Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Return to Kootenay Lake

The annual May long weekend tug boat trip resumed after a couple year hiatus and it was another epic journey on the waters of Kootenay Lake.
The trip started out auspiciously enough with Salvy hooking into a nice10-pound bull trout almost immediately. We trolled plugs, hockey sticks and a bucktail fly, had a couple on a down rigger and a couple more on the surface.
The action was pretty steady on Friday evening with decent water and a bite every half hour or so. After hitting a few bull trout, the middle rod, dragging the lone hair, bucked and bowed. I grabbed it immediately, setting the hook as the trout ran, and the reel screamed. But being of generous and kind disposition I graciously passed the rod to Notto who had been salivating over my shoulder the entire time.
He played the Gerrard pretty well, letting it run when it had to and eventually brought to the net a very passable 14-pound rainbow.

He looks a lot bigger than 14 pounds.
It turned out to be a great first night out. We landed seven fish in about four hours, including two 10-pound bullies and the Gerrard Rainbow landed by Notto.

The next few days however brought flat water and substantially slower fishing. We caught fish every day but nothing very large, mostly bulls with the odd 3-6 pound rainbow thrown in. We ate stupendously and enjoyed a few social beverages by the comfort of a small campfire at Pebble Beach in the evening.
Everyone caught fish, even Rieberger. No big screamers unfortunately, but lots of fish, beergaritas, and laughs.
Thanks to Mike for organizing a great trip - can't wait until next year.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The West Kootenay Fishing Report

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 or go to

Columbia River and Area Lakes
Fly of the Week: Flying Black Ant
We are almost into our summer heat and this means the annual black ant hatch. Yes, a real important food source for trout in lakes and rivers.
Conditions: Any two-day hot spell will induce a hatch that trout can’t get enough of. Trout will gorge themselves on ants till they can’t take any more and still take another one just because they can’t stop eating them.
Where to find them: An ant will hatch on land and for some reason are attracted to water. They fly well over land but as soon as they get over the water the temperature drops usually a good ten degrees and this puts a real damper on their flight pattern. Down they drop and you know the rest, yep, fish food.
Timing: It’s the time of year I consider the turning point of spring to summer fishing, when fish start to think that food can be found on or near the surface instead of always on the bottom. Afternoon till dark will find trout looking for food near the surface on any hot summer day.
Technique: I like to fish this fly with a floating line with very little drag on the fly, so a longer leader is favoured, 12 to 15 feet is common for me on this fly.

Good luck and hang on to your rod, the take is fast and often very aggressive. That means your rod will be gone if not attended.
Flying Black Ant
Hook- 2 xlong , R 72 or R74 mustad
Size - 8, 10 or 12s
Thread- 6/0 uni black
Body- dyed black deer hair
Wings- brown hackle from Indian cock cape
Thorax- peacock herl
Hackle- dyed black neck or saddle hackle

•For the more discriminant fly angler/fly tyer, try the:
Sexy Flying Ant
Hook - R72 or R74
Size - 8, 10 or 12
Thread - 6/0 uni black
Body - Rainy’s small-med. black round foam
Under body - Blue flash a bou
Wing - Indian cock cape hackle tips
Head - thorax- peacock herl
Hackle - dyed black neck or saddle hackle

Till next time, tight lines and bent rods -- Rod.
Fly of the Week presented and tied by Rod Zavaduck, owner/operator of Castlegar Sports and Fly Shop.

Arrow Lakes
Warmer weather should make it more pleasant on the water and nothing is as fun as getting together with fellow anglers for a good old fashioned fishing derby.
The Arrow Lakes Yacht Club is dangling $2,000 worth of prizes in front of local anglers to entice them to come out for the May Day weekend, May 19-21. Lots of hidden weight prizes with $500 going to the largest fish. It’s a family event with 16 years and under fishing free. The derby starts Saturday at 8 a.m. and goes until Monday at 1 p.m. Register at the Yacht club, 5540 Broadwater Road, camping available, moorage free with registration.
Call Brenda or Bob Howell at 231-2489 for more info.

Kootenay Lake
Conditions: Water temperatures were still relatively cool causing slow fishing at the end of April, but fishing picked up considerably the first weekend in May. Reports of numerous Gerrards coming in topping 20 pounds with multiple trout in the teens.
These guys had a great day on the water picking up a triple header on a Split Shot charter that resulted in a 20, 17 and 14 pound haul. Amazing.
Fisheries shut down the kokanee fishing in the West Arm due to concerns over the low fry count returning to the lake three years ago.
Flies and Techniques: Polar bear hair flies in grey and purple pulled on the surface has done well, as have plugs on bull trout.
Last week I helped a friend break in his new Thunder Jet, nothing like it, as we picked up a 10 pound Gerrard, a small rainbow and bull trout. Two days later he and Vern Quist netted a 16 pounder - thanks Dave.

Chironomids pumped from the
stomach of a rainbow trout.
Extra Tippets: I fished Rosebud Lake just after ice off at the end of April picking up a half dozen trout on chironomids in shallow water. Chironomids are the pupa form of midges and mosquitoes (chaoborus) and are the first insects to hatch in the spring. Trout gorge themselves on the emerging pupa so fish the oxygenated shallows just after ice off (less than six feet of water) and move deeper as the water warms.
I went out again May 11, Rosebud had warmed and after some searching I started picking up fish between 15 and 20 feet. Green chironomid worked well as did a chromie with red rib, #16 and 18 3X long nymph hook.
Rather than split shot, add a small barrel swivel to the leader with a couple feet of tippet to help get the chronomid into the zone faster. -Keep your tip up - Jim Bailey