Trolling is an effective way to catch fish on the Columbia River and Arrow Lakes, and no matter the season, there is always something biting.
Anglers target large Gerrard rainbows and bull trout on the Lower Arrow Lake throughout the year, but one of the best and most exciting times is in the spring. The main staple of the large trout’s diet is kokanee. When kokanee are plentiful so are the Gerrard and bull trout.
When the water warms in spring, the trout follow the kokanee from the depths and trolling bucktail and polar bear flies on the surface is a thrilling experience. The large flies imitate kokanee and the massive trout hit them hard, followed by long reel-emptying runs.
Going deep on downriggers in winter and summer can land some trophy Gerrards and bull trout. For trout anglers trolling is a science that requires close attention to trolling speed, depth, type and colour of the lure, and most of all the action, or how the lure swims in the water. All these factors can change from season-to-season and even day-to-day, so targeting these fish can be tricky.
Trolling is also the best way to catch kokanee and walleye, particularly in the spring and summer months. A slow troll using willow leafs and wedding rings for kokanee or jig heads and twister-tails or drop-shots and spinners for walleye are successful setups.
Many anglers also troll for rainbows on the Columbia River in the spring and through the fall. Due to the size and the current on the Columbia, a minimum 14-foot boat with 20 horse power is recommended.
Be sure to go with someone who knows the river well or hire a local guide, it can take away a lot of the guesswork.