Mohun Lake Recreation Site Free Camping At Its Finest

photo of a beautiful day on the water of Mohun Lake on Vancouver Island

Located a few kilometers east of Brewster Lake, lies the free Mohun Lake Recreation Site.  A small site that consists of only 2 campsites.

Therefore it is very hard to get a campsite during the peak of summer.  Because of this I had to wait until September after Labour Day to find an empty site.

photo of the sun setting over Mohun Lake Campground

The first night I arrived I got to see a nice sunset therefore it was worth the wait.  The sky had a number of cloud patterns and the sunset lit them up.

I launched the boat, set up camp and I took a spin around Mohun Lake.  It took me an hour and a half after leaving Mohun Lake Recreation Site to circumvent the lake.  I stopped at a few spots along the way to check them out.

One spot was a beach which is part of Morton Lake Provincial Park.  Just around the corner from the beach was Mohun Creek which empties into Morton Lake.

I saw a few clear cuts from logging but they were green and growing.  Older second growth timber surrounded the rest of the lake.

That evening I tried my luck at fishing in front of the campsite. Not many bites but did lose a nice one at the boat.  Maybe 8 inches or so long.  Decided to go ashore and shoot the sunset with my camera.

The Sky Lit Up At Mohun Lake Recreation Site

photo of the sunrise from the campground at Mohun Lake

The sunrises and sunsets for the next few days were outstanding.  Even the sunrises were spectacular to see. It was a struggle to fish and take photos because of the boat movement.

At times though I did shut down the motor and wait for the water to flatten.  Than I took a few photos of the beautiful light and reflections in the lake.

The predominant breeze that seems to be around every evening made it a challenge.  But the wind would die long enough to shoot some acceptable photos before picking up again.

On shore it was a different scenario.  Even though the light had diminished substantially by the time I got off the water, the colors were still beautiful.

I discovered that I had forgotten to pack my tripod so I had to hand hold the cameras. Today’s technology compensates for those times when my brain spins its wheels.

Fishing at Mohun Lake Recreation Site

photo of a cutthroat trout caught in Mohun Lake on Vancouver Island

Mohun Lake is a deep lake with a surface area of 2480 acres and a perimeter distance of 124,320 feet. The lake’s maximum depth is 144 feet.

It has steep sides in the central part of the lake with shallow sections at both ends. 

The second day at Mohun Lake Recreation Site I went fishing. 

In the morning, I caught and released two small Cutthroat Trout. 

They measured between 6 and 8 inches.  One was fat and the other longer and skinnier.

photo of momma black tail deer and two fawns walking along the lake shore of Mohun Lake on Vancouver island

While I was fishing in my small boat I witnessed three deer walking along the shoreline. 

A doe and two fawns.  The two fawns were very healthy. 

The evening bite proved to be just as productive.  I caught and released three nice Cutthroat Trout.

The two smaller trout were about 8 inches and fat. The other Cutthroat Trout was 9 inches and skinny.

Later during the week, I caught a very nice 14 inch Cutthroat Trout.  He fought very hard and came out of the water a couple times.  Unfortunately he swallowed the hook so I had to keep him.

A local fisher that I met towards the end of the week gave me some tips.  He told me to head to the north end of the lake for bigger fish.

In Search of the Mohun Lake Holy Grail

The next morning off I went to see if his tip was true.  The boat ride took about 20 minutes with a slower ride through the old train trestles.  Be careful going through the first one as there is a dead head just to the right of center.

Hooked up and started trolling my willow leaf and worm almost immediately.  My fish finder was reading 22 feet total depth so I placed my fishing gear at 8 feet.

Within seconds of sitting back to relax, a trout hooked on my line.  I reeled in a nice 13 inch Cutthroat Trout and as per the norm he fought well.

Caught and released three more nice sized Cutthroat around 9 inches.  Saw a lot of trout surfacing as I trolled around.  All in all it was a good time albeit a long boat ride to go fishing.

I decided to head back to camp and try my luck out front later on.  It turned out to be a hot day and I needed some of the shade at camp.

Alas, no Holy Grail.

photo of the sun setting over Mohun Lake Campground

Murphy’s Law at Mohun Lake Recreation Site

That evening I stayed out front of the campsite and fished for a couple hours.  I didn’t expect much luck because of the first nights poor showing.

Boy was I in for a shock. Even here I did very well catching and releasing 4 Cutthroat Trout. 

The largest trout was 8 inches and the smallest was 5.  I lost a very nice one about 5 feet from the boat.  Felt heavier than any of the fish caught during the trip.

Just goes to show you that this lake is fishy.  I wonder what it will be like when the weather cools down.

a photo of the sunset through some shoreline reeds on Mohun Lake

How to Get to Mohun Lake Recreation Site

To get to the Mohun Lake Recreation Site you must find your way to Campbell River.  From there you travel north on highway 19 towards Sayward.  About 16 kms from the bridge that crosses the Campbell River turn left onto the Menzies forest service road.

