The former dock at Roberts Lake. Photo contributed

Roberts Lake revisited for fishing

By Don Daniels

When you spend enough time exploring or fishing a certain lake you should get a true and factual picture of what is happening.

You learn how to go about hooking a trout by trolling a plug or lure or simply finding a spot on the shore and casting into a drop-off piece of water.

Every Wednesday, I drive to Sayward and halfway from Campbell River, I stop in at Roberts Lake. This year there will be some changes to note. As of June 10, the restaurant is closed and a sign is posted at the door.

I had some extra time so I headed to the Roberts Lake picnic day-use area and some changes have been made since the last time I was there, and that was maybe four years ago. A sign is posted and it’s a short drive on a well-maintained road and once you cross the small bridge, there is a parking area and you can walk in a short distance. There are washrooms and the picnic area has tables where you can sit down for the afternoon and enjoy a lunch and take in the nature on the south end of the lake.

A floating dock was put in place years ago and now it’s gone and the trees and brush have grown in. A wooden walkway is finished and you can cross the creek and find a spot to fish the south end of Roberts Lake. I made it a point of carrying in my fly rod and the area I was looking at is ideal to fly fish but one problem is the wind coming at your face.

The picnic area is day use only and any garbage you take in you are advised to take it out with you. There is no boat launch but you can carry a canoe or kayak in with no problem. With the wind blowing across the lake it is difficult to see the bug hatch but at the moment using spinning gear you can cast out a spoon or get out a wet fly on a sinking line.

From the day-use area, head back to the main highway and turn right and drive down the gravel road past the restaurant which runs parallel to the lake and takes you down to the boat launch. Lake levels vary so it’s best to check out the ramp and decide if a boat can go in or not.

Last year a group from the States was doing stickleback studies but because of COVID-19, the studies will not take place this year. Water levels at Roberts Lake vary from very shallow to about 180 feet deep and that is where anglers troll plugs and get down deep. I have seen trout caught up to five pounds and a bait ban is in effect and there is a size limit for trout.

The term gumboot might apply to the spawning trout that turn really dark during the spawn and these fish should be released. While the smaller lakes begin to warm up this time of year, Roberts Lake can have good fishing. But even better fishing can be had in the cooler months beginning in late August and continuing well into October. There are rainbow and cutthroat trout and small kokanee and I am hearing of unconfirmed reports of steelhead in the lake, but that is to be determined. Note that steelhead are protected.

On the highway, there is a rest stop with washrooms and garbage bins. There are a number of lakes in the area and the logging roads will take you down to Stella Lake. A good map would be handy to help you navigate the roads to your next fishing destination. If it’s raining in Campbell River, it could be clear at Roberts Lake; weather patterns can fluctuate but wait it out and go fishing.