Kerry Reed from Real Adventures Sport-fishing Charters takes a selfie with a nice Columbia River rainbow.

Kerry Reed from Real Adventures Sport-fishing Charters takes a selfie with a nice Columbia River rainbow.

West Kootenay Fishing Report: Water warming, trout biting

Reel Adventures reminds people not to travel but if you live near water, it’s a great time to fish

The West Kootenay Fishing Report was provided by Kerry Reed of Reel Adventures Sport Fishing Charters.

Through all the mayhem and changes in the world these past few weeks, we are still going to bring you some positives happening around us.

Although we have ceased taking clients out, we’ve still managed to get out on the waters with our immediate household family and the fish are still biting.

Fishing is and always has been a somewhat socially isolated sport. And that’s what draws us to it. Getting away from it all.

Kootenay Lake: The lake has slowly started to warm up and the fish are slowly becoming active again. We’ve had a few good days with up to 10 fish to the boat and a few slower days mixed in. The Rainbows we’ve been catching have appeared to handle winter well. They have been quite chunky and for the most part they look fairly healthy. The general size hasn’t increased, but they still seem to be averaging 2 – 4 pounds.

The Bull Trout have been hanging in there as well. Most of the Bulls we’ve been catching have been between 3 – 6 pounds, however, we have managed a few fish up to 12 pounds. I even heard of a larger one caught that was supposedly around 17 pounds.

This month is generally the beginning of our good spring fishery. Just hang in there until the water reaches that magic temperature. Our favourite prime fishing usually begins around the third week of April and will continue to get better and better throughout May and June.

Let’s hope things blow over soon and we can begin to fish with friends as the fishing gets better and better.

Columbia River: With the river at its lowest levels of the year, the fish seem to be congregated in certain areas. We have begun to fish from the boats and the fishing has been consistent. We’ve had a few crazy days with 20 – 30 Rainbows coming to the boat. When the weather has been nice, the fishing has been good. Looking forward to some more consistent weather patterns to help keep the fish active.

Most Rainbows are in the 16-to-20-inch range and are looking quite healthy. As they put the feedbags on before the spawn, we are seeing a mixed bag of chromers and some colored up fish. As more insects begin to hatch, we will start to see some even more aggressive feeding patterns and expect to hook some of our biggest fish of the season.

We haven’t really been targeting Walleye yet, but are beginning to catch the odd one while fishing for Rainbows. So, we will change our techniques a bit and start looking for some treats before the spring spawn occurs.

Looking forward to what the rest of April has to offer.

Arrow Lakes: The Arrows have been producing a few good fish as usual. Rainbows up to 10 Lbs and Bull Trout up to 15 pounds have been caught lately. The water remains cold and the fish are still lazy, but the trade-off is big fish.

I haven’t heard of anybody fishing for Kokanee yet, but as the water warms up, we expect to see some good fishing later this spring.

What are they biting on?

On the lakes, its been a mix of flies or spoons for the Rainbows. Our favourite Lux Flies have been working in these pattens. Lucky number 10 (210), 21 (221), and 22 (222) have been our favourites so far. And the usual Gibbs Croc has been producing very well too. The brass/firestripe and the hammered brass/firestripe have been our go to lures this spring.

And, on the river, our best technique has been fly fishing for Rainbows. Since the bugs have started hatching, we have been having our best luck in some of the tail outs with sinking lines and woolly buggers or with floating lines and a nymph under an indicator.

And for the Walleye, we have actually caught a few on the fly, but are switching to our favourite Gibbsbottom bouncer with chartreuse bling blade. That was most consistent for us last fall and expect to have more success this spring.

We’re glad we can keep you up to date with the current fishing conditions and hope this will help brighten your outlook on things that are happening.

While we don’t want to promote travelling at this time, we do want people to know that the fish are still there and they are still biting.

So, if you live near the water, its still worth taking a mental health day and enjoying our local resources while practising and respecting social distancing.

Again, we are looking forward to things settling down, and can’t wait to be allowed to fish with friends again.