September in the Kootenays is a beautiful time of year to get back on the lakes.
The days can be warm and pleasant, with the surrounding hillsides popping with the colours of autumn. A myriad of painted turtles sun themselves on deadfall while great blue herons wade in the shallows, and a healthy mix of chironomids and mayflies come off the surface as hungry rainbow trout emerge from the summer doldrums with a vengeance.
Chironomids are a good choice early to mid-day. Check depth and set your strike indicator so your chironomid is suspended about 12-18" from the bottom. Vary the colour and size until successful and use a stomach pump when you are to determine an approximate variation.
I've been to this same lake many times and I've had epic days on some occasions, while on others I couldn't coax a mosquito to the boat.
In the autumn months, the fishing is usually very good although keep an eye on those indicators as the trout are prone to sip and spit almost in one motion.
As the chironomid hatch subsides in the afternoon, tie on a sink tip or sink line and troll leeches or dragonfly nymphs over the dropoffs. This proved very successful and while we missed a few, we also caught a couple of the biggest fish of the day. My fishing partner Colin landed a healthy 16-inch rainbow on a beadhead pumpkin leech that ran like a freight train, then turned and sped toward the boat, as Colin stripped like a madman.
Chironomid patterns in size 14-16, black body-red rib or silver/red seemed to offer us the best luck while leech patterns and dragonfly nymphs size 6-10 in greens, browns, and orange were the most effective.
These patterns and techniques work on most smaller West Kootenay lakes and there are many including Nancy Green, Champion Lakes, Cottonwood, Loon, Rosebud, Wolf, Panther, Curtis, Wilgress, and Jewel Lakes.