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Kootenay Lake

Country: Canada
Region: Kootenay Region, British Columbia
Latitude: 49.6345 | Longitude: -116.8636
August 27th 2015
Reel Fishing Adventures provides some tips when fishing on Kootenay Lake: "Home of the world famous Gerrard rainbow trout, which is the world's largest rainbow trout, Kootenay Lake is a popular destination. Favourite techniques of bucktails on the surface provide some high flying action for trophy-sized rainbows. It's not uncommon to have 500 feet of line peeled off your reel and numerous jumps to add to the excitement. That is the battle of the giant Gerrard rainbow."
July 20th 2015
Fishing in the Nelson area can be a little easier than fishing the other arms of Kootenay Lake. The West Arm, from Balfour to Nelson, offers areas where shore fishing is possible, and its smaller size makes it a little easier to explore this section. Kerry Reed, of Reel Fishing Adventures notes that fishing on the West Arm can be a lot different than the other sections of Kootenay Lake. “With a few openings during the season for Kokanee, it is a popular fishery in the spring,” he says.

Reed is enthusiastic about the different opportunities throughout the year. There is “great fly-fishing throughout the summer months and some fantastic bull trout fishing throughout the winter months. “It is a lot shallower than the main body of Kootenay Lake and is almost river-like in some areas. Depending on water levels, the currents will change throughout the year,” Reed cautions. He also reminds readers to routinely check the regulations for Kootenay Lake for in-season changes. The West Arm is a separate fishery from the main stem of the lake.

Kerry Reed is available to help you make the most of your trip to Kootenay Lake. Contact him at: Reel Adventures Fishing Charters Nelson B.C.
Phone: 250-505-4963 Email:

Accommodation options are plentiful in this area. Along the south side, Sunshine Bay Regional Park has a sandy beach and a boat launch. Balfour, located at the entrance to the West Arm, also has a boat launch and ferry services to the south side of the lake. There are also shore fishing options in and around Balfour.

The town of Nelson offers several accommodation options, from rustic campsites to hotels. West Arm Provincial Park and Kokanee Creek Provincial Park are two of the parks along the West Arm.
West Arm Provincial Park is largely undeveloped, although there is walk-in wilderness camping available and picnic tables at beach areas. Campers are expected to be fully self-sufficient here. Kokanee Creek Provincial Park, on the other hand, is a popular tourist destination, providing sandy beaches and two campgrounds. Visit the Chamber of Commerce website at for more information.
July 16th 2015
In their July fishing report for Kootenay Lake, Reel Adventures writes, "with the latest heatwave upon us, the fishing has been hit and miss. In the past couple weeks we noticed a lot of fry entering the lake and this is what the fish are keying on. So keep your presentation small and stick to the shorelines and you will catch fish." They note that while most of the catches are in the 2-3 pound range, you can still land the odd 10-15 pounder.
July 7th 2015
Congratulations to the Eastshore Freshwater Habitat Society! They are now certified Streamers (Streamkeepers) on the east shore of Kootenay Lake.

Who are Streamkeepers?
People from all walks of life who have an interest in freshwater habitat, environment, and wildlife. Some groups have regular meetings and organize events for the full year. Others simply do tasks at the time they need to be done.
March 23rd 2015
Sunrise on Kootenay Lake
January 4th 2015
Kootenay Lake Fishing (The current state)

As expected, fishing has its ups and downs on every body of water. And whether it be a natural cycle or intervention of humans, or a management issue, there has to be peaks and valleys. Every ecosystem works that way.

It’s common knowledge that our Kokanee numbers have declined drastically. That is true. With over 150 days on the lake each year and over 20 years experience, we have seen these patterns before. But, I can tell you that the Rainbow Trout are still around. We are catching them. They just might not be as big as usual due to the lack of food.

Our fishing as of late has been fairly consistent. We are still getting out on a regular basis, and contrary to some stories out there, we are still catching fish. Lots of smaller Rainbows have been feeding lately, as well as a few big fish. You just have to put your time in.

We have been putting in our time, and we are out there regularly, and that’s why we have been catching fish. Just remember, you can’t catch them from the couch.

There certainly haven’t been a lot of boats out there lately. But, that’s one of the great things about this lake. It’s not overcrowded. Our clients from the bigger cities can’t believe how pristine our area is and they can’t believe how little traffic is out on the water. It’s like we have the lake to ourselves. What a great resource.

These same clients are also having a blast catching fish. While we may not have the 20-pound class fish hanging around lately, most tourists have been very happy with catching fish between 2 – 13 Lbs. Where else can you experience the chance of catching Rainbow Trout over 10 Lbs. We may have been spoiled by regular big fish in the past, but the out of town folks are still excited to share this exciting fishery.

As we are experiencing this so-called downward cycle, keep in mind that there are still fish out there and it is still called ‘fishing’. A day of fishing is all about the experience. Spending any time out on the lake is very gratifying to us. And being able to spend a day on the water with a bunch of buddies is what its all about. The fish are an added bonus!

So, don’t be discouraged by some of the stories. And know, we are still catching fish!

If you’d like to see the current reports and our current catches, be sure to check out our facebook page with up to date photos and reports.

So, Let’s Go Fishing …………………….

