Chills equal thrills

Local Nelson fishing expert Kerry Reed takes a look at how the catch is out on Kootenay Lake.

Jayden Maida hooked this Rainbow earlier this month.

It’s happening! Our fall/winter season is in full swing and the fish are right on schedule.

I’ve always enjoyed November and December for fishing on Kootenay Lake. And this year is no exception. We have started catching big fish regularly. Each day seems to land a big fish, with some days landing multiple big fish. And by big fish I mean 15 to 20 pounds and some over 20 pounds.

Our last few trips have been very productive. Here’s an example of one of our outings…

We started the day at 7 a.m. on the water. Our lines were out by 7:30, and by 7:45 we hooked into our first screamer. Cosmo was first up on the rods and he fought this monster for about 10 minutes. After a lengthy battle he finally got the fish beside the boat. A big, beautiful male with a large red stripe. The fish rolled on its side and spit the hook out. It looked to be around 18-plus pounds and Cosi was heartbroken. Hopefully that’s not our only big fish for the day.

We continue fishing for a couple hours and land a few smaller Rainbows. Then at 10:30, Jayden hooks into a screamer. He played this fish like a pro and 10 minutes later, the fish was in the net. Another beauty about 15 pounds.

We got our lines back in the water and continued fishing that area. Only another half hour goes by and Marco hooks into a nice fish. Not the same battle that we were used to, but a nice six pound Dolly landed in the net. Good fish for the barbecue.

Lines back out and only another hour goes by and Cosmo’s turn again. Another big screamer. This time the fish stays deep and it’s definitely a sign of a 20 pounder. After about 15 minutes of battling this fish, he finally has it close to the boat. Right at the back of the boat and about 50 feet straight down. This fish is holding it’s ground. Well, after all that stalling, the fish finally wins the battle. Only 20 feet from the boat and the hook is spit out again. I think Cosmo is getting a complex now. Two big fish on for him, but neither one made to the net. Oh well, that’s fishing.

We carried on fishing for the next couple hours and landed some small fish to keep everyone busy. Even Cosmo managed to land one of those. A nice consolation prize I guess.

Later in the afternoon, the line screams off and it’s Marco’s turn again. He plays this fish perfectly and manages to get a nice 12 pound Rainbow to the net. Good fish Marco.

And finally, we are making our way back home and almost done for the day, when the line starts screaming again. Jayden quickly jumps up and grabs the rod. He has another big fish on. The fish is taking line and jumping three or four times out behind the boat about 300 feet. As I slowed the boat down to help with the battle, another line starts screaming. Len grabs hold of this rod and the battle is on. A double header.

The fish cross in front of each other and Len and Jayden both switch sides of the boat to keep the lines in order. About 15 minutes go by and Jayden’s fish is ready for the net. Another beautiful Rainbow.

This one weighs in at 14 pounds and we quickly get it back in the water and prepare to net Len’s fish. Finally to the boat we slip the net under this fish. A gorgeous 17 pound Rainbow showing its fall colors.

What a way to end the day. A double header with a 14 pound and 17 pound Rainbow. That’s what a day on Kootenay Lake can be like at this time of year.

We’ve had a few other days like that in November also. I can’t wait to see what the rest of November and December have to offer.

Last weekend’s derby was a successful one also. The top three fish weighed in at: 21.7 pounds, 21 pounds, and 19 pounds. Congratulations to Fraser, Todd, and Harry for catching the winning fish.

What are they biting on?

Our favorite bucktail flies are working well. The magic colors include: Black/white, gray/white, purple/white. Or commonly known as the 215, 228, 203, or the Gray ghost and November special.

Also using the usual Lyman plugs on the surface or downrigger to 150 ft. Magic plugs have been: #16, 32, 100, and 135.

And the old standby on the downrigger has been the flasher/hoochie combo. It’s been working well at depths between 100 and 150 feet. Catching both Dollies and Rainbows on these lures.

I hope this helps improve everybody’s luck on the lake.  And remember, you can’t catch fish if you’re not out there.

Tight lines…


Kerry Reed owns Nelson-based Reel Adventures Charters. Call him at 250-505-4963


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