Nelson’s big fish love the cold water

Winter fishing is here. What does that mean? Well, it means big fish.

Local resident Brian Lucas shows off his prize catch from the winter.

Winter fishing is here. What does that mean? Well, it means big fish.

Now that the water temperature has reached its coldest, the big fish come out to play. This is the time of year when we seem to catch our biggest dollies, and the rainbows all seem to be big.

We’re not catching as many fish as in the fall, but all fish are quality fish at this time of year. Because the temperature has cooled down, it means the fish have slowed down. That means it’s time to slow down your presentation.  So, our speeds now have slowed to between 1.8 to 2.5 miles per hour. That doesn’t mean the fishing has slowed down, it just means that we can’t cover as much water as the faster speeds, which in turn means fewer fish.

However, the tradeoff has been worth it. Rainbows up to 24 pounds and dollies up to 17 pounds have been caught. Also seem to be losing some big fish this time of year. Some break the line, and some of the smart ones spit the hook.  These of course always seem to be the biggest fish that bite the hook. Maybe we’re getting close to that 30 pounder.  Just need to keep him on.

We’re still catching fish on the surface and down deep. Seem to see most of the fish stacked up in the 120 to 150 foot depths.  However, when they decide to feed, it seems to happen more on the surface. So, you definitely need to mix it up a bit.


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 well. Black and white, grey and white, purple and white are working well.  My favourites have been number 228, 215, 224, 207, 203, and lately the 210.  Some common names are:  grey ghost, bleeding gill, and November special.

Also we’ve been using the downriggers for both rainbows and dolly varden (bull trout). Some of our best depths have been 100 feet, 120 feet, 140 feet and even below 150 feet lately. We’ve been using our favourite flasher and hoochie combo, or my favourite Lyman plugs are working well. Plug numbers 10, 16, 32, 100, and 160 have producing some good fish for me as well.

The water temperature is around 40 degrees now, so remember, slower fishing but bigger fish.

Some of our biggest fish should be caught in the next couple of months.

Winter is here, so let’s go fishing. Tight lines.

Kerry Reed owns Reel Adventures Charters in Nelson. He can be reached at 250-505-4963


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