May 222015

We managed to get a relatively calm day in what has been a somewhat windy spring, not that unusual in one of the windiest spots in North America, so we headed out on the Columbia River looking for those big springtime smallmouth bass. The fishing for smallmouth bass has been very slow this spring and we may have gotten a glimpse of why that is happening. We did manage to catch a couple very small bass, but what we caught mostly were northern pikeminnows. I should have signed up for the pikeminnow catch reward program because I would have made $30.

Northern pikeminnow

What caught our attention more than anything was how low the water was in the Columbia River. It was the lowest I’d ever seen it, even lower than at the end of a normal summer. The water level at this time of year is usually the highest of the season due to melting snow and springtime rain. With the water level this low, it’s possible that the usual smallmouth bass spawning areas are now dry land and the smallmouth’s spring spawning behavior has been interrupted. This is not good news for the smallmouth bass population. We did not see any evidence of smallmouth bass in any of the areas where, during a normal year, they would be found in large numbers. It is likely that the fish are already in the deeper parts of the river where they would normally hang out to hide from the midsummer heat.

Not only have the smallmouth bass disappeared, but the low water level means the water is going to warm up more quickly than normal and the plants and weeds that choke the shallow sections of the Columbia are going to appear much earlier in the season. We saw patches of vegetation already starting to grow in the river shallows. Due to the numerous dams on the Columbia River, it’s hard to say if the low water is temporary or is going to get lower as the dry part of the year approaches. We live in a relatively rainy part of the Columbia River Gorge, it is much dryer to the east so it’s hard to imagine that the river east of here is full of water. We’ve all read and heard about the severe drought in the western United States, here in the Cascade Mountains we have less than 10% of normal snow pack, which means we are probably going to have some kind of water shortages. If this is the situation here in one of the rainiest parts of the country, then places like California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas may be in for what could be the biggest water crisis in the nation’s history. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen and the weather could change at any time, but from what we are seeing, there is real cause for concern.

May 042015

I’m on the road taking care of some personal business so the blog entries are coming kind of slow. I should be back on the water shortly and hoping to be catching some of those big early season smallmouth bass.

Apr 212015

The weather is much nicer than “normal” this time of year, but the fish haven’t gotten the message that it’s time to start moving. There were a number of bass fisherman out looking for those first smallmouth bass of 2015, but as they say, there was a lot of fishing and not much catching. The water is warm enough and there are smaller fish around, fish that large smallmouth bass should be eating this time of year, but no sign of bass anywhere.

Early season smallmouth bass fishing on the Columbia River

Experienced smallmouth bass fishermen know that early spring is when you catch the big ones and they are going to start biting any day now so we are anxious to get out fishing this time of year. It is also the time of year for unpredictable and quickly changing weather so you have to get out on the river when you can. Looks like a few days of wind, so no fishing, but we are hoping to get back out there as soon as possible.

Apr 062015

As the record dry and warm spring in the PacNW continues, we were able to start the 2015 fishing season a couple weeks earlier than usual. It was a calm, sunny and mild day today and we were able to get out on the Columbia River to see if the smallmouth bass were starting to move. I don’t think the fish got the news about the mild spring weather because I did not catch a single fish, nor did I see any signs of smallmouth bass activity. The water temp in the main channel was about 53°F, that’s still a little cold for the bass to start moving.

First 2015 fishing trip

I think it will be a couple more weeks before we are able to get the bass to start biting. Looks like alternating wind and rain for the next few days, but if we get a calm day or two, I think we might try for a spring chinook or steelhead. The odds of catching a springer this far up the Columbia are pretty slim, but if you are going to paddle all day and not catch anything, you might as well go after something big. We’ll be catching plenty of smallmouth bass soon enough.

Meanwhile, the work on the mobile website continues. We are making good progress. Once the mobile site is up, we will probably tweak the pages and get back to one website that works on all devices.

Mar 232015

The regular late winter/early spring showers are back for a few days, but the weather overall continues to be very mild for this time of year. You won’t hear this very often from someone who lives in the PacNW in March, but we could use the rain. The water levels of rivers and lakes around here are very low and there isn’t much of a snowpack this year. As of today, we only have 7% of our usual average snowpack. That is not good news because water has to come from somewhere, and around here, when it’s not raining, it comes from melted snow.

