Vermilion River Kootenay National Park.

It’s been a while since my last post, 2018 has been quite a year with the first part of open water season taken up with moving everything from Athabasca to Cochrane Alberta. Then getting set up and finally starting to explore some of the water around my new home. It was mid July before I was able to get a hook wet, and what a season this has turned out to be. One of the most fun seasons of fishing I’ve ever had, and it’s still going.

We will be stepping across the border into British Columbia and into Kootenay National Park. We’re fishing the Vermillion River. The Vermilion River gets going at Vermilion Pass and drains the Vermilion Valley in Kootenay National Park. At Marble Canyon Tokumm Creek joins as a tributary followed also by the Simpson River and Verendrye Creek. The best part is these waters are just a Tributary of the Mighty Kootenay River, and all hold amazing sized fish.

Vermilion River above Kootenay Crossing

The Vermilion is a fun river to fish in late summer and fall, the water level is lower, the water is also extremely clear making it easy to sight fish. The Vermilion Valley is also set up nicely to keep the wind to a minimum. With good waders and boots you can fish and explore large stretches of the Vermilion and not see another angler in sight. You are more likely to run across a bear or a moose. Fishing in the Park requires a Park permit to fish these waters as well as a BC Fishing Licence, these waters see little attention from anglers. The Vermilion River is open to fishing from June 15th to October 31st it’s a shorter season but let me tell you late summer and fall are a ton of fun on the Vermilion.

Vermilion River Cutthroat Trout caught on a Kiwi Muddler

Everything from Brook Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout, and my personal favorite Bull Trout inhabit these waters. You can fish with lead free spinners and other spinning gear; however, you will have more success casting a fly. I had a blast catching Bull Trout in the pools on the Vermilion this summer and fall. I am an all-in angler I love my spinning gear, but to get after the fish and keep them busy on the Vermilion you will need to learn to cast a fly. Also, good waders and boots are a must, there is good fishing from the river bank, but you will want a good set of waders. Remember there is a BAN on felt soled wading boots, so make sure to pick up some rubber sole boots you can always add spikes for traction. The Vermilion is very clean, and the traction is very good, no need for spikes. You can inspect the larger pools with your Deeper Sonar, but make sure not to cast it in there, instead float it into the hole and try not to spook the fish off with any sudden movement of the Deeper. Slow and easy retrieve of the Deeper no splashing. I have a Deeper Sonar specific post coming for fly fishing applications coming soon.

Vermilion River Brook Trout Caught with a black CH Zonker

I find myself standing and staring many times as the scenery is breathtaking. The fishing is fantastic and accompanied by the scenery it’s just pure pleasure. To fish the Vermilion effectively bring a variety of different weight fly rods and reels loaded with appropriate line. The late summer and fall on the Vermilion with a floating weight forward line is perfect, I use Rio Gold Trout Freshwater and Rio Mainstream Trout Freshwater WF with Sufix® Invisiline Fluorocarbon Leader and Sufix® Elite in 10lb. Pack a variety of dry flies and streamers, and any Muddler pattern. I like the Kiwi Muddler; simple black and natural colored Muddler minnow are great also. Cone Head Muddlers and Cone Head Zonkers in white, black and tan color are very good on the Vermilion. Laura and I pack a bunch of different weight set up’s everything from 4-5wt, 6-7wt and 8wt, a great go to set is a balanced 6wt you can fish a lot of different water with a 6wt. There are some big Bull Trout in some of the deeper holes so make sure your using an 8wt set up much heavier than you would for normal situations. I was rewarded with a giant Bull Trout this fall and had to replace my old 8wt rod because the Bull Trout split it like bamboo, the rod made it and I was able to land my fish, but I am saying even an 8wt can sometimes be to light for some of the Bull Trout lurking in the pools.

Vermilion River Bull Trout caught with a Kiwi Muddler

I’ve had to incorporate a lot of fly fishing into my system this summer, it’s a sport inside the sport, and one I respect and love very much. Here in my new home fly fishing will make up about 50% of my #fishing adventures. When I was a kid living in Colorado Springs and doing all the fly fishing I did in the Rocky Mountains back then, I really missed it. Here in Cochrane it’s like being back home in Colorado and I am loving every minute of it. If you get a chance to fish the Vermilion River in Kootenay National Park, prepare properly and you know what; take it all in and just have fun! If you have any questions or need some tips just shoot me an email.

Gary Love / GCL Fishing.


Gary C Love Fishing.

Cochrane, Alberta, Canada.

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(780) 689-9257