Chilanko Forks is located 60 km (35 miles) west of Alexis
Creek and 48 km (30 miles) east of Tatla
Lake on Hwy 20 in the Cariboo Chilcotin Region.
Chilanko Forks is at the junction point for travel into Puntzi Lake
which is about 8 km (5 miles) north on the Puntzi Lake Road. Puntzi
Lake is approximately 5 km (3 miles) wide by around 10 km (6 miles)
long and depending on the time of year, has some good fishing for
either Kokanee and Rainbow trout about .75 kilo (1.5 lbs) minimum
size or better.
Resorts at Puntzi
There are a number of fishing resorts and serviced RV campsites
at Puntzi Lake. When you travel Puntzi Lake Road South is the turnoff
is to Howdy's Lakeside Resort, then if you continue on Puntzi Lake
Road, there are other fishing resorts including, Barney's Lakeside,
Puntzi Lake Resort, Kokanee Bay Resort and the Woodland Caribou
Lake Fishing Derby
Usually taking place on the first weekend in July, the annual Puntzi
Lake Fishing Derby, sponsored by the local resorts, has been a family
tradition since 1984. This is just a great time for kids and their
parents to get together and hopefully win a prize adults for the
largest fish and children for the most total pounds.
Forest Service Recreation Site
If you prefer a rustic RV camp or tenting site, Puntzi Lake has
a very nice clean BC Forest Service Recreation Site with some campsites
right on the lakeshore. The popular recreation site is first-come,
first-served and is located just past Barney's Lakeside on Puntzi
Country Service Station
Chilanko Forks, at the turnoff for Puntzi Lake Road was, for the
longest time, the site of a small service station that did automotive
repairs called Big Country Service Station. Unfortunately, the station
is now closed so if you need fuel, you need to go to Redstone Flat.
Redstone Flat, or known locally as Tsi Deldel by the Alexis Creek
First Nations, is located just east of Chilanko Forks on Hwy 20
by 27 km (17 miles). Redstone Flat is home to a reserve and the
Redstone Gas Bar. The Redstone Gas Bar has a convenience store with
a limited selection, propane and probably the best prices on fuel
in the Cariboo Chilcotin Region.
Mountain Airport (YPU)
There is an airstrip at Chilanko Forks, the Puntzi Mountain Airport
(YPU). The airport is a holdover from when the US and Canadian governments
at different times with an air force base established here as part
of the Pinetree Air Defense Line. The public landing strip is 6,000-feet
long x 250-feet wide with an asphalt surface.
To find the Puntzi Mountain Airport when travelling by vehicle on
Hwy 20, go west of Puntzi Lake Road by 2 km (1.3 miles) to where
you'll find Puntzi Airport Road. Turn here and travel another 6.5
km (4 miles) to the airstrip.
Chilanko Forks Wildlife Management Area
For wildlife and birdwatching, try and make it to the Chilanko Forks
Wildlife Management Area, a protected marshland situated right near
the airstrip for the Puntzi Mountain Airport. The reserve has a
number of animal species including beaver, moose, muskrat and at
least 52 species of waterfowl.
The best time to visit the Chilanko Forks Wildlife Management Area
for birdwatching starts in May and lasts right up to early September.
Puntzi Lake also has numerous birdwatching opportunities, especially
for trumpeter swans which live here from early fall to sometimes
freeze-up and white pelicans between spring and summer.
Chilanko Forks in the winter is very cold but nonetheless quite
incredible. If you dress warmly, there is great snowmobiling, snowshoeing
plus cross-country skiing in the immediate area and excellent ice-fishing
on Puntzi Lake, especially for whitefish in January.
For small items like candy bars, pop and chips, Kokanee Bay Fishing
Resort at Puntzi Lake has a small store plus for food, a restaurant.
For hardware, fishing gear and a greater selection of groceries,
try going to Tatla Lake 50 km (30 miles) west on Hwy 20. Here you
can also find fuel and a mechanic for vehicle repairs.
on Chilanko Forks
on Puntzi Lake