West Kootenay Fishing Report: Spring fishing, the bite is on!!

Anglers having great results on Kootenay Lake and Columbia River

Kerry Reed

Kerry Reed

The West Kootenay Fishing Report is provided by Kerry Reed of Reel Adventures Sportfishing Charters. Contact Kerry at 250-505-4963 or go to reeladventuresfishing.com.

Kootenay Lake:

The creeks are flowing and the water levels are rising. This is the beginning of our spring fishery.

With the levels rising and new food items appearing in the water daily, the fish are starting to come alive. It’s like a switch just turned on.

A week ago, the fishing seemed spotty, but we had a few good days. However, this week seems like the fish have put the feed bags on.

A couple great days with over 20 fish to the boat has made for some new found excitement. It seems that all the fish are looking up. So, our presentation has been mainly on the surface. Our trolling speeds are picking up, which makes for some exciting hits. The fish have to commit when you’re trolling faster, so expect some screaming reels.

With travel restrictions in place, we have been mostly taking out some local, family groups. And what fun it has been.

A typical day on the lake lately has seen up to 20 rainbows between two to four pounds, and the odd bull trout up to 10 pounds.

The water temperature hasn’t quite reached that optimal number, so we’re really looking forward to what the next month has in store for us.

New this spring: look for some tagged rainbows and bull trout that may have some reward tags in them. Fisheries is conducting a project to help collect data in hopes that these tagged fish will be reported by the fishermen.

Keep your eyes peeled for the orange or green tags that could be worth some $$.

Just need to clip the tag off and phone in with your tag number. The fish can be kept or released.

May and June are my favourite months of the spring fishery.

So, stay tuned…

Columbia River:

The river is still low and the fish are still holding in the usual spots.

This is big fish season on the Columbia.

Fly fishing for rainbows has been good using indicators with nymphs, as well as swinging a woolly bugger on a sinking line. Most tailouts are producing well and some of the bigger fish have moved into the deeper holes.

The Walleye fishing has been hit and miss, but we’re still getting a few right now. It’s always a bit slower around the spawn time. They should begin feeding again soon, and it will only get better and better as the summer goes along.

May and June are always nice days to float the river.

What are

they biting on?

On the lake the rainbows are coming to life and everything is on the surface.

Our favourite techniques are bucktailing on top, or dragging spoons a couple feet down. Lately its been a quick morning bite on the Gibbs/Delta croc, and then later in the day switching up to the buck tails. Our favourite croc has switched to the Gibbs/Delta Brass/Fire wing. Its been hammering the bows.

And the lucky numbers for our flies have been #215, 221, 222, and 226.

The bull trout have been fewer, but starting to see some quality ones. They have been slowly coming to the surface as well. In fact, we’ve been catching a few on the Gibbs/Delta Skinny G trolled long line with a couple ounce weight. Our favourite colors have been the ‘Outfitter’, ‘Irish cream’, and ‘No Bananas’.

Usually the Bulls don’t spend too much time up top, but this water temperature is prime for them to come up. They will retreat back down to the depths once the water warms a bit more. We’re also catching them on the down riggers between 100-ft and 150-ft. Best presentation has been the Highliner flasher in Lemon lime or STS pattern, followed by the green hoochie.

On the River, its been a mix of fly fishing and spin casting. The shore fishermen are having luck with the Gibbs bottom bouncer with bait. And, on the boat, its been good swinging flies for rainbows or bottom bouncing for walleye.

Hope this helps with your next adventures.

Read: West Kootenay anglers look forward to warmer weather


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