from the lake. So many different combinations of winter activities around Merritt BC.

x-country skiing Kane Valley Merritt BC

Michelle Bacon enjoying winter activities around Merritt, BC

Tobogganing

Now here is a fun winter activity the whole neighborhood can enjoy and believe me we do. A great place to get together and do this is towards Lundbom lake. There is some amazing hills to toboggan down and family’s usually start a fire and roast hotdogs and make hot chocolate. It’s such great day.

Do you love skating?

Another awesome winter activity around Merritt, BC is pond skating. There are a number of lakes and ponds that are set up to do this. Although I haven’t actually had the opportunity to try it, I have seen people having  what looks like a lot of fun out skating and playing hockey on the lakes. Logan Lake has a couple rinks set up and I have also seen people on anther lake towards Kamloops where a girl was figure skating and doing some pretty amazing twirls and jumps. My camera would have been great to have.

I really love all the winter activities around Merritt, BC.  I hope that you will also make the trip here and enjoy the Nicola Valley in the winter. We have so much to offer no matter what  time of year it is.

Bird or Wildlife Watching

Bird watching is a fun activity around Merritt in the winter. You can take the trails along the river around Merritt. Or check out some of the bird sanctuaries in the area. Along some of your drives you might want to keep your eyes open for other wildlife as well. Heading towards Mamit Lake you may get a glimpse of the wild horses. And at the lakes where you are ice fishing you may be treated to the bald eagles.

wild horses, merritt bc

Wild horses along highway 97C towards Mamit Lake from Merritt.

bald eagle ice fishing Nicola Valley

Bald eagle waiting to see if it will get a gift of some fish from people ice fishing.

Check out Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers for more great blogs, activities and places to eat and stay in and around the Nicola Valley.

Winter Activities around Merritt, BC