West Kootenay Fishing Report: Cooler weather brings in big bull trout on Kootenay Lake

“Our latest cold snap at the end of the month has triggered some good fishing” - Kerry Reed.

The West Kootenay Fishing Report is submitted by Kerry Reed of Reel Adventures Fishing Charters in Nelson. Contact Kerry at 250-505-4963 or go to reeladventurefishing.com.

September was a fun month. Weather was great and the fishing was just as good. And with the surprise weather change at the end of the month, and the early snowfall up top, we are now experiencing the cooler water temperatures that we always look forward to in the fall. Cooler water temp in the lake means the fish are coming to life again.

Related read: Fishing hot in August

Kootenay Lake: It’s been a pretty good month on Kootenay Lake for us. September is not usually on fire for fishing on the lake, as the water temp is still fairly warm and the fish are usually still a bit lethargic. However, this year the weather has been a bit cooler and in fact, our latest cold snap at the end of the month has triggered some good fishing.

For most of our trips earlier in the month, we were hooking anywhere from 6-to-10 fish a day. Mostly small bull trout with a few rainbows mixed in. But our last few weeks have seen a change in our catch.

On the ugliest day of September, we woke up to 30-km winds and snow falling in the hills. This was the day we were scheduled to take out the stag group in two of our boats.

As we waited on the dock for our groups to show up, the wind gusted from 30-to-50 km/hr and we were having second thoughts. And as our group of guys walked down to meet us, we noticed that none of them were packing a cooler or any of their gear for the day. They too were having second thoughts.

After a brief discussion on the dock, we decided to grab their gear and head out to see what the water was going to be like. We made a run to the south and found some sheltered water to fish.

Turns out it was a great decision. Within the first couple of hours, our groups had hooked into a few fish each and things were looking good. After a couple more hours we decided to meet up in one of the sheltered bays for a quick bite to eat. Then back out on the water, but this time we headed North. It was windy and the waves were rolling a bit, but we knew we would find even more fish up that way.

That decision turned out even better than I expected, as the first fish we hit was a 10-pound bull trout – some excited guys on the boat after that one.

The day continued to be windy and rocky, but the fishing remained consistent and the guys all managed to hook into some great fish. Turned out to be one of the best groups ever. Definitely a trip for everybody to remember.

Since then, the fishing has been consistent. We have been hooking into a dozen fish each day lately. A lot of smaller bull trout, since most of the bigger ones are just returning from the rivers, but the rainbows are starting to come alive as well. We should see more and more bull trout in the next couple weeks, and the rainbows will become more aggressive as well.

So, in summary, rainbows between 2-6 pounds, and bull trout between 2-10 pounds have been coming in, and it should just get better and better.

Columbia River: September was awesome fishing on the river. The low flows have the fish concentrated in some of our favourite runs. Rainbows have been stacking up in some of the tail outs, and walleye were holding in the usual spots.

We hooked a lot of larger rainbows lately. These fish have really fattened up over the summer. Fly fishing has been fantastic and our spin casting has produced good rainbows and walleye.

Typical rainbows between 2–5 pounds have been caught lately, and walleye between 1–5 pounds as well.

Since the cooler weather change, the walleye fishing has slowed a bit, but the rainbow fishing remains consistent.

Looking forward to fall fishing on the Columbia as the large caddis are hatching and the feeding frenzy continues.

Related read: Action heats up on local waters

What are they biting on?

A mixed bag of lures on the lake right now. Some days its been the Gibbs/Delta Hockey sticks, and some days its been the croc spoons. Also starting to get a few on our favourite bucktail flies. Things should become more consistent now that the water temperature has become prime.

My favourite spoons have been the brass/fire stripe crocs and my favourite flies have been the 226 or the 210 colors for rainbows.

And for bull trout, we’ve been using our favourite Highliner flashers in Lemon Lime, STS, or Bon Chovy colors. Paired up with the green pistachio, or the green spatterback hoochie have been killer.

The River has been consistent with fly fishing using nymph patterns as well as the latest October caddis dry flies. And for the Walleye, we’ve been using bottom bouncers with worm, or jig heads with curly tails.

Fall is here and the water temperatures are prime, so things are just going to get better and better.


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