West Kootenay Fishing Report

This nice rainbow trout was recently pulled out of a hole in the ice on a popular West Kootenay lake. - Jim Bailey
This nice rainbow trout was recently pulled out of a hole in the ice on a popular West Kootenay lake.
— image credit: Jim Bailey

Kootenay Lake:

December saw similar fishing to the previous months, however, the last couple weeks produced some big fish and hopefully the winter feeding will continue.

There were slow days with only a couple fish coming to the boat, however on a few of those slow days the couple fish caught just happened to be the biggest fish of the week.

There were also some great days with over 10 fish brought to the boat. It just seems like the fish put on their ‘feed bags’ every once in a while, so you just have to be out there on the water when it happens.

Rainbows up to 17 pounds and bull trout up to 12 pounds have been caught lately, with even a few bigger fish hooked, but end up coming loose or breaking the line.

Looking forward to January’s fishing, as this is usually the month of our biggest fish of the year.

Flies and Lures:

The bite has been inconsistent, so we have been going through the tackle box each day.

When the bite has been on, we have been catching on bucktail flies favorite colors are lucky numbers 201, 210, 214, 215, and 228.

Also, Lyman plugs have been working both on the surface and on the downriggers.  Lucky Lymans have been #10, 16, 55, 69, and 100.

Bill Norman lures have also been dragged lately. Time to slow down your presentation with these lures, but sometimes that’s what the fish want. This is important as the water temperature gets colder.

And lastly, the good old flasher/hoochie combo has been catching mostly bull trout, but still manage a few rainbows on these also. Favourite depths have been 75, 100, and 120 feet.

That pretty much covers the tackle box.

Just have to put your time in.

The Family Day weekend fishing derby is also coming up Feb. 8 to 10, with $30,000 worth of great prizes this year. Should be a fun weekend. Reel Adventure Charters still has a boat available for that derby if anyone is interested.

The Kootenay Lake report is courtesy of Kerry Reed of Reel Adventure Charters. Go to for more info.

Hard-water lakes: Ice fishing seems to be getting more and more popular these days with ice huts, ice-fishing rods, and hard-water anglers popping up in greater numbers on local lakes.

Gear: The basic necessities for ice fishing are an ice auger, an ice-fishing rod with a number 6-10 bait-hook, split shot for weight, and your favourite bait.  However, a hot drink and a hearty snack, a compact perch, and even a fire can make the experience more pleasant especially when the trout are not cooperating. If you don’t have an ice auger, an axe or hatchet is effective for breaking through previously drilled holes.

Bait: The type of bait can be as amenable to the fishermen as to the fish. A prawn ring with some seafood sauce is as pleasing to the palate of either trout or man, while worms, not so much, are the popular standard. Many fishermen swear by maggots, pink or white, roe, plastics in various shapes and sizes, and even krill. Although you’ll be hard pressed to find any of the seafaring crustaceans in local lakes, krill apparently contain certain types of amino acids that stimulate taste and smell sending predators into feeding-frenzy mode. However, their soft bodies often have problems adhering to the hook, therefore making frequent bait checks necessary.

Locating trout: Most trout will feed in the shallows and near the bottom picking up insect larvae, leeches, and plucking various nymphs from the mud, so don’t waste time drilling holes in the middle of the lake, unless it’s near a shoal or island. Knowledge of the benthic habitat doesn’t hurt, an experience gained from fishing the waters in the summer, or acquiring a bathymetric map of the lake.

Technique: Ice fishing is about as easy as fishing gets. Once you drill your hole, bait your hook and let it sink to the bottom. When the line goes slack, reel it in so the baited hook is suspended about a foot or two off the bottom. You can then attach a bobber to the line, or a bell to the rod tip to alert the angler to a strike, or jig the rod up and down occasionally to lend it a livelier effect.

There are a variety of great ice-fishing lakes in the area that include Erie, Rosebud, Third Champion Lake, Cottonwood, Bear, and Nancy Greene Lakes. Ice fishing is a great winter activity that  is simple enough to get started, but can be challenging locating and landing those lunkers. Yet, best of all, it can be enjoyed by the whole family.

Tight lines.

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