This article has been revised with the following correction:Owner of the Gill and Gift in Balfour was incorrectly identified as Randy Thompson – his correct name is Randy Zelonka.
The West Kootenay Fishing Report is a supplement intended to inform and help locals and visitors enjoy the wonderful natural resource available to us all. If anyone has a hot tip, photo, or report please send it to email@example.com.
Kootenay Lake: Keeping with the tradition of New Year predictions, the Gill and Gift’s Randy Zelonka predicts a 30-lbs rainbow in 2012. Over the last year the Gift has seen some big fish come in, 24, 26, and 27 pounds. Since last fall, Splitshot Charters alone has landed 10 rainbows over 20 pounds which puts them ahead of last year’s total of 18 over 20.
With the water temperature around 40 F (4.5 C) the big rainbows are slowing down and depending on the weather, could be anywhere in that top 40 feet. Fish finders are also showing all kinds of fish at the 100-feet depth as well.
Flies do the damage one day and the Bill Normans the next, and when neither is working, the Lymans or the flasher/hoochie combos on the downrigger may be the ticket.
Flies: the 215, Nov. special, and bleeding gill.
Lures: Bill Normans including the Black-splat (salt and pepper), Rainbow trout, black/chrome, purple/chrome and some Tennessee shad in the chrome or white body.
Lyman plugs: The old favourite #16, 160 in either old or new colours – black or maroon.
Speed: trawl flies below 3 miles per hour (mph), Lymans 2-2.5 mph, Billies and flasher-hoochies at a crawl, 1.8 mph.
Gill and Gifts’ New Year’s Day derby saw Oz Faires catch a 29.5-inch Dolly (bull trout) and the longest rainbow measured 29.75 inches, caught by Robert D’Pietro. The fish stretcher award goes to Eugene Tompkins at 29 ½ inches and there was no other Dolly measured in. We had 43 entrants this year and a fun time was had by all.
Keep your hats on guys this is going to be a great winter of fishing.
Randy Zelonka is the owner of Gill and Gift in Balfour, home to a great selection of flies, lures, fishing supplies, tips and more, go to gillandgift.com
Arrow Lakes: According to Debbie Imeson of Scotties Marina, in the last month the fishing on Lower Arrow has picked up. It’s the time of year for Dollies/bull trout and many have been caught averaging about seven pounds. Gordie Walker did a little better, landing a 20.18-pound lunker recently while Gary Johnson pulled in a 14-pound rainbow.
Lures: Hootchies and flashers, Apex lures and Lyman plugs. Green colours on sunny days, purple and black on cloudy days.
Depth: 30-80 feet from Broadwater and back.
Scotties Marina on Lower Arrow offers all fishing and boating supplies, licences, groceries, gas and moorage. See scottiesmarina.com for more info.
Columbia River: The Columbia River is a great winter fishery as big rainbow venture into the shallows to feed on mysid shrimp and other aquatic invertebrates. Some of the Columbia’s bigger fish are caught in the winter but are rarely caught on the surface, says Castlegar Sports’ Rod Zavaduk.
Fly fishing: Get down with a high-density full sinking line or employ the nymphing method to land fish throughout the winter.
Bait fishing: A three-way rig with a weight attached to the bottom of a three-way swivel, with a 2-4-foot leader. Spin-n-glows, strike indicators or coloured marshmallows as floats do well in the winter with shrimp, worms or maggots for bait, M&Ms also do the trick.
Flies: Halfbacks, Prince Nymphs, Stone Nymph, Pheasant tails, and of course Chronomids.
Hot Spots: Trimac Eddy, Beaver Creek Park, Birchbank.
Lakes: If you’re into fishing thru the ice – Erie, Champion, Rosebud and Nancy Green Lakes are producing fish regularly.
Till next time, tight lines and bent rods.
Rod Zavaduk is owner of Castlegar Sports and Fly Shop, and is an avid fly fisherman and fly tyer.