Rosebud Lake is a great go-to autumn still-water fishery south of Salmo

West Kootenay Fishing Report

The West Kootenay Fishing Report offers tips on how to catch fish on local lakes and streams.

Area Lakes: With sunny autumn weather, fishing local lakes has been comfortable if not productive of late.

As the water temperature cools, fish move into the shallow water and feed heavily on fall favourites like damsel and dragonfly nymphs, scuds, shrimp, leeches, chironomids, and water boatmen in preparation for the long winter.

These invertebrate creatures live in the shoal or drop-off zones of lakes, in water less than 20-feet deep, and often the best fishing can be had close to shore in six-feet of water or less.

Rosebud Lake south of Salmo is a great fall-fishing lake. I’ve watched large rainbow cruise the shallows, feeding aggressively in two feet of water, and caught some of my biggest Rosebud trout in October and November.

Eventually, however, with the falling temperatures, the water in area lakes cool and become uniform throughout creating a phenomenon called “turnover.” Combined with wind and current, the lake mixes stirring up plant matter and debris, turning the water murky, and the fish off for anywhere between five-to-10 days. While it benefits the still-water habitat, it means anglers should pass on the lake for a while and head to higher or lower elevations where it has already occurred or is yet to happen, such as low-lying lakes like Summit and Box Lake near Nakusp, or higher ones such as Champion and Nancy Greene Lakes.

Technique and tackle: Lures with fluorescent orange or red colouration work well at this time of year. Fly fishers should consider using leech, shrimp, bloodworm (chironomid larva), dragonfly nymph and water boatman patterns on a floating fly line in combination with varying leader lengths and weighted or unweighted flies.

Kootenay Lake:

The water has finally cooled down and our fall fishing has begun.

While most people were a little bit frustrated with the weather for the last half of September, we as fishermen were excited to see a cooling trend. And now with some snow in the mountains, we can expect our lake to gradually cool down to the magic temperature for our fish.

During the hot summer, these fish become a bit lethargic and only seem to come up and feed once in a while. But when the water temperature hits that magic number, the fish begin to become very active and will be feeding on a regular basis. My favorite time of year is coming up.

We have been fishing fairly steady now for the past couple weeks and things are looking good.

Lately our days have consisted of five to 15 fish each day. Mostly smaller fish so far, but the big ones will follow soon. Our biggest Rainbow in the past week has been 13 pounds, but I did hear of one fish landed over 20. So, things are looking up.

What are they biting on?

Since the fish are still in the transition stage, we have been fishing both on the surface and down deep. A lot of smaller fish are being caught on the surface with our usual bucktail flies.  We should be able to establish a pattern over the next few weeks, but lately we’ve been doing well on the #210, 214, and 233.  Colors being black and white, grey and white, and black and yellow.

Also Apex lures and Lyman plugs have been working, with blues, grays, and black-silver, having the most success.

And on the downriggers, the same old stuff.  Flasher and hoochie combo or Lyman plugs at depths from 50-100 feet seem to be working best. We’ll know more as the season progresses.

The fall derby season kicked off with the Woodbury Rainbow derby over the Thanksgiving Day weekend. Upcoming is the Nelson City Police Fishing Derby going this Saturday and Sunday, and the Kaslo Rainbow Derby scheduled for Nov. 9-11.

Definitely my favorite time of year.  So, let’s get out there.

The Columbia River has been spotty with low water, but nice days has brought out some hatches. Still the most reliable at this time of year is a fast-sink line with a variety of woolly bugger patterns, in brown, black, or green tossed into riffles and seams. Hardware fishermen are back on the bottom with three-way rigs and a favourite bait such as shrimp, worms, or maggots.

The Kootenay Lake report is provided courtesy of Kerry Reed and Reel Adventures Fishing Charters.

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