West Kootenay Fishing Report: Action heats up as waters warm

Warmer weather heralds better fishing on West Kootenay rivers and lakes, you just gotta go

The West Kootenay Fishing Report is provided by Kerry Reed of Reel Adventures Sport Fishing Charters in Nelson, go to reeladventuresfishing.com or call 250-505-4963.

Spring has sprung … finally.

We’ve been busy on the lakes and rivers for the past couple weeks enjoying spring break and some lovely weather that we’ve all been waiting for.

The waters are warming up, and fish are coming to life. With that said, here’s the latest fishing report:

Kootenay Lake: Now that the water temp has finally broken 40 degrees, we are starting to see some life out there.

Early March was still a bit slow for fishing, as the weather and the water temps remained quite cool. Although, by the middle of the month the weather improved and so did the fishing.

We were on the water most days during Spring Break, as people finally got out to get rid of the cabin fever. The weather was warm for a couple weeks, and the fishing was pretty good.

Some days better than others, but thats normal for this time of year. One day the fish would feed like crazy. And the next day they wouldn’t have to eat. For example: One day, our charter group ended up landing about 14 rainbows and lost a few fish as well. Then our Sunday group managed to land only a couple rainbows and lost a few during the day too.

So, consistency is not quite there yet, but it’s getting better each day.

Another group the week earlier managed to hook into 19 rainbows, so, it’s definitely time to get out there.

Rainbows between two-to -four pounds and bull trout between three-to-14 pounds have been coming in lately on our trips.

Apr. 1, marked the opening of our limited kokanee fishing in the West Arm. The two day opening proved to be a bit of a bust for most people. Although, some boats did quite well, with limits happening within an hour or two – you just never know.

The low numbers of caught kokanee at least helps prove to the public the reason behind shortening the season. Anything for conservation.

With spring finally here and Easter coming up, we look forward to a very busy month and more consistent weather and fishing.

April, May, and June are my favourite months for fishing the lake. So, stay tuned …

Arrow Lake: Lower Arrow has remained cold over the last month. In fact, we were breaking ice one day out there, so needless to say, the fish are still a bit lethargic.

This lake is known for some quality fish, and when we did manage to hook up, the fish were a nice size. Rainbows are starting to wake up and the bull trout are keeping up as well. Our latest trips have managed a few fish most times. Most rainbows between three-to-eight pounds, although I did see a photo of a couple bigger ones caught lately between 12-and-16 pounds, so you just have to be out there.

Bull trout are still consistently between five-and-12 pounds, with a few bigger ones being caught as well. The bites may be few and far between, but the quality is worth it.

Same as Kootenay, the fishing will just get better and better.

Columbia River:

We hit the river a few times with the nice weather. April is one of my favourite months, as we usually catch some of our biggest fish of the season.

On a couple of our walking trips, we managed to hook into half a dozen fish from shore. And on a couple of our jet boat trips, we’ve had some great luck hooking into more than 10 fish each day.

Rainbows between two-and-five pounds and even some walleye up to four pounds have been coming in lately.

As the water warms up and the water level comes up a bit, we will start to see more consistent fishing on the river as well.

What are they biting on?

For the rainbows it’s been: surface, surface, surface! Lots of rainbows coming in on our favourite buck tail flies, as well as my go to spoons. Favourite fly patterns on the lake have been #210, 215, 222, and 226 and my best spoons for the rainbows have been the Gibbs/Delta crocs in the brass/fire wing or brass/ fire stripe patten.

Bull trout have been a bit less consistent, although we have been hooking into one 0r two each day. My favourite flasher/hootchie combo has been working. The lemon lime flasher with the green spatter back hootchie has been good, as well as the STS flasher with the ‘no bananas’ spoon. The magic depths for the bull trout have been getting a little closer to the surface. We are now catching them between 50-to-80 feet. Just have to keep experimenting.

And on the river, its been a mix of spin casting or fly fishing. The usual three-way rig on the bottom with bait has been working for rainbows and walleye. Also been casting some green or yellow jig heads with Gibbs/Delta curly tails and have produced a few good walleye as well.

Fly fishing is picking up as well. Drifting with nymphs has been working well, as well as swinging streamers lately.

Stay tuned, as the fishing is getting better every day!

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