Kerry Reed
Reel Adventures Sportfishing
Nelson B.C

January 3rd 2015
From a Nov. 27 article by Bruce Fuhr in The Nelson Daily News,
Organizers of the popular B.C. Family Day Fishing Derby that happens during the February holiday weekend on Kootenay Lake are voicing concerns about a decline in fish stocks in the main lake.
Robert Di Pietro of the 2015 Kootenay Lake Family Day Fishing Derby said the event has now been cancelled due to “an extreme decline in fish stock.”
The 2015 BC Family Day holiday is Monday, Feb. 9.
“After much discussion we, as concerned anglers, have had to make the very difficult decision to postpone the Kootenay Lake BC Family Day Fishing Derby 2015 until at least 2016,” Di Pietro said in an email interview with The Nelson Daily.
Di Pietro said a reason for the decline might be due to the recent discovery of the IHNv (infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus) discovered in the Meadow Creek spawning channel in the fall of 2013.
However, fisheries biologist Matt Neufeld with the Ministry of Forest Lands and Resource Operations (FLNRO) said the possible reason for the decline is due to a “predator imbalance” not seen in Kootenay Lake for years.
The complete story:
December 22nd 2014
A December Kootenay Lake report from Kerry Reed of Reel Fishing Adventures in Nelson,
We have had some pretty good days on the lake lately, most with 8 –10 fish caught. Sizes have ranged from 2-13 lbs. The water temperature has dropped below 50 F and our fish are still feeding more on the surface, which makes for some exciting bucktail action, my favourite kind of fishing.
We have been experimenting with lighter gear as well as fly reels and mooching reels to make the battles even more exciting.
On one of our trips last week, a young lady asked to bring her fly rod on board and we accepted the challenge. Throughout the day we hooked numerous fish on all of our rods except the fly rod. However, patience prevailed and in the final hour of the day the fly reel started screaming. Kalyn was quick to grab the rod, and just in time because the reel had only three wraps of line left on it when she grabbed it and slowed down the fish. After about a 15-minute battle with her 6-weight fly rod, we finally got the fish to the boat — a beautiful 9-lb. rainbow. What a great battle on this light rod. I think we are hooked on this new-found technique.
And now with lots of 2-3 lb. rainbows being caught, I think the lighter gear will be a lot of fun. As long as the gear can still handle a 10-12-lb. fish, we should be OK. Either way, it will be exciting. Looking forward to experimenting more as the season continues.
Our latest trip had some boys from Alberta join us for their annual Kootenay Lake trip. And while the weather was freezing cold here, they were still happy to not be back at home where it was even colder and a lot more snow. A nice get away for the crew.
They managed to land 10 fish up to 10 Lbs during their trip. Day one was a bit slow because of the weather change, but day two made up for everything. Lots of action on the mooching reels. Line peeling and fish jumping made for a few exciting battles. They are already planning their next trip. Looking forward to it.
December is usually a good month for fishing, so hopefully the pattern continues. Either way, we’ll be out there, so stay tuned.
Mostly surface action for our boat, so the magic lures have been the usual bucktail flies. Lately the lucky numbers have been 203,210, 215, 224 and 228. Colours have been purples, blacks or greys.
Also catching a few bulls on the downrigger with Lyman plugs or flashers and hoochies. There seems to be a lot of fish showing up on the sonar at depths between 80–120 ft. although most of the fish seem to come to the surface when they want to feed. Mix it up a bit, run both surface lines and deep lines, and you should catch some fish.
Photo: "Another great day at the office," is the caption accompanying this Dec. 22 shot, posted on the Reel Fishing Adventures Facebook page.
October 28th 2014
The Kaslo Rainbow Derby is set for Nov. 7-9, Remembrance Day weekend. Entry fee, $50, includes lunch on Nov.9 with every entry. First place prize is 50% of net entry fees, followed by 30% for second prize and 20% for third. David Pereverzoff of Castlegar won first prize, $3,525,
for a 17 lb., 14 oz. catch in 2013.
October 11th 2014
A derby overview from the Gill and Gift,, in Balfour:
We made it through another busy tourist season and are looking forward to the fishing picking up for the fall derbies. What a great West Arm kokanee season — beautiful large fish and it seemed everyone was getting their limit. The spawn was fantastic as well. Looks like we are finally having some success with that fishery. The Meadow Creek spawn is still having its challenges with numbers down again this year. The only positive is that they are larger so will produce more eggs. We have had a few reports about the guys seeing the odd kokanee bait ball in the main lake, which we haven’t seen for a while.
The Woodbury Rainbow Derby goes Oct 11-13. The Nelson City Police Derby will be held Oct 18-19 and the Kaslo Hotel Rainbow derby from Nov. 7-9.
As of Sept. 29, the water temp is still above the 60-degree mark, to be exact 62, but with the cooler longer evenings we should be below 60-degree mark for the start of the derbies.
The odd person is starting to use hair, but the more serious of fishermen are still going down with plugs, apexes, and flasher/hoochies. Seems that there are quite a few fish being caught with the larger ones in that 8- to 13-lb. range, someone had commented about a 15-pounder coming in recently.
We should be well into the fall colours by derby time so flies with orange, brown, gold, and copper have been known to do very well. Don’t discount the 215 or the patriot on a nice sunny day either, as for plugs the Lyman Root Bear #181 or the gold/silver #135 or even the brown trout #87 could bring in the winner. The old favourites #16, #69 and #98 could also do some damage. On dark days one could also try some of the flies with that UV crystal as it really stands out. The blacks and purples have also had their day in flies, plugs, and apexes.
As usual we will be open early and stay open late during the derby weekends in case anyone needs any new ammo. We wish you all the best of luck and remember there are no bad fishing days, just a bad day's catch.