A recent trip to the Arrow Lakes netted local fisherman Al Connell a good day of fishing for rainbows, the biggest tipping the scales at eight pounds. Submitted photo.

West Kootenay Fishing Report

A productive month of lake trolling in West Kootenay

The West Kootenay Fishing Report is submitted by Kerry Reed of Reel Adventure Sportfishing in Nelson; ph. 250-505-4963 or go to reeladventurefishing.com.

Kootenay Lake: We’ve had some crazy days on the lake this past month. It seems the fish are concentrated in certain areas, and when we stumble upon them, we manage to hook into lots. Some crazy days have seen 30-plus fish to the boat, but most days seem to be consistently producing 10-15 fish.

One tip, when you find the fish, don’t leave. I’ve seen lots of people trolling along and they hook a couple fish, then they keep trolling in the direction they were heading and the fish stop biting. It’s not that they stopped biting, it’s because you are no longer on top of them. So, our recommendation is to turn around and keep doing circles where you are catching fish.

This has proved very productive for us the past month and is responsible for the best fishing days.

Related read: Rainbow trout fishing picks up on Kootenay and Arrow Lakes

November was good to us. The weather cooperated nicely, and the fish were fairly consistent. Of the 20 days we were out, there were only a couple days when the fish decided to take a break. Hopefully the trend continues throughout December.

November started out with more bull trout than rainbows, but has quickly shifted to the opposite. At the beginning, we were catching bull trout up to 8-pounds and a few rainbows between 2-4 pounds. However, the latter part of the month has switched as the rainbows have become more aggressive and we’re starting to see a few bigger fish mixed in with the catch.

As of late, rainbows up to 8-pounds and bull trout up to 8-pounds have been coming in. Hopefully things continue to get even better throughout December, as that is one of our favourite months.

Looking forward to more group trips and year end outings this month. It’s gonna be a fun one.

Arrow Lake: We have been out on Lower Arrow Lake for a few trips lately, and it’s starting to shape up.

A bit slower fishing than Kootenay, but the fish seem to be some good quality coming in. Rainbows up to 11-pounds and bull trout up to 13-pounds have been coming in lately.

Some days have produced 10 or more fish. A mix of smaller rainbows and the odd big one coming in. But, a lot of days we’ve had to work hard for a few fish. That’s winter fishing on Arrow. You have to work for them, but the payoff can be rewarding.

We will continue to fish a few days on Arrow and keep you posted. My favourite months there are usually January and February.

Columbia River: Now that the snow has finally hit, we have put the jet boat away for a while. But, we have been getting a few days in on the river from the shoreline.

The rainbows are still biting, and even a few Walleye still mixed in. We have caught a few fish on the fly line while we swing streamers or float a nymph in the shallows, but our best producers lately have been the spinning rods with bottom bouncers.

Hope to see a few mild days so we can continue to hit the river throughout the winter months, as this is when we seem to catch some of our biggest fish.

What are they biting on? Our Kootenay Lake/Arrow Lake trips have been most successful using Bucktail flies or spoons on the surface for rainbows. Although, we have also caught a few bull trout on the surface as well. Our favourite flies of late have been the November Special (203), and the Bleeding Gill (210). And our usual favourite spoons have been working, however, with the recommendation from our friends at Gibbs/Delta, we have thrown a few new ones in the mix. The favourite Brass/Fire stripe croc has always produced, but we’ve had some amazing action lately on some of my favourite Gibbs/Delta Skinny ‘G’ spoons. So far, the best color has been Irish Cream, but I’m sure if we start throwing some of our other favourites at them, we will find a bunch more. These have worked best being trolled right on the surface for the rainbows.

And our bull trout have slowed down a bit, but we’re still getting a couple each day mostly on the down riggers. The Highliner flasher in the STS color has been our go to, but the Oki Big Shooter flasher in Yellow Mist has been working well also. Followed by either the green spatter back or green pistachio hoochie has been the ticket. Favourite depths have been 101 and 121 feet.

And, on the river, it’s been a combination. Either bottom bouncer with bait, or float fishing with roe or a single bead has been the ticket for the rainbows.

Hope this helps with your next adventure!


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