May 292016
 

We’ve been kayak fishing for early spring smallmouth bass and had pretty good success so far. It’s been windy the past week so we haven’t been able to get out smallmouth bass fishing on the Columbia River, but we’ve had the time to put together a highlight video of the early season fishing. Click on the photo below or CLICK HERE to go to the 2016 Early Spring Smallmouth Bass Fishing on the Columbia River video on the watermanatwork.com website.

Click HERE for 2016 early spring smallmouth bass fishing on the Columbia River at www.watermanatwork.com

The video quality is better at the watermanatwork.com website, but if you want to watch it on YouTube, it’s posted there as well. Click on the video below.

It’s looking like the wind is going to calm down a bit for the next couple days, we are hoping to get out on the Columbia River and do some fishing. We also have a smallmouth bass road trip coming up to stay tuned for a report on that.

May 232016
 

We’ve been out of town for a couple weeks so there haven’t been any posts lately. Don’t worry, we’ll be back on it in a day or two. Kind of windy so it might be a few days before we can get out kayak fishing but we should be able to get some bike riding in.

Sorry for the delay in prime blogging infotainment.

May 082016
 

Summer is getting closer, days are getting longer and warmer so the bike rides are getting longer and deeper into the Cascade Mountains. We’ve been out and about on trails that are way off the beaten path. Most of the trails are far from paved roads and some are not accessible by vehicles of any kind, maybe a motorcycle. You have to ride your bike to the trail because, after all, it is a bike ride. Since the trails are hidden away in the forests of the Cascade Mountains, you can pretty much count on a healthy dose of climbing, it is the mountains.

Trailside creek in the Cascade Mountains

This is an amazing time of year in the Pacific Northwest, plants and trees grow at an amazing rate. Everything is bright green in the springtime sun. We had a wetter than normal winter so there is maximum plant growth. The snow is still melting but some of the seasonal creeks have already dried up and the water level of the Columbia River has already started to drop, so we’ll see what this heavy spring growth will mean at the end of the summer when fire season starts.

Pacific Northwest springtime green

The further into the mountains you go, the more spectacular it gets. Around every corner is a new adventure.

Shady Cascade Mountain road

Also as summer gets closer there are more and more people in the area so we avoid the more well known bike trails, which can get pretty crowded. While riding with a few friends is common around here, many of the weekend cyclists from the local big city think that if riding with a few others is good, riding with ten or twenty people is better. Every weekend there is a caravan of squeaky clean cars with equally clean bikes on them headed to the local trails. It’s easy to find the trailheads by following the trail of empty coffee cups and fast food garbage on the side of the road. The trailheads themselves are marked with more trash, piles of dog shit, human feces and wads of toilet paper. We’ve taken a few people out on local trails, to thank us for this, they put the trail all over the internet, now the trails are full of weekend warriors. Mountain bike tour “companies” run shuttles and herd tours on nearly every area trail, including trails on private property where they don’t have permission to do so. What this means is more closed trails in the future.

To avoid all this, we head into the forest. These trails are locals only. No internet, no Strava, no inviting your buddy from Portland. If you want to do that, there are plenty of other trails to ride. All we want do do is ride bikes, not be part of a club or association that feels it is their place to turn forest trails into bike paths. We’re not saying people can’t ride here, they just have to find the trails, just like we did.

Hopefully, there will always be another trail to find. As long as there might be, we will keep on looking and doing just enough trail work to keep the trail open. Nature has a way of doing most of this work for us. We found this old abandoned logging road on our last ride. My legs did not have any more climbing left in them so we had to leave exploring this road for another time.

Abandoned logging road

The forest isn’t the only place things are growing out of control; you can actually watch the grass/weeds in the yard growing so I have to get out there and do some yard work before I need a machete to get to the front door.

May 022016
 

We got a short couple days break in the notorious Gorge wind and we were able to get out for a little kayak fishing on the Columbia River. The wind is still blowing, but for a couple days it calmed down just before sunrise before cranking up again in the early afternoon. Smallmouth bass are not the kind of fish you have to be on the water at sunrise for, but the way the weather has been, you have to go when the wind is calm and that is only in the early morning.

Columbia River Gorge at sunrise

The Columbia River water level had dropped a few feet overnight so the river currents were quite a bit less powerful as they have been, but whenever there is a dramatic drop in the river water, the fish tend to be less likely to bite. We did not venture too far out into the main river channel because the strong east wind comes up quickly and strong. Paddling upstream on a big river like the Columbia against a strong wind is not fun so we stuck to the more sheltered areas.

Columbia River kayak fishing

The drop in the river water level may have scattered the bass, but they are still there. The key to smallmouth bass fishing is to keep searching until you find the fish. We did not catch any really big fish the past couple times out, but more and more of the one pounders that are the most abundant during the summer months.

