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PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2015 1:37 pm 
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Thanks to the record warm and dry spring we've had here in the PacNW, we were able to get out on the water and see what was going on. It turns out the water is still a bit too cold for the smallmouth bass to be actively biting(you can catch them all year, but it's really slow in the winter) and we don't get the numbers of spring chinook salmon that they get closer to the ocean, so the fishing was a little slow.

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We might have a go at some late winter steelhead, which are also kind of hard to catch, or maybe head east where the smallmouth bass and walleye fishing may be a little better. It will only be a week or two before the smallmouth bass moving. You want to get on them early in the season because, at first, you may not catch many fish, but the ones you catch are usually pretty big. As the water warms up, the small and medium sized fish will start biting.

It remains to be seen how the extremely low snow pack(less than 10% of normal) is going to affect the water levels in the rivers and lakes around here. By the middle of summer, I think we are going to see very low water levels which will definitely impact the fishing.

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 Post subject: Smallmouth Bass Fishing
PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2015 2:36 pm 
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This time of year is usually a good time to fish for big smallmouth bass. This year is going to be a little different. I'm sure everyone has been hearing about "the drought" in the western United States, now we are already seeing some early signs of what it's going to be like. There is less than 10% of the normal snowpack in the Cascade Mountains this year, that's where most of our water comes from. Don't have to be a scientist to figure out what that means; less water, a lot less water. We've been out a few times looking for early season smallmouth bass and couldn't help but notice how low the water level in the Columbia River is for this time of year. Many of the normal smallmouth bass spawning areas are dry land this year. The water level is as low or lower now than it usually is at the end of summer. It's a cause for concern and the fishing has been suffering because of it.

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Even though it's only the beginning of June, the bass are already hanging out in the late summer spots making them a lot harder to find and catch. Having knowledge of the local waters and figuring out that it's time to start using those proven late summer lures, we managed to land a couple respectable smallmouth bass along with a bunch of smaller fish.

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It's going to be a challenging year for the big smallmouth bass fishing. We have an idea where the fishing may be a little better so we are going to hit the road and see if we can find out where the big ones are hiding.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:13 pm 
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The smallmouth bass fishing here in the Columbia River Gorge has been a little slow due to low water so we headed up to a "can't miss" smallmouth bass fishery; the John Day River. This is one of the best smallmouth bass spots in the United States, if you can't catch smallmouth bass here, you might as well give up fishing.

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This time around the fishing was really hot. The fishing itself was a bit below typical John Day expectations, but the weather for early June was unseasonably hot. Most people associate the PacNW with rain and snow, but it gets hot here as well. Usually, this kind of weather shows up around late August, but it's here now; not sure what that means for the rest of the year. We got out early on the river to beat the heat, even at sunrise it was about 80°. 80°, dead glass and plenty of bass ready to bite; worth getting up early for.

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You can catch fifty or more pounds of smallmouth bass a day on the John Day, usually a half pound or pound at a time. There are bigger bass in the river, you have to know where to find them and how to get them to bite. Smallmouth bass are great fighters, especially on light tackle. Catching hard fighting one pound bass all day while hoping for that twenty incher is not a bad day of fishing.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 7:35 pm 
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Heading out for a day of smallmouth bass fishing in the Columbia River Gorge

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Weather is beautiful

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Things are kind of dry, fishing is challenging, but a kayak puts gets you into the nooks and crannies...

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2015 8:36 am 
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The hot, dry and windy conditions have been making things tough on the fishing. Due to the drought conditions, there are now fishing restrictions on some Oregon rivers. We managed to get one day that was not so windy and got lucky with finding the smallmouth bass.

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The fishing has been slower than normal due to the weather, but steelhead and salmon fishing season is right around the corner...

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2015 10:04 am 
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After a dry and hot summer where the fishing was really slow, the start of the salmon fishing season is a welcome event. Got lucky right out of the gate with a nice Chinook salmon and steelhead on the first day of salmon fishing.

