Gateway To Strathcona Park & Della Falls


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Great Central Lake

Great Central Lake is located on Vancouver Island in the province of British Columbia, Canada. Great Central Lake is approximately 26 miles long and has an area of approximately 20 square miles, providing plenty of shoreline for the fishermen and canoes to explore.The lake itself was carved by the last ice age, which also exposed many minerals including copper and gold.

First nations peoples claim to be among the first to explore the Great Central Lake area as evidenced by a petroglyph long since underwater, which is rumored to be some sort of directional arrow. This petroglyph is located somewhere at the western end of the lake much of which now is inside the southern boundary of Strathcona Park.

The lake level was raised in the 1950's as part of a massive project to provide a water supply for both fish hatcheries and hydroelectric generation. Some of the earliest efforts at fish hatchery work and also replanting trees in harvested areas took place at Great Central Lake. Prior to the lake being raised it was the site of a large logging and saw milling operation which ran several railroad logging camps as well as a floating "A" Frame camp that used a massive float built of huge logs powered by a wood-fired boiler, to yard logs down to the lake. The lake shore itself was mostly steep and inaccessible and even more so now due to the water levels fluctuating because of the dam located on the Stamp River. The river system itself is home to World Class Steelhead fishing. The steep unfriendly shoreline of the lake made it necessary to build housing on floats and since the late 1800's there have been floating homes on Great Central Lake.

The man who discovered Della Lake and Della Falls, Joe Drinkwater owned one of the early float homes on Great Central Lake. Popular opinion at the time was that Vancouver Island could not be traversed through Bedwell Sound, so to settle a bet Joe hiked overland and made his way west to east along Great Central Lake and back to Port Alberni. He named the alpine lake and its outflow waterfalls after his wife, Della. These spectacular falls plunge 1440 feet from Della Lake to the Valley below in a noisy wet boiling cascade. Della Falls can only be reached by hiking inland 11 miles from the western end of Great Central Lake. The Della Falls Trail start is boat access only from the western end of Great Central Lake or from Scout Beach MOF camp site. Please refer to map for Ministry Of Forests Camp Sites in the area.

Thanks in no small part to the federal hatchery at Robertson Creek there is healthy fish returns in the creeks and rivers around the lake. There is also excellent fishing for trout to be had in the lake and also surrounding rivers and lakes, be sure to check the fishing regulations.

For a detailed Della Falls Trail description and map visit our friends at

Campfire Regulations
Visitors are reminded that fires are not permitted anywhere or at anytime (all seasons) within Strathcona Park except in an authorized BC Parks steel fire ring. This regulation is in effect at all times of the year. No open fires are allowed in any backcountry areas.

TFL 44 East and West Recreation and Logging Road Map
Includes Campsites and Sites Of Interest and freshwater fishing lakes and rivers in the area.

2011-2013 Freshwater Fishing Regulations
All sport fishing regulations in effect in freshwater in British Columbia (except for salmon fishing and fishing in National Parks) are published each spring in the Regulations Synopsis booklet. Anglers should become familiar with these regulations before going fishing. These are in effect throughout B.C.
2011-2013 Freshwater Fishing Regulations Synopsis – Complete

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