Anyway, the mild late winter weather is making us think that it’s going to be an early start to the fishing season, so we are starting to get the fishing gear ready to go. A good way to spend a rainy day indoors is to clean up all those fishing reels. I’m not a believer in expensive fishing gear, I try to get good fishing tackle at a reasonable price. The thing with less expensive fishing reels is that you have to do regular maintenance on them to keep them working smoothly. The fishing tackle used for kayak fishing tends to get banged around and dunked in the water a bit more frequently, so at least once a year, I take the fishing reels apart, clean them up and re-lube them with waterproof silicone grease. That’s enough to keep them working smoothly for an entire season of fishing.

Cleaning and re-lubing the fishing reels

First up are the reels we use for smallmouth bass and trout; a few light spinning reels and a baitcaster or two. Taking care of fishing reels is pretty straightforward and easy to do. All you do is take them apart, making sure you pay attention to how the parts fit so you can put it back together, clean them with alcohol so you don’t damage plastic parts, re-grease them(I use Slickoleum, a lightweight, waterproof, silicone grease) and put them back together. If you do it correctly, you shouldn’t have any parts left over and the reel will work just as good as when it was new.

In a week or so, we’ll be getting the kayak out of the garage and checking it out to make sure it is ready to go. We have to fix a crack on the deck and a few scratches on the hull along with the usual pre-season kayak checkup, so stay tuned for that.

Work is still continuing on the mobile website. We have a lot of it done but it’s a time consuming process, but it won’t be long before the website will work flawlessly on any digital device.

Mar 042015

Steve from Amphibian USA has sent us some his Spex Amphibious eyewear. A hybrid of sunglasses and goggles, these action sports oriented glasses look perfect for active watersports like kayaking, rafting, SUP, sailboarding and kiteboarding.

Amphibian USA Spex eyewear

The frames are soft and comfortable on your face and are held in place by an adjustable, replaceable neoprene strap and come in a variety of colors. The easily interchangeable and replaceable lenses come in a number of tints as well as clear. There are polarized lenses which are perfect for water oriented sports. The lenses are optically correct, block 100% of UVA and UVB light and are scratch resistant. If you wear contact lenses, Spex eyewear will keep water and dirt out of your eyes. The glasses float, which is a big plus, especially if you’ve ever lost a pair of $100 designer glasses over the side.

We are looking forward to using these glasses as soon as we get back out in the kayak. The way the weather has been going here in the PacNW, that shouldn’t be too long. Check out the different Spex colors and lenses and get ready for another season on the water.

Feb 212015

It’s the middle of winter here and the excitement level is not exactly at a fever pitch right now but things are happening. If you are a regular visitor to this blog or the website, you know that there are a lot of photos and videos and not a lot of text. Unfortunately, the big photos and video do not work well with four inch mobile phones, so we are designing the website to work perfectly on mobile devices. This takes a lot of mind-numbing computer coding where a single character out of place causes big problems, so it’s taking a little time. mobile website

Not much going on here this time of year; the weather is usually rain and 40°F and there’s not much snow in the mountains, so we are parked in front of the computer working on the new mobile website. Once we get the new mobile website finished, we can get back to the photos and videos that need to be edited and uploaded. Even if it seems like nothing is happening, there is, it just takes a little time before you can see the results.

Feb 042015

Since fishing kayaks are fairly expensive, you may want to know how long a kayak is going to last. Even if you don’t keep the kayak yourself for five or ten years, it’s important to know how durable a kayak is as far as resale value goes if you choose to sell it.

When I got my Hobie Quest fishing kayak in 2005, I had already been kayak fishing for a few years so I knew what I wanted in a kayak. I started fishing out of the Quest on the Pacific Ocean and later, on the rivers and lakes of the Pacific Northwest. When conditions permitted, I would go kayak fishing whenever I could, often two or three times a week. When I go fishing, whether the fish are biting or not, I like to fish all day; on the water before sunrise and in as it gets dark, so the kayak has seen more than average use. I like to find the not easily accessed and more remote areas, so it’s only a small part of the time where I am launching from a ramp or beach.

Click HERE for the Hobie Quest review after ten years of fishing

We did a video review of how the Hobie Quest has held up under ten years of solid fishing use in some of the more rugged conditions a kayak fisherman is likely to find. Click HERE or on the photo above to check out the video.

The editing team is hard at work and there will be more videos up on the website shortly, so keep checking in.

Jan 182015

It looks like the maintenance on our servers is complete and we are back in business. Seems a little slow to me, but hopefully they will get things dialed in.

Thanks for your patience.

Jan 132015

The website servers will be down for maintenance on January 17, 2014 at 6:00PM PST. This maintenance will take about twelve hours and both the website and this blog will be offline.

Sorry for the downtime, but you know, computers.