Low water levels due to lack of precipitation in Ootsa Lake could create challenges for the Pondosy Bay Wilderness Resort as the tourism season begins.

Darrell Anderson is the manager at Pondosy Bay, which is owned by Cheslatta Carrier Nation. He said they use the Ootsa Lake Reservoir and the Nechako Reservoir to access the lake via portage for their clients, most of whom boat in. Resort staff lift the boats out of White Sail Lake onto carts to carry them about half a kilometre to Ootsa Lake.

“Right now, it’s impossible. You can’t get boats on the cart because the water is too low,” Anderson said.

Pondosy Bay is a Lake Resort. Anderson said 90 per cent of their clients come to fish for the big rainbow trout in Ootsa Lake.

“It’s at a record low this year,” Anderson said. “It’s just started to rise a bit in the last couple of days.”

Anderson said this is already having an effect on this year’s bookings.

“They’re worried about the water levels, and, of course, whether we have a bad upcoming fire season,” he said.

The Pondosy Bay Wilderness Resort had to evacuate twice last year because of wildfires before closing in July of 2023.

“This year we don’t have any idea what’s going to happen with the water levels,” Anderson said. “We might not even have a season.”

Right now, Anderson said he is having trouble finding any place in the lake to launch a boat, but he expects the water level to rise over the next two weeks.

“We can offer fly-in trips, but we haven’t really marketed for that,” Anderson said.

Pondosy Bay employs approximately 12 seasonal workers who could be affected by any closure of the resort.

Despite low water levels, Anderson remains positive for the summer season and Pondosy Wilderness Resort.

“I’m optimistic,” Anderson said. “I don’t think this is going to be a long-term thing, but we’ll see, I guess.”

Low water levels on Ootsa lake also caused problems for the Ursa Minor Brewing company when their waterline froze over the winter.