May 052017

We had a few nice days that have gotten the kayak fishing for smallmouth bass season going full speed ahead. The sun is out and the wind is mostly calm, that’s winning half the battle right there.

Kayak fishing on the Columbia River

The river flow has calmed down a bit, but there are still plenty of sections of fast moving water and dangerous currents. The water in the main channel is still on the off-color side, hopefully it will settle down over the next few days. The fishing conditions remain challenging, as they always are in the spring, but we managed to land a few nice springtime smallmouth bass.

Columbia River smallmouth bass caught while kayak fishing

The silty water is not the only challenge as far as river conditions go. There has been a lot of rain and snow this winter/spring, so there is plenty of water running down from the mountains into the Columbia River. As the huge river dams let water out, the water level between dams rises pretty quickly. When the dams cut down on releasing water during the dry summer months, the water level drops. We’ve found that these changing water levels tend to considerably slow the smallmouth bass bite. You can see in the photo below by the markings on the riverside plants how much the water level in the river can change in a day or two.

Changing water levels makes for challenging fishing conditions

No matter what time of the year, you must hunt for the smallmouth bass. You not get a bite in the morning, but catch a fish in the same spot in the afternoon. As the water levels and temperatures change, the bass will move and you have to find them.

Columbia River smallmouth bass

The smallmouth bass are there, we are hoping that the river water clears up a little. We think once the water is a little cleaner, the bass fishing will really turn on for the season.

Kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River

We’re pretty stoked to have been able to catch a few nice smallmouth bass in the past week or so. Spring bass fishing is challenging but those big fish are waiting.

Columbia River smallmouth bass

Had some wild thunderstorms last night and looks like a couple more days of wind, hoping the river will clean up and be ready for some great smallmouth bass fishing!

May 032017

We’ve had some good weather so we are out there kayak fishing for big smallmouth bass on the Columbia River. The weather is nice and the river water is actually pretty warm for this time of year, but the main channel looks like cement. Visibility is maybe a foot, if that. It’s the same story every season; get out early season and the bass are bigger, but you don’t catch nearly as many fish as you would in the summer. Last year the water was really low, this year it’s really high. Currents are very strong with a lot of water coming through the dams.

Early morning kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River

Even though the conditions are not ideal, this is the time of year for the big bass. We got a couple nice ones, but had to put in a lot of paddling and casting to get them. More photos in the next day or two, but the first back to back long kayak fishing days after a long winter of fattening up have got us tired out. Looks like one more try for the lunker smallmouth bass tomorrow and then the wind is back for a few days.

Apr 302017

The rainy and windy spring weather is finally starting to ease up and it’s time for some early spring smallmouth bass kayak fishing on the Columbia River. The calm winds and temperatures in the mid sixties were welcome conditions for winter weather weary Pacific Northwest kayak fishermen.

Kayak fishing on the Columbia River 4-29-17

The river water was a little warmer than expected, which helps the get the smallmouth bass moving. The Columbia River water level is very high and the river is running very strong due to the record winter snow melt and plentiful spring rain. The river water is full of sediment and silt, the water is a dark brown with low visibility. The low visibility is not the best for using artificial baits, but the trusty lead head grub was the lure of the day, catching all the fish.

Kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River

The high river water should give the smallmouth bass more potential spawning areas, many of which were dry land last year. The fish seem to be holding in the usual areas, as the water warms and clears up a bit, we could see fish move into the other areas that were not under water for the past couple years. As is always the case, no matter the size smallmouth bass, they always put up a great fight.

Kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River

Rain showers and wind have reappeared today and probably tomorrow, but the first kayak fishing trip of 2017 was a resounding success. These early season smallmouth bass trips can be hit or miss because a lot of the fish are not moving out of their winter coma yet, but we got lucky this time out.

Kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River

Stay tuned because the 2017 smallmouth bass fishing season is under way!

Apr 262017

After the winter from H E double hockey sticks, we are ready for the 2017 fishing season to get started. The second wettest winter in the past one hundred years. When you talk about record rain and snow in the Pacific Northwest, you are talking about a lot of water. If you’re going to complain about the weather, the PacNW is not the place to be living, but enough is enough. Even though this statement may bring six more weeks of winter, we here at are going out on a limb and saying that the worst of the 2016-17 winter is behind us and we are going fishing this weekend. Kayak is on standby and we’re ready to go if the wind dies down in a couple days.

