Dec 022020

We’ve had a pretty good run of favorable weather and good kayak fishing on the Colorado River for the past few weeks, but the winter desert wind has made it’s appearance with a week of 15-20 mph wind nearly every day with at least another week of strong winds in the forecast. With the COVID pandemic worsening, we are not anxious to go into town at all, so we are hanging out in the desert until the wind dies down, catching up on computer work and going for a few bike rides.

Before the wind came up, we did manage to sneak out before the wind picked up, usually in the late morning, and get a bit more of some good kayak fishing for largemouth bass. The fishing at night as been as good as during the day. It’s too bad it’s windy because we are missing a week or more of night fishing with the full moon. I didn’t catch any big fish, but did catch a few decent fish before sunrise.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

By the time the sun began to rise in the eastern desert hills, I had already caught a few nice largemouth bass on a day where the wind was predicted to be marginal for kayak fishing. We took a gamble, especially since the fishing had been so good, and it paid off.

Kayak fishing on the Colorado River before sunrise

Largemouth bass are not the only fish in the Colorado River. This aggressive sunfish hit a plastic worm that’s only a couple inches smaller than him.

An aggressive Colorado River sunfish caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The Colorado River fish live in these backwater patches of reeds and bushes. The reeds float on top of the water, providing plenty of cover for the fish. We can only hope to catch the fish at the edges of these reeds. A kayak can get into these patches of reeds, but the water is shallow and the fish are easily spooked.

Backwater reeds in the Colorado River provide fish with cover

Conditions were good until the wind picked up. The fishing seemed to be tapering off somewhat, but we still caught a few nice, hard fighting largemouth bass.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River with

All we can do now is look at the photos and videos from a few weeks of great kayak fishing on the Colorado River and hope the windy conditions go away quickly so we can get back out there.

Sunrise over the Colorado River 11-23-20

We have all our camera gear back online again and we are ready to go so check back soon for more kayak fishing action!

Nov 202020

With calm wind and mild weather, we have been having some great kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River. Not to say the fish have been jumping in the kayak. The largemouth bass fishing has been challenging, to say the least. One or two fish for a long day of fishing would have to be considered successful when the fish you do catch are big fish.

With the best wind conditions early in the morning, we’ve been doing a bit of night fishing. There has been a fantastic celestial show with a number of planets and shooting stars. There is enough starlight to see once your eyes get used to the darkness. The fishing has been about as good at night as it is during the day and we’ve caught some nice largemouth bass before sunrise.

Nice Colorado River largemouth bass caught at night by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The night and early mornings are great times to be out in the desert. It’s even better when you are out on the water in the desert in the early morning.

Early morning before sunrise on the Colorado River

The fishing has also been pretty good right around sunrise. Some nice largmouth bass have been caught just as the sun peeks over the low desert hills.

Early morning Colorado River largemouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

Even if it’s the only largemouth bass in the lake that’s willing to bite, you have to find it. Especially if it’s a big one.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River with

Just after sunrise and before the wind picks up, the kayak fishing conditions can be just about perfect. The water is unaturally clear and cold because it comes from the bottom of a reservoir. The cold water may be the cause of the challenging fishing.

Perfect kayak fishing conditions on the lower Colorado River

As the wind picks up and the desert sun starts to heat things up, fishing our way back to the launch and famous “one last cast” fishing technique has resulted in a few nice bass.

Nice Colorado River largemouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The wind has picked up and a couple of our cameras have taken a dump so we need to head into town to pick up some new gear. We’ve got more video from all the big bass fishing from the last week or so and there’s always more kayak fishing action coming up so check back soon.

Nov 092020

We’ve settled into the desert southwest kayak fishing camp and have been kayak fishing every possible day since arriving. With everything that’s happened and everything that probably is going to happen, we aren’t wasting a single potential fishing day and treating every single day the the last day on earth.

Thankfully, after windy summer on the Columbia River, the weather here on the Colorado River has been just about perfect for kayak fishing. With calm winds and moderate temperatures, an early start to the day’s fishing is the way to go.

Colorado River sunrise

The fishing for largemouth bass was pretty good when we first started fishing and caught some nice fish even before the sun came up.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught at sunrise by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The weather ranged from hot, sunny days to overcast and mild, but the wind stayed calm making for perfect kayak fishing conditions.

Overcast sunrise over the Colorado River

The fishing was typical for this spot. You usually don’t catch a lot of bass here, but the fish you manage to catch are usually pretty good size.

Nice Colorado River largemouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish
Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River with

With nice weather and calm wind at night, we were able to do some night fishing under the full moon.

Kayak fishing under a full moon on the Colorado River

We caught a few largemouth bass at night, but the fishing was slowing down a bit, so no big fish like we caught last year. The season is just starting though.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught at night by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The best time for fishing seemed to be in the early morning with the full moon and rising sun.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River with

The weather and kayaking conditions remined perfect, but the fishing started to slow down, probably due to rapidly fluctuation river water levels.

