Gem of the Kootenays
The town of Creston lies in the lush, fertile Kootenay Valley at the south end of scenic Kootenay Lake, home of the largest Rainbow trout in the province. The other claim to fame for Creston is its famous Kokanee brewery. The water for this famous beer comes from the sparkling clear waters of the Kokanee Glacier in nearby Monashee mountains. And I have to agree, its one of the nicest brews in the country.
Nearby Creston is a great waterfowl viewing area at Duck Lake, just a short distance north of town. Duck lake and the surrounding sloughs is also home to some of the best bass fishing in western Canada, with a healthy population of largemouth and smallmouth bass which can reach as much as 15 pounds or more. Kootenay Lake also has bass, in addition to its huge Gerrard Rainbow trout and Dolly Varden char. The biggest rainbows here can reach more than 35 pounds and are usually fished with trolling gear although flies often work well too in the shallower areas, and in the West Arm.
The lake is about 144 km (90 miles) long, and up to 152 meters (500') deep, with an average width of 4 km (2.5 miles), and is 8 km (5 miles) across at its widest. It was formed during the Ice Ages, when glacial advances deposited till to the south, creating the rich farmlands around Creston and a large basin to the north. At one time ice also blocked the western outflow, near Nelson, causing the lake to drain to the south. Kootenay Lake's major source of water is the Kootenay River, which originates in the Rocky mountains and passes through Montana and Idaho before emptying into the lake. It is the second largest tributary of the Columbia River. Kootenay Lake is also fed by numerous creeks and its rocky shores encompass hundreds of tiny bays and beaches, intriguing to explore by kayak or canoe. It is not uncommon to find yourself the only boater visible across the lake's expanse! The water here is pure enough to drink straight from the lake, and provides a home for Kokanee salmon (a land-locked sockeye), Sturgeon, Dolly Varden and trout, including the world's largest species, the Gerrard Rainbow. Approximately half of the lakeshore has roads, with the balance being accessible only by boat. There is a free ferry which crosses the lake from Balfour to Kootenay Bay. Crossing time is about 40 minutes. This is the longest FREE ferry ride in the world.
Photo courtesy of Kootenay Lake Chamber of Commerce.
"World's largest Rainbow Trout"
The picture gives an example of the size of the monster Gerrard Rainbow trout in this magnificent lake.
Photo courtesy of East Shore Charters.