Explore Sproat Lake

Wildlife at Sproat Lake

Sproat Lake is nestled in the Alberni Valley and is home to a range of wildlife including many species of birds, beavers, black bears, salmon, three types of deer, and elk. Sproat Lake and the surrounding areas are diverse ecosystems of plants and animals that intersect with humans on a daily basis, allowing residents a front row seat from the comfort of their home.

Bird Watching

Sproat Lake and surrounding areas are home to a diverse bird population including bald Eagles, turkey vultures, woodpeckers, loons, and hummingbirds. Bald eagles are known for their “bald” white head and a 2m wingspan, and are always exciting to spot. Turkey Vultures are known for their large black bodies, coming in at around 3 lbs, with about a 180cm wingspan; they are scavenger birds who feed mainly on carrion, or the decaying flesh of animals. Woodpeckers are more often heard before seen, they have a bright red head and black body with white stripes; woodpeckers are sometimes confused with sapsuckers, which are similar looking birds with a common red head, but black and white speckled body. Pacific Loons can use the Lake as breeding grounds, and are known for their black throat, white underparts and black-and-white mantle, along with their “ark” like call. Rufous hummingbirds are known for their iridescent colours, they typically weigh around 2-5g and are about 7-9 cm long with an 11 cm wingspan.Woodpecker

Sproat Lake Landing is home to a beaver habitat which houses Fred and his family of four. Fred and his family built a massive habitat standing at 10 feet tall and can be seen from Drinkwaters Lakeside Deck. The best time to see the beavers is early morning or late evening, or when a local bear is in the vicinity and the beavers clap their tails in warning.

Black Bears

Black bears are most commonly seen from May to October, but especially between August and September when the salmon do their annual run. Black bears are relatively harmless as long as you keep a safe distance and don’t startle them. For safe bear watching, Victoria Quay offers spectacular views to the Somass Estuary across the river where bears can be seen wandering the shores in search of food. It’s important to remember that we live in bears’ natural habitat, and that means co-existing with them in a safe and sustainable way. At home this looks like locking up your garbage and food waste bins, as well as keeping your property free of food that will inevitably attract the bears. When you’re out and about in the forest, be sure to make lots of noise so you don’t accidently startle a bear, bring bear spray and understand how to use it properly, and always stay aware of your surroundings.


Each August to October, thousands of salmon make the annual trip through the Alberni Valley to their spawning grounds at Stamp River Provincial Park. Stamp Falls is one of the best places to view the salmon run, with multiple viewpoints that allow you to see them swimming in the pools at the base of the falls before travelling up the fish ladder to their spawning grounds further up the river. There are five species of salmon that can be found in Port Alberni; chinook, coho, sockeye, and lesser numbers of chum and pink. It’s a brilliant sight to see the salmon travelling up the waterfalls, and one can spend hours at Stamp Falls peacefully watching the salmon make their journey.


Sproat Lake and the Alberni Valley are home to the Black Tail Deer and Fallow Deer. Black Tail and Fallow Deers are plentiful in the Alberni Valley, well known for their smaller size of 50-100 lbs and their ability to damage farm crops and family gardens. Spring and summer months bring out the mama deer and their fawns. Because the Valley is so heavily populated with deer, it’s incredibly important to keep an eye out for them while driving, as they have been known to run across the roads unexpectedly.

Elk on Vancouver Island Elk

The Roosevelt Elk, also known as the Olympic Elk, was named by President Franklin Roosevelt in honour of his uncle Teddy. The Roosevelt Elk is the largest of the elk family, weighing in at 500kg for a mature male, and living from 12-15 years. The elk’s diet changes depending on the season and migration; they are considered browsers during the winter months, eating mainly small woody plants at lower levels. The summer months take them upwards where they graze on grass and new shoots with their young.

Wildlife at Sproat Lake

Sproat Lake and the Alberni Valley are home to a plethora of wildlife, and we’ve only touched on a few. Let us know your favourite animal to spot and if you’ve seen any we haven’t listed here!

Written by Megan Warrender, at The Valley Vibe. Port Alberni’s fast growing community and online magazine. The passion here at the Valley Vibe is to showcase the beautiful of our valley for all who live here, and travel through. Working together with many talented writers, we at the Valley Vibe love to explore, discover and uncover secret jewels about Port Alberni and Sproat Lake.


The Valley Vibe

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