Portland Oregon resident Garry Curtis shows off his trophy from last month

Fall Kootenay fishing looks promising

Fishing columnist Kerry Reed reviews the summer fishing season and anticipates new adventures in the fall.

We’re back from the west coast! And this year proved to be a great one. There were lots of salmon around and fishing was fantastic. Daily limits of chinooks were fairly normal as well as coho mixed in. The Chinook fishing was consistent all summer and the coho were on again off again.  Some weeks saw the banks littered with coho, then other weeks they moved on and mainly just chinooks around. Chinooks ranged from 15 – 30 pounds this season, and the coho were six to 12 pounds until September rolled around.  Then  the coho were 10 to 18 pounds and the largest chinook weighed in at 40.4 pounds on September long weekend.

Good halibut fishing in the early part of July, but then it proved to be spotty throughout the rest of the summer. Some days we would get four or five halis, and then the next day there were none.  Although, the quality was good when we got them.  Halibut from 20 to 70 pounds were caught by our guests.

While it’s rare to see no precipitation on the west coast, we were blessed with mostly sunny days and fairly calm waters.  Although when the wind decided to blow, it was extreme.  And this year, due to the warmer waters, we saw some amazing wildlife that we don’t often see.  One day we had a giant blueshark swim up to our boat.  Unfortunately he grabbed the salmon we had on our line, but still a pretty cool experience to see. On another day, we had a huge sunfish over 100 pounds swim right up to the edge of our boat close enough to touch. Whales, dolphins, and seal lions were common occurrences.

All in all I would call it a very successful season.  I would like  to thank everyone who joined me this year and look forward to doing it again next summer.  We’ve already started planning and booking.

Kootenay Lake

Our guides did fairly well this summer on Kootenay Lake regardless of the extreme hot weather.   Most of our trips were based on beating the heat.   There seemed to be lots of small rainbow trout still around, so there was definitely some action everyday.

And now that fall is almost upon us, we wait to see what the rest of the lake will do. To be expected, our kokanee spawning numbers declined even more this year to an all time low.  We will have to see what the future will bring us. That being said, our number of juvenile rainbow trout seems to still be fairly high. If they can find food, or if the kokanee issue can be resolved, there is still a good chance at seeing some larger rainbows in the future. Only time will tell.

October, November, and December are usually my favourite months to fish.  We’ll see how this fall/winter shapes up.

Columbia River

The river remained high throughout the summer and due to the forest fires burning nearby, the falling ash made the water fairly murky, so the fish had trouble seeing our presentation.  The high water also seemed to put a damper on the normal insect hatches.  Usually the thick caddis hatch in July and August bring the surface of the river to life.  But the hatches seemed a lot less extreme this year.  Our guides did manage to hook into some good fish each time out, however not quite the numbers we’re used to.

But in the past few weeks the water has dropped and the clarity has improved.  In fact, last week our boat had a couple fantastic days on the river.  The fish have been very active in the past little while. We’re hoping to see a great Sept. and early Oct. fishery out there.

The latest trips have seen rainbows between two and five pounds on the fly, as well as on spinning gear.  Also walleye between two and five pounds on the usual bottom bouncing gear or jigs.  Looking forward to the next few weeks of this fishery.  We’ll keep you posted.

Kootenay rivers

It’s that time of year when we head out on our famous Kootenay rivers and tributaries to target some giant bull trout.  The bull trout have been following spawning kokanee up the rivers and now the rivers are  full of bulls. So, we will be making the run over to the East Kootenays as well as some West Kootenay rivers to target these amazing fish.

Looking forward to this fantastic fishery.

What are they biting on?

Our Kootenay Lake fish have been caught on a mix of things.  Due to the warmer water, we have been catching fish fairly deep in the water column.  Lots of rainbows and bull trout have been caught at depths of 120 to160 feet on plugs or spoons, as well as flasher/hoochie combos. The past few weeks of cooler nights have been bringing the water temperature down, and we have been starting to catch  a lot of fish on the surface now too.  Bucktail flies as well as small spoons seem to be the ticket on the surface. As the water cools, we should see more and more surface action.

Our Columbia River fish have been caught on the usual fly patterns. Beaded nymphs have worked well when there isn’t a hatch happening, although some of our dry fly caddis have been working on the hotter days again. Looking forward to the big October caddis patterns to kick in as fall approaches. Our spinning gear techniques have included bottom bouncers with worms for the walleye and spinners and jigs for the rainbows.

With the smoky skies finally clearing and the warm water finally cooling, I look forward to what the next few months have to offer.

We now have all of our boats back in the Kootenays, so if you’d like to get out on the rivers or the lake, give us a call.

Tight lines….

Kerry Reed owns Reel Adventures Sportfishing in Nelson. He can be reached at 250-505-4963 or at reeladventuresfishing.com.

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