#FindingAwesome Fall Winners

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#FindingAwesome Fall Winners

You guys have definitely been #FindingAwesome out there! Again, another batch of gorgeous photos and videos (over 2000). Thanks to everyone who entered a photo or video and we are already loving all your winter submissions. Keep finding awesome!

Video Winner

Adventure Photo Winner

Chill Photo Winner

Honourable Mentions

Favourite Business Entries

Swing into Kootenay Lake this Autumn

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Swing into Kootenay Lake this Autumn

By John Bowden

Snow may be dusting the mountaintops while visions of powder days dance in your head. But there's still plenty of golf to be had in the Kootenay Lake region, especially as the landscape turns into a blaze of colours with the arrival of autumn. Now’s the time to enjoy some of the most scenic courses in BC at a great deal.

Golf Nelson

Like the city of Nelson, Granite Pointe Golf Club is built on a mountainside, offering commanding views of Kootenay Lake. If there’s such thing as a “mountain course” surely this is it.

Holes on the Mountain 9 climb and descend, following the hilly grade. The result is a decidedly un-prairie like experience. Tight fairways reward golfers with true aim. A rich variety of cedar, aspen, larch and other trees add to the beauty of the already stunning vista. Don’t miss the massive pine standing guard over the tee box at the second hole – it takes a foursome to bear hug it. Granite outcroppings dot the course, adding rugged appeal (and an occasional hazard).

Golfing at Granite Pointe might just be the best-kept secret for enjoying the local scenery. Nearly every hole offers incredible views of the mountain landscape, and the elevated vista is ideal for seeing the lengthy fall colours that Nelson is famous for.

Even if you’re just a casual golfer, it’s well worth making time for 9 or 18 holes while you’re in Nelson. A number of local hotels sweeten the deal by offering a Stay & Play package featuring a free round of golf at the local course. Granite Pointe is open until late October, weather permitting.

Golf Balfour

East of Nelson is the highly rated Balfour Golf Course. This quiet gem of a course serves up a healthy offering of stunning views and nicely maintained holes. Owing to its location overlooking the heart of Kootenay Lake, the course blends into its natural surroundings. You’re more likely to see (or hear) wildlife than any signs of human encroachment.

Although one of the shortest holes, 13 is a stunning example of course designer Les Furber’s ability to incorporate natural elements into play. Towering cedars and a twisting creek complement the narrow fairway.

Steep cart paths in places remind golfers that you’re still in mountainous territory despite the relatively flat holes. Navigating the winding and tight corners on a golf cart adds an unexpected thrill to the golfing experience, while the Osprey Mountain Grill serves up memorable meals in the clubhouse. Kootenay Lakeview Spa Resort & Event Centre is right next door with reasonable rates and stunning views from the rooms and outdoor hot tub.

If you’re looking for a golfing experience that combines challenging holes with natural splendor, Balfour Golf Course is a sure bet. And with Ainsworth Hot Springs just a 10 minute drive to the north, it's a tempting combo for cooler autumn days.

Fall rates at both courses start at $40 per person for 18 holes.

Top Ten Reasons to Visit Nelson & Kootenay Lake this Fall

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Top Ten Reasons to Visit Nelson & Kootenay Lake this Fall

Cover Photo: Adrian Wagner Studio

By John Bowden

Beer Season is Here

What’s better than Oktoberfest? Two of them! Get your fix of delicious BC craft breweries including local faves Backroads, NBC, Savoy, and Torchlight at the first annual Kutenei Oktoberfest at the Prestige Lakeside Resort in Nelson on Saturday, September 16. The fun continues at Nelson’s iconic Hume Hotel & Spa on October 7 for their equally tempting Oktoberfest event – costumes strongly encouraged!

Coffee Crawl

You'd be hard pressed to find a greater density of happening coffee shops than in Nelson. The newly opened No. 6 Coffee Co. offers tastings of their in-house roasted brews from Thursday to Saturday, while local staples Oso Negro, Empire Coffee and Farm Fresh Cafe are hard to resist.
 Warm up with a cuppa jo while you wander Nelson's historic and lively downtown. 

