Like high-elevation lakes throughout the Canadian Rockies, Lake O’Hara fishing is not renowned, but cutthroat trout do inhabit the cold and clear waters of the lake. Named for a bright red dash of colour that runs from below the mouth almost to the gills, the cutthroat can grow up to 80 centimetres (2.5 feet), but up at Lake O’Hara around 30 centimetres (one foot) is the maximum we’ve seen. Fishing for cutthroat requires using the lightest of tackle because the water is generally very clear; fly casting is most productive on the still water of the lake, and if you’re a guest at Lake O’Hara Lodge, you have the use of a canoe. But we’ve had luck spinning from the western shoreline with a simple collapsible rod and a dressed Mepps or Panther Martin spinner.

Fishing at Lake O’Hara.

Fishing at Lake O’Hara.

Regulations and Licenses

To fish at Lake O’Hara, a National Park Fishing License is required. Licenses are sold at the Field Visitor Centre as well as visitor centres in Banff and Lake Louise and some sport shops with the national parks. The cost is $10 for a one-day license or $35 for an annual license. The brochure Fishing Regulations Summary, available from all park information centres, details limits and closures.