A healthy rainbow trout hooked on a caddisfly pattern in the Columbia River last week

A healthy rainbow trout hooked on a caddisfly pattern in the Columbia River last week

West Kootenay Fishing Report August 16, 2012

The West Kootenay Fishing Report is a monthly supplement that encourages the exchange of information for local and visiting anglers.

The West Kootenay Fishing Report is a monthly supplement that encourages the exchange of information for local and visiting anglers. Email sports@trailtimes.ca to share a tip or a pic.

August is commonly referred to as the summer doldrums as area lakes heat up, forcing fish down to the cooler depths. A fisherman will probably catch heat stroke before a trout, for attracting them to a fly, lure, or even a bobber and worm   -save for an hour or two in the morning and evenings- can be difficult.

Thankfully, the Kootenay region is rife with rivers and streams loaded with trout, none better than the Columbia River or prettier than the Salmo.

For the most part, the Columbia missed caddisfly hatches in July due to the high water, but the bugs and fish have responded to the same here in August.  The caddis hatch is in full swing right now on the Columbia and it seems the fish are bigger and a lot more aggressive.

The river saw small spotty hatches thru July, but the really big hatch is finally here.

If you had the chance to get out on the river you will know what I mean.   Stay until dark and experience millions of bugs popping all over the water as clouds of them surround you, crawling on your body as you fish.

The fish become transfixed on eating as many of these critters as they can in the short time the hatch happens. Feeding on the surface, boldly showing where they are, and their  feeding pattern.

This is a fly fisher’s dream, big fish feeding in a recognizable pattern on the surface.  All you have to do is put the fly in front of them and wait for the take.  If you use too big a tippet size you might be refused, if too small tippet size, its goodbye to your fly.

I like 5X during the light of day then move on to a bigger tippet size 4X into the dark.   Yes, I donate a couple flies every night to the big guys until I change to 4x tippet.

An important issue is leader length.  I like to use 12- to 15-foot leaders to eliminate ‘drag’.  Drag occurs when the current takes the line and drags the fly through the water like a motorboat, not at all like a natural drifting insect.   There are hundreds of caddis patterns tied to mimic the real fly and I like to tie a different one every week to see if the fish are really paying attention in school.  Do enjoy this weeks special.

Rod’s fly of the week is “Red Rib UV Caddis” fished dry, just the way the fish like them.

Red Rib UV Caddis

Hook- 94840 mustad

Size – 12-14

Thread- brown UTC 70

Body- brown or wine uni-stretch

Rib – red crystal flash, one strand

Under wing- UV pearl angel hair

Under wing- brown cdc fibres, 5 or 6 strands

Wing-medium-dark coastal deer hair

Head – A wrap grey ostrich herl

The Fly-of-the-Week is provided by Rod Zavaduk, Castlegar Sports & Fly Shop.

Salmo River

The Salmo River fishing has been good if not great as far as numbers go, and there’s nothing more refreshing than standing in the cool, clear waters of the Salmo on a hot summer day.

Notice the dried husks of stoneflies and mayflies clinging to riparian rocks indicating that a nymph pattern drifted under a strike indicator with a bead head or split shot is deadly.

Turn over a few rocks and you’ll likely find a few live golden stoneflies and some cased caddis – an amazing instance of adaptation, where caddis larvae build a casing surrounding itself with tiny rocks or twigs making an elaborate house for protection and camouflage before emerging into the pupa form.

On the other hand, dry flies work all day long so why throw anything else. A humpy pattern or Adams irresistible were my go-to flies on the weekend, as I caught and released numerous rainbows, lots of small guys, but the biggest one pushed about 16-inches.

Hopper patterns are also notoriously good this time of year, float a fly near pocket water or by large boulders, through riffles and runs. Look for shaded slack water, next to fast water and there’s sure to be a trout holding in there.