Leaf Peeping

No autumn list would be complete without a shout out to the spectacular fall colours in the Nelson and Kootenay Lake region. Hike up to Pulpit Rock for breathtaking views of the stunning foliage surrounding Nelson, or walk along Kaslo's gorgeous River Trail. 

Harvest Markets

Taste the bounty of the harvest at a local market. Nelson's popular Downtown Local Market runs every Wednesday until September 27, while the Cottonwood Community Market goes every Saturday until October 28. Kaslo's charming Saturday morning waterfront market continues until the end of September.


Just what makes Nelson such a quirky and wonderful place? Find out for yourself at Lucas Myers' hilarious play A Beginner's Guide to Nelsonia on September 28 & 29 at the Capitol Theatre. This comedic one man tour-de-force features Myers transforming into characters and roles that all have a different view on life in Nelson.

Culturally Curious?

Discover Nelson's reputation for being a cultural capital during Culture Days September 29 - October 1. Events include Blue Night, Nelson District Arts Council, an evening arts and culture crawl, behind the scenes tours at Touchstones Nelson, jewelry making demonstrations, free outdoor live blues concerts, and much more.
 Don't miss a visit to the historic SS Moyie sternwheeler in Kaslo, open until October 9.

Get Your Film Fix

Calling all movie buffs! The Civic Theatre in Nelson is featuring Kinesis from September 22-25, a celebration of Kootenays films. In addition to screening flicks by legendary studios such as Sherpa Cinemas and Teton Gravity Research, there's even a double header of Roxanne to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Steve Martin's celebrated comedy filmed in Nelson in 1987. Don't miss professional development sessions with industry icons like Nick Waggoner (director of the acclaimed ski film Valhalla). And, there's also a craft beer film competition - #fermentingawesome (a playful spinoff of our findingawesome campaign - well done Civic Theatre). Does it get any better than this?!

Cozy Comfort

Indulge in rustic luxury and warm up by the fireplace for the evening in a local lodge. Logden Lodge is a natural oasis just south of Nelson. Or head up the lake to Wing Creek Resort and treat yourself to a quiet getaway in your own private cabin. Whether it's adventure or relaxation you're looking for, both of these highly acclaimed lodges are the perfect base for your next Kootenay getaway.

Yoga and Spa

Breathe deeply. Rediscover your inner peace with yoga classes at one of the many studios in the area. Or indulge in a relaxing spa experience at Mountain Waters Spa. Fancy a tasty beverage with your massage or pedicure? Head over to the Hume Hotel & Spa, the first licensed spa in the province. Cheers!

Hot Springs

With the temperature dropping, now's a perfect time to relax in the soothing waters at Ainsworth Hot Springs. The view overlooking Kootenay Lake is hard to beat; so too is the food. Take the indulgence up a notch by dining at the Ktunaxa Grill on site and savour the locally influenced creations.

Come find awesome this fall and share your experience to win cash prizes! #findingawesome

Blissful Things You'll Love to Do This Fall: The Insiders View

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Blissful Things You'll Love to Do This Fall: The Insiders View

Every year, Nelson and the entire Kootenay Lake area says goodbye to summer and hello to the colder weather in a spectacular fashion. The area lights up with colour as trees turn magnificent reds, golds, oranges and yellows. We're blessed with a particularly vibrant mix of colours, not just from the maple trees that grace many streets in Nelson, but also from the Virginia Creeper that winds along the walls of the Nelson Courthouse and also along the highway lining Kootenay Lake up toward Meadow Creek. 

In fact, you may not know that Nelson has been named in the top 10 places in Canada to see fall colours, alongside Quebec City and other truly standout places.

We think it's the diversity and landscape that combine to give us the ultimate in colour, climate, and community. And it's that community that, once you arrive here, will help you feel right at home.

In fact, to get your started on your fall colours trip through the Nelson Kootenay Lake area, we've asked a diverse set of locals who love living here what their favourite fall outing is:

Karen Bennet, publisher of the local Nelson Star newspaper, says "I like pulpit rock in the fall, it's a great place to see the colourful foliage. I also like being on the lake in the fall. The water is so clear and you are able to see contours on the bottom that you don't see in the summer; everything is so calm and peaceful too."

