The moderately sized Puntledge River flows northeast from Comox Lake. The river is a wild river, great for kayaking before being joined by the Browns River, then it mellows out before joining up with the Tsolum river to become the Courtenay River. The Courtenay River flows through Courtenay and empties into Comox Harbor on the east coast of central Vancouver Island.
There is only 10 km of the river that is able to be fished. The lower 4 km of the river is easily reached from various roads in and around Courtenay. However, there is only limited road and trail access to the upper 6 km of the river. Part of the upper river is just awesome for kayaking, it can be a great run when the water is high. The put-in for kayaking is at the fish hatchery and the take out is at the Puntledge River rec site.
In addition to the salmon runs in the fall and both the summer and winter steelhead runs, the river has great fishing for rainbow trout and sea-run cutthroats. Spin Casting is best in the upper river and fly fishing is best in the lower part of the river.
The Comox Lake dam picnic area is situated on the river, at the outlet of the lake reservoir. The recreation area offers a parking lot, beach, pit toilet, viewpoint, information displays, and a small picnic area. There are many hiking and biking trails located in the surrounding forest.
Nymph Falls on the Puntledge River is a great place for hiking. You can watch the salmon spawning run in the fall, it’s awesome to watch them swim up the past the falls as they run up the fish ladder.
The river and falls are located right in the middle of a rain forest that is full of old trees that are covered in thick green moss, an incredible place of beauty. There are many rare plants here as well, some, like the scoulers harebells, add to this an incredible assortment of mushrooms and you have a great place to take a walk-in.
The trails along the river are well maintained, you can hike around both sides of the Puntledge River and you can sometimes see bears, cougars, deer and many other smaller forest creatures here along with many kinds of birds, so don’t forget your camera.