May 222015
 

We managed to get a relatively calm day in what has been a somewhat windy spring, not that unusual in one of the windiest spots in North America, so we headed out on the Columbia River looking for those big springtime smallmouth bass. The fishing for smallmouth bass has been very slow this spring and we may have gotten a glimpse of why that is happening. We did manage to catch a couple very small bass, but what we caught mostly were northern pikeminnows. I should have signed up for the pikeminnow catch reward program because I would have made $30.

Northern pikeminnow

What caught our attention more than anything was how low the water was in the Columbia River. It was the lowest I’d ever seen it, even lower than at the end of a normal summer. The water level at this time of year is usually the highest of the season due to melting snow and springtime rain. With the water level this low, it’s possible that the usual smallmouth bass spawning areas are now dry land and the smallmouth’s spring spawning behavior has been interrupted. This is not good news for the smallmouth bass population. We did not see any evidence of smallmouth bass in any of the areas where, during a normal year, they would be found in large numbers. It is likely that the fish are already in the deeper parts of the river where they would normally hang out to hide from the midsummer heat.

Not only have the smallmouth bass disappeared, but the low water level means the water is going to warm up more quickly than normal and the plants and weeds that choke the shallow sections of the Columbia are going to appear much earlier in the season. We saw patches of vegetation already starting to grow in the river shallows. Due to the numerous dams on the Columbia River, it’s hard to say if the low water is temporary or is going to get lower as the dry part of the year approaches. We live in a relatively rainy part of the Columbia River Gorge, it is much dryer to the east so it’s hard to imagine that the river east of here is full of water. We’ve all read and heard about the severe drought in the western United States, here in the Cascade Mountains we have less than 10% of normal snow pack, which means we are probably going to have some kind of water shortages. If this is the situation here in one of the rainiest parts of the country, then places like California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas may be in for what could be the biggest water crisis in the nation’s history. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen and the weather could change at any time, but from what we are seeing, there is real cause for concern.

Apr 212015
 

The weather is much nicer than “normal” this time of year, but the fish haven’t gotten the message that it’s time to start moving. There were a number of bass fisherman out looking for those first smallmouth bass of 2015, but as they say, there was a lot of fishing and not much catching. The water is warm enough and there are smaller fish around, fish that large smallmouth bass should be eating this time of year, but no sign of bass anywhere.

Early season smallmouth bass fishing on the Columbia River

Experienced smallmouth bass fishermen know that early spring is when you catch the big ones and they are going to start biting any day now so we are anxious to get out fishing this time of year. It is also the time of year for unpredictable and quickly changing weather so you have to get out on the river when you can. Looks like a few days of wind, so no fishing, but we are hoping to get back out there as soon as possible.

Apr 062015
 

As the record dry and warm spring in the PacNW continues, we were able to start the 2015 fishing season a couple weeks earlier than usual. It was a calm, sunny and mild day today and we were able to get out on the Columbia River to see if the smallmouth bass were starting to move. I don’t think the fish got the news about the mild spring weather because I did not catch a single fish, nor did I see any signs of smallmouth bass activity. The water temp in the main channel was about 53°F, that’s still a little cold for the bass to start moving.

First 2015 fishing trip

I think it will be a couple more weeks before we are able to get the bass to start biting. Looks like alternating wind and rain for the next few days, but if we get a calm day or two, I think we might try for a spring chinook or steelhead. The odds of catching a springer this far up the Columbia are pretty slim, but if you are going to paddle all day and not catch anything, you might as well go after something big. We’ll be catching plenty of smallmouth bass soon enough.

Meanwhile, the work on the watermanatwork.com mobile website continues. We are making good progress. Once the mobile site is up, we will probably tweak the pages and get back to one website that works on all devices.

Mar 232015
 

The regular late winter/early spring showers are back for a few days, but the weather overall continues to be very mild for this time of year. You won’t hear this very often from someone who lives in the PacNW in March, but we could use the rain. The water levels of rivers and lakes around here are very low and there isn’t much of a snowpack this year. As of today, we only have 7% of our usual average snowpack. That is not good news because water has to come from somewhere, and around here, when it’s not raining, it comes from melted snow.

Anyway, the mild late winter weather is making us think that it’s going to be an early start to the fishing season, so we are starting to get the fishing gear ready to go. A good way to spend a rainy day indoors is to clean up all those fishing reels. I’m not a believer in expensive fishing gear, I try to get good fishing tackle at a reasonable price. The thing with less expensive fishing reels is that you have to do regular maintenance on them to keep them working smoothly. The fishing tackle used for kayak fishing tends to get banged around and dunked in the water a bit more frequently, so at least once a year, I take the fishing reels apart, clean them up and re-lube them with waterproof silicone grease. That’s enough to keep them working smoothly for an entire season of fishing.

