Counting down from #10 to #1, we have the top ten bass lakes of Western Canada. Coming in at #10 is the Seven Mile Reservoir near Trail, British Columbia.
Size: Average (4.4 pounds is the biggest
Size: 11 km long x 0.5 km
The Pend Oreille River flows out of massive Lake Pend
Oreille in the Idaho panhandle. On its 80 mile journey between the lake and the
Canadian border, it passes through two dams which create two seperate
reservoirs, Box Canyon Reservoir and Boundary Reservoir. While Box Canyon is
known for great fishing for northern pike and largemouth bass, both species are
scarce in Boundary, which is much more rugged than the slough-filled Box Canyon
The American portion of the Pend Oreille is home to
big largemouth (left) and pike (right). Both are either non-existent or
extremely rare in the Canadian section.
The Boundary Dam lies on the
Canada-U.S. border and marks the start of the Canadian portion of the Pend
Oreille River, notably a seven mile stretch known as the Seven Mile Reservoir
which ends at the aptly-named Seven Mile Dam. However, these seven miles could
just as easily be named "Smallmouth Heaven."
The Seven Mile Reservoir
is a perfect place to camp. Buckley campground is located just above the dam
and is undoubtedly the best free campground I've ever seen. The boat launch is
great, and it also has a nice beach and swim area. The campsites are also
well-maintained and there is always staff on-hand if you need anything. It
makes for a great staying spot for your Pend Oreille vacation.
you've got your boat in the water, the options are really wide open. Smallmouth
bass are spread throughout the entire system, and when the prime season is on
(June to October) 50 fish days are common. While the size average isn't great
(0.5 to 2 pounds) there are bigger fish in the system, and four to five pound
bass are definitely possible on any day.
The Seven Mile Reservoir is full of smallmouth.
This one is about average sized.
Like most reservoirs in the
pacific northwest, there is a lot of wood cover from the flooded trees. Look
for stump flats in 3 to 6 feet of water throughout the reservoir. When bass are
on the feed, they move into these areas. You really can't go wrong anywhere in
the reservoir, but I've had some of my best success around the mouth of the
Salmo River hopping 4" Berkley Pro Tubes along the bottom.
On top of
the excellent smallmouth fishing, there are a variety of other species you might
run into in Seven Mile Reservoir. Rainbow trout and bull trout are both common,
with both species averaging in the 2-3 pound range but growing as large as 10
pounds. It's also a spot where random catches of lake trout (mackinaw), brown
trout, walleye, and black crappie can happen as well. So you never really know
what you'll run into.
lake trout (mackinaw) was an accidental catch out of the Seven Mile last year.
You never know what you're going to catch out there.
There is also a
ton of wildlife in the area, as elk, black bear, and even cougars are
consistently spotted in the area. I've heard the bugle of big bull elk on
several occasions as I've been fishing here late in the season. There was a
large wildfire here a few years ago which burnt much of the southern side of the
reservoir and in turn attracts ungulates in to feed on the new growth.
If you come to fish the Seven Mile Reservoir, make sure to bring all the
smallmouth gear you need as there aren't many spots to buy it locally. There is
both a Walmart and Canadian Tire in Trail, but both are more catered to the
local trout and walleye fishermen than bassers, which goes to show how
underrated this fishery is.
Me with a chunky Seven Mile
Anyone heading to fish the Seven Mile Reservoir should
have the following:
-a selection of tubes and grubs with jigheads to match
(1/4 oz is a good size)
-a selection of worms and stickbaits
cast for trout and char
-spinnerbaits and crankbaits for active bass
medium action spinning rod with 8 to 12 pound line (for grubs and tubes. I
like the Fenwick Elite Techs with a Pfleuger President reel)
action baitcasting rod with 12 to 15 pound line (for spinnerbaits and spoons. I
like the Abu Garcia Vendetta rods paired with an Orra reel. Best combo under
Finally, don't forget to bring a camera, as the Seven Mile portion
of the Pend Oreille River is some of the most beautiful country I've ever
fished. Take a tour up the Salmo River mouth to see some amazing canyons, or if
you're feeling adventurous, make a run all the way up to the dam to see one of
man's great creations.
view heading down the Salmo River mouth to the Seven Mile reservoir.
A Warning: Water levels can change drastically in
this reservoir, so be careful where you tie your boat up to, or it may end up
floating off or even stuck on the shore. I nearly sunk my boat here when I
tied off to a stump and the water rose four feet overnight. Thankfully, I made
it in time to cut the rope and bail all the water out before it
Regulations: Anglers must release all bull trout.
Also, there is a bait ban from June 15th to October 31st. The regulations
state anglers can keep up to 8 bass, but I can see this fishery going downhill
in a hurry if people start taking advantage of that. Practice CPR = Catch,