The 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 three lakeside sites protected as part of the Stuart-Trembleur-Takla Lakes boating system. Stuart Lake Park is also on 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.
Wilderness camping is allowed; no facilities are provided. Practice “ Leave No Trace” camping – if you pack it in, pack it out; choose a camp spot that will not do damage to live vegetation; dispose of personal waste or waste water at least 100 metres from the lake or from any creek.
There are no designated swimming areas. There are no lifeguards on duty at provincial parks.
There are opportunities for canoeing or kayaking in this park. 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.
Anyone fishing or angling in British Columbia must have an appropriate licence. Please see BC Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis for site-specific information.
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/domestic animals must be on a leash at all times and are not allowed in beach areas or park buildings. You are responsible for their behaviour and must dispose of their excrement. Backcountry areas are not suitable for dogs or other pets due to wildlife issues and the potential for problems with bears.
Cycling is permitted. Helmets are mandatory in British Columbia and must be worn at all times.
Please note that bicycles with electric assist motors (e-bikes) are not allowed on the trails within Stuart Lake Provincial Park. E-bikes are restricted to park roads and areas where motorized use is permitted. The only exception to this policy will be for authorized and identified trail maintenance bikes conducting work on behalf of BC Parks.
Hunting is permitted only during lawful game hunting season. Check with Hunting and Trapping Synopsis for regulations.
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, 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.
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.
The three small sites of Stuart Lake Marine Park and Stuart Lake Park protect natural areas and contribute to the role of the Stuart-Trembleur-Takla lakes system as a backcountry boating destination area.
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.
BC Parks honours Indigenous Peoples’ connection to the land and respects the importance of their diverse teachings, traditions, and practices within these territories. This park webpage may not adequately represent the full history of this park and the connection of Indigenous Peoples to this land. We are working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples to update our websites so that they better reflect the history and cultures of these special places.