Vern Quist of Castlegar landed this beautiful rainbow on the Columbia over the weekend.

Vern Quist of Castlegar landed this beautiful rainbow on the Columbia over the weekend.

West Kootenay Fishing Report

The West Kootenay Fishing Report is a supplement appearing every second Thursday of the month.

The West Kootenay Fishing Report is a supplement appearing every second Thursday of the month, intended to inform and help locals and visitors enjoy the wonderful natural resource available to us all. Send a hot tip, photo, or report to

Kootenay Lake

Conditions: What a spring. Water temp is staying down and the lake levels are coming up. Some good fish have been coming in, including a 26-pound male, a 19 pounder caught by Mitch Roggensach (above), and numerous others under 20.

The Woodbury Dolly Derby went over the Easter long weekend with the winning dolly at 15 pounds-eight ounces, second was 13 pounds, and third at 12-pounds eight-ounces.

There were also some good rainbows landed while trying to get that winning dolly, for instance, one boat released a 17 and a 14.

Lures: The Billies are still working well with the odd bucktail day as well. Purples, blues, Tennessee shad and rainbow trout patterns for the billies; November special, bleeding gill, and black/whites for the flies.

Remember water is still cold 39 F so trawl slow about 1.8 mph on the Billies and 2.2 to 2.5 mph on the hair.

Location: The West Arm kokanee fishery was open the first week of April, with many 14-inch kokanee reported. Depending on the day, most guys caught their limits.

One day the trawlers would do well, the next the jiggers. Also, some good luck off the 17-mile rock.

Fisheries will determine if the week-long season will continue, as there is some concern over the low fry count returning to the lake three years ago. We will keep you informed.

Supposedly some ice is still on the south arm of Duncan Lake so not many guys have ventured up there as yet.

Kootenay Lake Report is provided by Randy Zelonka, owner of Gill and Gift in Balfour.

Columbia River

Fly of the Week: Beadhead Pheasant Tail Flashback

Fish this pattern on the Columbia or other waters in early spring and all thru the summer months.  It represents the mayfly nymphs that are always hatching from now till next winter.

The smaller ones represent the clinger type mayfly nymphs. Sizes 12 to 16 are the norm.  Larger, longer styles tied exactly the same but much bigger, represent the swimmer and/or burrowers.  I tie these on a 3X-long size 10 to 14s.

Technique: Nymph with a dry line and a 10-12 foot leader.  Put a strike-indicator 8 to 10-feet up the leader, with split shot about 16-18 inches above the fly.

I always tie with a loop knot to let the fly dance on the leader. Fish the shallow, fast runs about 4 to 10 feet deep.  Cast above you and let the fly drift down past you drag free.  Any stop or sunk indicator lets you know you’re into a fish.   You will be surprised at how many fish take and let go of the fly very quickly. So be ready and enjoy this method and good fishing.

Beadhead Pheasant Tail Pattern

Hook – Size 12-16, R70 mustad

Thread – 8/0 uni black

Tail – pheasant tail

Rib – copper wire

Flashback – pearl flashabou

Hood – pearl flashabou

Thorax – peacock herl

Bead – gold brass bead 7/64

FoW submitted by Rod Zavaduck, owner/operator of Castlegar Sports and Fly Shop.

Extra Tippets: Some really nice kokanee and rainbows are coming out of the Upper Columbia and the Arrow Lakes. The fishing is heating up with warmer weather finally arriving.

In addition to the monster Columbia doe caught by Quist above, Riley Haines landed a kokanee weighing close to seven pounds on the Arrow Lakes. – Tight Lines.