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The next time out, the fishing was not as good, but I hooked and fought a huge wild Chinook salmon right before sunrise. I release wild salmon, especially early in the season, because the wild fish are the ones you want to spawn successfully if you want to keep salmon fishing. The fish was too big to fit into my net, but no problem releasing it; the salmon broke one of the lure's treble hooks and straightened out the other one and swam away. I was lucky enough to get one more nice Chinook on a tough fishing day.

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Not sure how things are going to go this year. The weather and water levels have been tough on the fish and with more and more people fishing for salmon every season, the fish quotas are exceeded very quickly. Got to get out there every day you can.

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 Post subject: Salmon Fishing
PostPosted: Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:50 pm 
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Salmon fishing season in full swing

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Eat, sleep, fish

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 22, 2015 9:50 am 
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The good salmon and steelhead fishing continues. The only thing keeping the salmon off the stringer are the days when it's too windy to get out there.

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Had a good day and caught a large Chinook salmon and a personal best steelhead which was almost as big.

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The fish counts are already dropping so we are feeling the need to get out there every day we can. Last year was a record year for salmon, don't think we are going to see a repeat of that this year.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2015 5:40 pm 
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It's pretty clear we are not going to have another season like last year's unbelievable run, but we're out there whenever we can because salmon season does not last all year.

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2015 9:19 am 
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The chinook salmon have pretty much passed by on their annual trip to Idaho and the coho salmon have arrived to take their place. Overall, the fishing has slowed down but if you keep trying and don't let a poor fishing day prevent you from getting back on it right away, you will get fish.

This big coho snapped my fishing rod like a twig but I still managed to get it netted and on the stringer. What kind of fishing pole do you use for salmon fishing? In this case, a three footer with no action.

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Getting colder and the leaves are turning autumn colors. Got to get out there every day you can.

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 Post subject: The End is Near
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 8:22 am 
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The salmon fishing season is just about over in this part of the Columbia River basin. The Chinook salmon are spawned out and there aren't many Coho this year, so the fishing is getting tough. The conditions, except for the catching fish thing, are pretty good.

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There are still a few fish left. It may take a few days of fishing to catch one, but in a month or so, you'll be wishing you went fishing one more time.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2015 8:15 am 
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The fall salmon run tailing off combined with some unfortunate water and weather conditions have brought an end to the 2015 kayak salmon fishing season. It was tough to readjust to a more normal salmon run after last year's record fish counts, but we had a pretty good season. The weather, for the most part, was pretty nice this fall which made the fishing enjoyable and easier to get up at 4:00 AM every morning.

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This year, we caught mostly Chinook salmon, the coho were few and far between. Even caught a personal best steelhead, a fish that is pretty hard to catch around here. The spot we usually fish at has a lot of native fish that must be released so we released at least as many wild fish as hatchery fish that we were able to keep.

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We were lucky enough to stock up the freezer with salmon.

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The only thing left of the salmon fishing season is to enjoy the fish that we caught and look forward to next season.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 01, 2015 5:37 pm 
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Ronbo613,

Enjoyed your photos and gentle notes from a stunningly scenic and exotic-to-me part of the world. Hope water levels recover next season and that you take the time to post again.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 10:20 am 
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Lead Belly wrote:
Ronbo613,

Enjoyed your photos and gentle notes from a stunningly scenic and exotic-to-me part of the world. Hope water levels recover next season and that you take the time to post again.


This is a beautiful part of the continental United States and a great place to go kayak fishing.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 10, 2016 10:55 am 
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The long Pacific NW winter is finally over. The sun is making regular appearances and the water is warming up, which means it' time for smallmouth bass fishing. The odds of catching spring Chinook salmon are pretty slim around here this time of year so it's a better bet to go after the big pre-spawn smallmouth. The bass fishing has been a bit slow, still very early in the season, but the big bass are the first to move around so you want to be there when they do.

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This time of year you may catch some of the biggest bass of the year, but you probably won't catch a lot of them. The smaller fish won't be active for another couple weeks. It's hunting for the trophy fish time of year, I got pretty lucky with a couple nice fish to start the 2016 smallmouth bass fishing season.

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