Monday, 11 October 2010

Stella and Lower Stella Lakes

Trip Date: October 3rd, 2010

James and I had visited the area of Stella, Lower Stella, Pye and McCreight Lakes last year but the day had been windy and the lakes were uninviting. This day the Weather Network predicted low winds so we decided to try again. A sign at the entrance to Rock Bay Road informed us that the road would be closed the next day for logging in the Stella Lake area. We congratulated ourselves on visiting the lakes just in time.

We stopped briefly at McCreight, but the long narrow valley seems always to channel wind down the lake. Today was no exception. We drove on, enjoying the country between McCreight and Stella, a lowland of meandering streams and deep water marshes.

Lower Stella looked calm and inviting, but we checked our watches and decided we could probably get a paddle in on both Stella and Lower Stella; so headed on to Stella. At the put in a lone angler was navigating his aluminum skiff with an electric motor towards the beach where he was camped. The wind was running out of the South East and the sheltered bay was inviting enough. We set off along the North Eastern shore protected from the main wind by the protruding headland at the transition to the main lake.

Once we passed the headland we headed Southwest towards the island that stands off from the point between the two large bays on the Northern end of the lake. Rocky on the southern shore and lush and dense with foliage on the Northern side, the island does not appear to receive many visitors. No obvious campsite was evident but there was a fire ring on the high rocks on the western side. I got out and crashed through the bushes for awhile trying to find a route to high ground before giving up and returning to my canoe.

We headed back to the put-in, enjoying the Northern shore and outflow before taking out and heading to Lower Stella.

Lower Stella is the haunt of generations of anglers. A grandfather on our last visit was introducing his grandchildren to the special place. A fisherman's poem is carefully nailed to a tree near the put-in and because there is no easy way to launch a boat of any significant size, I suspect only canoes, light skiffs, and pontoon boats make it onto the lake.

The light was fading but we headed out, circumnavigating the lake counter clockwise. The inflow is picturesque, but the most endearing aspect of the lake is the long southern shore with it's grassy fringe and striking contrast of light alder trunks against the dark forest behind.

With the chill of evening penetrating our shirts we finished out paddle and headed to have a look at the Pye Lake Rec Site, which we found and wandered through in the last light before dark. Pye was also calm and we wished we had a little more day left to explore it. We decided to return again on another day.

Fore more photos of Lower Stella visit the photo gallery here.


  1. Looks a very peaceful place. Sounds does the entire area surrounding it.
    Enjoy hearing about each lake you explore!

  2. Beautiful boats on even more beautiful water! The photos are amazing. What camera do you use? I wish I was looking for a canoe, that red solo is a fine looking craft. I spend most of my time on rivers though....thus the drift boat.
    Home Skillet

  3. Thanks Eric,

    I have used a few cameras in the life of this blog. I started with a Nikon Coolpix, then graduated to a Nikon D40X and after I dropped that in Cameron River, replaced it with the Nikon D3000. The D3000 (and the D40 before it) are the "entry" level cameras to the SLR market for Nikon but so far they have served me well.

    I like the controls on the Nikons and the image sensor seems good. I settled on the D40 because I liked the idea of manual focus and the ability to adjust the aperture and shutter speed -- i.e. manual mode. In the end, I mostly use auto focus and switch the focus point where I want it. The new 3000 had more focus points which is really nice.

    I really liked the macro ability of the old Coolpix but purchased a newer version for my wife and it is not the same. The new version takes amazing video, however, which I am envious of.

    The one single most helpful bit of advice I received was from a retailer who said I should get a polarizing filter. It made a huge difference to the depth and color of the shots.

    Another great tip was from a Flickr friend who pointed out the white skies in my early photos. Now I tend to shoot to get blue skies and then adjust the curves in Photoshop.

  4. Can u enlighten me as to the type of road Rock bay is, will a front wheel unit be ok

  5. Hi Anonymous,

    This trip in 2010 was the last I have made to the area. At the time there were big signs up announcing that the area was to be logged shortly there after and would be closed. The road in past McCreight Lake (Rock Bay) has historically been well maintained and it was quite amenable to twd vehicles. I would expect that the quality of those roads will suffer with the heavy logging traffic, but still I would expect you to be able to make it. I have some hesitation in saying this because Elk Bay (south side of Stella) was a bit of a mess for some time in 2010 as they were working on it and using crushed rocks the size of baseballs for a road bed! Very slow going over that stuff and regular car tires might not be up to it. They seem to be using it more and more of late.

    If anyone else has been in that way, I'd appreciate an updated.


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  7. Fished them both in early 70's with a now departed fishing buddy, good fishing, lots of newts to entertain you and great scenery. Us and our wives used to drive up from Courtney and make a full day of it. Lots of trout but all were catch and release. Loved Vancouver Island and it's people.