Jen Houselander with a 19 lb Rainbow.

Jen Houselander with a 19 lb Rainbow.

Warmer waters heat up action on Kootenay Lake

Well it’s finally here. Spring has arrived and the weather has finally given us some nice days. With the warmer weather comes warmer water. This means it’s time for the fish to become more active. Yes, it’s our favorite time of the year.

Well it’s finally here. Spring has arrived and the weather has finally given us some nice days. With the warmer weather comes warmer water. This means it’s time for the fish to become more active. Yes, it’s our favorite time of the year.

April saw some good days, but also some slow days. With the inconsistent weather, the fish were on again, off again.  On the good days, we would hook into ten or more fish. Rainbows up to 22 lbs and Dollies up to 15 lbs were coming in.

Since May has begun and the weather has turned for the better, we have been having some really good days. The water has finally warmed up over the 45 degree mark and on some days is approaching 50. This has really helped increase the fish’s feeding patterns.

Last weekend we had a couple of great days on the water.  On Saturday I had Rhonda and Jen out on the water with me.  It was their first time fishing Kootenay Lake and they were really looking forward to it. I had told them that the fishing was a bit spotty, but hopefully things were going to get better.  Well it didn’t take long to get into our first fish of the day. I had only managed to put two of our lines in the water, when all of a sudden the line starts screaming.

“Fish on” I yelled as I handed the rod to Jen. After a great battle we finally got the fish near the boat. Just about to dip the net in the water and snap, the line broke. The big trout rolled on its side and slowly swam away from us. It looked to be around 14 lbs.

“Well, we are going to have nightmares tonight,” I said. “Hopefully we can hook into a few more fish to make up for it.”

Another hour goes by and we are all still thinking about the one that got away. But finally another line starts singing. This time we play the fish a bit more gentle and managed to get this beauty in the net. A nice 10 lb Rainbow Well that makes us feel better about the day. Another hour goes by and then another fish on. After a great battle, we land a 12 lb Rainbow. Another great fish.

We get our lines back in the water and continue to land three more fish before noon, all between eight and 10 lbs. This has been a great morning. Time for lunch.

With the barbecue going and some hot lunch on the way, guess what happens?  Yep you guessed it… fish on. Another screamer. This was the best fight of the day. After taking about 300 feet of line and jumping more than half a dozen times, this fish is finally near the boat. Another couple of runs and the fish is finally tired. I managed to slip the net under this slab and officially land Jen’s biggest Rainbow ever, a 19 lb beauty. It doesn’t get much better than that.

We continued fishing for the rest of the afternoon and landed a few more Rainbows in the 10 lb range. What a great day. Nice to see these big fish swimming away strongly after a great battle. Looks like the beginning of our spring season has arrived.

The next day I had a group from Clearwater out with me hoping to repeat what had just happened. I tried not to have high expectations because the fish have a mind of their own, and just when you think you have it figured out, they can shut down.

Well, this wasn’t the case.

First fish belongs to Nina. This is her first time on Kootenay Lake and she starts the day with a screamer. After a great battle she finally gets her fish to the boat. A nice 10 lb Rainbow and her biggest fish ever. Congratulations Nina.

We get the lines back in the water and another fish takes the lure. It’s young Justin’s turn. He plays the fish for a while and manages to land another 10 lb Rainbow. Way to go Justin. This is a great start.

Another hour goes by and the line starts screaming out again. This is the best one today. After a lengthy battle, the fish is finally close to the boat. Not quite yet, it goes straight down 100 feet and makes another wild run. Finally we get it in the net. A beautiful 15 lb Rainbow. Congratulations Mike.

Now it’s Laura’s turn. She has never fished before and is a little nervous to fight a fish. Well it didn’t take long before she had one on. A quick run and a couple jumps and this fish spit the hook. Hopefully she gets another chance. Sure enough, half an hour later the line starts peeling off. Laura gets the rod and plays the fish like a pro. After a great battle she lands her first ever fish. A bright silver nine lb Rainbow. Congratulations on your first and biggest fish.

Another great day on the water. Hopefully things will remain the same through the rest of the spring. The latest reports have Rainbows up to 22 lbs and Dollies up to 15 lbs coming in. Time to get out there!




What are they biting on?

Well, the water has finally warmed up. So, we are fishing mainly on the surface with Bucktail Flies or Lyman Plugs. Our favorite patterns of flies are the gray and whites and the black and whites. Commonly called the 215, 228. Also starting to see some on the 216 and the 221.

Our favorite Lymans have been: No. 16, 24 and 55. Also expecting the blues and greens to start picking up more fish as the water changes.




Gerrard are spawning!

I have heard numbers this year that are unbelievable. Sounds like the largest return ever. At least the highest peak numbers. So, things are looking good for this fishery.




Kootenay Lake Projects

BC Hydro and the Fish and Wildlife Compensation Program have started the Kootenay Lake Creel Census. You may have noticed on certain days there are people waiting at the dock or boat launch when you get in. Also if you notice a low flying airplane, don’t be alarmed. They are just counting boats. They are collecting information on size of fish being caught, catch rates, and the amount of time that anglers are spending on Kootenay Lake. This information will help with management of our resources. So, if you see them on the dock, feel free to share some information. Samples of your catch are also appreciated. (scale samples, size and weight of fish).

Also still going on is our tagging program. Keep your eyes open for any tagged fish. Some of these fish have a reward tag attached to the dorsal. If you catch a tagged fish you can cut the tag off to claim your reward. You may then release the fish or choose to keep it. But, either way if you can get length and weight of the fish, that will help us determine how well the fish are growing and how healthy our population is.

It’s an exciting time of year, so let’s get out there.

Tight lines…




Kerry Reed owns Reel Adventures Fishing Charters based out of Nelson. Call 250-505-4963 for more information.head to