Sport fishing can heat up when the mercury drops and a favourite method of anglers from November to March is to troll for Gerrard rainbows and bull trout up to 20-pounds on the Arrow Lake, or to bottom bounce for large rainbow trout on the Columbia River.
The waterways remain ice-free all winter long, and while walleye (also known as pickerel) head south to Lake Roosevelt in winter, the Columbia’s biggest rainbows and bull trout are often caught in the winter months.
The temperature in the Columbia River valley averages –2C from December to February, but the temperature is often above zero. During cold spells the temperature can drop as low as –10 C, so always dress accordingly. A survival suit for trollers and a good pair of 5-mm neoprene waders for fly-fishers is recommended, and always wear appropriate winter clothing such as a warm coat, toque, and gloves.
Everything slows down in the colder weather on the Columbia including insect and trout activity. Rainbow trout will move to slow-moving currents and deeper water to conserve energy as their metabolism adapts to the winter season.