Perfect kayak fishing conditions on the Colorado River

Even though the bass were not exactly jumping in the kayak, we managed to get a few nice largemouth bass. With fishing like this, one or two really nice fish can make a great day.

Nice Colorado River largemouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

With the fishing that was good a week ago starting to stall out, we headed to some other spots on the river to see if the fishing was any better. Not much of a launch beach, but if the river is higher or lower, you can’t launch at all.

Colorado River kayak fishing launch

The fishing wasn’t that great here either so we headed to try one last spot. Turns out that was a very good decision.

Nov 092020

With the fishing being generally slow, we started fishing at places that we normally don’t fish, looking in every nook and cranny for a hiding largemouth bass. Another early start on a beautiful desert southwest morning.

Colorado River sunrise

In a spot we’ve paddled past all the time, we had the best few days of big time largemouth bass fishing in a long time. From sunrise until about ten o’clock, the fishing action was pretty much non-stop.

Nice Colorado River largemouth bass caught at sunrise by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

We weren’t the only ones taking advantage of the great fishing.

Fishing birds on the Colorado River

The largemouth bass fishing was great with most fish over two pounds.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River with
Nice Colorado River largemouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The wind picked up and made kayak fishing conditions on the questionable side but we decided, because the fishing had been so good, to try for an early morning session before the wind really picked up to double digits, a headwind paddling back to the launch. We paddled to the windy fishing spot and increasing clouds at sunrise.

Windy and overcast Colorado River sunrise

Hitting it early for one more try really paid off this time because shortly after arriving at the spot just before sunrise, I caught this nice largemouth bass after a long battle.

Nice Colorado River largemouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

Just a few minutes later, just a short distance away, another big hit, great fight and another nice largemouth bass was in the kayak.

Nice Colorado River largemouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The early morning action continued.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River with

In the race with the rising wind, I managed one more nice bass before we had to head back to the launch.

Nice Colorado River largemouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

We caught a lot of big largemouth bass, but the biggest one probably got away. A big fish straightened the hook on this jig head and got away. After that, I started using a little heavier duty lead head.

Chewed fishing lure

By the time we returned to camp, the wind was blowing nearly twenty miles per hour and a few scattered storm cells moved through the area.

Rainbow from a passing desert rain storm

A great week of kayak fishing for largemouth bass that is going to be tough to beat, but as soon as the wind dies, we’ll be back on the water. Check back soon for more kayak fishing action!

Oct 262020

We had a safe and uneventful trip from the headquarters in the Pacific Northwest to the sunny desert southwest and the lower Colorado River. The hot summer desert temperatures were lingering well into October with temperatures reaching into the mid to high 90’s. Like our home in the Columbia River Gorge, everything here is subdued to the COVID pandemic and restrictions. There are noticeably less “snowbirds” and RVers in the area, although that may change as winter sets in. Like everywhere else in the country, there is a sense that there is going to be trouble following the upcoming elections, so who knows how long the fishing trip is going to last?

In order to save trips from the desert into town to use increasing limited public WiFi, I’m posting this using my mobile phone. When I process video with the laptop computer, there will be additonal content, but now we are just getting going.

After a summer of endless Columbia Gorge wind that limited the smallmouth bass fishing, we arrived on the Colorado River to warm weather and calm winds.

Kayak fishing at sunrise on the Colorado River

The fishing for largemouth bass has been pretty good. For the first week of kayak fishing with excellent fishing conditions, I averaged between two and three bass a day. That doesn’t sound like much, but the bass were all two pounds or better.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

We’ve got a good batch of video for the first attempt of the season. Today, we are sitting out a raging desert windstorm with the wind gusting up to 50mph. It’s supposed to calm down in a day or so and we’re back on the river while we still are able. Keep checking in for more kayak fishing, we’re just getting going.

Oct 052020

We’ve spent a good deal of time mountain biking in the Cascade Mountains this summer. Almost everything is closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. We’re lucky to have a place to ride away from the sickness and madness of civilization. The leaves are turning colors, rain is more frequent and soon the mountains will be covered with snow. This is the last mountain biking in the Cascade Mountains blog post for 2020.

The forest has been dry and dusty most of the summer. The trails are still excellent, just a bit dusty.

Early morning MTB camp in the Cascade Mountains
Cascade Mountain trail
Deep, dark forest trail

As the days get shorter and the sun is lower and lower in the sky, the shadows get longer and the forest gets darker.

Early morning mountain road
Dark Cascade Mountain trail
Dark Cascade Mountain forest service road

There was a passing, one day rain storm that knocked some of the dust down but didn’t do much for the trails except make a little mud.

