As one of the oldest fishing camps and resorts in British Columbia, the Knouff Lake Wilderness Resort has developed a rich and fascinating history abounding in story telling, pictures and perhaps even a few tall tales. Mix in an area rich in spiritual history and you have the recipe for the perfect vacation experience.
Over 100 years of history, stories and tall tales...
Tale of Two Lakes...
Some folks are confused by the fact that Knouff Lake is also known as Sullivan Lake, and that Sullivan Lake is sometimes known as Knouff Lake... There are many maps, articles and stories that refer to one or the other, in fact the Google Maps shown on the Directions page refer to the name of the lake as being "Sullivan Lake". Go to the map, click on the red marker and see what I mean. This is just one more reason why people find the Knouff Lake Resort such a fascinating place to visit.
Don't quote me on everything, but as far as we can determine, Knouff Lake was named after James Vincent Knouff. In the 1860's James Knouff had left the Cariboo and settled near Louis Creek, a small community about 30 miles north of Kamloops. He lived there until 1892 at which time he sold out and retired to warmer climates in California. However James later returned to Canada and once again moved into the same area. He subsequently died in 1904.
During the time spent at Louis Creek, Knouff had purchased a considerable amount of land on the west side of the lake that extended north to Badger Lake. It must of been about this time the lake became known as "Knouff Lake", and he then established the Knouff Lake Resort and built the first log cabin in 1904. The remainder of the log cabins were built in the 1930's before most of us were even born.
At some point in time (we don't have all the details), a Mr. Sullivan had purchased land adjacent to the south-east corner of the lake and established the "Sullivan Mill". During this time Mr. Sullivan had managed to convince the Ministry of Forests to change the name of the lake to "Sullivan Lake". As a result, on many legal or provincial maps you will still find the name "Sullivan Lake".
As it turns out the accepted and preffered name in the community among locals, as well as most visitors and guests, seems to be Knouff Lake. However I'm sure there are still a few old-timers around as well as government figures who refer to it as Sullivan Lake. Signs on the highways often refer to both names... thus all the confusion.
Note: As more information is revealed to the writer we will update this page in order to provide you the reader with more accurate information.
Meanwhile for purposes of clarity, we will continue to refer to the name of the lake as "Knouff Lake".
Some Other Interesting Facts About Knouff Lake
- Originally barren of trout, as were many interior lakes, Paul Lake and Knouff Lake were two of the original lakes to be stocked with resident trout... later to go on to be very good producers of trout.
- May 20, 1917 - The day that Len Phillips and son arrived at the lake after a five day trip with a barrel that contained 9 ripe spawners from Paul Lake. Paul Lake is about 16 miles south of Knouff as the crow flies... a lot longer by road.
- 1920 - Don't have the month, but sometime during 1920 a party of 28 anglers from Kamloops traveled to Knouff Lake to try their luck... largest trout caught on that trip - 17 lbs (7.7 kg)
- Word spread about the extraordinary fishing, and a simple but elegant lodge was built along with plain log cabins with dirt floors. What is really interesting, as a result of all this popularity, the Resort became the prototype for hundreds of fishing camps built later throughout B.C.
- By 1926 the average trout caught in the lake was 8 lbs (3.6 kg)
- 1930 - A 17-1/4 pound fish was caught using a dry fly. This made Knouff Lake a legend in its own time.
- 1930's - This year a 23.5 lb trout was caught lured by an earthworm
Unfortunately, this popularity was starting to ensure its downfall for quite some time.... we have reports that the next year or two massive amounts of rainbow trout were being fished. We don't know which year it happened for sure, but here are the two stories that have been passed down...
- 1932 - Lake is stocked with 175,000 fry - against the advice of local experienced anglers. Obviously this depleted the food supply considerably, and the average weight of the trout went from 5 lbs to 1 lb.
- 1933 - This year between 75,000 and 100,000 fingerlings were stocked in the lake. This effectively spelled the end of big trout in the lake for some time.
But Things Get Better...
Over the last few years, with many anglers practicing popular catch-and-release techniques, better spawning management, and other angling techniques, the average size of Kamloops (Rainbow) trout being caught in the lake is increasing significantly. Once again Knouff Lake is becoming a recognized choice for experienced and new anglers to try their luck... and what better way to experience this than to book a comfortable log cabin at the resort, or bring your camper, all your gear, and the kids for the time of your life!
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