At a derby last month

Kootenay Lake temperatures perfect

May was a decent month for weather, but an even better month for fishing.

Spring fishing has provided some exciting days. May was a decent month for weather, but an even better month for fishing. Rainbows up to 23 lbs. and Dolly Varden up to 16 lbs. have been coming in lately. Although not every day has been hot, we have still seen some pretty consistent fishing.

The latest local derby saw one of our guests bring in a contender. Shane Cook of Red Deer, Alberta landed a beautiful Rainbow that weighed in just under 19 lbs. to land himself a nice second place trophy. That weekend we managed to hook into over 20 fish, with the majority of them being over 10 lbs. That is quality fishing. And that’s why people come from all over to fish Kootenay Lake.

The following week we had a new group out with us for a nice day trip on the lake.  They managed to hook into six fish over 10 lbs., including a double header. The biggest fish weighing in at 18 .5 lbs. was landed by our friend John Smolinski of Slocan Park.

And many other days have produced some great fish.

The water temperature was finally at our optimum fishing temperature, until the weather changed. Temperatures have dropped and the fish are probably just as confused as we are.

Oh well, there is one good thing about the cool, rainy days of June. It will help prolong our fishing season.  Usually the fishing remains fairly steady until the temperatures get too hot. Which might not be until August at the rate we are going so far.

Also with the rain comes high water. This means there will be lots of debris floating around in the water. And while that makes it a little tougher to fish, it does help bring the fish to the surface to feed. Fishing around these feed lines can be very productive. But make sure to check your lines often, as they can become fouled with debris.

Should be a good month for fishing if we can keep the debris off our lines.


What are they biting on?

Since most of the fish are coming to the surface to feed, we are mainly running our bucktail flies. We have some new products that seem to be working well. The usual flies now come with a weighted head. They are called fish skulls. This weighted head not only helps keep some of the debris off your lines, but it gives the fly a different action. And they have produced some fairly consistent fish on our boat. My favorite colors have been: Blk/wht, grey/wht, and green/wht. Or the common numbers are:  214, 215, 221, and 228.

Also using my favorite Lyman plugs and Apex lures on the calmer days. My favorites have been: black/silver, silver/gold, blue/green or lucky numbers of #10, #16, #53, #55, and the #102 of late.

We’ve also managed a few fish on the downriggers. Still using the old flasher/hoochie combo for the dollies. But we’re catching lots on my favorite plugs again down deep.  Magic depths have been 40’, 60’, and 80’.

The water temperature is almost perfect. Lately I’ve had readings between 51- 53 degrees. So, we should be in for some great fishing still.

If this year’s Gerrard run is any indication of what our future holds, we should be pretty excited. Another record number of fish were counted up at the spawning grounds this year.

If you didn’t get a chance to see this amazing sight, then you missed out on a treat. A total of 1,039 fish was the peak number this year. That’s a lot of fish to be in one area at the same time. Although the total number of spawners over the one month period will be closer to 3,000 fish through the spawning grounds. That’s my estimate, but it definitely blows last years numbers out of the water.

Looks like we have a bright future for Kootenay Lake. Looking forward to the next few years!

If you want to check out the day to day numbers that were at the spawning grounds, go to the ministry’s website for a daily count.  Check it out at:

The next month should be great fishing. So let’s get out there!


Kerry Reed owns Nelson’s Reel Adventures Fishing Charters. His column is featured in the Star once a month. He can be reached at 250-505-4963. Find out more at


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