West Kootenay Fishing Report

The fishing is heating up on the Columbia River and West Kootenay waters.

The West Kootenay Fishing Report is provided by Kerry Reed of Reel Adventures Sportfishing in Nelson. To contact call 505-4963.

Kootenay Lake: The month of May was a good month on Kootenay Lake for fish numbers. We had lots of days with 10–20 fish coming to the boat. There was even some nice weather to enjoy for a while. And while the hot weather was happening, we also witnessed the annual flying-ant hatch, a harbinger of some furious fishing.

Rainbows between 2–5 pounds have been coming in daily and reports of bigger fish caught over 12 pounds as well, so there’s still some bigger fish around. Bull trout have been getting more aggressive lately as well. Bulls up to 12 pounds have been caught, with the average being between 3–7 pounds.

Last week we had our limited kokanee fishery for the month of June. It proved to be a great couple of days. The kokanee have been packing on the weight since last month. These fish were averaging 15–20 inches, with some up and over 2 pounds. On day 1, we had our limit within the first half hour. Thats some great fishing! Looking forward to the next opening in July. Fish should be even bigger. .

Arrow Lakes: The fishing was pretty good on Arrow as well. Rainbows up to 12 pounds and bull trout up to 12 pounds were caught recently. I marked a lot of schools of kokanee over there also, which is a good sign that there is some food for our bigger fish. Arrow Lake could be on an upward trend. We’ll see.

On our last trip there, we managed to land one big rainbow, one big bull trout, and about eight more smaller rainbows. So, it was definitely worth the trip. Looking forward to some more trips over there this year.

Columbia River: The river has been producing well. Even with the high water, the fish are still feeding and the fishing has been fun. Although, when the foul weather was passing through, the fish seemed to shut down a bit. But, on the good days we were averaging 15–20 fish all between 16–20 inches. Quality fishing on the river for sure. Both fly fishing and spin casting were working.

Looking forward to some consistent weather and some consistent water levels to help make the fishing even better. This next couple of months should be a blast on the river.

What are they biting on?

On Kootenay Lake, we have been catching most of our rainbows on the surface. Bucktail flies in my favourite colors have been working best. Lucky numbers: 210, 214, 215, 222, and 226. Also a mix of spoons and hockey sticks have been producing some good rainbows.

Bull trout have been coming in on the usual High-liner flasher in the lemon-lime color with g-force spoons or green spatter back hoochies. The Bulls have been getting closer to the surface lately and we have been catching more and more above the 50-foot mark.

On the Arrow Lake it was similar. Most of our rainbows were caught on the same colour bucktails, but our bulls were more attracted to our 4- and 5-inch plugs. Same as Kootenay, the fish were mostly on the surface and down to about 50 feet.

And finally on the Columbia, our favourite technique has been fly fishing. Floating lines with indicators has worked well in the eddies. And sinking lines with wooly buggers has been producing in the tail outs. Also still catching on the spinning gear as well. The usual three-way set-up on the bottom has produced some nice fish lately.

We will have one boat heading to Ucluelet for Salmon and Halibut as of July 1, and we will still have a couple boats on Kootenay for the summer months, as well as our jet boat on the Columbia for some fast-paced fly fishing.

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