Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fourth Lake Dam

Wooohoo, there's a window appearing in the local weather.  It looks like a rain free day... perfect for a quick ride out to the Nanaimo Lakes area.  Nanaimo has a series of lakes that run west from the south end of the city.  The area is owned by a large logging company who open their gates on weekends for campers to travel the logging roads into campsites on the lakes.  I was heading for Fourth Lake today, the last of the Nanaimo Lakes, to try some fishing off the dam if possible.

The route (Click to enlarge)
I picked the route heading south behind Mount Benson to keep it interesting rather than heading through the city.  I entered the logging roads through Weigles Road and headed through the worsening gummy tank traps.  (I got my bike stuck in a pool of sludge going through there today).  I followed the route I had taken on an earlier ride with Paul, past Boomerang Lake and down to the locked gate that exits onto Nanaimo Lakes Road.  The work-around is to the right of the gate and leads through a series of hills and pools that have been pretty overrun by quads that like to churn up the mud.

The "work-around" to the right of Nanaimo Lakes Road gate
The gate "work-around"
After ten minutes of navigating on foot to check if parts were passable I emerged onto Nanaimo Lakes Road and made my way on real roads to South Forks Rd.  This road takes you directly to Nanaimo River Road, the stretch of road that leads to all of the lakes.

Some miles along you reach an opened gate.  There was a gate keeper there today, as there is on most weekends, and he took my name, address, phone number and licence number.  I was instructed to check back out before five-o-clock.

First Lake is just beyond the gate.  I could see trout swirling around near shore and I wish now that I'd taken the time to stop there to fish for a while.  I wanted to move on and try fishing at Fourth Lake and still get out by five so I went on.

Second Lake
The logging roads are in great shape all the way through the lakes area.  I wouldn't take a regular car through there, but it's quite manageable for a 4x4 truck or trail bike.  After a few turns, approximately 30 minutes after passing the gate guy, I reached a Y in the road and a sign pointing left to "Fourth Lake."  The lake is only a few minutes ahead after climbing a small hill.

Left for Fourth Lake.

I turned right at the lake and drove along the length of the dam itself.  You can't fish easily off the dam, but there are many spots visible along the shore nearby.  I rode off towards the end of the Fourth Lake campsite and found a good spot on the lake shore for fishing.

The far end of the dam

Looking along the dam towards the road.  That's my fishing spot on the shore near the yellow tree furthest to the right.
Taken from the dam looking SW
Cheesy self-timer shot off the dam wall.
Further round the lake... This is the campsite area.  I fished from this spot.  That's the dam on the left.
The dam
Looking SW down the lake

I fished for about forty minutes and got many hits but I only managed to pull one in, a tiny trout that I was determined to keep.

The monster of the lake

I followed part of the same route home, but this time I opted for a trip through the city because it started to rain.  Altogether it was a really good ride and one that I'll repeat again.  Next time I think I'll stop at First Lake to do some fishing though.

That was five hours of wicked entertainment, traveling 140Km through some fantastic terrain, and the whole thing cost me $5.80 in fuel.  Not bad value since I brought a fish home too.  ;)

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