Pulpit Rock is a local hike that regularly sees around 30,000 users annually. The trail takes you straight up to a lookout point (Pulpit Rock itself) that gives you a gorgeous panoramic view of Nelson and up Kootenay Lake. The hike is so popular that you will likely be considered a local simply for doing this one!

Local actor Lucas Meyers' suggestion of "The mountain bike trails. Not too hot to pedal and the dirt is supreme" gives you a truly local's look at what to do in the Nelson Kotoenay Lake area in the fall. Sure, we're fairly well-known for mountain biking around here, with local mountain bike legend Kurt Sorge having just won the Red Bull Rampage (twice!) but locals know that the fall is perhaps the best time to ride our trails. The weather at Mountain Station and along Svoboda Road is mild, the dust is minimal, and you're surrounded by a show of colour that just adds to the joy.

Our own Executive Director, Dianna Ducs loves fishing! As she says so perfectly:  "you'll be in your happy place boating on Kootenay Lake our hiking up to one of the many smaller lakes in the region." Word. (Top photo: fly fishing on Ross Lake)

Stepping away from Nelson and out toward Kaslo and Meadow Creek area, Daphne Hunter has lots of great suggestions. As owner of Kaslo Kayaking says, "It's so hard to nail down a "fav" place when everything is so beautiful and magical around here. But I have to say that one of my all time all year round favourites is the waterfall at powder creek. Another fav is Davis Creek. Not just to camp but just to walk around. And of course the old growth cedar forest at Retallack because that is like walking in Jurassic Park!"

Other residents mentioned lots of great ideas for stepping out in Nelson in the fall. Specifically on Halloween night. One local said, "Nelson at night is the best at Halloween! So many venues get in the spirit, there are so many dance parties, night life and people really dress up. It for me is the best night out in Nelson."

Another great local's haunt is  "the Farmers' Market is the best in the fall." True, and as it's quieter (generally speaking) in the fall, you get great produce and handmade deliciousness without the crowds.

Local photographer Joel Pelletier is "really into taking family photos for people in the fall with all these colours." The colours really stand out for him as a photographer, with Gyro Park being one great location for awesome family photographs.

And a newcomer to Nelson, local Covenant Church pastor Jeff Strong has this to add to the conversation, "As a newcomer to Nelson, I've been overwhelmed by the beauty of this special city. As fall settles in, I find myself meandering around the city itself, taking in the idiosyncrasies that make Nelson one-of-a-kind." In other words, take a walk down Baker Street to see what you can see. You'll be delighted, for sure.

Finally, long time local author Kristene Perron recently moved to Campbell River, but her heart still resides in Nelson and the Kootenay Lake area at least part time. She has these words to say about what to do in the fall in Nelson: "Colour! I love the colours of fall in Nelson and one of my favourite spots to view them is from way up on the Bed Frame riding trail in the Giveout Creek area. If it’s too cold for sightseeing (yes, we authors like cozy warm dens), then you can find me at Café Momento, who make one of the best Hot Chocolates in town—you can even have it made with coconut milk. In a town obsessed with coffee, it is nice that there is a place we chocolate addicts can get our fix. And of course my other cold weather hideaway is in everyone’s favourite indie hot spot, Otter Books. I don’t go there just for the books, either; sometimes Izzy the cat is lurking around the shelves, in need of a good petting. Did I mention I’m also addicted to cats?"

I'm going to have to add my own now, since no one mentioned it. Ainsworth Hotsprings in the fall. It is absolutely the best time of year to visit the hotsprings, especially if you can go during a full moon. Stay for a couple hours, see the moon rise, and renew yourself in the mineral rich waters.

No matter what your pleasure: Indoors or outdoors, rough and ready or tame and nature-walky, there is something for you to do this fall in Nelson. And now you know what the locals love, too! Come join us this fall and immerse yourself in our beauty. We'll be waiting.

Take a Hike Around Kootenay Lake This Fall

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Take a Hike Around Kootenay Lake This Fall

Fall is a great time to take a hike in the Kootenay Lake area. The days are cooler, the leaves are just starting to think about turning, and on some hikes, trees are loaded with fruit waiting to be picked. Of course, the weather doesn't always abide by your schedule, and it is the season when bears are getting ready to hunker down for the upcoming winter, so it's important to be aware of your surroundings when you go out.

