Thursday, November 19, 2020

West Kootenay Fishing Report: Cooler temps translate to Prime fishing

The West Kootenay Fishing Report is submitted by Kerry Reed of Reel Adventure Sportfishing Charters. Call Kerry at 250-505-4963 to book your trip or go to 

Darrell and Graham casting into the Columbia

October started out with some warmer than seasonal temperatures and some beauty weather for being out on the water. But then switched to be more like the fall that we are accustomed to. And now that we’re in November, the temperatures have dropped and we are fully into our winter fishery. 

The beginning of October handed us some nice weather and some pretty decent fishing for Bull Trout and Rainbows. And since the end of October with the perfect water temps we have expected the Rainbows to take over as in previous years. However, lately it’s still been better fishing for Bull Trout with a few Rainbows mixed in. 

Bull Trout up to 10 pounds have been caught recently, with most being between 3-6 pounds. There was also one Bull around 16 pounds that was caught by another local angler, so there’s still the odd big one out there. 

Rainbows have been hit and miss lately, but we’ve been getting some mixed in with the Bull Trout. Average Rainbows between 2-4 pounds have been coming in. 

We’ve had a few new groups join us the past few weeks and have had some exciting trips. It seems that the fish are located in tiny pockets on the lake. And when you find a group, that seems to be the ticket to stick to that area. Some days we can troll for hours trying to locate fish, but when we find them, the action has been fairly consistent. 

Some of our better days lately have seen groups hooking into 10-15 Bull Trout throughout the day and usually a few Rainbows as well. 

The key has been to concentrate on the area where these groups of fish have been hanging out. 

Water temp is right and we hope the Rainbows turn on and the Bull Trout keep doing what they’re doing. November and December are usually our best months. 

Arrow Lake: Anglers success rates can be hit and miss, but October, November, and December fishing for big bull trout and rainbow is generally very good. 

Anglers have had good luck slow trolling for bull trout and rainbows. Reports have ranged from anglers landing up to 10 fish a day, with many 2-4 pound rainbows and bull trout up to 10 pounds. 

With the Arrow Lake’s cooling water temperature, anglers are trolling between 2.5 and 3 mph, and have had the best luck pulling Lyman and Tomic plugs at 90 feet and more. 

Columbia River: We had some successful trips on the river in early October and even managed to get some good fish at the end of the month when the temperatures dropped. 

Some great Walleye days were had and the fall fly fishing was good as well. 

We’ve shifted most of our trips now to the big lake where we can be comfortable in our heated boats. Although, if we get a warm weather window, we look forward to a few more trips on the river. 

Rainbows can be pretty chunky at this time of year, and there are still some Walleye to be caught. 

What are they biting on? On the river it was mostly big nymphs, or the October caddis was hot for a while. Also getting a bunch on the spinning gear or bottom bouncers. 

And, on the lakes, it’s been a mix again. The Bull Trout have been falling for the Gibbs/Delta Lemon lime flasher or the Oki Big Shooter Yellow/green mist flasher, followed by the green glow spatter back or pistachio hoochie. 

Depths from 81-to-153-feet have been working best for us. The Rainbows have been less consistent, but we have been getting a few on Bucktails, and a few more on the brass/fire stripe croc or the brass/fire wing croc. 

Again, you just have to find where they’re hanging out. 

Hope this helps with your next adventure. 

Tight lines … 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

West Kootenay Fly Fishing Club brings fly fishing film festival back to the Kootenays


The West Kootenay Fly Fishing Club is hosting its third annual showing of the International Fly Fishing Film Festival (IF4), but with a typical coronavirus twist.

Due to COVID-19, the IF4 will not be screened in a theatre, but will be shown in virtual form from the cozy confines of your den, couch, fly-tying table or wherever your laptop may take you.

“Covid-19 restrictions prevented the club from hosting a theatre-based event in the spring and since then the IF4 group came up with alternative viewing options that are flexible and allow safe viewing of the films in the comfort of your own home,” said a release from the WK Fly Fishing Club.

IF4 films are produced and directed by professional filmmakers from all over the globe, whose skills showcase the passion, lifestyle, and culture of fly-fishing in unique, fun and often provocative ways.

The films are between six and 16 minutes long, and among the films to be screened are “Particles and Droplets” by Gilbert Rowley, “Aurora Fontinalis” by Intents Media, “Iqaluk” by Hook√©, “The Mend” by Broc Isabelle, “Nine Foot Rod” by Dana Lattery, and “Eye of the Guide” from KGB productions, a film that follows Calgary guide Paula Shearer in search of cutthroat and bull trout in Rocky Mountain streams.

In addition to the films, there will be fly fishing product giveaways and other promotions at the event. One lucky viewer will be selected to win the 2020 Grand Prize drawing consisting of thousands of dollars of fly-fishing gear provided by International Fly Fishing Film Festival sponsors.

Admission to the International Fly Fishing Film Festival is $20 and may be accessed by going to

More importantly, the West Kootenay Fly Fishing Club will donate all proceeds from the event to the Trail Salvation Army.

Virtual screenings of the 10 films are planned for Oct. 23, Nov. 20, and Dec. 11 in the West Kootenay.

Viewers can purchase tickets by logging onto the site and selecting Castlegar from 2020 Virtual Events Dates. Viewers must begin watching within 48 hours, and have seven days to view the films.

For more information and to watch film trailers visit

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Northern pikeminnow; a growing concern on Kootenay Lake

There’s a growing concern from anglers that there may be another species contributing to the decline of the kokanee salmon in Kootenay Lake. 

The presence of northern pikeminnow is becoming more and more prevalent, particularly in the West Arm, and some anglers believe they are making an impact on the kokanee. 

Balfour resident Chuck Wood has been fishing the lake for 36 years, and has never seen more of the predator than he has this year. 

“The last two times I fly fished the arm there were huge schools of them coming up,” said Wood. “I caught 10 the first evening and nine the second and released one rainbow. I’m hoping to see the return of decent sized fish in the lake but so far the decision-makers haven’t had any success.” 

The BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development could not provide a biologist for an interview due to the ‘interregnum’ (upcoming provinical election), but did offer some data. 

According to FLNRO, “We have looked at pikeminnow diet in the west arm, and kokanee were not observed. Studies from other lakes show some kokanee in diet, but data from Kootenay Lake suggests strongly that bull trout and rainbow trout make up the majority of kokanee mortality via predation.”