Category   Thompson River, British Columbia
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Rafting on the Thompson River
The Thompson River, the largest tributary of the Fraser River, drains an area of 56,000 square kilometres. It carries runoff from the Columbia and Monashee Mountains, through Kamloops to the Fraser River and Lytton. The North Thompson rises in the same general area as the Fraser, but runs south between the mountains.

From its junction with the Clearwater River immediately south of Wells Gray Provincial Park, the North Thompson River runs almost due south until it joins its other main branch, the South Thompson River, at Kamloops. Kamloops derives its name from the Indian word Cumcloops meaning "where the rivers meet".

The Thompson is clear and cold all year round. Close to 50 percent of the province's total freshwater sport fishing occurs in the Thompson-Nicola region. Relative to its size, this region is unsurpassed in British Columbia for its sports fishery.

The Thompson and Nicola Rivers are historic salmon-spawning tributaries of the Fraser River and the small tributary streams where rainbow trout, dolly Varden, and Kokanee lay their eggs.

If there's a dilemma for river rafters in British Columbia, it's that there are too many choices. There are more than 800 rivers and 10,000 creeks, with options ranging from hohum idyllic to crazy and death defying. The Nahatlatch, Fraser, and Thompson Rivers are all justifiably well known for their river-rafting experiences. Of the three, the Fraser and Thompson are more prominent, though not necessarily more challenging than the Nahatlatch. In fact, the Nahatlatch provides more excitement in its varied run than either of the others. Both the Thompson and the Nahatlatch flow into the Fraser within a short distance of each other.

Solo on the Thompson River
The Thompson River is known for its high water, the mighty Fraser for its spectacular canyon and scary rapids from Boston Bar to Yale. Among the most tempting white-water runs is the lower Thompson River, downstream from Spences Bridge. Through 25 sets of rapids - the Devil's Cutting Board, Jaws of Death, the Cauldron, and more - rafters face submerged boulders, heavy turbulence, whirlpools, and non-stop saturation.

The season begins in May, once water levels become manageable. Although it's entirely possible to run these rivers unaccompanied, the majority of paddlers opt for the services of a certified guide, at least for the first time.

There are few fishing runs as legendary - or as threatened - as the steelhead run on the Thompson River and one of its main tributaries, the Nicola River. Steelhead are an ocean-going species of trout (or salmon, depending on whom you consult) famous for their size, speed, stamina, and tremendous strength. In order to surmount obstacles in the Fraser Canyon before entering the Thompson River near Lytton, steelhead must possess all these characteristics. In fall, anglers head for two places in particular: Goldpan Provincial Park, located on the Thompson River, and Spences Bridge, located on Hwy 8, about 1 km west of Hwy 1 and 37 km north of Lytton. Anglers can readily access both the Thompson River and the Nicola River from Spences Bridge.

The confluence of the Thompson and Fraser Rivers near Lytton, northwest of Vancouver
Anglers and swimmers alike gravitate to Juniper Beach Provincial Park. Juniper Beach is one of the few access points to the Thompson River between the communities of Savona and Spences Bridge. Juniper Beach Provincial Park was created to help protect a desert landscape that contains sagebrush, prickly pear cactus an, of course, juniper. Some of the world's best steelhead fishing is found here. In July, you'll be able to watch sockeye salmon as they travel upstream to spawn in the Adams River.

Nearest Towns: Valemount, Blue River, Clearwater, Little Fort, Barriere, Kamloops, Ashcroft, Spences Bridge, Lytton, Savona

Nearest Parks:
Wells Gray Provincial Park
North Thompson Islands Provincial Park
North Thompson Oxbows Jensen Island
North Thompson Oxbows Manteau Park
North Thompson River Provincial Park
Finn Creek Provincial Park
Goldpan Provincial Park
Juniper Beach Provincial Park

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