Raindrops on dusty plant leaves
Muddy mountain bike

The days got cooler and the nights got cold but the riding remained excellent.

Cascade Mountain trail
Dry and dusty Mt. Adams
Cascade Mountain trail
Cascade Mountain trail

With a major storm system on the way we took one last ride on the dusty trails of summer. It will be a long time before we see dust again in this neck of the woods.

Last dry and dusty ride of the summer

We were hoping the rain would get rid of some fire smoke as well as trail dust.

Fire smoke in the Cascade Mountains

Then came five days of heavy rain which announced the end of summer but left the trails in absolutely perfect condition.

Perfect trail conditions after rain storm
Perfect trail conditions after rain storm

The short PacNW “nice weather” season is just about over. With more rain in the forecast and the desert southwest calling us, we may have ridden our last Cascade Mountain trail of what has been a fantastic summer of mountain bike riding.

Oct 052020

As the Coronavirus summer comes to a smoky end here in the Pacific Northwest, we finally got out on the Columbia River for some kayak fishing for smallmouth bass in eastern Washington. The coronavirus pandemic has changed life forever but we have to get back to the things that give life meaning. Like fishing.

Salmon fishing has been exceptionally poor and exceptionally crowded. This is the first time in decades we have not fished for salmon and assume that we have pulled our last Columbia River salmon into the kayak. Fishermen who usually might fish for salmon are now spending the early fall fishing for walleye and smallmouth bass.

On top of everything else, we have rampaging wildfires filling the entire area with smoke. They say there’s no problem a good day of fishing can’t solve. It’s a tall order these days, but we are going to give it a shot.

Smoky sunset over the Columbia River

We paddled out early on a calm Columbia River with the October harvest moon lighting the way.

Harvest moon shines over the Columbia River

The sun rose low and slow in the smoky eastern Washington sky. Summer days are long here, but in the fall, they start to get short real quick.

Smoky sunrise over the Columbia River

It took a while to find the smallmouth bass who were hiding out in deeper water outside the widespread seaweed that choked the water closer to shore.

Kayak fishing on the Columbia River with

Most of the bass were aggressive “half pounders” with the bigger fish farther out from shore in deeper water.

Columbia River smallmouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

A reminder of how dangerous the risk of fire is was made clear by this small brush fire that seemed to start out of nowhere. It looks like small clouds, but it’s a brush fire.

Brush fire starting on the bank of the Columbia River

The weather was nice, the wind was mostly calm, which has been rare this summer, and the fish were biting so it was a pleasant and much appreciated break from reality.

Kayak fishing on the Columbia River with
Columbia River smallmouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

This is going to wrap up the 2020 fishing season, but the good news is that the situation in the desert southwest has stabilized to the point that we can head south for some kayak fishing for big Colorado River largemouth bass. Stay tuned and stay safe!

Aug 102020

With the world changed forever by the coronavirus pandemic and the Pacific Northwest leading the nation with social unrest and political division, kayak fishing seems to be a small thing in the big picture. Fishing is one of those things that is normal on any given day, perhaps we are looking for any semblance of what “normal” used to be.

Mostly due an incredible months long run of windy weather, and with nearly all public facilities closed, this season’s kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River has been a total washout. We’ve not had the kayaks out in months and don’t see much happening in the weeks ahead. This is normally the time of year we would start fishing for salmon and steelhead, but with the rapidly diminishing number of fish making it this far up the Columbia, it’s not worth the effort.

Kayak fishing on the Columbia River

Due to the drought conditions here in the PacNW, the water levels in the Columbia and other local rivers are extremely low. The aquatic vegetation gets thicker every year. Warmer water and agricultural runoff? Fishing conditions get tougher every year.

Kayak fishing on the Columbia River at sunrise

Watching the extraordinary decline of returning salmon and steelhead to the Columbia River has been stunning. I think it would be hard to find a local salmon fisherman who thinks the salmon and steelhead will come back to previous numbers. Salmon fishing season is now very short and catching fish is very tough while gill netting continues year round. It’s sad to think that I may have caught my last Columbia River salmon. I haven’t hooked a steelhead in years.

Kayak fishing for salmon on the Columbia River

This area has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic from the very beginning. With a good deal of the economy based on outdoor recreation and out of town visitors, businesses in these small towns are struggling or have already closed down. The next few months are going to be critical for all of us, let’s hope we all will be fishing again soon.

Aug 102020

As is the case just about everywhere in the United States, the coronavirus pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on daily life here in the PacNW. The high infection rate large population centers of Portland and Seattle call the shots so the entire states of Washington and Oregon are basically shut down. The low infection rate rural communities which constitute the majority of the state’s area have been crippled by the quarantine restrictions. Areas that depend on outdoor recreation, mostly weekend warriors from the big cities, are pretty much out of business. With limited medical facilities, cities that normally encourage out of town visitors are trying to keep them away. On top of it all, there is a deep political divide in these states. Rioting in Portland is a weekend event. How long before the rest of the state loses control? Not a pretty picture.

