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West Kootenay Fishing Report

December was a weird month, lots of wind and temperature changes, but good days on the water
Adam Bozzer is happy with this bull trout caught on Arrow Lake. Photo: submitted

The West Kootenay Fishing Report is provided by Kerry Reed from Reel Adventure Sport Fishing Charters in Nelson. Phone 250-505-4963 for more info or go online to

Kootenay Lake: December was a weird month.

Lots of wind, lots of temperature changes, but we still managed to get out there.

A couple more corporate trips to end the year, and a bunch of family outings as well. We did actually re-schedule a few trips that were supposed to happen in between Christmas and New Years, because of the deep freeze temperatures that week.

Lucky for us, the weather warmed up the following week and we were able to get the groups out before leaving town.

The fishing has slowed a bit, as we are now in cold water season. But, some of our days have been pretty productive. It seems like the fish will feed heavily on one day, but then don’t have to eat for a few days. So, we’ve been having one excellent day of fishing, and then a few average days of fishing.

On the good days, we’ve hooked into more than a dozen fish. And on the other days it’s been more like 3–6 fish.

Either way, it’s a great way to escape the winter doldrums.

Some fat rainbows up to five pounds and a few good bull trout up to 10 pounds have been coming in lately.

We expect to see some bigger bulls throughout the next couple months, as they like to stack up in certain areas where we find the feed.

With warm temperatures forecasted for the next little while, we are looking forward to spending a lot more days on the lake.

Arrow Lake: It has been hit and miss for anglers on Arrow this past month.

One day fishers will catch a handful of rainbows between 2-5 pounds, the next they’ll pull in one or two bull trout up to 12 pounds.

Still there is no better way to spend the day than out on the water.

Slow down and keep an eye on the fishfinder for baitfish, vary your depths, and have a good supply of patience.

Columbia River: Typical winter fishing on the mighty Columbia. December was a good month for those who battled the cool temperatures and then the heavy snowfall at the end of the month.

Warmer weather has made it more pleasant in the new year, and there have been consistent reports of anglers having luck catching rainbows up to five pounds.

What are they biting on ?

Here’s the trick: The water has cooled to 40 degrees. It’s time to slow down your presentation.

We have been catching on a mixed bag of Bucktail flies and/or Gibbs/Delta spoons. The magic flies have been lucky numbers 202, 207, 221, 222 (or Lux Flies #02, 07,21, 22). And the lucky spoons have been the usual Brass/fire stripe or Brass/fire wing croc for rainbows.

And for the bull trout, we have been catching on the Gibbs/Delta Lemon lime flasher with a green spatterback hoochie. Magic depths have been between 101-ft and 163-ft.

On Arrow, Gibbs’ Skinny G lures for rainbows has been the go to lure, while Lyman plugs, Bill Normans or Pradco Water Dogs at a slow troll are tried and true.

For bull trout in the winter J-Plugs or Lyman plugs, and like Kootenay Lake, a flasher-hootchie combo has proven productive.

Columbia River has been good fly fishing with sink line and large patterns such as muddler minnow or woolly bugger. Be sure to wear the neoprenes and stay safe and shallow when wading.

Shore anglers have been finding success using three-way rigs tipped with shrimp or roe for best results.

Jim Bailey

About the Author: Jim Bailey

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