But on a sunny early fall day, you can see some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world while walking along well kept trails. The full foliage, lush moss and brisk waters from streams all come together to give you an experience of nature's bounty that can replenish even the most hardened heart.

Scenery to Inspire

Our Kootenay Lake greens are deep and rich, the skies, when they're clear, are the bluest blue, and the air just feels electric with the change in seasons. Our weather can change quickly, so it's important to be aware of weather conditions and know your limits. If you're not an expert in the backcountry, make sure you stick to well trodden trails and sunny weather. 

If you need any gear for your hike, Nelson and the Kootenay Lake area has quite a few shops stocking the latest and best equipment and supplies. Try our shopping page for ideas on places to stock up for your hike. With the likes of ROAM, Vallhalla Pure and Gericks, you're in good hands. Another important stop is the local visitors' centre, either in Kaslo or Nelson. You'll be able to get all the up to date information you need on hikes you might want to take.

One more resource you should think about getting before you hike is a great little book called "Where the Locals Hike in the West Kootenays". This little gem of a book can be found at Otter's and Cole's bookstores in Nelson, or online. Look inside for a real insider's guide to the trails in our area, including detailed directions to trailheads and information on conditions as well as descriptions of the areas included. 

Great Local Day Hikes to Try

If you are in or around Nelson, try Pulpit Rock for a quick and fun hike that takes you to a spot with a clear view of Nelson. This hike is extremely popular, so it can even be crowded at times. You definitely won't have to worry about being all alone on this trail. If you are feeling up to it, you can even continue past Pulpit Rock on to the Flagpole trail, which takes you up still farther. 

In Kaslo, you'll notice that the entire village is a nature walk. You can try the Lookout Trail, which is a .8 kilometre switchback trail leading to a viewpoint overlooking Kaslo. There are also nature walks taking you along the river and also along the beach surrounding the village along Kootenay Lake.

A near-full list of hikes to try in the area is located on our website. For still more great hiking ideas, try this post about hikes in Kaslo


Kaslo SufferFest - Pick Your Pleasure!

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Kaslo SufferFest - Pick Your Pleasure!

suffer 7Ordinary People Doing the Extraordinary

What makes SufferFest special? At this point in time in British Columbia, what could be special about an extreme race? Between the Tough Mudder competitions, IRONman, Crankworx, etc, SufferFest simply captures the zeitgeist, right? It's just another overly extreme competition, isn't it? After all, nothing says summertime in British Columbia and the Nelson Kootenay Lake area like extreme competitions. Well, actually, SufferFest is different. And it's different in a way that is so delightful that I am having a hard time describing it. It's different in a way that makes you just want to smile. If I could have just posted an image of me with a huge smile on my face, I would. Luckily, I had the good fortune to be able to talk to Janis Neufeld about SufferFest. Taking time out of her busy schedule to school me a bit on what it's like to organize an event like this, which encourages people to get up off their couch and do extraordinary things, often in inclement weather, was awesome.

Past winners of Sufferfest. Congrats! Past winners of Sufferfest. Congrats!


SufferFest Turns Five!

At 5 years old, SufferFest has grown up a bit from its beginnings, when Janis and her husband set out to create an event that would inspire people to really push themselves and to allow them to show off their piece of paradise (the Kaslo, New Denver and Nakusp areas). In a really cool, very Kootenay way, the race has morphed and grown and matured into a thing that allows participants to be both extremely silly and extremely extreme all at the same time. And allows and encourages people who are feeling super uber-competitive to race alongside little kids, or people who are just out for a walk, or people who would like to run quite slowly. We're all in this together, after all. There's even a "very competitive" race for people who enjoy wearing denim and riding on their Grandma’s 1970’s Schwinn Stingray with banana seat. Sponsored by Marin, no less. So, though there is a marathon up Idaho Peak, and a 100 km MTB race, and a 50 km race, and much, much more, this is not a race that is attended by people who generally attend extreme competitions. It's a festival that is attended by people who want to accomplish something. Who have decided that they want to see what they can do. Who come back, year after year to the SufferFest and suffer a little, and give 'er, and push themselves further than they thought they could. And then they send Janis emails and letters that are full of the emotion they feel at knowing what they can do. Because now they know. And that is so cool.

