COLUMN: Winter brings hard water fishing

'Tis the season everyone, and winter fishing is here!

Lots of rainbows and a few bull trout are being caught on Kootenay Lake

‘Tis the season everyone, and winter fishing is here!

We spent most of November chasing rainbows, both on Kootenay Lake and on the Columbia River.

So, here are the latest reports:

Kootenay Lake

With the colder temperatures, we will be concentrating on the main lake a lot coming up, as we have the comfortable heated cabins of our lake boats. The main lake fishing has remained the same as last month. Lots of rainbows between two and five pounds and a few bull trout from three to eight pounds.

Our average trips seem to hook into 10 to 15 fish each day, with the odd crazy day of more than 20 fish. It seems to be a matter of quantity over quality right now, although a lot of people are happy with the perfect eating size of fish. Either way, it’s lots of action for our groups. Fun, family trips happening lately, as we can keep the kids entertained with constant action.

The holiday season is upon us and we will be on the water daily to accommodate all the families and friends who are in town and looking for some things to do.

Some of our best fishing days seem to happen every year during the holidays. So I hope the tradition continues.

Columbia River

The river has been producing some hogs lately. Must be the time of year. These fish seem to be much fatter at this time of year and should remain plump throughout the winter months. Our biggest river fish seem to happen from now until March or April. So, we will be choosing our nice winter days to spend on the river. Our latest trips have seen six to 10 fish per day, with the average size being three to six pounds. Lots of fun on a spinning rod or fly rod. Also hoping to start with the centrepin fishing for our steelhead fishermen. Always lots of fun.

Some of my favourite fishing is coming up. While most people are switching to ice fishing, we are lucky enough to have open water all year round. So, let’s get out there!

Ice Fishing

Ice fishing opportunities are coming up. And while I haven’t been out yet, I do look forward to a change of pace. I don’t know the ice conditions yet, but here are a few popular lakes to check out this winter: Cottonwood Lake is nice and close to Nelson. It’s a great place to take kids and is a fun lake to fish. We will be checking it out soon.

Rosebud Lake and Erie Lake are closer to Salmo and they provide some great fishing opportunities for everyone. And just to name a couple more, Summit Lake and Box Lake are close to Nakusp. They are great fishing and fun to explore. We are looking forward to getting out for some “hard water” fishing soon. Will keep you posted.

What are they biting on?

Kootenay Lake fishing has seen some good days using our usual bucktail flies on the surface. We are also catching a lot of fish on spoons or apex lures. Fly colors have been blacks, purples, and pinks. And our spoons that seem to work best are silvers, blues, and orange for some reason. Bull trout have been caught on plugs or flasher/hoochie combos. Most bulls have been hanging in the depths of 120 to 160 feet.

On the river, we have had best luck with sinking fly lines and streamer patterns. The wooly bugger, Columbia River bugger, and the bulldog have all been producing well. Also using spinning rods with bottom bouncers and bait to attract some nice rainbows. The bait technique usually takes over during the winter months, so we’ll see what happens.

So, as you can see, there is lots of opportunity for winter fishing in our area. Just a matter of making the time.

Hope to see you out at one of our great locations.

Tight lines …

Kerry Reed runs Reel Adventures sport Fishing Charters. He writes here monthly.