Cleaning and re-lubing the fishing reels

First up are the reels we use for smallmouth bass and trout; a few light spinning reels and a baitcaster or two. Taking care of fishing reels is pretty straightforward and easy to do. All you do is take them apart, making sure you pay attention to how the parts fit so you can put it back together, clean them with alcohol so you don’t damage plastic parts, re-grease them(I use Slickoleum, a lightweight, waterproof, silicone grease) and put them back together. If you do it correctly, you shouldn’t have any parts left over and the reel will work just as good as when it was new.

In a week or so, we’ll be getting the kayak out of the garage and checking it out to make sure it is ready to go. We have to fix a crack on the deck and a few scratches on the hull along with the usual pre-season kayak checkup, so stay tuned for that.

Work is still continuing on the watermanatwork.com mobile website. We have a lot of it done but it’s a time consuming process, but it won’t be long before the website will work flawlessly on any digital device.

Mar 042015
 

Steve from Amphibian USA has sent us some his Spex Amphibious eyewear. A hybrid of sunglasses and goggles, these action sports oriented glasses look perfect for active watersports like kayaking, rafting, SUP, sailboarding and kiteboarding.

Amphibian USA Spex eyewear

The frames are soft and comfortable on your face and are held in place by an adjustable, replaceable neoprene strap and come in a variety of colors. The easily interchangeable and replaceable lenses come in a number of tints as well as clear. There are polarized lenses which are perfect for water oriented sports. The lenses are optically correct, block 100% of UVA and UVB light and are scratch resistant. If you wear contact lenses, Spex eyewear will keep water and dirt out of your eyes. The glasses float, which is a big plus, especially if you’ve ever lost a pair of $100 designer glasses over the side.

We are looking forward to using these glasses as soon as we get back out in the kayak. The way the weather has been going here in the PacNW, that shouldn’t be too long. Check out the different Spex colors and lenses and get ready for another season on the water.

Feb 042015
 

Since fishing kayaks are fairly expensive, you may want to know how long a kayak is going to last. Even if you don’t keep the kayak yourself for five or ten years, it’s important to know how durable a kayak is as far as resale value goes if you choose to sell it.

When I got my Hobie Quest fishing kayak in 2005, I had already been kayak fishing for a few years so I knew what I wanted in a kayak. I started fishing out of the Quest on the Pacific Ocean and later, on the rivers and lakes of the Pacific Northwest. When conditions permitted, I would go kayak fishing whenever I could, often two or three times a week. When I go fishing, whether the fish are biting or not, I like to fish all day; on the water before sunrise and in as it gets dark, so the kayak has seen more than average use. I like to find the not easily accessed and more remote areas, so it’s only a small part of the time where I am launching from a ramp or beach.

Click HERE for the Hobie Quest review after ten years of fishing

We did a video review of how the Hobie Quest has held up under ten years of solid fishing use in some of the more rugged conditions a kayak fisherman is likely to find. Click HERE or on the photo above to check out the video.

The watermanatwork.com editing team is hard at work and there will be more videos up on the website shortly, so keep checking in.

Jan 082015
 

Have you ever said to yourself; “Gee, I sure wish I knew an easy and inexpensive way to cure salmon eggs”? Well, it’s your lucky day! We have just uploaded step by step instructions on how to cure salmon eggs. You’ll find out how to cure salmon eggs using the time tested “3-2-1 Cure”; a simple and effective egg cure used by generations of Pacfic Northwest salmon fishermen. Click HERE or on the photo below to go to the Curing Salmon Eggs web page.

Click HERE to go to the Curing Salmon Eggs web page

If you don’t want to read the easy directions and look at the photos on the web page, there is also a Curing Salmon Eggs video.

Stay tuned for more good stuff from WatermanAtWork!

Dec 252014
 

Just to prove that anything and everything can be controversial in today’s world, Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi has been arrested for distributing 3D printer files of her “vagina kayak”.

Artist Megumi Igarashi's controversial vagina kayak

Human genitalia are taboo subjects in Japanese society, but Igarashi has taken it upon herself to change that. Why she picked a kayak to do that is something only she knows. One thing for sure, this has got to be the most unusual and unexpected ways of using a poor, unsuspecting kayak.

What’s next?

Dec 202014
 

2014 was a great year for salmon fishing from the kayak and the proof is on the watermanatwork.com website. The 2014 Kayak Fishing for Salmon on the Columbia River highlight video has been uploaded to the watermanatwork.com PacNW Kayak Fishing Video collection. There is a lot of great coho and chinook salmon kayak fishing action from the 2014 Fall/Winter salmon fishing season in the Columbia River Gorge.

Click HERE to check out the 2014 Kayak Fishing for Salmon on the Columbia River video

Click HERE or on the photo above to check out the video.

Dec 092014
 

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.

Late run coho salmon

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.

Bank fishing for late season salmon

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.

Last salmon of the season?

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.