This 14-pound bull trout was caught on Kootenay Lake earlier this month. Photo: Kerry Reed

This 14-pound bull trout was caught on Kootenay Lake earlier this month. Photo: Kerry Reed

West Kootenay Fishing Report

Weather has been challenging but fish still biting on West Kootenay lakes and streams

Junuary is here. Yes, it’s been more like fall/winter weather. But, the lake is rising and the fish are biting.

Kootenay Lake: Once the water warmed up in May, the fishing picked right up.

Water temps broke 50 degrees recently and the fish are loving it. Lots of days with up to 15 to 20 fish on throughout the day.

The water was fairly clean during May, which allowed for some easy navigating and some pretty decent fishing. Although now, with all the rain happening, the lake has been rising quickly.

With the water rising, there has been a lot of debris on the surface, which makes it a bit tougher for keeping the lines clean. Although the high water has also brought more food (insects) into the lake, and the fish are very active.

Early June saw a couple days of actual sunshine. This brought on the flying ant hatch. Although it was short lived and the sun went away fast, the ants covered the water. This meant a crazy feeding frenzy for a few days. And we were lucky enough to be out every day.

One of the days, we managed to hook into more than 30 fish. Then it gradually slowed down, as the fish were literally stuffed. Happy to have timed it right anyways. It’s always pretty amazing to see fish feeding on the surface as far as the eye can see.

Some fatter rainbows have been caught this spring, but I think they’re still pretty much stuck at the same size as previous years. We’ve caught a few rainbows around 5 pounds, but most are still averaging 2-3 pounds.

Bull trout on the other hand are finding more food. The latest catch by one of our clients was a beauty 14-pound Bull. However, most of the Bulls have been averaging 3 to 6 pounds.

Noticing a lot of ants in the bellies lately, as well as quite a few tiny kokanee. If the feeding frenzy continues, we may see some larger rainbows later this year.

Not only are the fish feeding, but the ospreys and eagles are swarming around as well. Lots of days we have ospreys circling us and waiting for an opportunity to steal a fish away from us.

It’s an exciting time of year. The lake is alive and the fish and birds are active.

Stay tuned

Columbia River: The river has been fishing well.

It seems like the mornings are a bit slow, but that’s normal with the cold temperatures we’ve been experiencing, but most afternoons have been quite productive.

There’s been a few hatches on the warmer days and in between squalls. When the hatches are on, we’ve been getting some action on the dry fly. Although the most productive has been on the nymphs with indicator or sinking line with streamers.

Rainbows between 16 – 20 inches have been the usual, although we’ve seen a couple fish up to 24 inches.

Walleye fishing has been hit and miss. Probably due to the inconsistent weather as well. Some good days with up to a dozen Walleye to the boat, but still not consistent. Usually the better walleye fishing is in the late summer or early fall.

The river is rising and debris is starting to flow. Be aware of your surroundings, as there have been a few big logs floating down.

Hopefully we can get into some consistent weather and get out there more often.

What are they biting on?

On the lake, it’s been a bit of everything. During the crazy ant hatch, it was great fishing with bucktails.

The flying ant pattern was working well, but we found that a totally different pattern would actually work better. Sometimes when there’s a whole lot of natural ants floating around, it’s a good idea to throw something different that will stand out from the rest. Our favorite fly patterns have been lucky numbers 210, 221, & 226 lately.

When the bucktails aren’t working, the spoons have taken over. Because we are finding a bunch of 3 inch kokanee in the stomachs of our fish, we have been dragging some of our favourite Gibbs Fishing spoons. The ‘Skinny G’ in Herrring Aid, Bon Chovy, and Outfitter patterns have worked best for us. They seem to be a good replica of the bait being eaten.

On the river, it’s been best with fly rods. Floating line with an indicator and a prince nymph have been working well in the back eddies. Or sinking line with streamers is working well in the seams.

Walleye are chomping on the Gibbs bottom bouncer followed by a bling blade or wedding band with worm.

Again, hoping for some consistent weather to finally show up and get us out of this never ending winter/spring.

Tight lines…

The West Kootenay Fishing Report is contributed by Kerry Reed from Reel Adventures Fishing Charters. Book yours today, call 1-250-505-4963 or go to reeladventurefishing.com.

Read: June fishing hot month for Kootenay anglers



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