Corbett Lake is known for its large rainbow trout.
The lake, adjacent to the Okanagan Connector near Merritt in British Columbia, however, hasn’t been open to anglers in years. The owner of the Corbett Lake Lodge closed off the lake to public access, and the Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club think it should be accessible.
“He fenced off the public access and put up no trespassing signs and everybody thought that was a legal thing to do but in fact it wasn’t,” says club spokesperson Rick McGowan. “It’s a public road and you can’t close a public road without going through the highways road closure process, which has never happened.”
The club, according to McGowan, has legal documents attesting to the point. Club members ice-fished on Corbett Lake in the past year. The ice-fishing outings results in some club members being charged with criminal mischief. they were ordered by the court to stay away from the lake.
According to an owner of the Corbett Lake Lodge, via an advertisement in the Merritt Herald newspaper, the provincial government says the land around the lake is private property. This, according to the advertisement, gives the owners the right to restrict public access.
Corbett Lake isn’t the only body of water the Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club claims is being illegally blocked by owners. They say the Douglas Lake Ranch has closed off access to two fishing lakes south of Kamloops.
McGowan says the club is looking forward to heading to court and that private individuals from around the province have donated more than $100,000 to help fund the club and its legal efforts.