Dragon Lake, outside of Quesnel, is about an hour and half south of Prince George on Highway 97. This lake used to be a top secret lake with many anglers referring to it by code names. However, Dragon’s big fish and easy access have become common knowledge among fly anglers. If you speak to people who have been fishing this lake for many years, they will readily admit that the fishing was a lot better in the old days. This is partly due to the increase in fishing pressure but could also be due to changes in the trout strains being stocked in this lake. You will find people from the Lower Mainland and as far as Washington State fishing this lake on a regular basis. In addition, most anglers generally believe that the now popular Blackwater strain in Dragon Lake does not live as long or grow as large as other strains such the Pennask strain. Nevertheless the average size of fish is around 18” and you can expect to catch at least one fish over 20” per trip.
I typically fish Dragon in the early spring just after ice-off (usually April) and then again in the late fall just before the lake freezes up (usually late November). The main reason for fishing Dragon Lake during this time is that it is the first lake to come ice-off and the last to ice-up. During this time there are not many insect hatches, so I use mostly leech patterns for this lake. I have fished Dragon in June and encountered a few small mayfly hatches with good results, but I typically avoid this lake from June until September as it is used for many recreational pursuits that are not always conducive to good fly fishing. The lake gets quite crowded as soon as the weather warms.
By far, my go to fly pattern for this lake is the Maroon Leech II, and when there is a mayfly hatch the Dragon Lake Nymph works pretty good too. This lake is best fished from a pontoon boat or small boat but I have seen many people using float tubes. I also prefer a 6 wt rod over a 5 wt for this lake as the fish are just that little bit bigger than most other lakes.