This year of Walleye fishing on the Columbia River in Castlegar BC was another successful one! When the summer weather starts to move in so does the Walleye action. Our first trip out on the river was in late July. The water levels were fairly high due to the strong spring run off. We found most of our fish in the slower deeper pools around 65 feet deep.
We came back in mid August and the water levels were much lower but the fish action was still hot, just like the weather. The average day was in the high 20’s and low 30’s. Usually when the weather gets hot in Castlegar the Walleye fishing slows down. This was true during the afternoons but in the evening between the hours of 4:00pm and dusk the Walleye fishing was excellent!
Our third trip this year to the Columbia was in Mid September. We found the fishing to be difficult due to poor weather conditions. The winds were blowing near 30kms/hour for majority of the days that we were there. The odd time in the evening the wind would slow down just enough to control the boat for jigging.
In all three trips we found that the White Sturgeons were more active than usual and they would hook our lines when we were jigging the bottom. Needless to say we went through a lot of jigs when releasing our lines when hooking into them. It is illegal to fish for Sturgeon in the Columbia River in Canada, so if you do non-intentionally hook into one of these fish you are to release it as fast and as safely as possible without harming the fish.
We used three main techniques for fishing these Walleye; drop shot rig with plastic minnow or grubs, bottom bouncing spinners, and jigging the bottom with jig heads tipped with worm. Once again the most proven method for catching these fish was jigging the bottom with ½ and 3/8 ounce jigs. Chartreuse and black coloured jigs worked the best.
When targeting these Walleye we find deep pools from 40 to 70 feet of water just on the edge of current seems. As the evening approaches we find that the fish come into more shallow waters to feed, approx 35 foot mark. Our most popular hotspot this year was a few hundred feet up river from the boat launch directly across from the Celgar Mill.
Exciting news from the BC fisheries this year is that they have opened up fishing for Northern Pike in the Columbia River. Last year there was no fishing for Pike, but now with the goal to have these fish removed from the river; Fisheries Department is encouraging anglers to target this species to help eliminate them from the waters. This is to help conserve the excellent trout fishery that the river also offers. Unfortunately we did not hook into one, but the local conservation officer recommends targeting these fish near the stretch of water from the Robson Bridge to Celgar.
Despite some of the weather conditions we had to face during one of our trips it was still a great year of Walleye fishing! If the weather does get too difficult for fishing there is always Ainsworth Hot Springs just north of Nelson; it’s a great way to finish off a memorable fishing trip out in the West Kootenays!