Kayak on standby for the 2017 fishing season

We got the kayaks out, but, as you can see in the photo, we got the mower out as well. All this rain is really making the grass grow. Grass has to be growing about an inch a day, but since we have mostly weeds, it’s two or three inches a day. Soon as it dries out, we got 6-12″ of grass to cut.

We are ready and raring to go smallmouth bass fishing and we think the day is coming soon…

Apr 142017

Kayak fishing has come a long way since we first started kayak fishing in 1998. My friend and surfing buddy, Mike Casinelli and I started kayak fishing in 1997 or 1998, hard to remember, but the first photos and videos we have of kayak fishing are from 1998. I’ve been going through some old photos and found these pictures from June 1998. We’d probably had been out a couple times before that without camera gear and minimal fishing gear until we got an idea of how the somewhat tipsy Dagger Cayman kayaks were going to work out on the open ocean. We had a good deal of ocean experience with different watercraft, so we were mostly trying to figure out how to catch fish from a kayak. There weren’t too many guys kayak fishing in those days, so we had to figure out a lot of the stuff on our own. We loved being out on the ocean, kayak was a new way to spend time on the water when the surf was flat, we were stoked about that, and the cost of kayak fishing was peanuts compared to even the smallest boat, that was a big plus as well.

Kayak fishing off Oceanside, CA June 1998

We started out not really knowing what we needed for a full day out on the kayaks, but started to get it dialed in the more we went fishing. In the photo above, you can tell we must have only been a few trips in because of the gear we’ve got. We dumped the landing nets pretty quickly and used started using gaffs instead. I’ve got my entire tackle box strapped behind my seat, that would soon devolve to about a half dozen lures and a few spare hooks and sinkers. The old school burlap fish bag was good for boats, but we started using stringers on the kayaks. When we went through the surf to launch, we didn’t take anything that didn’t fit through the hatch and below deck.

Ron Barbish kayak fishing off Oceanside, CA June 1998

On this trip, we were fishing a couple miles off Oceanside, CA, probably around a couple artificial fishing reefs off Oceanside Harbor. We didn’t have a GPS, but we fished near a commercial party boat which usually fished the artificial reefs. You never know what kind of fish you’ll run into around the reefs, this time out we ran into a lot of barracuda. Not great eating fish, but a lot of fun to catch and some of them were pretty good sized fish. The best way to catch the barracuda was by trolling around the reefs. If you trolled too slow, you wouldn’t get any bites. As soon as you sped up, the fish would bite immediately. When the wind came up, trolling at a pace fast enough to get the barracuda to bite was a good bit of paddling.

Mike Casinelli kayak fishing off Oceanside, CA 1998

The Dagger kayaks were pretty narrow and were a handful to paddle in the ocean with a chunky wind swell going. Even though we were a couple miles out and were doing a lot of heavy duty paddling to troll fast enough to get the fish to bite, we knew we had the afternoon west wind to help us get back to shore.

Mike Casinelli kayak fishing off Oceanside, CA 1998

Here’s Mike trying to unhook a pretty good size barracuda. Barracuda have sharp teeth and are slippery and slimy. With seals and sharks around, having your kayak all slimy and stinky from bringing fish on board was not the best idea, so we tried to unhook the barracudas without bringing them on the kayak.

Going through these old photos of our very first kayak fishing trips has gotten us thinking about the fishing season ahead. We’ve gone through some our camera gear and are starting to get the bass fishing stuff ready to go. If the water warms up and the weather cooperates, we may even get out for the first time next week. We’ll see. After a long, cold, snowy winter, we are really ready to get back out on the water.

Dec 102016

We have posted a new albacore fishing video to the website and to YouTube. This video features some wide open albacore fishing aboard the Voyager out of Seaforth Landing in San Diego. The video has non-stop albacore fishing action, the stuff dream offshore fishing trips are made of.