Columbia River smallmouth bass

Looks like another spell of windy conditions so we are back on smallmouth bass standby for a few days.

May 022016
 

We were out and about on some of the more remote sections of PacNW singletrack, checking out trail conditions and doing a little trail maintenance. These trails do not see a lot of traffic so they are a little rough around the edges compared to the more traveled and widely advertised “name brand” trails seen on the internet. We prefer the trails on the “natural” side so there’s not a lot of fine grooming. The hoofed animals like elk and deer do most of the work.

Remote PacNW singletrack

This trail is shared with motorcycles and horses so it’s pretty rocky and rough. Reminds me of the rocky bike trails of central Texas Hill Country.

Rocky Cascade Mountain bike trail

What these trails lack in “flow”, they make up for with real adventure and spectacular scenery

Mt. Adams

Days are getting longer and the weather is getting nicer, time to start heading out for some long day bike rides!

Apr 282016
 

The early spring wind is howling here in the Columbia River Gorge so kayak fishing has been put on hold for a few more days. Time to get on the bike and head for the hills for a little mountain bike riding. This is a nice time of year in the PacNW, everything is turning green at an amazing rate. Since we had a wetter than average winter we are having an exceptional plant growth explosion. There are plenty of spring flowers along the remote trails of the Cascade Mountain foothills.

Mountain bike riding in the Cascade Mountain foothills

The spring flowers aren’t the only plants that are growing full blast, there is also an abundance of the dreaded poison oak. The wet winter has made for a bumper crop of this toxic trailside plant. You want to avoid this stuff at all costs.

Poison oak

There are a lot of designated mountain bike trails in Oregon and Washington, you can check any of the many mountain bike websites. These trails get more and more crowded every year; some of them are more like urban bicycle paths than trails in the woods. We ride mountain bikes to get away from the crowd, not follow it around in a mountain bike conga line, so we tend to head for the more remote trails that do not show up on the internet. We post photos to inspire people to go riding, but do not reveal the exact locations of these places. We found them, so can you, it’s part of the experience.

Remote trail in the Cascade foothills

There are literally thousands of miles of trails and old roads in the Pacific Northwest to discover. Instead of following the herd, learn how to read a map and find a trail or two for yourself.

Spring mountain bike riding in the Pacific Northwest

We are using another windy day to do some bike maintenance, worn out brakes when you ride in the mountains is not a good thing. We’ve also received the replacement camera for our dead GoPro so we will be having a look at it and post a review and information about it in the near future.

Apr 212016
 

Early season smallmouth bass fishing can be hit and miss until the most of the fish start moving as the water gets warmer. You may only catch a couple bass, but the odds are they will be the bigger and more aggressive fish. While a trophy smallmouth can be caught any time during the year, the early season “pre-spawn” and “spawning” phases of a smallmouth bass’s life are the best time to catch a big one and can result in some great smallmouth bass fishing.

Yesterday, the forecast was for a relatively windy day so it was not even sure we’d be fishing. The wind was calm before sunrise, so we decided to take a chance and at least get a few hours of fishing in before the wind came up. The river is running high with strong currents in places so even a moderate amount of wind would make kayak fishing more difficult. With strong winds forecast for the next few days and the fishing getting better every day, it might be the last fishing for a few days, so we headed out and arrived on the river with a light east wind. Things started out slowly until I picked up a medium size bass but it was looking like we would have to cover some ground and hopefully, find the fish before the wind picked up. The fishing remained slow for the next hour or so as we tried out the spots that usually produce fish without much success. The wind picked up a little then suddenly went calm and it turned into a perfect day for kayak fishing. As the kayaking conditions improved, so did our luck in finding the bass. I got a big hit fishing a grub near a downed tree and hooked a nice sized fish that immediately took to the air.

Columbia River smallmouth bass fishing

It was a nice fish, might have been the biggest fish of the year so far. After releasing the fish, I cast the grub back in the same general vicinity and got another huge hit and had another fish on. I could tell that this fish was even bigger than the one I just caught, but this smallie headed for the bottom. I worked it to the surface and could see it was a big fish, but at that very instant, the bass threw the lure and got away! A couple more casts but the magic was gone, so I moved to another spot. I was still kind of thinking of the one that just got away when I got another big hit and I could tell that this was a really nice fish. The fish made several runs for the bottom and tried swimming into the nearby trees but I managed to get the fish to the surface and could see that this was a huge snallmouth bass. I think it tried to jump but it may have been too big. I tired it out, grabbed it and lifted it into the kayak.

