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 Home > Discover BC > BC Rivers > Sproat River

Sproat River
The Sproat River swimming hole is located west of Port Alberni on Hwy 4 about 3 km (2 miles) before Sproat Lake Provincial Park.

Somass River
The Sproat River starts in Sproat Lake and then flows north-east joining the Stamp River just downstream from the Sproat River Bridge. Once the two rivers join they now become the start of the Somass River. The Somass flows towards Port Alberni and joins the ocean in the harbour.

Port Alberni
For you to get here from Nanaimo travel on Hwy 19 towards Parksville and then take Hwy 4A through Coombs eventually reaching Port Alberni. Once in Port Alberni watch for the directional signs and travel west towards Ucluelet and Tofino. Sproat River is just past the Tseshaht Market as you travel towards Sproat Lake on Hwy 4.

Great Swimming
Access to the Sproat River is gained off of Hwy 4 on Faber Road just past the Sproat River Bridge going west. Look for the Ash Main logging bridge for some parking near the forestry road. You then take a short trail or walk along the side of the river to a number of different swimming holes going upstream towards Sproat Lake.

Pools Between Ash Main and Hwy 4
The pools from Hwy 4 to the logging bridge on Ash Main are not very wide with the water generating lots of current. If you're swimming through here, you'll have to beware of getting slammed into the large boulders half submerged in the river. Also please watch small children and yourself as the rocks can be quite slippery.

Tropical Feeling
From here the pool starts to widen out and Sproat River seems a more little safer. This pool is very nice, especially when the sun is able to shine through from above giving the water a tropical feeling. The pool here will be over 2 metres (6 feet) so please be aware if you're swimming capabilities, especially in a current.

Large Pool
The best pool is close to Sproat Lake, just downstream from the control weir at the mouth of Sproat River. You can either make your way along the river or take the trail through the bush to reach it. Once here, you'll find the swimming just excellent with the water being warm, crystal clear, current not too strong with one large pool around eight feet deep.

Inner Tubing
The Sproat River does have some potential for inner tubing with a small section of rapids that flow towards the bridge in the direction of the Stamp River and the Somass. The water can be very exciting and very enjoyable if you use a mask, snorkel and flippers through the rapids.

Wildlife
If you enjoy wildlife, watch for bald eagles trying to catch a salmon and other fish swimming in the river. A real favourite pastime is trying to spot and catch the many crayfish that habitat along the river's bottom. You'll be amazed at the numbers of crayfish in this river system.

Take Precaution
Just remember there are no lifeguards here and the currents can be swift with the rocks very sharp and are non-forgiving when swimming, so please take precaution if you're not sure of the river's condition. Also, when walking along the river bank, be prepared for some slippery boulders so please be extra careful.

Bear Aware
One thing that you'll want to take notice along the Sproat River are signs of bear. During the salmon spawning times especially bears have been known to walk along the river searching for salmon swimming in the river. Please take precautions if a bear encounter is experienced and please be prepared in what you should do in order to protect yourself and others.

Sproat Lake Provincial Park
If you would like to experience the Sproat River and stay the night, there is a provincial campground at Sproat Lake Provincial Park. Although you generally need a reservation, the park attendants are very accommodating allowing some overflow camping in the day-use parking lot towards the lower campground.

Private Land
Remember there are homes located on the west side of Sproat River and at the river's mouth at Sproat Lake so please respect people's privacy and stay off private land.

Angling Opportunities
If you are an angler, the Sproat River has some excellent angling opportunities with Cutthroat, Kokanee, Rainbow Trout and Steelhead fishing all readily available. Check the regulations for fishing license requirements for Vancouver Island if you would like to learn more.

Central Lake Crayfish Farm
Just a note about eating the crayfish or, as some others in the world have called them, crawfish, crawdaddies and mudbugs. They are enjoyed on dinner plates throughout Europe and especially in Sweden. Apparently, at one time there was a Crayfish farm set up on Central Lake to take advantage of their popularity.

Pacifastacus Leniusculus
The Crayfish farm was thought to be the source for the various rivers on Vancouver Island, as the crayfish, as long as they are wet, can migrate over land to different watersheds. It turns out in south-west British Columbia, there is a Native signal species called Pacifastacus Leniusculus that seems to thrive quite well in the waters of Sproat River.

 

Sproat River
Sproat River

 

Ash Main Logging Bridge
Ash Main Logging Bridge

 

Ash Main Logging Bridge
Hwy 4 Bridge

 

Tropical Feeling
Tropical Feeling

 

Large Pool
Large Pool

 

Inner Tubing
Inner Tubing

 

Rapids
Rapids

 

Kid Friendly
Kid Friendly

 

Mouth of Sproat River
Beginning of the Sproat River

 

Crayfish (Pacifastacus Leniusculus)
Crayfish (Pacifastacus Leniusculus)

 
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