Fly Fishing The Columbia River


The Columbia River, in BC’s interior, is home to one of the finest, yet unexploited, trout fisheries in the world. Tens of thousands of large wild rainbows swim these waters, just waiting to sip on your fly! The section of Columbia R. that flows from Castlegar, BC to the US border is one of the last free-flowing stretches on this large and beautiful system. The dams that feed this river provide a year round fishery. This is a large river that is best navigated with a jet boat, which greatly increases your fishing success.


Dry Fly Fishing Times

The fly fishing methods used for these wild trout depend on the time of year that you will be visiting. The months of May - October provide dry fly action, with the best fishing period being from the end of June to the end of August. The caddis hatches have to be seen to be believed! Other insects that the fish target are mayflies, cicadas, flying ants, and stoneflies. The dry fly game is best played with a 9ft 5-6 weight rod, with floating lines, and long leaders tapered to 5x. The sight of so many large fish showing themselves so readily will leave you shaken at first, but you will be challenged as you start picking out the fish that you want to target. This can be a very exciting time to fish, as you watch with anticipation, as the large rainbows rise to the surface to feed. This fishing is best done with two anglers in the boat, as you will be fishing the large back eddies and drifting in the boat as you are casting.

Wet Fly Fishing Times

The Columbia, being a tailrace fishery, is fished from August, through the winter months, and into May. Many of the largest fish are taken during the spring, when these bruisers, weighing up to 10lbs, are feeding heavily on the baitfish and large stonefly nymphs. You’re not going to catch 10lb fish every day, but they do average a very hefty 4-5lbs! Even the smaller fish will leave you breathless. Sometimes, all you can do is watch your line disappear from the reel as the fish swims for the other side of fast flowing river. One of the favored techniques is the use of spey rods, which help you, get a little more distance on this wide river, and also aid in the mending of your long line. You will be swinging your fly as you would for steelhead…down and across… and the take of these brute, fish will surprise you every time! The lightest tippet that you will be using for this type of fishing will be 10lbs, as anything less will have you being broken off. The favored flies are sculpin and baitfish imitations, stonefly nymphs, and any of the popular steelhead and Atlantic salmon flies, which can be effective as well. Single hand rods can also be used, but you must go up in size, with 8-9 weight rods in the 9-10ft range being the most useful.

There are three main types of Trout that reside in the system. Gerrad, Cutbow and Redside, along with some triploids that enter from the US side of the river. Our professional guide, Bruce Kruk, is a very well respected Spey caster and an equally accomplished single-hand angler. He will guide you to the fish aboard his center-console jet boat, which is perfect for fishing 2 anglers in the large back eddies of the river. When swinging flies from shore, we can comfortably accommodate three anglers and the fishing gear. If you would like some tips with your Spey casting, Bruce will be more than happy to help, teach and explain!

If you like to fish on uncrowded and pristine waters for wild, large and hard-fighting trout, then the Columbia River is a fly fishing adventure that you must experience. Not to mention the unbelievable and breathtaking scenery.

For more information on booking this Adventure with us or adding it to your existing trip please contact us. we can arrange flights (approx. 1.5 hours) from Vancouver International Airport. For the more adventurous and mobile angler, it is a scenic 6 hour drive from our location in Chilliwack BC.




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