I have paddled on Tabor Lake Near Prince George more times than I can count on my fingers and toes. It is my go-to spot for exercise and time on the water. This season I realized I knew nothing about the lake other than the access to put my board in the water. (truthfully I didn’t even know the name of the road to the boat launch). I did some research and came up with an information filled review. I challenge you to know more about your local waterways. Here are some of the questions I asked myself.
Welcome to Tabor Lake, Prince George. Located in the Omineca-Peace Region this lake is just 17 minutes from downtown, making it easy to enjoy after a day of work or on the weekend. Driving 20km East on Highway 16 provides the option of two different access points to the lake. If you are feeling adventurous, have great tires, and a 4X4 you can make the steep descent into a small parking area (located at the South End of the lake). If you prefer an easier route, you are welcome to access the lake from the local community’s boat launch (located at the North end of the lake on Valhalla Rd) - this is recommended as it is the best access to the water for paddling.
Being that Tabor Lake is in the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, 9-1-1 services are available. Southeast of the lake you will find over 407km of trails winding through 34,000 hectares of land. The trails are managed by the Tabor Mountain Recreation Society.
This lake is approximately 3km long and has around 10km of shoreline to explore. At 704m of elevation the northern climate stakes claim on this freshwater lake and covers it in ice from November to approximately mid-April. Once the warmer weather returns the ice melts and restores Tabor Lake to an excellent fishing spot where you will find dolly, trout, and mountain white fish. The warmer weather also brings tubers and wakeboarders but only for a short window of time as large algal blooms appear mid to late summer. It is with great hope that new equipment from the Tabor Lake Cleanup Society will combat the algal bloom and extend the season for water recreation.
Tabor Lake suffers from a large amount of phosphorus loading. Although phosphorus is an excellent nutrient for algal and other aquatic plants, too much can cause an overgrowth more commonly known as algal bloom. This reduces oxygen in the water, harmful to aquatic life, and speeds up the ageing of the lake. This environmental stress induced a fish kill in 1993, killing a vast majority of the lake's non-sporting fish. The remaining fish population was rainbow trout that was introduced in 1988. The event sparked a volunteer lake monitoring program from 1994 - 2002.
Depending on the wind conditions I enjoy cruising up and down either shoreline. If the winds are coming from the South I will paddle the West side of the lake, tucking in and out of the shallow bays allowing me to avoid the rougher waters and the force of the wind. Once I am ⅔’s of the way up the West side I will usually turn around and paddle out to the middle of the lake and take advantage of the small downwind swells that take me back to the boat launch. (This is not recommended without the proper safety equipment and ability - be prepared to take on water, capsize, flip, or swim).
The northern and eastern shores of the lake provide some of the best bird watching around. Found at the northern point of the lake, a large raptors nest has existed for years. Canadian geese can be found with their goslings at the northern point of the lake as well. The eastern shoreline is dotted with lily pads and can be enjoyed from a paddleboard from late to early summer. And if ever there was a place to witness fish jumping at sunset, Tabor Lake is the place to be.
What would you ask you about a local lake? Make it an educated paddle for yourself.