COLUMN: Skiers happily surprised by February fishing

February's warm weather brought lots of fishing activity.

Wyatt Scott from Calgary with his biggest rainbow ever.

Wyatt Scott from Calgary with his biggest rainbow ever.

We experienced some warmer weather throughout February and people just wanted to get outdoors. So, we spent a lot of time on Kootenay Lake in the past few weeks. This spring-like weather also saw more activity from our fish.

The lack of snow lately has brought us some new clientele. Our ski groups have been experiencing something new to them. Most skiers never planned to go fishing in the middle of the winter and were happily surprised. I think we have created a new activity to add to their package next year.

Most days we managed to hook into five or six fish, although we did have quite a few days with ten to 12 fish coming to the boat. Lots of action for February.

Rainbows from two to 12 pounds. were being caught, as well as bull trout up to 12 pounds. Definitely more rainbows than bull trout though.

We have been running lighter tackle because of the abundance of smaller fish, and that has helped make it exciting. Lots of rainbows in the two to four pound range have put up good fights on the fly rods or ultra light rods. Although when the 12 pound fish hit, that was a bit of a struggle. Makes for an exciting adventure.

Kokanee fishing in the lower West Arm provided some fun mornings as well. The weekend fishery had us managing to catch some beautiful kokanee in the 11 to 15 inch range. Always great for a fish fry.

What are they biting on?

Similar to the last few months, most of our fish have been caught on the surface. We are seeing the majority of fish on the sonar down deep. However, when they decide to feed, they have been coming to the surface.

Our best luck has been on our Bucktail flies. The common colours have been working best. Purple/pink, grey/pink, and grey/white have been my favourites. Lucky numbers: 202, 207, 210, 215, and 224 have been my best.

Also my favourite #10 Lyman plug has been producing, as well as good ole’ #69 or Shizzam as we call it. Just have to keep experimenting.

Columbia River

We have fired up the jet boat once again and the warmer weather has made for some comfortable days on the river. We’ve had some spectacular days out there with ten to 15 rainbows coming to our line.

A lot of these fish are really fat at this time of year. So, the chance at hooking into a 10 pounder is always there at this time. Most of our fish have been the typical Columbia River size. Rainbows between 16 and 22 inches have been very common, with the odd fish being over 24 inches. Definitely my favourite time of year to be on the river.

Our best techniques have been drifting with bait or bottom bouncing with bait. Although, we have been able to persuade some big fish to take the fly lately. Nymphing has been most productive on the fly rod, but streamer fishing should be working soon.

I’m looking forward to this next month on the river as well, as it can provide some of the best river fishing available. We’re expecting to see some big boys rise to the occasion. Stay tuned.

Well, that about sums up our fishing for the past few weeks. Hope this helps with your next trip. Tight lines …