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.
on the Thompson River
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.
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.
on the Thompson River
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.
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.
The confluence of the Thompson and Fraser Rivers near Lytton, northwest of Vancouver
Nearest Towns: Valemount,
Blue River, Clearwater,
Little Fort, Barriere,
Spences Bridge, Lytton,
Wells Gray Provincial Park
Thompson Islands Provincial Park
Thompson Oxbows Jensen Island
Thompson Oxbows Manteau Park
Thompson River Provincial Park
Creek Provincial Park
Goldpan Provincial Park
Juniper Beach Provincial Park