Even in a world gone crazy, there are a few spots away from all the wonderful things civilization has given us. Thankfully, very thankfully, we live near one; the Cascade Mountains. Even here things are changing, but we can still camp in the mountains and ride our bikes. How long that will last is anybody’s guess, so we take every day we can to go riding.

Early morning mountain biking on a Cascade Mountain trail
Early morning mountain biking on a Cascade Mountain trail
Early morning mountain biking on a Cascade Mountain road

Along with everything else going on, this area, known for it’s rainy weather, is going through a drought. It doesn’t rain that much in the summer months, but no rain at all is not good. Everything is dry as a bone and fire danger is extreme. The mountain trails, in perfect conditions a few weeks ago, are dry and dusty.

Dry, dusty Cascade Mountain trail

The hot and dry conditions have an effect on the forest wildlife. This mountain butterfly was so thirsty, it was drinking the moisture from the mouthpiece of my hydration pack.

Thirsty Cascade Mountain butterfly

This butterfly was drinking from the cap of a bottle I had set down while having a drink myself.

Thirsty Cascade Mountain butterfly

And the source of a lot of the water in this area is Mt. Adams. The snow pack is gone and the glaciers are melting. Local streams and rivers running from Mt. Adams to the Columbia River are gray/green with glacial silt.

Melting glaciers on Mt Adams

After the midsummer season here in the Cascades, which lasts a couple weeks, the days are still warm but the nights are getting cooler and the sun is a bit lower in the sky.

Early morning Cascade Mountain bike camp

There is always something to see along the dry, dusty mountain bike trail. The warm and dry weather is causing the mountain berries to quickly ripen. Have to keep an eye out for bears who will eat all the berries they can get, sitting in the trail.

Wild Cascade Mountain blackberries

This is a small herd of range cattle using the trail as their living room. Usually, you can ride slowly past them, but these cows didn’t seem like they wanted to move so I went another way.

Range cattle blocking the trail in the Cascade Mountains

This ancient lava flow from an erupting Mt. Adams stopped right here.

Ancient lava flow from erupting Mt. Adams in the Cascade Mountains

We’ve just about given up on kayak fishing and going into town is like a trip into the Twilight Zone so having this respite from the troubles of the world is a gift.

Mountain biking near Mt Adams

Like everyone else, we are taking it day by day. Winter will be here soon and positive news is hard to come by. Through thick and thin, the simple fact of riding a bike, freedom to ride away, is now a precious gift.

Jul 222020

We spent a few windy and rainy days in town while we geared up for more mountain biking adventures in the Cascade Mountains. Kayak fishing has all but been blown out of summer due to the seemingly endless wind and pandemic restrictions. Even though this is one of the windiest places in the continental US, this year so far as got to be a record. Thankfully, we have great mountain biking close to home so we don’t have to spend the time at home watching bad news on TV. The coronavirus pandemic seems to be headed in the wrong direction here and it’s really starting to take it’s toll. The situation here is pitiful and looks like it’s about to get worse.

Not much to do except practice social distancing. If six feet is good, six miles will be better. Off to the mountains we go!

Morning at the MTB camp in the Cascade Mountains

We set up camp a few days before the July 4th weekend. The weather was good and the pandemic definitely had an impact on what would usually be one of the busiest summer holidays. We are “dispersed camping”, which is how it is here, so not much difference from “normal”. With reduced staff all around, expect a long wait if you get into trouble.

Blown down tree blocking Forest Service Road

The recent wind and rain had taken it’s toll with more blown down trees. This road was open and the tree still standing just a couple days earlier.

Mountain bike riding near Mt Adams

We hopped over a few blown down trees on the way towards Mt. Adams. It was warm with blue skies and scattered clouds.

Cascade Mountain flowers
Cascade Mountain singletrack trail

The recent storms knocked down a few more trees, but they also left the mountain trails and roads in great, dust-free riding condition. Mountain plants like flowers were in full bloom.

Morning at the MTB camp in the Cascade Mountains

Away from the pandemic, politics and problems, mountain bike camping is simple; ride, eat, sleep. Maybe a few extras to help forget reality for a few days. Sun comes up, wake up and get ready to go riding.

Cascade Mountain singletrack trail
Dark Cascade Mountain singletrack trail

After a night of scattered rain showers, the next morning, the skies were sunny and the rain had upgraded the trails that were in good condition to perfect condition.

Trail conditions perfect for mountain bike riding
Cascade Mountain singletrack trail perfect conditions

This is about as good as it gets, which is pretty good.