Well it looks like spring is here. Or is it? The weather seems to change by the hour. And that means the fish are confused. Some days they are feeding heavily and other days they don’t want to move.
March saw some good fishing days, with five to 10 fish coming in to our boat. But is also saw some days with only one or two fish biting the hook. All par for the course as our water temperature is still hanging around the 40 degree mark. The fish are still a bit lazy. Once things start to warm up even more, so will the fishing.
Our latest Dolly Derby was held over the Easter weekend and saw some nice dollies being caught. Again, not red hot fishing, but the fish that were being caught were quality fish. The top three dollies from the weekend were: 15 1/2 lbs., 13 lbs., and 12 1/2 lbs. Very nice fish.
Our boat did alright on the weekend also. Landing a few dollies up to 12 lbs. and a beautiful rainbow that has a story to go with it.
I decided to take a day off from the big boat and we loaded our 12 foot aluminum boat into the water at the north end of the lake. Since we were planning on fishing for smaller trout and maybe the odd dolly, I only brought my 6 foot spinning rods with me. But, I did bring a few of my big fish lures just to experiment with.
So, we headed out for a couple hours of fishing. We let out one spinning rod with a crocodile spoon for the small trout and the other spinning rod had a Bill Norman on it in hopes of hooking into a dolly.
Only about a half hour went by and my spinning rod started to bend. Slowly at first, then starting to pull line. I handed the rod over to 13 year old Nicole to fight the fish. We thought it might be a bigger dolly at first. But after about 15 minutes of fighting this fish, we finally got a glimpse of it. With a big hooked jaw and a bright red stripe, we now knew this was a big rainbow.
The cold water seems to take a bit of the fight out of the fish. But once this fish saw the boat, off it goes screaming a couple hundred feet of line. Wow, I hope the rod can handle it. Good thing for brand new line, even if it was only 8 lb. test. Nicole fights the fish for another 10 minutes. Bringing it close to the boat and then watching it scream line again. Finally I think it’s beginning to tire out, so I tell her to try to bring it in. But, there is one more dilemma. No net!
Since we were only planning on fishing for small trout and in my haste of loading the boat and gear, I didn’t bring a net. Oh well, we have to try to land it some how.
I told Nicole to try and turn the fish sideways near the boat. The fish didn’t like that and out it goes again. One more try I said. We only have one good chance at this.
So, she reeled it closer again and got it along side the boat. I kneeled down on the floor and reached into the water. With one hand around its tail and one hand under the belly, I managed to pick the fish up and lay it on her lap. Talk about lucky.
A giant rainbow in its spawning colors. This was a beauty. So, we quickly got a few photos and measurements and placed it back into the water to revive. After a few minutes of reviving, this fish was ready to go. Off it went. What a sight to see. We should see this fish in the next few weeks up at the spawning grounds.
Congratulations to Nicole for landing this baby and even more grateful to see you let it go.
So, that goes to show you why I love fishing on Kootenay Lake. And also it’s never a bad time to go fishing. Any day can produce a fish of a lifetime.
The next few weeks should hopefully see the water temperature rise. And that in turn should see the fish to begin to get more active. Our best fishing is coming up. Let’s get out there.
What are they biting on?
The fish are harder to find right now. So, you need to mix it up. We are fishing both on the surface and down deeper. Bucktail flies on the surface in the usual colors are working. Blk/wht, Grey/wht, Purple/wht are working. My favorites have been: # 228, 215, and lately the 210. Some common names are: grey ghost and bleeding gill.
Also catching fish on Bill Norman lures and Lyman plugs on the surface. Favorite colors have been: rainbow, purple/silver, blue/silver, green/silver billies. And an assortment of Lymans: purple/wht, 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 80’, 120’ and even below 150’ lately. We’ve been using our favorite flasher & hoochie combo, or my favorite Lyman plugs are working well. Plug #’s 16, 32, 55, and 160 have producing some good fish for me as well.
The water temperature is still hanging around 40 degrees, but I did notice slight increases on some days. So, fishing should get better and better as we get into real spring.
Kerry Reed runs Reel Adventures Fishing Charters in Nelson