Columbia offers some of the best rainbow trout fly fishing in Canada.
The spring snow melt prevents good river fishing before July 1,
but anglers head to the lakes between April and June, when fly fishing
River fly fishing
for rainbow and cutthroat trout, Whitefish and Dolly Varden from
July to October is popular in the Columbia River, Toby Creek, Bull
River, Kootenay River, Skookumchuck River, St. Mary's River, and
Fishing is the
premier attraction at Premier Lake Provincial
Park, located at the north end of Premier Ridge in the Hughes
Range of the Rockies. Fishing is good year round in this park, with
fly fishing best between May and July, and ice fishing is popular
in winter, when road access to the boat launch is maintained by
Ministry of Transportation & Highways. Premier Lake and three other,
smaller lakes offer great angling for trout: rainbow, eastern brook,
and Gerrard rainbow (Gerrard giants).
The Kootenay Fish Hatchery collects trout eggs from these
lakes, and the Fish and Wildlife Branch has a fish trap here with
an interpretive display. Take Highway 95 for 28 miles (45 km) northeast
from Kimberley; access to the park is from Skookumchuk,
along a 9-mile (15-km) gravel road.
Abundant fish populations in Whiteswan Lake and Alces
Lake, both wholly within Whiteswan Lake
Provincial Park, led to the establishment of this semi-wilderness
park. Both lakes are managed for high-yield fisheries, resulting
in one of the highest quality rainbow trout fisheries in the East
Kootenays. Rainbow trout have been stocked in the lakes since 1961,
with annual releases of about 30,000 fingerlings. Steps taken to
make the fishery self-supporting include improvements to the spawning
channel, prohibiting motorboats on Alces Lake, and restricting angling
to fly-fishing only. Whiteswan Lake also provides ice fishing opportunities,
but fishing is not permitted from December 1 to January 2.
Concrete boat ramps are located at Whiteswan Lake beside the Packrat
Point and Home Basin Campgrounds. Car-top boats can be launched
at the Alces Lake Campground. Boat launches at Alces Creek and Inlet
Creek are gravel. To find the park, head 12 miles (20 km) east of
Hwy 93/95, south of Canal
Flats on a rough road.
Windermere Lake in Invermere has good trout fishing. Fish
species resident in Lake Windermere include bull, rainbow, and cutthroat
trout, kokanee and whitefish. 'Kokanee' means 'red fish' in the
Kootenay First Nation language and is the name given to land-locked
salmon. You'll find a boat launch at James
Chabot Provincial Park, 2 miles (3 km) west of Hwy 93 at Invermere.
Valley can't be beaten for fishing; try Michel Creek for whitefish,
cutthroat and bull trout, Summit Lake for Gerrard rainbow trout
(the largest trout in the world) and Grave Lake for kokanee and
rainbow trout. Flowing right through Fernie,
the Elk River, and its more than 30 tributaries, is home to wild
populations of West Slope cutthroat trout, whitefish and some of
the largest bull trout found anywhere. A classic dry-fly river,
the Elk River is accessible along most of its length. The lakes
in the surrounding area are an angler's paradise too, and you can
go heli-fishing in the neighbouring alpine lakes.