This is also the road that leads to Morton Lake Provincial Park.  Therefore you will see a Morton Lake Provincial Park 2km sign on highway 19 as a heads up.

After you turn onto the Menzies forest service road, drive for 13 km.  There you will see the entrance to Mohun Lake Recreation Site. 

Along the way you will pass the Morton Lake Provincial Park turn off and the private Mohun Lake Campgrounds. UPDATE: (2024) Website no longer available so not sure if the private campground still exists.

Directly across the road from the Mohun Lake Recreation Site entrance is the Merrill Lake forest service road.

Use the form below to find out how to get to Mohun Lake Recreation Site using Google Maps.

The Skinny On Mohun Lake

The sunshine hit the Mohun Lake Recreation Site only in the morning while I was there. The sun is lower on the horizon in September.  Consequently there is a lack of sunshine because of the trees blocking it.

By noon I was moving my solar panel around to keep it in direct sunlight as needed.  I imagine in the middle of summer the sun will be higher therefore more direct sunlight.

The first time I stayed at Mohun Lake Recreation Site there was only one dock on the east side of the campgrounds.

My second stay a few weeks later someone had put in another nice dock on the west end. This was my favourite campsite.

The boat launch is between the two campsites and closer to the west one. It is a concrete boat launch and a little rough but works well.

There are two picnic tables, one pit toilet and fire pits built with rocks. Next to the east campsite is an overflow area which when empty allows for camping also.

Video Walk Thru of Mohun Lake Recreation Site

Walk Thru Video of Mohun Lake Recreation Site

A road that follows the west side of the lake off of the Menzies road leads to a small campground by the railroad trestles.  An abandoned camper sits there and is in poor shape.

There is access to the water from here but it is very shallow and you’ll be paddling a ways before using your motor. You’ll be using a cartop boat because there is no boat launch.

Mohun Lake is a very beautiful lake and at the time of this article camping is still free.

Getting a site will be a hit or miss opportunity because of its popularity. Park on the Menzies road first and walk down to see if it is full.  The walk is a short one maybe 5 minutes or so. 

If you are lucky enough to get a spot you will not be disappointed.

Don’t despair if the recreation site is full as there are a lot more sites in the area to choose from. 

All of them are only a few minutes away and offer great Vancouver Island camping experiences.

Check out other sites like Boot Lake, Gosling Lake, Gray Lake, Merrill Lake and Paterson Lake. You won’t be disappointed.

photo of beginning sunset as viewed through some shoreline reeds on Mohun Lake

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2 thoughts on “Mohun Lake Recreation Site Free Camping At Its Finest”

  1. Hello! I have heard on CBC radio that 90% of catch and release fish die after being released. Is this research accurate?

    1. Van Isle Camping

      Hi Keldean, this is a great question and not being a scientist I cannot answer with absolute certainty.

      I can however give my personal opinion based on 20 years of running a fish guiding adventure business.

      I have also researched this a bit and found most data to be outdated but credible based on the technics used (live water holding areas, radio telemetry).

      I know that over the years when guiding my clients I always gave a discount for catch and release with barbless hooks in both freshwater and saltwater adventures.

      I found the majority of saltwater anglers preferred to keep their catch, while freshwater anglers preferred to release.

      Towards the end of my career, I found that trend to lean towards catch and release more frequently for both waters.

      What I learned was most fish caught with barbless hooks that were not played for too long, kept in the water using a soft net bag or tailed by hand before release seemed to exhibit a more vigorous response to swimming away than those caught and held up for a picture before release.

      I can honestly say that the majority of my personal catch and releases swam away and did not resurface.

      As for my guests, the numbers were more like 60/40 for strong swim aways.

      I also didn’t see many predators take the fish while it was swimming away but no one knows for sure unless there is some kind of video that watches the fish as it swims away beneath the surface.

      The science that I have read states the mortality rate of catch and release fish is somewhere between 18%-30% for fish caught in waters above 33 feet and rises as high as 50% or more for fish caught in deeper waters because of the pressure changes associated with greater depths.

      I tried to find the cbc study you made reference to on line but couldn’t so I cannot comment on the validity of it.

      The bottom line (no pun intended) is to not play the fish to exhaustion, use single barbless hooks, a soft net fabric and keep it in the water when releasing it.

      Pictures aren’t necessary any more as a quick video shot to preserve the memory will suffice.

      Hope this helps and thanks for the excellent question which will no doubt raise a number of different opinions.

      Maybe some of our readers will provide more current data if it exists or give you their opinion also.

      In the end it is up to you to make a decision on whether you angle or not but doing everything you can to ensure their best chance at survival when released is a good thing not a bad thing.

      Here are three links for you to read that talks about catch and release fishing.

      Keep in mind they are outdated and fishing pressure has increased tenfold over the years.

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