Castlegar is a world-class destination when it comes to freshwater angling. Whether your preference is fly fishing for trout in mountain streams, jigging for walleye in rivers or casting for lake lunkers, there’s something for every angler who lives in or visits Castlegar.
Take Graham Cloutier for example. He moved to the area from Northern British Columbia 20 years ago and has never tired of the amazing angling opportunities in the region. In fact, he liked it so much, he started his own angling company 12 years ago called Chillbilly Charters. His favourite type of excursion starts at the Lions Head Pub and then guests are taken to the launch directly across the road and loaded into a 16-foot drift boat. He’ll then drift down the Columbia River anchoring at various spots where he knows the fish will bite. “Because I use a drift boat, I can get into a lot of different spots that power boats and shoreline fisherman can’t get to,” he says.
On those trips Graham will typically use lures and jigs to target walleye and dry flies for trout, especially during the caddis fly season, but he’ll also do some spin casting, preferring Len Thompson lures such as the Five of Diamonds. When asked what his favourite type of fishing is, he says, “I really like dry fly fishing for rainbows. But, I’m a fisherman, so it’s all good.”
Before embarking on a fishing trip in or near Castlegar, remember you have to have a freshwater fishing license, which can be purchased online. Also, Graham recommends checking provincial government’s fishing restrictions for the area as the river section between the Robson boat landing across from the Lion’s Head Pub to the CPR bridge is closed part of the year because of fish spawning and the impact on the threatened local species of white sturgeon. Below are Graham’s recommendations for the best fishing spots in Castlegar.
6 Best Spots For Fishing on the Columbia River in Castlegar
As you approach the dam on Broadwater Rd. you’ll see a large, yellow fisherman’s area sign. Follow the stairway to the water and there’s an excellent spot there for lure casting.
The Island is easy to access and there are plenty of spots along the shoreline to fish. To access the island, drive north across the bridge connecting Castlegar and Robson and in 500m turn right onto Old Mill Rd. and pass under the railroad bridge to the parking lot.
At the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia rivers you’ll find excellent fishing whether you prefer flies or lures.
A few kilometres south of Castlegar, near the community of Ootischenia is the Waterloo Eddy, found in a small bay on the east side of the river. From the city take Hwy 3 east, turn left onto Columbia Rd then a quick right on Waterloo Rd. Follow this to its end, then it’s a short walk to the eddy.
Near the Northport-Waneta border, about a 40-minute drive south of Castlegar, excellent fishing can be found at the confluence of the Columbia and Pend Orielle Rivers.
4 Other Notable Spots For Fishing Near Castlegar
LOWER ARROW LAKE: Aside from giant Kokanee, you’ll also enjoy angling for rainbow and bull trout.
NANCY GREEN LAKE: This pristine lake is located just west of Castlegar on Highway 3. It is well stocked and catching your full limit of foot-long rainbow trout is common.
KOOTENAY RIVER: Large rainbow, bull trout, kokanee, whitefish and walleye can be caught on this river that flows into the Columbia.
CHAMPION LAKES: Located just east of Castlegar, these lakes have been stocked since 1986 and it’s common to catch rainbows up to six pounds.