Columbia River fishing guide Graham Cloutier (right) of Chillbilly Charters spent a good day on the water hosting Wes David from Fishing the Wild West TV show earlier this month.

Columbia River fishing guide Graham Cloutier (right) of Chillbilly Charters spent a good day on the water hosting Wes David from Fishing the Wild West TV show earlier this month.

West Kootenay Fishing Report

August/September brings hot weather and walleye action

Thanks to Kerry Reed for submitting the Kootenay Lake fishing report. Contact Reel Adventures Sportfishing at or call 250-505-4963. And to Graham Cloutier and for Columbia River and Area Lakes report. Contact Graham at or call 250-304-4378.

Kootenay Lake: During the month of August, the weather was scorching hot and the water temps were close to 20 degrees. That made a difference in the fishing for sure.

Our guides did a few trips very early in the morning to beat the heat and tried to be back at the dock before the temperature became too uncomfortable.

The morning trips managed to hook a few fish each day, but seemed like the rainbows headed for cover, but the bull trout were still fairly aggressive. Most trips saw a few bull trout with the odd rainbow mixed in.

With September’s arrival, the mornings were cooler, the water temp gradually dropping and the fish started to show some life again.

Everyday, we are starting to hit the water consistently again and getting better and better results.

We’ve had some decent days on the lake lately. Seems like the mornings have been better for bull trout, and the afternoons have been better for rainbows.

Looking forward to some cooler weather and expecting the fishing to pick up. October and November are usually the beginning of our prime fishing. So, stay tuned for some prime fall reports.

Columbia River: Columbia River guide Graham Cloutier from Chillbilly Charters had a good month on the water, and says it’s been particularly exceptional targeting walleye.

During the heat of August and early September, the best time for fishing was in the evening or early morning, but anglers had success targeting trout in cool riffles and runs, and walleye in deeper water during the day.

For fly fishers, drifting or trolling a streamer on a full sink line picked up both walleye and rainbow. When fishing a run, the rainbows would hit the fly on the drift, but if you let it run out and sink into the back-eddy, then start a slow retrieve, it was a walleye almost every other cast.

Great areas for walleye fishing are the Robson Reach and the Hugh Keenleyside Dam north of Castlegar and the Waneta Dam south of Trail.

Area Lakes: Local lakes and reservoirs like the Pend d’Oreille, Rosebud, Cottonwood, Nancy Greene, Champion and Loon Lakes are also fishing well.

Some stillwater may have been a little slow in the heat of August, but lakes like Rosebud have been producing very well in September. Dangling chironomids just off the bottom is a popular method for fly fishers, but mayfly hatches have been abundant and trout were hitting nymphs just subsurface, and dry flies for consistent top-water action.

The Pend d’Oreille has been producing a lot of bass. Look for areas with structure and cast a swim bait or a jighead with worm or, for fly fishers, a sink line or sink tip with attractor pattern.

What are

they biting on?

On Kootenay Lake, the most success for the bull trout was on the Lemon Lime flasher followed by the green pistachio hoochie or the spatter back. Best depths as of early September have been 80–121 feet.

For the rainbows, the best success came on the Gibbs Delta Croc spoons, although bucktail flies should take off pretty soon as the water temperature drops and more fish start heading towards the surface to feed.

On the Columbia, fly fishers have had good success fishing attractor patterns for rainbow and walleye, particularly streamers or olive/copper/brown beadhead woolly buggers and bulldog patterns. Also, large dry-fly patterns like the October caddis or hopper patterns will coax big bows to the surface.

Spincasting lures like the Len Thompson dimpled series to the slack water has resulted in many nice rainbows for Cloutier, whose go-to rig for walleye is a three-ounce bottom bouncer and a worm harness.

A slow troll using a weight and wedding ring or Mack’s spinner tipped with worm is also a local favourite.

For shore-bound walleye anglers, bottom-bouncing or casting jigheads and soft plastics like Mister Twisters have been good producers.

Find the right colour combination and/or lure and it will be a memorable day on the water.


Walleye are popular and tasty game fish on the Columbia River.

Walleye are popular and tasty game fish on the Columbia River.

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