Date: June 2023
Source Jim Bailey
Target Species: Rainbow trout & Walleye
Location: South Trail to Waneta Border
Weather: Sunny and hot, unsettled at times
Temperature: 25-30 degrees Celsius
Two weeks ago, I had one of those days, when the fishing is so good, I almost felt guilty.
Typically, June is a decent month for fly fishing the Columbia, but often the river is high. This year, it stayed fairly consistent with the odd day disrupted by a rise in river levels, high winds and/or thunder showers.
Early in the month there were lots of trout rising and feeding subsurface in the Columbia with the epic caddis hatches.
I caught most on an indicator and emerger patterns, but also a few on dry flies. My favourite dry fly is a beefed up size-14 elk hair caddis. I like lots of deer hair on the wing with some flash and/or cdc feathers on the under-wing. Not pretty but effective.
Earlier in the day, I use a size 10 with a green body and a thin dressing of elk hair wrapped around the fly. This acts as a great emerger pattern. I let it run in the riffles and runs with a sink tip and picked up some nice bows.
Targeting rainbows on the big eddies with a strike indicator and nymph pattern such as: Prince nymphs, lightning bugs, and emerging caddis patterns is magic. I did okay, but others hit double digit numbers some days in a matter of 2-3 hours.
In mid-June, I was thinking okay, the walleye have to be in the mix now so I went to one of my favourite spots just south of Trail.
To target walleye on the fly, you have to get your fly down near the bottom with fast sink line. It gets better as dusk settles in, or on cloudy days when walleye move into shallower water.
As for flies, my go to walleye patterns are the egg sucking leech with red head and black body and a pumpkin bead head woolly bugger, but anything big and buggy will probably work.
While wading I landed a dozen walleye in just over two hours that evening. They tend to school, so if you can find one, there are generally a few more around. I got a hit on almost every cast.
Check your line occasionally as their sharp teeth can be hard on it. At one point I went about three casts without a hit and knew something was wrong. I checked my fly, and it was gone, broken off after landing the last one.
I also landed and lost a few trout in the faster water while targeting walleye. It was a lot of fun.
For spincasters a jighead with rubber twister tails is tried and true, but different lures and methods work, such as jigging, casting, and swimbaits.
For shore-bound spincasters targeting rainbows, try a bobber with a four-foot lead to a dry fly in the evening, or try cast spinners and crocodile spoons at any time of day.
When you are out there on the river, it just can’t get any better than that.