Stuart Lake Marine Provincial Park
About This ParkThe Stuart-Trembleur-Takla Lake boating system is located in north central British Columbia and comprises nearly 300 km of waterway. These long, narrow lakes are among the region's most significant recreational features. The lakes offer great sports fishing opportunities for rainbow and lake trout, burbot, kokanee, and mountain whitefish. The chain is also part of the longest migration route of chinook and sockeye salmon in British Columbia. With more than 630 km of lakeshore to explore, few developed facilities, and sparse levels of use, this chain of lakes provides a remote wilderness experience. A series of small parks have been established along the system providing protected anchorages or attractive beaches. No facilities have been developed at these sites.
Stuart Lake is one of the largest natural lakes in the province at 90 km long with 270 km of shoreline. The community of Fort St. James is located on the southeast end. The main body of the lake is between 6 to 10 km wide and is road accessible at many locations. The northwestern arm of the lake is narrower, has limited road access, and more of a wilderness feel. This portion of the lake is very scenic with numerous bays, points, and islands. Wildlife viewing, boating, hunting, and angling are popular pursuits in the area.
Stuart Lake Marine Park consists of four lakeside sites protected as part of the Stuart-Trembleur-Takla Lakes boating system. These sites provide no facilities, but may offer protected anchorages or sandy beaches.
The Tachie River connects Stuart Lake to Trembleur Lake. The 26 km of river can be a challenge to navigate with fast water and small rapids. Trembleur Lake is almost 50 km long. It has an irregular shoreline with sheltered bays and coves and a scenic wilderness setting. There is one marine park site on Trembleur Lake.
The Middle River flows from Takla Lake into Trembleur Lake. The river, designated as a Provincial Heritage River, is 22 km long and navigable. At 96 km in length, Takla is the fifth largest lake in the province. Almost 250 km of undisturbed shoreline with sandy beaches and isolated bays are available to explore. There are three marine park sites on Takla Lake. There is sporadic road access on the east side of the lake.
NTS map references:
- Stuart Lake - 93K/7, 93K/8, 93K/9, 93K/10, 93K/11
- Tachie River - 93K/10 & 93K/15
- Trembleur Lake - 93K14 & 93K/15
- Middle River - 93K/14
- Takla Lake - 93M/1, 93M/8, 93M/9, 93N/3, 93N/4, 93N/5
Two Islands - 134 hectares (small coarse sand beach & anchorage site)
Stuart Lake - 343 hectares (sandy beach; shallow bay)
Jus K'etl'o Bay - 70 hectares 9 rocky or grass shoreline; attractive sheltered bay)
North Arm - 23 hectares (pebble beach & grass shoreline; attractive sheltered bay with two small islands offshore)
- Boaters are cautioned to keep a close eye on the weather as Stuart Lake is subject to sudden heavy winds that can transform the lake into dangerous whitecaps. Those with small boats are advised to stay close to shore.
- Bring your own water as there is no potable water available.
- Campfires are not permitted; please bring your own camp stove.
- There are no developed trails in this park.
Location and Maps
Two Islands - located close to the midpoint of the lake, these are the two nearest island due south of the Stuart Lake site; UTM zone 10: 394000E - 6050000N (NTS map reference: 93K/10).
Stuart Lake - 32 km northwest of Fort St. James on the north shore of Stuart Lake; road access from Fort St. James is 30 km on Tachie Road and south 2 km to the lake on Hibiscus Road (NTS map reference: 93K/10).
Jus K'etl'o Bay - located on the north shore 15 km west of the Tachie River on the northwestern arm of the lake; boat access only. UTM Zone 10: 371000E - 6057000N (NTS map reference: 93K/10 & 93K/11).
North Arm - located on the north shore 12 km northwest of Jus K'etlo Bay and 27 km west of the Tachie River on the northwestern arm of the lake; boat access only. UTM Zone 10: 361000E - 6060000N NTS map reference: 93K/11).
Nature and Culture
- History - For many years prior to the arrival of European explorers, the Stuart - Trembleur - Takla lakes area was home to the Dakelh-ne people. In 1806, Simon Fraser brought the fur trade to this area with the establishment of the Stuart Lake Post for the North West Company.
The company merged with the Hudson's Bay Company in 1821, and in 1822 they named the settlement Fort St. James. Fort St. James, once the economic capital of the colony of New Caledonia and said to be the oldest European-settled community in British Columbia, saw its importance as a fur trading centre diminish in 1869 when gold was discovered 100 miles north in the Omineca Valley.
With the miners came a new economic prosperity for the area that has largely been replaced by the forest industry today. Tourism is also growing, and hunting and fishing lodges can be found on all three lakes.
- Cultural Heritage - Although settled by Europeans almost 200 years ago, the Dakelh-ne people had inhabited the area for years prior. To the fur traders, these people became known as the Carrier people, referring to the custom of widows who carried the ashes of cremated husbands with them until a traditional potlatch could be held.
The Carrier people traditionally led a semi-nomadic life, congregating along lakes and rivers in the warmer months to pick berries, hunt and tan hides, and catch and process the salmon that was an important staple of their diet. The winter was spent ice fishing and trapping in smaller family units.
Several Carrier groups reside in the Stuart - Trembleur - Takla lakes area including the Nak'azdli, Yekoochet'en, Takla, and Tl'azt'en. Traditional trails, culturally altered trees, and pictographs can be found throughout the area.
- Conservation - The four small sites of Stuart Lake Marine Park protect natural areas and contribute to the role of the Stuart - Trembleur - Takla lakes system as a backcountry boating destination area.
- Wildlife - Diversity of the terrain and types of vegetation support abundant wildlife populations. Moose and black bear are plentiful. Other more secretive species include mule and white-tail deer, wolf, and grizzly bear. Furbearers in the area include lynx, fox, beaver, marten, fisher, otter, and wolverine.
- The approved Purpose Statement and Zoning Plan is available in pdf format.
Activities Available at this Park
Popular sport fish include rainbow trout, lake trout (char), kokanee, freshwater ling cod (burbot), and mountain whitefish. Refer to the current BC Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis for specific catch quotas and regulations; the Stuart-Trembleur-Takla chain of waterways is in Region 7 (Omineca-Peace) - Zone A.
Pets on Leash
Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears.