So You Want to Fish Chief Gray Lake

So you want to fish Chief Grey or as it is better known by the locals "Bitch Lake". I am not sure how it got this name but I am willing to bet it is because of the extreme hike-in float tube only access. Chief Grey is a catch and release lake. The restrictions are also single barbless hook with a bait-ban. If you are over weight, not active and or a heavy smoker, I don't advise this "Trophy Extreme Hike-In Float Tube Fishing Adventure."

Chief Grey Lake is located north west of Hobson Lake. To get there, drive south from Vanderhoof along the Kenney Dam Rd to Kenney Dam, and then turn east along the 500 Rd.

A slightly shorter route is via Kenney Dam, then south along the Kluskus Road.

At Km 59 on the Kluskus Rd is the Gold Road. Down the Gold Rd at 4kms is Finger Lake Wilderness Resort. The resort is your last chance to pick up fishing licenses, snacks, lures and the best selection and prices for flies south of highway 16.

At Km 73 of the Kluskus head west on the 500 Road. Go to Km 9 of the 500 Rd and you will find an unmarked road heading north, which leads to Hobson Lake. The trailhead to Chief Grey starts just before Hobson Lake.

Hobson Lake has no boat launch and is best fished with a car-topper, pontoon boat or canoe, rather than float tube unless you are young, athletic and kick like a mule. The reason is that the prime fishing area is tough kick of 300-500 yards through shallow reeds.

The trailhead to Chief Grey is just before you arrive at Hobson Lake. There is a grassy road to the right that leads to clearing where you can park a vehicle. Head west from this parking area along the trail and stay to your right.

It is only a 3.5 kms or 2.1-mile hike. 3 kms up & down, mainly up, then .5 kms straight down into the perfect crater float tube lake. We usually initiate the rookies by having them carry the beverages and if they are really enthusiastic, have them bring the ice.

A big question is do you hike in with your tubes inflated or do you backpack them in. Generally, once you get there everyone is too tired to inflate them, and too excited to get on the water. The hiking trail has not been maintained for a number of years and ATVs are not permitted. As such, there are numerous blow downs to navigate around, under and over. This is a disadvantage with an inflated tube.

If you decide to go with an inflated tube be sure to have good wide shoulder straps for your tube. Also a method to carry fins and neoprene waders against your back, held in by the saddle of your tube. A sturdy rod case can act as staff for the hike. Oh and don't forget a lunch and beverages.

Use good hiking boots and hiking shorts. We have found that if you wear pants or rain gear you are totally soaked when you reach the top. If it's hot it's from the sweat, if it's rainy it's from the brush rubbing on your clothes. What I do is pack a light 20 ft poly rope for a clothesline to dry the clothes I wore on the hike in. I pack a hooded windbreaker, a dry hooded sweatshirt and pants and socks to change into when I arrive.

The lake itself is deep; and I recommend a full sink line. Again, the best luck we have had is with big dragon fly nymphs, muddler minnows and a new fly we discovered called "The Prostitute". It's a black flashy streamer available at the store at Finger Lake Resort. There are also sevaral varieties of dragons and damsel nymphs. I love my dragons.

Our last trip was our best. There were four of us and we landed 30 fish. At least 10 were over 20 inches and in the 4 to 6 pound range. Bring extra leader for the monsters you don't get to measure. I was 20 yards into my backing of a full sink line straight down when I had one these bad-boys come out of the water peeling line, not once but twice, before he said enough is enough.

As soon as you get off the water, you'll want to slurp one of those cold beverages the rookie brought. Flip your tube over to dry and hang your neos on that clothesline. You have just gained an extra 10 to 15 pounds of wet gear to carry home. Rest, enjoy your drink, and let your gear dry as much as possible as you look up at the trail home. You now realize that it was a cliff you hiked down to get to the water.

Remember to pack out everything you packed in. Pick up any garbage left by those less considerate. We all have to do our part in protecting treasures like this.

Now you too will be forever after referring to this piece of fishing paradise by its proper name "Bitch Lake".

Drop in at Finger Lake Resort, stock up on those dragons flies and swap some lies.

Or atleast take a virtual visit to FingerLakeResort.com (best enjoyed with speakers on)

By Wayne R. Koftinoff

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