The Sproat River swimming hole is located west of Port
Alberni on Hwy 4 about 3 km (2 miles) before Sproat Lake Provincial
The Sproat River starts in Sproat Lake and then flows north-east
joining the Stamp River just downstream from the Sproat River Bridge.
Once the two rivers join they now become the start of the Somass
River. The Somass flows towards Port Alberni and joins the ocean
in the harbour.
For you to get here from Nanaimo
travel on Hwy 19 towards Parksville and then take Hwy 4A through
eventually reaching Port Alberni. Once in Port Alberni watch for
the directional signs and travel west towards Ucluelet
Sproat River is just past the Tseshaht Market as you travel towards
Sproat Lake on Hwy 4.
Access to the Sproat River is gained off of Hwy 4 on Faber Road
just past the Sproat River Bridge going west. Look for the Ash Main
logging bridge for some parking near the forestry road. You then
take a short trail or walk along the side of the river to a number
of different swimming holes going upstream towards Sproat Lake.
Between Ash Main and Hwy 4
The pools from Hwy 4 to the logging bridge on Ash Main are not very
wide with the water generating lots of current. If you're swimming
through here, you'll have to beware of getting slammed into the
large boulders half submerged in the river. Also please watch small
children and yourself as the rocks can be quite slippery.
From here the pool starts to widen out and Sproat River seems a
more little safer. This pool is very nice, especially when the sun
is able to shine through from above giving the water a tropical
feeling. The pool here will be over 2 metres (6 feet) so please
be aware if you're swimming capabilities, especially in a current.
The best pool is close to Sproat Lake, just downstream from the
control weir at the mouth of Sproat River. You can either make your
way along the river or take the trail through the bush to reach
it. Once here, you'll find the swimming just excellent with the
water being warm, crystal clear, current not too strong with one
large pool around eight feet deep.
The Sproat River does have some potential for inner tubing with
a small section of rapids that flow towards the bridge in the direction
of the Stamp River and the Somass. The water can be very exciting
and very enjoyable if you use a mask, snorkel and flippers through
If you enjoy wildlife, watch for bald eagles trying to catch a salmon
and other fish swimming in the river. A real favourite pastime is
trying to spot and catch the many crayfish that habitat along the
river's bottom. You'll be amazed at the numbers of crayfish in this
Just remember there are no lifeguards here and the currents can
be swift with the rocks very sharp and are non-forgiving when swimming,
so please take precaution if you're not sure of the river's condition.
Also, when walking along the river bank, be prepared for some slippery
boulders so please be extra careful.
One thing that you'll want to take notice along the Sproat River
are signs of bear. During the salmon spawning times especially bears
have been known to walk along the river searching for salmon swimming
in the river. Please take precautions if a bear encounter is experienced
and please be prepared in what you should do in order to protect
yourself and others.
Lake Provincial Park
If you would like to experience the Sproat River and stay the night,
there is a provincial campground at Sproat Lake Provincial Park.
Although you generally need a reservation, the park attendants are
very accommodating allowing some overflow camping in the day-use
parking lot towards the lower campground.
Remember there are homes located on the west side of Sproat River
and at the river's mouth at Sproat Lake so please respect people's
privacy and stay off private land.
If you are an angler, the Sproat River has some excellent angling
opportunities with Cutthroat, Kokanee, Rainbow Trout and Steelhead
fishing all readily available. Check the regulations for fishing
license requirements for Vancouver Island if you would like to learn
Lake Crayfish Farm
Just a note about eating the crayfish or, as some others in the
world have called them, crawfish, crawdaddies and mudbugs. They
are enjoyed on dinner plates throughout Europe and especially in
Sweden. Apparently, at one time there was a Crayfish farm set up
on Central Lake to take advantage of their popularity.
The Crayfish farm was thought to be the source for the various rivers
on Vancouver Island, as the crayfish, as long as they are wet, can
migrate over land to different watersheds. It turns out in south-west
British Columbia, there is a Native signal species called Pacifastacus
Leniusculus that seems to thrive quite well in the waters of Sproat