2014 has been a fantastic year for salmon fishing, especially coho salmon fishing, here in the Columbia River Gorge but I think that the show is just about over. The good news is the coho salmon are still biting and if you know where to go, you can catch plenty of them, the bad news is that most of the fish are pretty dark and not good to eat, so you are pretty much fishing for fun. You might get lucky and catch a more silvery fresh fish, but they are few and far between. Can’t really complain, we are still catching salmon in December instead of sitting at home on the couch. If you love to fish, you’ll get out there whenever you can.
We headed out to one of the local favorite late season fishing holes to try our luck on a cool, gray December day. It’s been raining, so everything is wet and there’s plenty of mud but it’s cold enough in the mountains to freeze the lower elevation rain into ice and snow. The river level has dropped quite a bit from the raging waters we’ve had for most of November that killed a lot of the late season salmon and steelhead fishing on the upper river. We tried casting spinners and a couple plugs, but the fish had no interest in them. We started using coon shrimp and started catching fish immediately. Most of the fish were pretty dark, about five to ten pounds.
We could have kept a few of the fish that weren’t so dark, but the freezer is full of salmon so there is no reason to keep fish that are probably going to be dead in a week.
This time of year, if you know where to go, you can catch just as many fish from the bank as you can from a boat. This is a good thing because the kayak is already in the garage for the winter. These places are not easy to get to and you have to be careful. The banks and rocks are wet and slippery. One misstep and you are going for a swim in a very cold river. Then, you get to hike a mile or so back to your vehicle.
We had a good day of fishing. Caught eight coho salmon, threw them all back. We lost a few more and had a few strikes without a hookup, a pretty fun day of fishing in December. With the salmon run coming to an end and nasty weather in the forecast, this could be the last salmon caught in 2014.
If the weather permits, we might try and get out tomorrow for one last day of fishing, but the weather is 50-50 at best. We’ll have to see how it goes.
We are working on the 2014 Kayak Fishing for Salmon video and will try to have it up on the watermanatwork.com website as soon as possible. We’ve got a lot of work lined up for the winter hibernation, there’s going to be a lot of new stuff on the website, so keep checking in.