Anglers from around the world dream of an opportunity to fish the mighty Columbia River.
The longest waterway in the Pacific Northwest area of North America offers some of the best fishing on the continent and Castlegar is the perfect base to access it. That’s because the Columbia literally flows right through the heart of Castlegar so you don’t even have to leave city limits to catch “the big one.” Whether you’re a fly fisherman or boat troller, the stretch of river between the city and the American border at Waneta offers plenty of opportunities to land trout and walleye. Castlegar is also located near the Kootenay River, which offers its own bounty for anglers including Kokanee salmon and bull trout.
Aside from the big rivers, there are innumerable tributaries and mountain streams in which to cast. Or, if deeper water is your preference, there’s lots of lake fishing to be had such as on Arrow Lakes, which are located just north of the city. The 230-kilometre-long lake system is hugely popular with anglers because the northern section offer species of up to 10kg (22lb) and Dolly Varden that average 5kg (11lb).
As for the Lower Arrow Lakes, local angler Denis Woodcox recently caught a world-record Kokanee salmon there that weighed over 12 pounds! Whatever your preferred zone for fishing, whether it’s large rivers and lakes or small ponds and streams, trolling, you’ll find excellent angling opportunities within and around Castlegar.
How to Get Here: There are excellent fishing holes in and around a 20-kilometre radius of Castlegar that cater to all forms of anglers. Fly fishermen love reeling in rainbows on the Columbia, located right in the city. Trollers can cruise the length of Arrow Lakes starting at the beautiful Syringa Provincial Park. The Kootenay River runs between Nelson and Castlegar and has 40-kilometres worth of both slow and fast-moving water where rainbows, bull trout, kokanee, and whitefish can be found. And there are stocked lakes on the passes both east and west of the city, such as the Nancy Greene Lake and Champion Lakes.
Season: The seasons vary depending on which fish you’re going after but typically it runs from May to October. And because Castlegar enjoys so much sun throughout the year, you’ll most likely enjoy some good weather while you cast.
Type of fishing: Castlegar offers everything from fly-fishing to trolling. The only thing you won’t find here is deep-sea fishing.
Fishing Spots: Lower Arrow lake is excellent for rainbow and bull trout as well as Kokanee salmon. In fact, it’s one of the most productive Kokanee fisheries in Southern British Columbia. You’ll also find trout, walleye and whitefish on both the Columbia and Kootenay Rivers, and in the Nancy Green Lake and Champion Lakes, there’s stoked rainbows that grow up to six pounds in size.
More Info: For information about angling season and regulations, log on to the province’s sport fishing site at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw/fish/regulations/