Where: Highway 3B, 5.5 km east of Trail, BC Canada
Coordinates: 49.09312, -117.64611
When: All seasons
Main Species: Rainbow trout
Just a few kilometres east of downtown Trail is one of the most popular and easily accessible fishing holes on the Columbia River -Rock Island. Access is easy as it is just short walk from the large pullout above on Highway 3B, or there is a rough 4×4 road to get down to the beach.
Rock Island is aptly named for the large rock formation in the center of the river that split the Columbia river in two. A hundred metres downstream is a second slightly smaller island, and 200 metres beyond that is a large beach area.
These two rock islands coupled with shoreline rock and sand peninsulas create close to a kilometre of fast water runs and countless fishing holes. As the waters merge downstream of the second island the confluence of the two streams create a massive back eddy.
The main current runs out nicely into a run, riffle, and tailout complex creating a large pool and another long run. Throughout the year shore anglers toss a three-way rig with bait such as a worm, shrimp, maggot, or roe. Anglers launch their rig into the large pool, then let it rest on the bottom and wait for some action.
Chucking lures or using dry flies and floats to entice feeding trout is also very popular, especially on warm summer evenings when ravenous rainbows feed on the surface. Fly fishers also have success nymphing or using dry flies and casting from the rocks in the spring, summer, and fall depending on the hatches.
Anglers can also wade a bit further downstream and cast to the pretty run just below the outlet of Bear Creek. Nymph the riffle and tailout, then continue on down to the long run at the end of the large rocky bar.
In spring, summer and fall nymphing stone and mayfly nymphs is productive. In winter fly fishers have success using sink tips or full sink lines with attractor patterns such as woolly buggers, streamers, and leech patterns.
Don’t forget to take a selection of dry flies, and watch for the numerous hatches of mayfly, midges, caddis, salmon flies, golden stones, flying ants and cicadas at various times of year.
At times there will be a handful of anglers at Rock Island, but there is so much room and fishable water that finding your own stretch of paradise is not a problem.
About our fishing hole sponsor
Rock Island RV. Located next to this namesake fishing hole, Rock Island RV is the Kootenay’s choice for new and used RV’s, motor homes, boats, travel trailers, tent trailers, and much, much more. Rest assured with 4 certified RV technicians your RV will be in tip-top shape when you hit the open road seeking adventure. If it’s recreation, it’s at Rock Island RV.