Trail angler Marliese Mauro caught this beautiful rainbow on the Arrow Lake last week.

Trail angler Marliese Mauro caught this beautiful rainbow on the Arrow Lake last week.

West Kootenay Fishing Report: Prime time for fishing local lakes

Troll for nice rainbows on Arrow and Kootenay lakes, or try chironomids on your smaller waters

West Kootenay Fishing Report is submitted by Kerry Reed of Reel Adventure Sport Fishing Charters. Call 250-505-4963 or go to

While it is currently our favourite time of year for fishing in the Kootenays, it’s not quite the same not being able to share the excitement with guests.

However, we will continue to bring you the latest reports, as we are still spending lots of time on the local waters and the fish are still biting.

Rest assured, when this is all over, we are ready and willing to take you fishing! (with new protocols in order)

Kootenay Lake: The water temperature is almost to that magic number and the fish are definitely starting to come alive. We’ve had some crazy days with more than 25 fish hitting the lures, and some days with fewer. But the fishing seems to be more consistent every day. Average days have been more like 12 to 15 fish throughout the day.

Rainbows between 2 – 4 pounds are regular occurrence, although some fat ones have been coming in lately up to 6 pounds. And the bull trout are starting to pick up a bit as well. Bulls between 2–8 pounds have been caught lately.

Most of our fish are coming in on the surface, but we’re still getting the odd one on the down riggers.

In these crazy times of not being allowed to work and having the kids home everyday, we’ve had lots of opportunity to spend time on the boat. The kids are definitely getting the hang of things. Good to have a couple apprentices with us each day. I guess there’s always a silver lining to everything.

Related read: West Kootenay Fishing Report: Water warming, fish biting

Arrow Lakes: Kokanee fishing has been fast and furious on Arrow. Once anglers locate the kokanee, be prepared for non-stop action.

Anglers also reported some nice Gerrard rainbows between 4 and 8 pounds being caught near the surface with a relatively slow troll, while bull trout are coming in up to 14 pounds but are a little deeper and are coming off downriggers 40 to 100 feet.

Columbia River: The river has been amazing fishing this spring. With the water remaining so low for so long, it was a treat every day getting out and finding the fish congregated in certain areas. Some days they were in the faster shallow water, and some days in the deeper holes. It made for some great experimenting.

Most of April was consistent water flows and levels, and the fishing remained good. However, now the river is rising and things are changing fast. We will begin to find fish in different places than they used to be, but that’s all part of the pursuit.

The usual rainbows between 16 – 20 inches were pretty standard throughout April. Although, some hogs were also hooked in the past couple weeks. Biggest rainbow we’ve managed to hook in the last little while was around 6 pounds, but we’ve heard reports of 8-plus pounders being caught as well.

Such an amazing fishery in our backyard.

Area Lakes: Smaller West Kootenay lakes like Rosebud, Cottonwood, and Summit Lakes offer great fishing this time of year. Chironomid fishing is most popular at this time, but trolling or casting a sink line with nymph, woolly bugger or other attractor patterns will also pay off.

What are they biting on?

On Kootenay and Arrow, it’s been mostly surface fishing. The rainbows are really starting to come alive and are aggressively hitting the bucktails on top, as well as some of our small spoons. Lux Flies #10, 15, 21, 26, & 33 have been our best producers lately. And our favourite spoons are still the Gibbs/Delta croc in Brass/Firestripe which have been consistent on bright or dark days.

The water temperature is still below 50 degrees, so our trolling speeds have remained a bit slower. Our magic speed has been 2.4 mph, although things will speed up as the water temperature warms up.

As far as the bull trout go, it’s been the usual Gibbs/Delta flasher & hoochie combo that’s been best for us. Popular depths of 75-to-111 ft. have been best for us. We stick to the greens and yellows for bull trout. The Oki Big Shooter flasher in green/yellow mist has been our favourite or the Gibbs Lemon Lime followed by the yamashita green spatter back hoochie.

And on the river, it’s been amazing fly fishing. Floating lines with an indicator and nymph has been most productive for us, although the full sinking line with the Columbia River bugger or the bulldog have been working well in some of the tail outs too.

We’ve managed to get a few days of Walleye fishing in as well. And the spring Walleye have been fairly cooperative. Our favourite technique has been slow trolling with a bottom bouncer and a worm. The Gibbs/Delta bling blade in chartreuse color has been most consistent for us.

Prime temperatures for both the lake and the river should be reached in May, so stay tuned for some awesome fishing.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rossland council encourages everyone to support locals only recommendations. Photo: Jim Bailey.
Rossland council promotes ‘Locals Only’ inititative

Rossland mayor encourages people to restrict travel and enjoy what your home has to offer

Caroline Lafond is a Recreation Fish and Wildlife student at Selkirk College. Photo: Submitted
Ecological Comment: Help keep the goats of Gimli wild

A column written by Recreation Fish and Wildlife students at Selkirk College

Kootenay Columbia Teachers’ Union president Andy Davidoff. Photo: Jennifer Small
An open letter to Premier Horgan and Minister Whiteside: Let’s stop harming our children during a pandemic

A letter from Andrew Davidoff, President Kootenay Columbia Teachers’ Union

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State Rep. Justin Humphrey prepares to speak at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City. A mythical, ape-like creature that has captured the imagination of adventurers for decades has now become the target of Rep. Justin Humphrey. Humphrey, a Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season, He says issuing a state hunting license and tag could help boost tourism. (Steve Gooch/The Oklahoman via AP, File)
Oklahoma lawmaker proposes ‘Bigfoot’ hunting season

A Republican House member has introduced a bill that would create a Bigfoot hunting season

Most Read