Sep 182018

With the salmon and steelhead season closed due to lack of fish, marinas and boat launch ramps the Columbia River, along with the small towns that make most of their income by catering to fisherman, are now ghost towns. The only salmon fishing activity on the Columbia River are the tribal fishermen gillnetting the salmon to extinction to buy new pickup trucks.

At least us non-indians have the smallmouth bass to fish for. The weather is getting colder but the river water is still fairly warm. The water levels are up and down like a yo-yo, but that’s the way it goes. We headed east from the salmon fishing ghost towns and hit the Columbia River to see if the smallmouth bass were biting.

Columbia River railroad bridge

It turns out the smallmouth bass were biting. The fishing was a lot like spring bass fishing; not that many fish, but the fish caught tend to be a little larger than average. I only caught five bass, but they were all nice fish, including this smallmouth that will probably be the biggest smallmouth bass of the season for me.

Columbia River smallmouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

Between this year’s relentless Columbia River basin wind and the salmon season being cancelled, 2018 will go down in the books as one of the worst fishing seasons ever, especially for kayak fishermen. We may get out for another smallmouth bass fishing trip or two if the weather cooperates, but at this point, the PacNW fishing season is pretty much a wrap and we are starting to look ahead to largemouth bass fishing on the Colorado River.

Sep 112018

We just got the word that as of tomorrow, 9-12-18, the salmon sport fishing season on the Columbia River is closed.

We figured this would probably happen, but not quite this quickly. This is really bad news for now and the future.

More on this as information is made available.

Sep 072018

We got the kayak fishing for salmon season going to a somewhat mixed start. Local fishermen have watched the numbers of returning salmon and steelhead drastically reduced over the past few years to the point where we wonder how much longer there is going to be sport fishing for salmon at all. Even before our lines went in the water for the first time, steelhead season is closed. The limit on chinook salmon is one per day with an overall limit of two salmon, which, around here, would be one chinook and one coho.

Salmon limits are probably something we won’t have to worry about. In the two days we fished, I caught one chinook and one coho, which I released, on the first day. I saw no other fish caught with about twenty five boats out.

Columbia River Chinook salmon caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The following day, I had no bites or bumps or anything. Again, with about twenty five boats out, I saw one salmon caught.

Early morning kayak fishing for salmon on the Columbia River

This is the peak of the Chinook salmon season here and to see so few fish caught is not good news. We are guessing the Chinook fishing season will be over shortly. The coho salmon usually arrive a bit later here, not sure how that will go.

Even though the salmon fishing is terrible, we still have to give it a try whenever we can because someday soon there may not be any salmon fishing at all.

Aug 142018

The Kayak Fishing for Smallmouth Bass In Eastern Washington – July 2018 video has been posted to YouTube. This video has great kayak fishing for smallmouth bass action from July 2018.

Click HERE for Kayak Fishing for Smallmouth Bass In Eastern Washington - July 2018 video on YouTube

Click HERE or on the photo above to check out the Kayak Fishing for Smallmouth Bass In Eastern Washington – July 2018 video on YouTube.

We are hoping we can get another smallmouth bass trip or two before we start fishing for salmon. Salmon fishing has become a big question mark around here and we are anxiously awaiting to see how many salmon swim up the Columbia River.

Jul 272018

A break in the wind and back for more kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River in eastern Washington. We had a great time the last time we were here and we were looking forward to more hot smallmouth bass fishing. Turns out the smallmouth bass fishing continues to be very good with plenty of action and some bigger fish.

The fishing was not the only thing that was hot. It was swelteringly hot, every day above 100° with night time temps only dropping into the high sixties. Full sun protection and plenty of water, but whether it’s the Pacific Northwest or the Desert Southwest, anything over 100° is really hot and you have to be prepared and take precautions.

Knowing it was going to be hot, we paddled the mile or so to the fishing spot in the early morning darkness when it was relatively cool and were fishing an hour or so before the morning sun came over the eastern Washington hills.

Columbia River sunrise kayak fishing on a hot eastern Washington day

The smallmouth bass fishing was excellent. Most of the fish were in the one pound range with some smaller ones and a few that would be close, or in the trophy bass category.

Columbia River smallmouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

I did manage to catch a few bigger fish and can probably say that this time, the big one probably got away because I also lost a couple big ones.

Kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River with

By the early afternoon we were usually out of water and fully baked so we paddled back to camp hoping for a following wind. It is the hottest time of the day so we hid under the desert-tested sun shade and got the fishing and camera gear ready for the next day’s early morning wakeup call.

Gearing up on a hot eastern Washington summer day

When the temperature is really hot, a little bit of shade can be a big relief. After being out in the blazing sun on the fishing kayak all day, it’s nice to relax in the shade.

Shade provides a bit of relief from the heat on a 100° day in eastern Washington

The hot, dry weather can be dangerous. One day, we came in from the Columbia River to see fires burning on both sides of our campsite. Rural firefighters sped in and out of the only road through the canyon. If the fires came too close to the road, we would have to leave, but thankfully the firefighters got the fires out before they caused too much damage. A few nervous moments though.

Wildfires burn close to kayak fishing camp

The heat and fire threat were not enough to keep us from getting after the smallmouth bass. We had three days of great kayak fishing on the Columbia River.

Jumping smallmouth bass kayak fishing on the Columbia River in eastern Washington

Had a great time fishing and got some great video, so it will be off to the editing studio for a few days to try and get that posted. I think one of my camera memory cards may have died, posssibly from the heat, so I have to try and get the photos and video off of it if I can. Keep checking in because we’ve got a lot of stuff going on.

Jul 192018

We’ve been doing as much kayak fishing for smallmouth bass in Eastern Washington as the continuing windy conditions will allow. There is so much great smallmouth bass fishing here it’s easy to see why the Columbia River is ranked as one of the best smallmouth bass fisheries in the country. It’s been a bit on the warm side recently, but with calm wind conditions, the kayak fishing for smallmouth bass has been great.

Kayak fishing for smallmouth bass in Eastern WA with

The daytime temperature has been over 100°, so we’ve been getting out before sunrise to beat the heat. With the long summer days of the PacNW, it starts getting light about 4:30AM. We’ve had some great fishing before sunrise.

Hot summer morning kayak fishing on the Columbia River in Eastern WA

The smallmouth bass fishing has been about as good as it gets. With a few slow spots here and there, the bass fishing action has been non-stop.

Kayak fishing for smallmouth bass in Eastern WA with

Most of the fish have been in the one pound or less category. You can catch a hundred pounds of smallmouth bass in a single day but you’ll need to catch about 80-90 fish to do it. Smallmouth bass are great fighters at any size.

Nice Columbia River smallmouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The smallmouth bass were really “on the chew”. Fish were coughing up their last meals that couldn’t have been but an hour or two earlier. The smallmouth bass in the photo below had a live crayfish in it’s mouth and still hit my 4″ grub!

Columbia River smallmouth bass with live crayfish in it's mouth

Most of the smallmouth bass were “one pounders”, but I did manage to land a few nicer fish. This year seems pretty slow with the big smallmouth bass so any trophy fish is a happy time.

Big Columbia River smallmouth bass caught by kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

We’ll be headed back out in a day or two looking for more kayak fishing spots in Eastern Washington. We posted a video on YouTube of good smallmouth bass fishing and we have more video coming up of even better fishing.

The Columbia River in eastern Washington

It was a slow start to the smallmouth bass fishing season, but it’s going full steam now. The only question is how much fishing we’ll be able to do before the river seaweeds choke off the fishing.