Mountains backdrop the beautiful blue water of Chilko Lake.
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Tatlayoko/Chilko Region

Tatlayoko - (pronounced Tatla-ko)

The Tatlayoko Valley is a wild and beautiful place with a lush growing season and a long, gorgeous aquamarine lake protected along its length by craggy peaks. However, at about eleven o'clock every morning, those same peaks cause a wind to come sweeping across the lake. This provides consistent afternoon thermal winds creating excellent windsurfing conditions, but is reason for caution if out in a fishing boat.

In the early 1900's the first development in the valley was by a man named Tom Morris who staked a mining claim at the south end of Tatlayoko Lake. He put in a sawmill and built boats and a camp at the bottom of the valley. The Morris Mine was a hard rock mine and difficult to extract gold, but the mine still ran for quite a number of years.

By 1912, trappers had moved into the area. Then a few homesteaders moved in, many leaving to fight in the First World War either for the States or Canada, depending on what country they came from. The BC government would only hold a pre-emption for 60 days after the war ended so one or two chose to relinquish theirs. One such place was taken up by George Powers after he came into the country in 1914.

Powers was from Washington and related to the notorious Plummer Gang but it's said he had none of their characteristics. A quiet, well-dressed cowboy, Powers fell in love with Jessie, the daughter of a Chilcotin Indian Chief who forbade Jessie to marry a white man. Powers had two good saddle horses and one night the young lovers fled on horseback. The Chief and an Indian party pursued them but after realizing the two were on strong, fast horses, they returned home. Powers headed to the Tatlayoko Valley to the west where he knew of a remote log cabin. Later, George and Jesse made a permanent home at Charlotte Lake where they ranched and trapped. There was no road into that isolated spot either and even though childless, the cowboy and the Indian Princess remained faithfully together for the rest of their lives.

Even the women were of pioneer spirit in those days. In 1930 Del Haynes came to Tatlayoko with four children and worked hard to support her family over the years. Two of her sons, Harry and Lou, became big-game guides. Because of his knowledge of the mountains, in 1945, Harry and his wife were chosen by Don and Phyllis Munday to help pack them into Mt. Reliance so that they could be the first to climb the mountain.

The Mundays were famous for being the first to scale Mt. Waddington which at 13,172 feet (4,101 metres) is the highest peak completely within BC's boundaries. It had always been known as Mystery Mountain until the Mundays conquered it in 1936, and then gave the unkown mountain the name Waddington.

Pioneers to the area built a school for their children, a sawmill, had post once a month and ranched, trapped and guided to make a living. Because of Tatlayoko's nearness to the ocean (The valley is along the route taken by game, including grizzlies, from the coast to the inland.) it enjoys a growing season that allows for fruit and vegetables not normally grown on the Chilcotin Plateau. The remote area finally received phone service in 1990.

The spectacular mountain scenery of the area offers recreational opportunities for the experienced backcountry user, ranging from hiking, kayaking, camping and mountaineering, to photography and wildlife viewing. You can take trail rides into the mountains, visit the spectacular Waddington Canyon or view the extensive ice fields in the region.

Chilko Lake (also spelled Chilco)

Chilko Lake is the highest and largest freshwater lake in the world and can be accessed about 40 miles from Tatla Lake by taking the Tatlayoko Road, which turns into the Chilko Road. The road is gravel and can be rough so caution should be used by larger recreational vehicles.

Nestled among craggy peaks, Chilko Lake is most well known for its unbelievable aquamarine color caused by glacial silt that washes out of the mountains. Its famous counterpart, the Chilko River, is also known for its milky green tint, especially in spring.

Both waterways are known for their fabulous fishing. Chilko Lake offers Rainbow Trout to six pounds and Bull Trout to ten pounds. Chilko River is a favorite for its class five rafting adventures and is known as one of the finest catch and release rivers in British Columbia when fishing for trout and Dolly Varden to ten pounds.

At nearly 60 miles long, Chilko Lake is large enough to create its own weather, and like Tatlayoko, you can set your watch by the regularity with which the wind comes up every morning. Caution should be used with this lake when out with a small boat. Be prepared to come into shore as quickly as possible.

The area offeres horseback riding, fishing, rafting, wildife and bird photography, hiking, boating tours and more.

Operators - Tatlayoko/Chilko Region

Chilko River Lodge
Chilko River
Homathko River Inn
Tatlayoko Valley
Snow capped mountains behind Chilko.
Small ripples in green blue water of Chilko Lake.
Rocks and trees above the lake.
Hiker stands above the long arm of Chilko Lake.
Rider on a horse in a meadow among mountains.
Pilot on radio on Waddington Mountain with blue helicopter.
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