This beautiful rainbow and photo was taken by Scott Beauchamp on a frigid day in January on the Columbia River. Photo: Scott Beauchamp

This beautiful rainbow and photo was taken by Scott Beauchamp on a frigid day in January on the Columbia River. Photo: Scott Beauchamp

West Kootenay Fishing Report

It’s an on again, off again month of January, but anglers have had luck on local waters

It’s Ground Hog day! And it looks like spring is coming. Yay.

We’ve had a couple small cold snaps and a couple warm spells this past month. Nothing consistent with the weather, but we are still consistently fishing.

Kootenay Lake: It’s big fish season. Although, with the water temperature being at its coldest of the year, the fish have gone into preservation mode. Meaning, they will eat one day, but then not have to eat for a week. Just hanging out and chillin.

On the days that they eat, we have been hooking into a bunch of bull trout mostly, with the odd rainbow mixed in. The trade off is the fish are generally bigger. February has always been a favourite month for big fish. You just have to put in your time.

We have been getting out a few times each week and have found there is usually one great day of fishing, followed by a few slow days until the feeding frenzy begins again. That’s why you just have to be out there. You just never know.

With some more mild weather coming up again, you will find us out on the water even more throughout the month. Lots of new groups lined up to join us this month. Seems like a popular activity for our skiing groups that are looking to take a day off and rest their legs.

Arrow Lakes: Anglers have had great success targeting kokanee on Arrow Lakes. Finding the right depth has been the challenge, but once you locate them get ready for some action.

Anywhere between 60-90 feet have been the strike zone, and the kokanee are a good size for early season, measuring up to 12 inches.

Reports of healthy size bull trout 6-10 pound are also coming in, again at a slow troll due to the season on downriggers between 80-100 ft.

What are they biting on? Lately, more fish have been caught on the downriggers on Arrow and Kootenay Lake.

On Kootenay our favourite depths have been between 121-and 153-ft. Gibbs green flashers with green pistachio or green spatter back hoochies have been working best, trolled at a slow speed due to the cold water temp. 1.8-mph to 2.3-mph.

Also still getting the odd rainbow on the surface with a bucktail or Gibbs croc. Bucktail colors have been purples, pinks, or greys that have been working best for us.

For kokanee on Arrow, a slow troll using a willow leaf/ford fender and wedding ring with maggot combination is still a favourite, but also reports of anglers using jigs to catch a generous limit of 15.

This time of year, it’s more about putting in your time. You just have to be out there.

Columbia River: Fishing has generally been good this past month, but has cooled down on the odd day with river and temperature fluctuations.

This time of year, most anglers fish from shore, often from tried and true spots, while others like to explore the shoreline.

Reports show that anglers are catching rainbows at several areas on the Columbia.

Some very nice trout have been taken on spinners and jig-head patterns tied to replicate woolly buggers, sculpin, and leech patterns.

Also, a number have found success fishing on the bottom using the typical three-way rig, with worm and/or roe as bait.

For fly fishers, who head out this time of year, sinking line or sink tip with an egg-sucking leech pattern, woolly bugger, muddler minnow, or similar variant seems to be the most productive.

Local anglers Scott Beauchamp and Emile Contant have posted photos and video of several nice rainbow trout and Contant’s hand crafted jig-head fly patterns on social media. Check out their FB pages, it’s a great place to connect, collaborate and learn how to catch more fish.

Area Lakes: Hard water season is in full swing, and anglers have had lots of luck fishing through the ice. Some of the more popular lakes locally are Champion, Rosebud, Cottonwood and Nancy Greene. Further afield, anglers have been having great success on Summit Lake and Box Lake near Nakusp.

For updates and great footage check out Chris King Angling’s YouTube channel.

The West Kootenay Fishing Report is contributed by Kerry Reed at Reel Adventure Fishing Charters and

City of TrailfishingKootenaysRossland

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