The Anutz Lake Recreation Campsite is located on a chain of lakes that reside in the Nimpkish Watershed just off of the Zeballos forestry road. The lake is positioned roughly 1km above the mighty Nimpkish Lake.
I always wanted to go visit Little Huson Caves and decided I would camp at Anutz Lake which is very close to the caves. Upon arrival I was greeted to an open area with no real campsites per se, but lots of room for campers of all kinds.
The campground is a grassy/sandy area with second growth forest around the edges with a long row of Pacific Ninebark bush between the campsites and the shoreline of the lake break the wind that occurs during the afternoon.
A few picnic tables and fire pits exist for some sites but the Anutz Lake recreation campsite is really a “pull up and create” your own abode style of campsite. The pit toilets were in rough shape as is most of the pit toilets I’ve seen in the un-maintained campsites that I’ve been to. However, it doesn’t mean they aren’t functional. In fact, I used them just fine. They are just a little run down and in need of some TLC.
As is the case with all the other campgrounds I had been to lately there is no supply of firewood just the remnants of previous campers. Make sure to bring your own wood or a chainsaw to help you attain some along the way somewhere.
The peaks of the Karmutzen Range can be seen standing guard over the watershed like sentinels whose main purpose in nature is to observe those who enter their domain. Anutz Lake is a small body of water with a maximum depth of 136′ and covers 243 acres at an elevation of 500 feet.
Getting to Anutz Lake
To get to Anutz Lake you must follow highway 19 to the community of Woss and from there go an extra 5-10 km to the Zeballos Forestry Road turnoff. Turn left onto the Zeballos road and look for a sign at a Y intersection that says Zeballos & Fair Harbour to the left and Anutz Lake, Huson Caves to the right. Stay to your right and you’ll come to a junction with a sign that says Huson Caves to the left. The road splits to the right towards the Nimpkish River and straight ahead. You want to stay straight and you’ll confirm this with a small sign on the right that says Anutz Campsite ahead.
The campsite is a few more kms down the road where you’ll see another sign pointing to the entrance road. If you stay straight you’ll eventually come to Nimpkish Lake where there used to be an old logging sort yard that is now used to camp at for a few campers.
Use the form below to find out how to get to the Anutz Lake Recreation Campsite using Google Maps.
The Limestone Shoreline
After setting up my camper at the end next to the open part of the beach so I could launch my boat, I took a walk down the beach towards the west where the three small streams enter the lake. I was pleasantly surprised to find the rock along the beach was limestone and held some very cool features where the wave action had created some nice patterns in the limestone.
Some of the rocks had holes that went right through them similar to a cave and others had a serrated edge look to them. I was amazed by the contours and shapes of the rocks as I scrambled over them trying not to stumble and fall as I am sure it would have hurt.
The whole area is a limestone based geological formation and a wonder to see up close. The more I ventured towards the marshy area the more I was awestruck by the way the water had over time developed the different patterns in the rock. The beach up to the rock was littered with cedar bark mulch and other various bits of wood which added a pleasing texture to compliment an already picturesque mental image.
You must take a walk to view this beach as it will only take about 10-15 minutes of your time and you won’t be disappointed I can assure you. Don’t forget to take along your camera or video recorder for some awesome memories. Even the forest is a relaxing and enjoyable venture with the second growth trees growing on the limestone base.
After my walk I placed my boat on the beach and got ready for the night that was coming. By now the wind had picked up quite a bit and was a hint of things to come while I was here. That night the wind died down somewhat and I sat around the fire until the bugs drove me to my camper where I decided to turn in early and get a fresh start for fishing in the morning.
The Morning Bite
The next morning all was calm and I placed my fishing tackle and rods into the boat and headed off towards the marshy area I had visited the afternoon before. Using a deep six in front of a spinner I put my line out 23 pulls and trolled around the bay and started heading down the west side of the lake. In the middle of my turn the rod tip dipped and I had my first fish on.
After about 5 minutes of letting him tire himself out I landed a nice 1-2 lb Cutthroat Trout which I kept for supper. There was fish surfacing all around me as I trolled further down the lake and I seen a lot of small fry jumping and just as many Stickleback surfacing.
Anutz Lake was stocked with Coastal Cutthroat Trout by the BC government in 1998 and 2001 (no records online after 2001) with 2000 yearlings in both years. The success of the stocking program is evident as witnessed by the number of trout I caught and released while I was there and the many fish tales told to me by other campers.
Although I didn’t catch or see any, there are reports of Rainbow Trout in the lake also. A couple of Anutz Lake Recreation Campsite regulars who come every year told me they have caught some nice Rainbows in Anutz Lake. I haven’t seen any documentation on the government stocking Rainbow Trout in the lake but they may be Steelhead that migrate up from Nimpkish Lake.
As I got closer to the northern end of the lake where the lakes dumps into a small creek that empties into Nimpkish Lake, I saw a bull elk meandering along the shoreline. As I got close enough to take a picture he got skittish and moved into the brush so I was unable to get the shot I wanted. You win some, you lose some I guess.
To Sum It Up
I stayed for 4 days at the Anutz Lake Recreation Campsite and enjoyed every minute of it. The fishing alone is worth a day trip if you are going to be in the area. Even though the wind is pretty heavy during the afternoon the Pinebark hedge does stop it from ruining your day. I also watched a young family fly a kite in the wind and it looked like a lot of fun. I would bet that windsurfing would be a sport you could do with ease on the lake in the afternoon.
With out a doubt, the Anutz Lake Recreation Campsite is a special place to visit. Even though the campground is an open one without individual campsites like other campgrounds there is still enough room for a lot of campers. It is usually populated with regulars who live on Vancouver Island who are very friendly and know the area very well. The other beauty is, if the campground is full there are many more opportunities like Atluck Lake, Bonanza Lake, Huson Lake, Klaklakama Lake, Schoen Lake, Vernon Lake and Woss Lake within 10-30 minutes away. And don’t forget about Nimplish Lake which is just up the road from the Zeballos Forestry Road turnoff on highway 19.
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