Kootenay Lake fish lazy in winter

Ok, people are asking me, “where have all the fish gone?”

Eleven-year-old Logan Glass from the North Shore shows off his biggest rainbow.

Ok, people are asking me, “where have all the fish gone?” Well the answer to that is, nowhere, they’re still around. You just have to work for them.

It’s just been a long winter for the fish, as well as us humans. Fish metabolism slows down during the cold temperatures, and that means they don’t have to eat as often. Yes they are hanging around the usual spots and we can see them on our electronics. But, they don’t want to expend much energy.  So, sometimes you need to hit them on the nose to entice a strike.

And since the fish are lethargic, we also need to slow down a bit. We’ve been trolling between 1.8 to 2.5 mph.

Most fish appear to be hanging around the 150 feet depths. But when it’s time to feed, they seem to come to the surface. That may be once a day, or at this time of year it may be only once a week.  You just have to be out there.

February saw fewer fish being caught, but still some big ones coming in. Rainbows up to 23 pounds and Dollies up to 17 pounds have been a few of the trophies recently. Although, there have been a few fish broken off lately also. So, who knows how big.

And so far, March has been similar. Our groups are experiencing some days with only a couple fish, but some days are still catching six to 10 fish.

Every day is different, but just being out there increases your chances. For example, I went for a solo trip last week just to clean the boat. But I had to put the lines in the water, because… why not.

After only about 15 minutes, the line starting screaming off. Go figure! I’m out by myself, not really concentrating on fishing, and that’s when it happens. After a nice battle I managed to slip the net under this beautiful rainbow.

A nice 19 pound male showing its spawning colours already. After a quick photo with my camera on a timer, I released this beauty. We will see it up the river this spring.  So, it just goes to show you, any day can produce a trophy fish. Just have to get out there.

Looking forward to the warmer weather and the beginning of our fantastic spring fishery. As the water warms up, the fish’s metabolism will speed up. And guess what that means? Yep, feeding frenzy. My favourite months are coming up!


What are they biting on?

The fish are still scattered throughout the water column, so we are fishing both on the surface and down deeper. Bucktail flies on the surface in the usual colours are working. Black/white, grey/white, purple/white are working. My favorites have been: #228, 215, 207, 203, and lately the 210. Some common names are: grey ghost, bleeding gill, and November special.

Also catching fish on Bill Norman lures and Lyman plugs on the surface. Favourite colours have been: rainbow, purple/silver, blue/silver, green/silver billies. And an assortment of Lyman’s: purple/white, green/orange, black/silver.

Also we’ve been using the downriggers for both rainbows and dolly varden (bull trout). Some of our best depths have been 120’, 140’ and even below 150’ lately.  We’ve been using our favourite flasher and hoochie combo, or my favorite Lyman plugs are working well. Plug numbers 16, 32, 100, 135 and 160 have producing some good fish for me as well.

The water temperature is still hanging around 41 degrees, but I did notice slight increases on some days. So,  fishing should get better and better as we approach Spring.

Get off the couch and let’s go fishing! Tight lines………

Kerry Reed operate’s Nelson’s Reel Adventures Fishing Charters. He can be reached at 250-505-4963


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