Big smile from Jeannie, one of the competitors. Big smile from Jeannie, one of the competitors.


Created, Nurtured and Grown with Love by Volunteers

In fact, and I had to ask her this, when I asked Janis why she does this, why she devotes hundreds of hours to this festival of suffering, she told me it was because of those emails and letters.

And, "It's the smiles. They are the friendliest, nicest people. And so many smiling faces. They are all working so hard, in what is sometimes miserable weather, and they can't help but smile."

SufferFest is run by an entire army of volunteers who all want people to realize what they are capable of, and to realize this while sharing space in what really is a bit of paradise. This part of the world is special. Those of us who live here know it all too well. The fact that so many of us are willing to dedicate hours and hours to creating things that will bring other people here, just for a bit, to share this space and show off where we live a bit says so much about our collective soul and the gorgeousness that is alive and well in this corner of the world. And SufferFest is definitely a part of that. If you've got any time at all from August 30 — September 1, there is a race waiting just for you. Lots of great accommodation in the area. http://youtu.be/5RwRAKUKPSs

Photos courtesy of Sufferfest.

Nelson's Fat Tire Festival: Tribute to a Great Man, Great Sport

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Nelson's Fat Tire Festival: Tribute to a Great Man, Great Sport

How To Keep the Vision Alive

wheelie(2) Wheelie competition anyone?


On August 22, 23 and 24th this year, the 19th annual Nelson Fat Tire Festival will again celebrate biking in a purely Kootenay fashion. This is to say, It's a festival of the sport first, a competition second. And that's just what organizers want it to be. The province has lots of MTB competitions throughout the season, but this one has been less about the competition than about bringing people of all ages and abilities together to share their love of the sport. It's been that way from the start. And, you could say, this year things have really come full circle to fulfill the dreams of the original Fat Tire Festival organizer, Cam Alexander. The Fat Tire Festival began with a core group of friends who were determined to see their friend Cam Alexander's vision of a Nelson mountain bike festival live. Even if their friend had tragically died much too soon, in a mountain biking accident on Father's Day, 19 years ago. That first year, Anne Wishlow from Oso Negro, Ross McNamara from Gerick's and Mark Holt from Sacred Ride got together to see the festival their friend had envisioned become a reality. Cam had been a local bike mechanic at Gerick's and someone with a vision for a festival that paid homage to the things he loved: biking, good food, and local art. That he was in the process of making it happen when tragedy struck perhaps spurred his friends on even more to make his dream a reality. In any case, that July at the ski lodge at Morning Mountain, the first Fat Tire Festival was held. The second year, the Fat Tire Festival was again held at Morning Mountain. And then the lodge burnt down.

Difficult Takes on a Whole New Meaning

If there is a common thread woven in my writings about community volunteers, it might be that the word "difficult" xc2(3)means something different to these folks: They seem to hear words like "difficult" "impossible" "no" or "can't be done" and translate them to "Why not?" "Yes" "It'll work" and "Just fine, thank you". In other words, the fact that the lodge burnt down and they had no venue and the Fat Tire Festival was a young two-years-old didn't stop them. They just found new venues and kept going. And going. Until now, 19 years later. The Fat Tire Festival has come back to Morning Mountain, which has just received funding to develop more mountain bike trails. This year, Morning Mountain will have an outhouse, kiosk, and gazebo as well as all the trails. All the original sponsors are still around, too, offering tons of support with staffing, donations and, of course, prizes.

Get Everyone Riding Their Bikes

That seems to be part of what Fat Tire Festival is all about. Get on your bike. Now. Don't worry about whether xc3(1)you're good enough, or fast enough, or whether women "don't race" — just get out there on your bike and ride. The idea behind Fat Tire Festival is hidden in the word "festival" — It's a party on your bike. Sure, some people are going to take it seriously and compete, and that's okay. But hopefully, the more relaxed atmosphere and emphasis on fun and festival will get people out on their bikes who normally may have sat on the sidelines.

And That's Where the Women's Clinic Comes in:

Kootenay Mountain Bike Coaching is running a women's clinic which will include a new downhill course at Morning Mountain. The clinics are a great way for women who love to ride gain the confidence they need to really give the sport what it deserves. And, then again, when you attend the clinic, you get $10 off your entry to the Fat Tire Festival downhill...so you're kind of committed at that point.