Big Columbia River smallmouth bass

This smallmouth bass is easily the biggest fish of the year so far and could easily wind up being the biggest smallmouth of the year. This fish is probably in the 5-6 pound, 21 inch range. Once smallmouth bass get close to twenty inches long, they may only grow another inch or two, but they get “chunkier”; this bass was pretty chunky. Exactly what we are looking for when we get out there for early spring smallmouth bass fishing.

Big Columbia River smallmouth bass

We’ve got this great day of smallmouth bass fishing on video, so we will probably do an early spring smallmouth bass fishing video but we’ll probably go a couple more times and see if we can get more trophy bass. One of our GoPro cameras bit the dust so we have to deal with that but as soon as these windy days pass, we are back out there, for sure.

Apr 192016
 

The weather has been pretty nice and the wind has remained calm which has allowed us to get out early this spring to do some smallmouth bass fishing on the Columbia River. The water is still on the cold side and due to the spring rain and melting snow from the local mountains, the water level is very high, which is the exact opposite condition from last year’s extra dry winter. The bass fishing was relatively poor last spring so we are hoping the return of more normal water levels will result in better fishing. The high water levels mean that the flow of the river can be very fast and strong in spots and there are dangerous currents and whirlpools that kayak fishermen need to be aware of because you can get into trouble very quickly when the conditions are like this. The biggest factor this time of the year, as usual, is the wind.

Kayak fishing on the Columbia River

The game plan is simple; keep looking until you find the fish. If you find where the bass are hanging out, stick around until they stop biting, then start looking again. This time of the season, you have to cover some river to find the fish. So far, we’ve had the best success and caught the biggest bass, fishing lead head grubs off the bottom. We’ve had a few hits on crankbaits, but keep going back to the plastics.

Kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River

The bass fishing is picking up as the water gets warmer. The early moving fish are a little larger than normal size bass and are hard fighters.

Columbia River smallmouth bass

The water level in the Columbia River is going to start dropping as spring turns into summer and the wind is always a factor so you have to keep on top of the conditions to get the best fishing. Looks like a few windy days coming up so we will probably have to put the kayak fishing on hold for a while.

Apr 092016
 

The smallmouth bass were nowhere to be found last week, but we had much better luck this time around. It’s still pretty early in the season, so at this time of year, you may not catch many fish, might not catch any at all, but if you do find the fish, they are bigger than your average bass. The water in the Columbia River is warming up to the point where bass will start moving. The water level in the Columbia River is governed by the huge dams, the “pools” between dams is just like a big bathtub. When the water level change is sudden, the smallmouth bass don’t seem to bite as well, but it looks like the smallmouth fishing should be picking up for the spring.

Columbia River smallmouth bass kayak fishing

It was a beautiful early spring day in the Columbia River Gorge, calm wind, sunny and warm. Still plenty of snow in the nearby mountains and the river water is still cold.

Kayak fishing on the Columbia River

I fished for a few hours without much success, so while I was heading in I decided to try one last stop. It was worth it because I caught the first fish of the year, a decent size smallmouth plus bass number two and bass number three were bigger! Always nice to know the fish are still there.

Columbia River smallmouth bass fishing

We think the smallmouth bass fishing will start picking up, especially in the shallow sections of the river near drop-offs. It’s a good time to try for that trophy bass.

Apr 032016
 

Today was one of the big spring cycling classics, the Ronde van Vlaanderen, or Tour of Flanders in the Flanders region of Belgium. This is one of professional cycling’s “monuments”, along with next weekend’s Paris-Roubaix, are two of European bicycle racing’s cobbled classics, named after the ancient cobblestone roads, or pave, the cyclists must negotiate during the course of the race. These races are huge in Belgium and the rest of Europe, every professional cyclist dreams of winning one of these legendary races. Today’s race was the 100th edition of the Tour of Flanders. It was an exciting race, filled with drama, won by Peter Sagan over Fabian Cancellara and Sep Vanmarcke.

We got up at 5:00AM to watch the race live on the internet and it was totally worth it. After the race was over, the sun had come up, it was getting warmer and we just had to go for a bike ride. We are starting to get into a little better shape, still have plenty of excess winter poundage to burn off, but the rides are getting a little longer every day. When you live in the mountains, there are hardly any flat roads, so when you’re out of shape you can’t go to far, so there’s plenty of incentive to get off the couch and on the bike.

A view of Mt. Adams from a farm road in the Cascade Mountain foothills

The pear trees in the Hood River valley are in bloom, all next week should be quite spectacular. There is nothing quite like it. In the span of a couple weeks, the valley goes from bright green, to pure white and back to green again. With the snow capped Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams in the distance, there really is no place else like it.

Hood River valley pear orchards with Mt. Hood in the distance

There will be some great bike riding in the next week or so and we are hoping the smallmouth bass fishing will start to heat up so keep checking in for more good stuff.