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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am making a trip to Castlegar in the up coming weeks and I have a few questions since it will be my first trip fly fishing the Columbia. I expect to hit one of the local fly shops in town but thought I could get some advise so I can prepare what to bring.

What is the fishing like right now and what can I expect for methods (Streamers, nymphs, dry)?
Is my 6wt rod enough?
Is walk n wade or floating the best way to fish this river?
Any suggestions for a fly shop?
Can I expect to catch a sturgeon on a dry? (LOL)
 

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My best advice is to hire a guide and to use a boat to access the best spots at least for your first trip as this river is a beast. The dry fly action can be good so can the Cicada hatch. Try conducting a search on this forum for more info.
 

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The river is HUGE, I had limited success with shore angling with flies, as the few riffles I found had mostly smaller fish. According to my bro, the big ones get caught mostly by boaters in the big eddies and often during evening hatches. I suggest a guide as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I tried a search for "Castlegar" and "Columbia" but didn't get much.

I know this is a big ass river so won't most of the fish be holding in closer to shore out of the stronger currents to conserve energy?

I know a guide is going to be a must here. Any suggestions for a local fly shop?
 

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Thats what I was hoping for as well, but seems when I was there the bigger trout were surface feeding in huge eddies that were 60 feet deep, out of reach of any casting. The hatches there are pretty incredible, easy to see how the largest Chinook in the history of earth, were once born there, were talking 100+ pounders common.
Probably those trout that exist there today, have long dormant Steelhead genes, if science is correct, they still have that in them.

Sorry about the tangent but that area intrigues me.
 

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If you are going in the next few weeks, I think it will be a challenge for you to get into fish consistently. Once the hatches start you can see the fish rising, and in the summer the caddis hatch can be something else. As for guides, I think one of the hosts for Sportfishing On The Fly offers guided trips on the Columbia so you might want to contact him to get the details.
 

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I fished the Columbia south of Castlegar this evening and it was really difficult - it has gone up over 6 feet in the past week with lots of debris from sticks to big logs. The guys fishing with a spincaster and bobber are doing well right despite the obstructions using everything from a green pheasant tail nymph to the cicada or Salmon Fly pattern - there were thousands of river moths hatching tonight. Black Ants are very popular at this time of year and the evening caddis bites should be starting soon if they haven't already. I haven't fished since Saturday other than today. Royal Wulff is quite popular. Castlegar Sports Centre and Fly Shop is right in Castlegar and he lists guiding in the yellow pages. I hear he is really good. There is also a club. I think float tubing would be dangerous right now but as it settles it is a great river and again when it settles a bit it can be fished from the shore in some places. There are a lot of float tubers and pontooners in summer. I did see a couple of drift boats earlier in the year and I am not sure who owns them. I wet wade and have waders but right now I would not go in. I think it went up 3 feet in 3 hours on Saturday when a buddy was fishing. I will try to keep posting as I fish it at least 3 times a week in the south of Castlegar and at the Keenlyside Dam just north of Castlegar. It can be a fun evening fish dead drifting a dry but Rod at the fly shop is very knowlegable and there are always a couple experts in the shop.
 

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Re: your comment on Sturgeon - there are a lot of sturgeon and they often the put on a show - it is amazing when they do a tail stand in front of you for no apparent reason. We bottom fish rainbows in the winter and sturgeon takes were quite regular last winter. They just swin away with everything. While we put thousands in the river each spring in Canada we are not allowed to fish them but as they cross the border 30 miles to the south they can be fished in WA as I understand it.
 

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I fish 3 lakes during the long weekend between grand forks and trail. On our drive back Monday all the rivers and streams were very high and some even in a flood stage, like the silkamean. If your planning on fishing the columbia you might want to consider the high water its running right now. Why not fish some of the local lakes, they were fishing fairly good last weekend. We were getting them on dragon fly nymphs, black ant flys, and they were even biting bloodworm chronies!

We met two guides at one of the lakes, which were happy to teach me a few lake fishing tricks. Also one of the guys we met has his own fishing show, sport fishing on the fly, kinda cool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the replies guys. I look forward to further reports on how the river conditions are in the following weeks. I might consider checking out some of the lakes if the river is blown which would be a shame as we are staying with the inlaws who live right on the Columbia river bank in Blueberry.
 

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If you are in Blueberry - I heard from a guy there that they were using chironomids a few weeks back in that area in a quiet back eddy (but again it is gone way up) - I fish mostly just a few miles down south of Genelle the next small town on the river - there is a park called Birchbank Park just south of Genelle and the Gun Range which is better marked which is popular year round - If you park at the top of the hill you can nymph fish right below in the big eddy or walk up a mile up the and fish your way back. This is easier than parking upriver at the bluffs and fishing down and walking back as the walk from the highway to the river is steeper. I like nymphs and wollies there through the day. There are a couple of good seams there and it is a good spot for the evening bite when it gets going although a bit difficult with the high levels. And if it settles a bit guys fish the eddy in float tubes regularly and just circle around for the evening tossing dry flies. It is safer as they can get close to the edge of main current where the trouble arises and cast to that big seam.
 

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Last reply unless something exciting happens - when I say the top of the hill - when you turn left off the highway it is about a km to the river - it is paved - there is a big switchback at the the top of the hill - the actual park is at the bottom of the hill and there is some fishing down there - but I think the best is from the point at the top of the switchback and up river - if you do bring a tube there is a path a hundred yards down where you can also park and a bit easier access if carrying something - I do hear it is good around Blueberry so ask you friends there - may be a steeper access to the river - let me know when you are in the area - if I am around I would be happy to show you where I like to fish - I am still part of the 80% who catch 20% of the fish but I think I know the spots and am learnig - as it is a big river a 7 wt I think is recommended although lighter is used

Cheers!
 

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Also, saw on another site, that there was a chemical spill on the Columbia at the smelter in Trail. Some nice water below the plant, but not worth the consequences of getting hit with some nasty chemicals. Amazing what people will put up with in a company town. :pissed:
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well just to let you know this past weekend I went in and saw Rob at the Castlegar fly shop and he hooked me up with some flies. Hit the river on Sunday and hooked into 10 or so rainbows. Smallest was about 18" and biggest was 21". All went back in for someone else to catch another day.

Thanks for all the great info and can't wait till I get to go back!

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Some nice water above the plant as well - on the warmer evenings the hatches are on even though the river is very high - If you are worried, catch and release is nice - caught 4 nice ones one evening late last week on a sedge - I hear the elk hair caddis is really hot on the surface right now and if the rain stops will head out - even black ants are good right now - glad you caught some chidder - sounds like you do better than me
 

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OW, we are heading that way first week in July on the way to Idaho and was hoping to drop the boat in a run from Waneta to Castlegar and do a little trout fishing. Could you give me a call 1-866-771-3474 or drop me an e-mail, would like to ask you a couple questions about the river/access/camping [email protected]
Vic
 
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