Kids Clinics

There are also going to be kids clinics happening August 22nd on Morning Mountain, for both ages 5 - 7 and 8 - 12. Kootenay Mountain Bike Coaching is offering them at a discounted rate again this year, so it's a great time to get the kids out on bikes and help them fall in love with the sport at a young age.kids xc(4)

 Fat Tire Festival — Emphasis on Festival

British Columbia is fast becoming known as a capital of sorts for hard core mountain bike competitions. There are more than enough of these around the province all summer long. What the Fat Tire Festival hopes to provide is a celebration for those who love to ride. All ages, all intensity levels, all abilities. All you need is your love of the sport and a festive heart. The party, too, is all ages, all abilities, all welcome! Kids and parents alike taking part and joining in in the party together, showing up and contributing their happy energetic vibe for the good of the sport. That's what it's all about after all.

Volunteers at the Heart

At the core of the Fat Tire Festival are the volunteers. There are no paid positions to the Fat Tire Festival, so without the volunteers, there would be no festival. There are about 50 volunteer positions to be filled for this year's event: At the moment, they are actively looking for course marshals for the events on Sunday at Morning Mountain. Anyone who would like to step up and volunteer, you'll be thanked profusely for your efforts...and, of course, if you volly for more than 4 hours, you get an awesome tee shirt as well!

Speaking of Free Tee Shirts...

Fat Tire Festival really wants to spread the word this year — Far and wide, to get more people to join in the festival parade1(2)and learn about the awesomeness that happens out here each summer. Beyond the borders of Nelson, across the province...perhaps to the outlying mountain bike domains of the Pacific Northwest, the organizers would really like to share the wonder and general awesomeness that is Fat Tire Festival with others who might appreciate it. And so, if you would be so kind as to go to their Facebook group, like it, and share their posts around...you might just win a tee shirt. Every time someone shares one of their posts, in fact, their name goes in for a draw to get a free Scott Dickson designed Fat Tire Festival tee-shirt. We hope to see you on Morning Mountain August 22nd — 24th! *Photo credit for featured image, KM Photography http://bb.nsmb.com/showthread.php?t=135724

Reel Adventures Fishing Report

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Reel Adventures Fishing Report

The Reel Adventures Fishing Report, Nov 4, 2013


Kootenay Lake


Everything seems perfect for fall/winter fishing now!  Our water temperatures are just right.  Our weather has been good.  And our fish are starting to cooperate.
We have had a lot of days with 10 - 15 fish coming to the boat.  Lots of action for our groups.  Still a lot of smaller fish, but the odd big one gets hooked each day to help keep the excitement up.


Rainbows up to 19 Lbs and Dollies up to 12 Lbs have been caught lately.
One of my funnest days in the past couple weeks saw us hook into 17 fish up to 16 lbs.  That was a busy day.  Hope to see more of that action as the season progresses.


My favorite time of year now.  As it should make for some exciting surface action.  Looking forward to some high flying, line screaming, Rainbow trout action for the next couple months....


What are they biting on???


Most of our Rainbows are being caught on the surface now.  Although we have been catching a few on the downriggers still also.  And the dollies have been mostly on the deep lines, but starting to get the odd one on the surface. So, it's been best to cover both angles.


Our bucktail flies have been working well lately.  My best colors have been:  Black/white, grey/white, purple/white, and some brown/orange.  Or lucky numbers:  203, 210, 213, 214, 215, and 224.


Lyman plugs have been catching their share of the action also.  Favorite numbers have been #14, 16, 55, 69, and 100.  Try trolling these on the surface or down to about 100 ft is working as well.


And the good old flasher/hoochie combo has been picking up it's fair share of Dollies. Green seems to be the hot color.  Fishing anywhere from 50 - 120ft.


Definitely my favorite time of year!!  So, let's get out there...


Fishing Derby

  With the first 2 fall fishing derbies down, there is still one remaining before the new year.   Nov 8, 9, 10    -    Kaslo Rainbow Derby  

Good luck to everybody !!


Tight lines....................


Kerry Reed Reel Adventures Sportfishing
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