West Kootenay Fishing Report: Winter on the water

Check those hooks and ensure their sharp as fishing picks up on West Kootenay lakes and streams

The West Kootenay Fishing Report

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

Some spring like weather has fallen upon us, and we are taking advantage of all of it!

Kootenay Lake: The lake temperature is at its coldest and some fishing modifications are in order. When the water is this cold, the fish metabolism slows down and they don’t have to eat as often. However, they do still have to eat, and if you can slow down your presentation and place it right in front of them, they will bite.

Our January trips provided us with some good fishing days and some slow fishing days. As per the norm this winter, it seems that the fish will feed heavily on one day and then don’t have to eat for a few days.

So, if you happen to pick the right day, you will be rewarded with lots of action. Either way, spending the day on a boat in the middle of winter is a great way to escape the winter doldrums. Escaping the grey landscape from the valley and getting out onto open water where the skies open up and sunshine peaks through.

We also got to spend a little bit of down time with family on the boat. The kids have enjoyed spending some quality time or some home schooling days out in nature. Each day with our little fishing buddies has provided some decent fish as well. Teaching conservation and proper etiquette, as well as some important life lessons. Always a good time with the young ones aboard. Worth every outing.

As far as the fishing goes, we have been hooking into a few rainbows and bull trout each week. The rainbows have been taking a few days off each week, but when they’re on, they are on!

And for the bull trout, they have been a little bit more consistent lately. Some decent Bulls up to 10 lbs. in the past couple trips have made it worth while.

Seems like most of the fish are hanging out deep while not active. So, we have managed to hook a few good ones on the downrigger when we happen to put it in their face. Don’t be afraid to fish deep. (150-ft and deeper). And, when the rainbows decide to feed, we are catching most of them on the surface. So, mix it up a bit.

Columbia River: With a few warmer days lately, we have managed to get out a couple times on the river. On the sunny days, and when the wind isn’t blowing, it can be awesome on the river.

Our last trip there, we managed to hook into half a dozen fish throughout the day. Keeping in mind the water is at it’s coldest and the fish are a bit lethargic, we have been swinging some big, slow streamer patterns.

Fish are hanging on the bottom and just waiting for something to drift by, so be patient and persistent, as they will bite if you can put it in front of their nose.

Some decent rainbows up to 20 inches or three to four lbs. have been caught. Just have to put in your time.

We should be getting a chance to get out there a bit more as the weather remains warmer for now.

Arrow Lakes: It’s that time of year when we usually spend a bit of time on the Arrow.

Upper Arrow has been more productive than Lower Arrow, as it has produced some nice fish lately. While it’s not on fire, it has produced consistently each day. This past weekend saw a beauty rainbow just over 14 lbs. and a bunch of bull trout from 10 to 13 lbs. during the local derby. Some boats reported catching up to half a dozen fish each day. And the quality has been good.

Lower Arrow has been a grind. Some days you get one, and some days you don’t. But, the quality is there.

Either way, it’s good to get out. And, if you happen to catch one, it should be a good one. Keep at it.

Ice Fishing: Ice fishing has been fun lately. With the cold snap we had back in January, most of the lakes have firmed up and provided some quality ice.

One of our favourite lakes has been consistently producing good numbers of Brook Trout with a few Rainbows mixed in. I prefer action over quality when it comes to ice fishing, but this lake had both. Fun times.

I’ve also seen a lot of different reports from buddies who have fished a number of the lakes. Seems most lakes are good for a few fish.

A fun activity for families. For the kids, it can be fun, but it can be boring. So, we always make sure to bring: ice fishing tent, heater, snow shoes, snow sleds, and lots of food. That way, if the kids are bored of fishing, they can go sledding, snow shoeing, skiing, or just eat, eat, eat.

Popular lakes have been: Cottonwood, Nancy Green, Erie, Rosebud, Box, Summit

What are they biting on?

Nothing’s been consistent due to the colder water and slower fishing, but here’s what we have had success with:

Kootenay Lake: slow trolling (1.8 to 2.0 m.p.h.) with bucktail flies, Gibbs/Delta spoons and Moe Norman’s has been the ticket for rainbows on the surface. As far as the bull trout go, it’s been mostly down rigger fishing. Slow troll with an STS Flasher and hoochie at depths between 120 – 165ft has been working for us.

Arrow Lake has been a mix of flasher/hoochie combo, as well as some 4 and 5 inch plugs. Some bull trout and the rainbows have been caught on the surface. But, most bulls have been caught on the down rigger. Our best luck has been at depths between 60 to 90 feet, although we have caught a few as deep as 120 to150 feet.

Columbia River: swinging streamers on a sinking line can be productive in the riffles. And, if you’re not into fly-fishing, then try using a spinning rod with Gibbs bottom bouncer and bait. The rainbows seem to like this presentation.

Either way, remember the water is cold, the fish are lethargic, so you just need to be patient.

Hope this helps with your next adventure.

Read: West Kootenay Fishing Report: January



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