Kayak fishing for salmon and steelhead continues on the Columbia River. The weather has been favorable for kayak fishing and the fish are here. Unfortunately, the good fishing and nice weather have really brought out the crowds. Fishing spots are packed with boats making for tough fishing. Some of these guys are real jerks; crossing lines, hitting other boats and ruining everyone’s day. Some guys really don’t know what they are doing. Running downriggers in 20′ of water as you plow through the flotilla snagging fishing lines and anchor ropes is not the way to catch fish. The past few days the fish don’t seem to be biting as well, fishermen are frustrated and testy, not fun at all.
While the herd mentality rules most of the fishing spots, there are ways to get around that kind of situation, especially in a kayak which is more maneuverable and can go into more shallow areas. There are different techniques that can be used to catch salmon and steelhead; understand the conditions and fish accordingly. We weren’t catching anything using the usual method of fishing prawns while anchored so we switched over to moving around to more shallower areas that the fish move over while casting lures that we know work for steelhead and salmon. We started getting hit right away. I was kind of suprised to hook into a big smallmouth bass while casting a plug that we usually use for salmon. This may be the biggest smallmouth bass I’ve ever caught in the Columbia River, at a place that I never fish for smallmouth bass!
Fishing for salmon and steelhead is hot and cold; sometimes you get ‘em and sometimes you don’t. It can be frustrating to see huge fish jumping all around you and not get a single bite. Or the guy next to you catching one fish after another and you don’t get anything even though you are doing exactly the same thing. You have to realize that if you keep at it, sometimes you will be the guy catching the fish. That’s the way fishing for trophy fish is, either you get something big or you might get nothing.
We’ve had a few days where we didn’t get anything big, but then again we’ve had days that make it all worthwhile. This day, it was clear the bite was not that hot. Even though there were at least fifty boats on the scene, I only saw a couple fish boated and a shore fisherman catch one. I caught that big bass and had a number of hits, but no steelhead or salmon. I started to paddle in and decided to try one more cast. I got a huge hit and immediately knew it was a big fish. This fish towed my 13’6″ kayak in a couple big circles before I got it close enough to the kayak to see that it was a big steelhead.
After a lengthly battle, the fish tired out and I got it closer to the kayak. It was a beautiful native steelhead, easily the biggest steelhead I have ever caught.
This fish was at least twenty pounds, maybe closer to twenty five, not exactly sure because, as a wild fish, I unhooked and released it without taking it out of the water. I did get video of this great steelhead battle so that will be coming up on the watermanatwork.com website soon. I took today off from fishing because I put a treble hook through my finger and it’s a little sore, but the upcoming week’s weather forecast looks good for kayak fishing so we are going to be out there every day.
Stay tuned for more kayak fishing action!