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 watermanatwork.com 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 watermanatwork.com 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 watermanatwork.com

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 watermanatwork.com 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 watermanatwork.com 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 watermanatwork.com

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 watermanatwork.com 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 watermanatwork.com 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 watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish
Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River with watermanatwork.com

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 watermanatwork.com 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 watermanatwork.com

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 watermanatwork.com 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 watermanatwork.com 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 watermanatwork.com
Nice Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com 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 watermanatwork.com 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 watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The early morning action continued.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River with watermanatwork.com

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 watermanatwork.com 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 watermanatwork.com 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 watermanatwork.com 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
 

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 watermanatwork.com

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 watermanatwork.com 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 watermanatwork.com
Columbia River smallmouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com 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.

Jun 112020
 

We finally got a break in the weather and managed to get in a great day of kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River. It’s been a windy and rainy spring in this part of the PacNW making it tough for kayak fishing. A calm day on the river, albeit with the entire PacNW rain, sun and everything in between weather show, is a rare thing this year so far.

Kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River

When I say “a day” of fishing, I mean one day. The next day the wind has come up again with another round of rain and high wind storms coming up for the next four or five days.

The day started out overcast and calm with intermittent drizzle. The fishing was a little slow to get started, but the Columbia River water level is very high and once we found where the bass were hanging out, the fishing was very good. A rainstorm passed through, but when the fishing is good you hardly notice.

Columbia River smallmouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

Due to the changing water levels of the river, it can be like fishing different spots. The smallmouth bass move around as the water level and temperature change. You have to paddle around looking for them, but they are nearly always around rocks or some kind of structure.

Columbia River smallmouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

There is a lot of seaweed and algae in the water. Usually, it backs off in the cold water of winter and grows very quickly as the water warms up towards summer. The water is not that warm, yet the aquatic vegetation, especially the slimy, free floating algae, is already taking over the river. When we get fishing again, we’ll check out some other spots so stop back soon.

May 192020
 

We are back in the Pacific NW where nearly everything is shut down due to the COVID pandemic. The widely different parts of Washington and Oregon have widely different opinions on how to proceed with reopening the states while keeping everyone safe. This has increased the tension between the densely populated west side of the states and the mostly rural eastern side of the states. On top of that, it’s been mostly windy and raining since we returned from swelteringly hot southwest Arizona.

Best thing we can do is get as far away from civilization as possible. Life is difficult on land but out on the water things are almost always good. We left the largemouth bass biting on the Colorado River and were stoked to find the smallmouth bass biting on the Columbia River.

Columbia River smallmouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

There was a small break in a series of storms that allowed us to get out on the Columbia River for some kayak fishing. The first day was overcast and damp with light rain on and off, but the fish were biting and the wind was calm. The next day was something that has been rare this late spring in the Pac NW; calm winds and a bit of sunshine.

Kayak fishing on the Columbia River at sunrise with watermanatwork.com

The day started off in spectacular fashion but in a couple hours the clouds thickened and the light rain showers were back. The wind stayed calm and the fishing was good. Lots of smallmouth bass fishing action with some nicer fish being caught.

Columbia River smllmouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

Camping is still not allowed at campgrounds, rest areas or even spots on the side of the road where travellers rest are closed. Public restrooms are closed. Port-a-pottys have been placed at the recently opened boat launches while the restrooms are closed.

Kayak launch on the Columbia River 5-15-20

With more storms on the way, we got everything we could out of a few days of fishing. Without any sustained fishing pressure for the entire spring, it should be a great late spring and summer fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River.

Columbia River smallmouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

As we wait for more windy and rainy weather to pass through, hopefully more of the outdoor areas will be opened up. There’s plenty of the state where it’s easy to keep your distance to other people. That’s why people come to these places; to get away from other people. Who knows what is going to happen? Keep checking back because if it’s the end of the world, we want to get some fishing in.