To truly get out and about, you have to immerse yourself in your surroundings. You have to step within to experience the about. Feel the spray from the waterfall on your skin. Walk into the forest and listen to leaves rustling in the breeze. Submerge yourself in a crystal clear pond. By stepping out, we open up new possibilities for looking inward, for seeing ourselves in a larger context and understanding what we’re all about. And it helps when we can get out into a stunning, natural place because it’s easier to become a part of it all. Castlegar is one such place. Here, it’s easy to step out into nature and into beauty. And it’s easy to discover what being truly alive is all about.
One of the best ways to get out in Castlegar is to explore the thriving river culture. Situated at the confluence of the Kootenay and Columbia Rivers, the city is all about water recreation. And there’s no stronger community of those who like to get out and about than anglers. One of the reasons fishing is such a popular activity in Castlegar is because of the world-classs Kokanee salmon: in fact, the largest one in the world was caught here in Arrow Lakes! There’s also a thriving walleye and trout fishery in the city and many of the fishing holes are easy to access so the whole family can partake.
There’s another reason fishing is so popular: it’s because when you throw out your line, you’re casting into the unknown. Will the fish be biting? Is today the day I land the lunker? There’s a whole world underneath the shimmering surface and it’s fun to be a part of it, even if only via a tiny lure. And then there’s the enjoyment of the apres, when we all gather with friends and family to talk about the day’s experiences. To get out and about on Castlegar’s rivers and lakes is to enjoy wide-open spaces with plenty of room to breathe and then reconvene with our loved ones, usually over a delicious, cold beer, to relish the adventures.
The best way to get out and about and enjoy Castlegar’s river culture is with a fishing guide. There are three based in Castlegar and we list them below. One thing to remember when angling in the city, whether with a guide or without, is to get a provincial freshwater fishing license, which can be purchased online. Also, check out the province’s fishing restrictions for the area as different river sections can be closed at times to certain fisheries.
Columbia River Fly Fishing
Columbia River Fly Fishing is the newest fishing operator in Castlegar. Your guides Matt and Bruce specialize in all things casting and have an 18-foot centre-console sled to get you to the secret spots.
We’ve featured ChillBilly Charters before in our article “Best Fishing Holes in Castlegar.” Owner Graham Cloutier moved to the area from Northern British Columbia 20 years ago and has never tired of the amazing angling opportunities in the region. Now he shares his favourite spots with clients from around the world.
Mountain Valley Sports Fishing & Tours
Dwayne D’Andrea established Mountain Valley Sports Fishing & Tours back in the early 1990s and today specializes in rainbow trout and walleye. He also offers drift boat sightseeing tours and rentals.
Of course, no experience out around Castlegar is complete without gathering afterwards to talk about it. And one of the best ways to chat is over a glass of craft beer. Castlegar now has its own Tailout craft brewery and they are making a special beer to celebrate getting out and about in the city called, appropriately, “Out and About.” The label features an angler casting into the waters at the base of the beautiful mountains surrounding Castlegar. For more information about the brewery and the beer see the info below.
- Location: Unit A, 1810-8th Avenue, Castlegar
- Phone: 250-608-9056
- Website: tailoutbrewing.com
The Lion’s Head Smoke and Brew Pub
Another excellent meeting place to visit after you’ve gotten out and about in Castlegar is the famous Lion’s Head Pub. There are numerous craft beers on tap here and lots of space to hang with your friends and family. (The pub’s license allows children in the restaurant until nightfall.) Plus it’s located 30 metres from the river by a boat launch so you don’t have to go far after your fishing excursion.
- Location: 2629 Broadwater Rd, Robson
- Phone: 250-365-2739
- Website: lionsheadpub.ca
BC Ale Trail
Once you’ve fished the waters around Castlegar and checked out Tailout Brewing and the Lion’s Head, we recommend taking a drive and seeing what the rest of the Kootenay craft brewing scene is all about. The BC Ale Trail is a perfect resource for discovering all the different craft breweries around the province and this is what they have to say about our region specifically: “The West Kootenay is filled with folks who enjoy a slower pace, away from the hubbub of larger centres. Many visitors are tempted to join them once they discover the region’s unique combination of wilderness activities and urban communities. Peppered throughout this paradise of mountains, rivers and lakes is a diverse of array of creative, entrepreneurial craft breweries, including a true pioneer and many more recent arrivals.
For more about the craft brewing scene in the Kootenays, visit www.bcaletrail.ca. Here are some of our favourite craft breweries near Castlegar that we recommend you visit the next time you’re out and about.
- Nelson Brewing Company: 512 Latimer St; 250-352-3582
- Backroads Crewing Company: 460 Baker St; 778-463-3361
- Torchlight Brewing: 125 Hall St; 250-352-0094
- Rossland Beer Company: 1990F Columbia Ave, 250-362-2122
- Trail Beer Refinery: 1299 Bay Ave; 778-456-2827
- Erie Creek Brewing: 117 4th St; 250-357-2479