Exploring Enos Lake

After a hot couple of hours on Notch Hill, we drove a short distance back along Fairwinds Road to the trail head for Enos Lake.

enos lake
Very tempting for swimming, Enos Lake is the only place in British Columbia to find the Enos Lake Stickleback (Gasterosteus sp.).

There’s a network of trails around a series of ponds and ultimately Enos Lake itself which makes for easy walking.

We found the trails to be a little confusing and the maps not very helpful (there are no convenient “You Are Here” dots on the trail maps) so allow yourself some extra time if you’re exploring. It’s a good idea to download the trail map from Fairwinds as well – it’s not super helpful but it provides the opportunity to do a mental workout.

Having never “hiked” these trails before, both Jocie and I were amazed by the amount of diversity in the ponds. Pacific Tree Frogs (Hyla regilla) were everywhere – sitting on top of the Watershield (Brasenia schreberi) leaves, swimming in the water, and crawling in the grass.

Enos lake sign
Enos Lake is home to the endangered Enos Lake Stickleback.

We found Water-plantain (Alisma plantago-aquatica) in bloom in the wet edges of the pond and swampy streams. The white, three-petaled flowers were unusual looking and distinctive allowing for easy identification. The basal leaves are long stalked and egg shaped. Also in the water was Bladderwort (Utricularia sp.), an aquatic plant that traps small invertebrates in its valve-lidded bladders. From a botanical perspective, these small ponds and wet areas are very interesting.

I didn’t have my dragonfly net, but on a return visit I’ll definitely bring it. I was able to identify several species of dragonfly by sight but would have to spend the time to catch and release in order to come up with a comprehensive list. Four-spotted Skimmers, Eight-spotted Skimmers, Common Green Darners, and several other species of Darners were common.

“ The white, three-petaled flowers were unusual looking and distinctive allowing for easy identification. ” Dave Ingram
tree frog
A Pacific Tree Frog (Hyla regilla) sitting on top of a Watershield (Brasenia schreberi) leaf.

Our final stop was Enos Lake, home of the limnetic Enos Lake Stickleback (Gasterosteus sp.). This is the only place where this specific stickleback pair (both benthic and limnetic) is found. Hopefully, the lake will remain undeveloped and this Endangered fish will survive.

Despite a few wrong turns, we had a spectacular day walking around the wetlands and ponds at Enos Lake. This is a great place for nature viewing and well worth visiting. We’ll definitely be back!

enos lake
One of several ecologically interesting ponds near Enos Lake.

Getting There

The most obvious access point to the trails at Enos Lake is on Fairwinds Road. From the Petro Canada gas station turn off the Island Highway (Highway 19) onto Northwest Bay Road. Turn right onto Powder Point Road and continue until you reach a four way stop. Continue straight as Powder Point Road then becomes Fairwinds Road. Look for the trail head on the left hand side of the road.

Check out Dave Ingram's Island Nature Blog, exploring nature on Vancouver Island, British Columbia and beyond.

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About the Author

Dave Ingram