Albacore fishing aboard the Voyager

Click HERE or on the photo above to check out the albacore fishing video on the website. Click HERE to watch the video on YouTube. The closed captioning needs to be added, I should have that in the next day or two. There is very little talking in the video, but a lot of hooting and hollering.

We will have more stuff coming up, so keep checking in!

Nov 292016

We get a lot of email asking about which fishing kayak to buy. Most kayak fishing buying questions are answered on the new Fishing Kayak Buyers Guide on the website. There are no recommendations on what brand kayak to buy, that’s up the the person buying it. The buyers guide should take you from step one of purchasing a kayak right up to which brand of kayak you want.

Fishing Kayak Buyers Guide from

Kayak fishing is not as expensive as owning a boat, but it’s not as cheap as you might think. Buying a fishing kayak is a big first step so it’s a good idea to figure out what you really need to get fishing.

The creative department here at the White Salmon studio is working overtime on the pile of projects that need to be done, so keep checking in!

Oct 262016

It’s a sad day when the kayak fishing season is over, but the time has come to wrap up the 2016 kayak fishing season. With the salmon and steelhead fishing closed on the Columbia River, the only place left to fish for salmon is a local river. They have been catching a few coho salmon, but the river is running high from a lot of rain. We drove by the river to check it out, it was packed with boats. Not into that so we headed to a spot on the Columbia River to try for some smallmouth bass. We wanted to go to another spot, but before we burned a bunch of gas, we wanted to see if the bass were even biting. Never been smallmouth fishing in October, usually we’d be fishing for salmon, so we didn’t know what to expect. The boat launch was unusually quiet for this time of year.

2016 salmon fishing on the Columbia River closed, boat launches are empty

It was overcast, but not very cold and there was no wind. The water temp in the Columbia was about 58-60°F. The water level was pretty high, as you would expect with all the rain we’ve been having, and the water wasn’t perfectly clear, but we were hoping to find a few bass looking for that last big meal before winter.

Late fall smallmouth bass fishing on the Columbia River

Unfortunately, we did not find any smallmouth bass. We did not even get a bite. When you go fishing for salmon or steelhead and you don’t catch anything, that’s part of the deal. Not that unusual. When you go smallmouth bass fishing at a spot where we’ve caught hundreds of fish and don’t get a bite, it’s time to pack it in. Fishing season, and winter in general, always seems to come early, but in reality, we are only talking about a week or two. The salmon fishing on the Columbia River being closed really sucks, but the fishing was not really that good this season anyway. That’s the way fishing is.

The good news is that the dismal PacNW winter is when we get most of our editing work done. We’ve got a lot of kayak fishing video and photos to go through and get them on the website and YouTube. We already have a list of projects, so as soon as the kayak gear is packed away for the winter, which will probably cause some alcohol consumption, we will be in the editing room, so stay tuned!

Oct 222016

Since kayak fishing on the Columbia River for salmon and steelhead is no longer an option, we are trying to figure out how we are going to spend the last few kayak fishing weeks of the year. The weather is generally cooler and wetter every day, but as long as the wind isn’t too bad and there isn’t too much rain, there are some fishing opportunities before it’s too cold to fish.

There is only one local Columbia River tributary that is a possibility for more salmon fishing. The late season coho fishing is usually pretty good, but it has not been very good so far this season. All the rain we’ve been having has got the river running high and fast. The water is also pretty dirty from runoff, that does not help the fishing either. On top of that, it’s the only place left to fish for salmon so anybody that wants to go salmon fishing is going to be there. Fifty boats on the Columbia River is one thing, fifty boats on a river that is no wider than twenty yards(18m) wide, is something else altogether different. Throw in kayak fishermen, float tubers and bank fishermen and it doesn’t sound like a fun fishing day.

Fall kayak fishing in the Pacific Northwest

The water in the Columbia River is about 60°F, warm enough to do some smallmouth bass fishing. Usually, the salmon fishing winds up the fishing season, but things are different this year. If the weather cooperates, we may try out the fall bass fishing. Never done it before so I don’t really know what to expect. We might be able to get a couple more fishing trips in before the kayaks are packed up for the year.