Date: Friday October 6, 2023
Target Species: Rainbow & Walleye
Location: Waneta to Robson
Temperature: 30-10 Celsius
To say the fishing on the Columbia River was amazing in September would be an understatement.
In early September, warm weather, low water levels and vibrant hatches made for furious action, and local anglers related some amazing fishing stories to WeSportFish (WSF). And who doesn’t love a good fish story?
WSF shared the tale of Alexx Iachetta who had to dive in after her rod was yanked from its holder by a six-pound rainbow. After she retrieved the rod and made it back to shore, the handle of her reel broke, and she successfully walked the 23-inch rainbow out of the water.
You literally can’t make this stuff up.
My neighbour Bill had unprecedented success on back-to-back weekends. He and his wife landed three rainbows in under an hour the first weekend, and two bows and a walleye the next, which included a 19-inch trout.
His method? He was fishing off the bottom with three-way rig with shrimp.
Spincasters were hammering big rainbows on spinners and Sore-lip Jigs, and Graham Cloutier from Chillbilly Charters had a fantastic month getting his clients into several epic days on the water along with his sidekick the boat goat known as Green Eggs.
For fly fishers, the dwindling caddis hatches made way for hopper patterns and October-caddis hatches in late August and September. Hatches began to fall off as the weather started to cool the past two weeks or so.
I sought out stream mouths and long runs, starting on top and working my way through. I landed several rainbows nymphing stonefly and mayfly nymphs and picked up fewer with a sink line and a selection of streamers and woolly buggers.
I had more luck with rainbows in September than walleye, but that seems to be more typical in the Trail area. Go further north up to Robson and walleye were being caught throughout the month.
I am looking forward to some sunny days coming up and October caddis hatches which can translate into good top water action during the afternoons. As the weather cools, rainbows will hunker down and hold in tailouts or in the fast water of runs and riffles, feeding opportunistically on passing invertebrates.
With the low water, fish seem to be more concentrated and the fishing better through the fall months. There have been plenty of nice rainbows caught, and although the Kootenay region has suffered through drought conditions, the river provided respite to wildlife, fish, and other aquatic species through a hot, dry summer.
Not to mention the many who were fortunate enough to cast a line on the Columbia.