COLUMN: Spring is in the air — and on the water

We have been enjoying some unusual warmer weather lately and have managed to get out on the water for a few good days.

Jen Holmes of Grand Forks shows off her colourful rainbow trout.

Spring is in the air. Or at least it has been for the past couple weeks. We have been enjoying some unusual warmer weather lately and have managed to get out on the water for a few good days. Here’s the latest:

Kootenay Lake

The coldest the water usually gets is at this time of year. And that means, slow down your presentation. The fish are still feeding, but not as regularly as usual. We have had some good days on the lake with 10 to 15 fish coming to the boat. And we have had some slower days with only a few fish. They seem to be on a pattern of feeding heavily for a couple days, and then taking a break for a few days. So, if you’re lucky enough to pick the feeding days, you will be rewarded with lots of action. Pretty normal for this time of year.

Rainbows between two and five pounds are being caught regularly, and bull trout between two and 10 pounds have been caught recently as well. Typically at this time of year, we see some of our slower fishing, but some of our biggest fish are caught. So it’s always worth the trip.

Some of the better fishing has been occurring at the extreme south and north ends of the lake. Must be something in the water. So, if you get a chance to experiment, try heading either way to see if this pattern continues throughout the winter. We’ll be on the water weekly and will try to keep everybody up to date with our reports either on our Facebook page or on our website. Stay tuned

Columbia River

With some milder weather, our guides have managed to get out a few times on the river lately as well. The rainbows are packing on some weight. This is the time of year when we might see the odd fish over 10 pounds.Not bad for river fishing. But, mostly we have been catching the usual Columbia River rainbow. They range from two to five pounds and all seem to be in great shape. Lots of fun on the light gear.

Our better days on the river have been while drifting or bottom bouncing with bait. The usual three-way bottom rig has been working well, as well as my favourite technique of centerpin drifting with a tiny jig or bait. The fish seem to be keying in on bait lately. That’s normal for this time of year. We will continue to use these techniques for the next month or so, until the fish switch over to eating bugs.

Although, in saying that, we have been catching some nice fish still on the the fly rods. Sinking lines with streamers or wooly buggers are still working. Makes for a great battle on the fly rod when you can hook into them. Either way, we are geared for whatever the fish will want this spring.

Hard water fishing (a.k.a. ice fishing)

With the latest mild weather and rain, we have had some sloppy days on the ice. Most of the lakes are still safe, but there has been a fair bit of slush on the surface to make your feet a bit uncomfortable. The cooler weather coming this week should improve ice conditions and make this a bit more solid to stand on.

We have had a few days on the ice though. And all lakes are producing fish. Summit Lake near Nakusp was good for lots of action and some nicer fish. A bit of a drive, but always worth it. Plus you can head to the hot springs to warm up when you’re done.

Rosebud Lake near Salmo saw not as much action, but produced some bigger fish. A bit of a trade off. One or two fish in the couple pound range still makes it worth the trek.

And our closest little lake which we fished lately saw some good action for smaller fish. Cottonwood Lake produced a lot of action. Fish were mostly between eight and 12 inches, but still lots of fun. A great place to take the kids.

Well, that sums up the latest reports from us. Hope this helps you plan your next outing.

What are they biting on?

On the main body of Kootenay Lake, we have been catching most of our fish on the bucktails once again.Favourite colours of grey/white, black/white, purple/white have been working again. Lucky Nos. 210, 215, 228,234 have all been good. I’ve also heard reports from the south end of the lake that the darker flies have been producing. No. 208 in particular has been hot. So, give it a try. Also getting a few bull trout on the usual flasher/hoochie or some of our four-inch plugs down deep lately.

On the river I pretty much summed it up in the above report. But, the usual bottom bouncer with worm or maggots is working, as well as drifting with a float and similar bait. Wooly buggers, streamers, and nymphs have been working on the fly rods as well.

And through the ice we have been using a mix of worms, maggots, or shrimp. Mostly on a free hanging bait hook. Although some colourful jigs and spoons have attracted a few fish as well.

As we roll into spring, I expect to see more people enjoying the nice weather and hopefully hear of more and more positive reports from the surrounding waters.

Tight lines everyone

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

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