May 242017

One thing about the Pacific Northwest; things change all the time and sometimes they can change pretty quickly. The Columbia River Gorge is noted for it’s “natural beauty”, but almost everything is controlled, or has been altered by humans. The one thing that still is 100% natural is the weather, there is plenty of that. The nice weather months seem to pass very quickly, spring is nearly over and summer is almost here. The sunrise is earlier every day.

Early morning kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River

The smallmouth bass fishing on the the Columbia River is starting to look more like summer conditions as well. More fish moving around and willing to bite, but most are smaller fish eating to grow.

Only the big ones get away

The state record smallmouth bass is about eight or nine pounds, we use pretty lightweight tackle so we can have fun with the smaller fish. The fishing line we use may be a little heavier than normal, say about ten or twelve pound test, in case we do manage to hook into a new state record fish, but mostly because the bass are around rocks and you get a lot of snags.

With summer rolling around, there are more people out on the river, perfect timing for this SUPer to watch me catch a fish.

Kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River

Smallmouth bass are aggressive fish and great fighters when hooked. Even the small fish put up a great fight. Regardless if most of the bass are in the quarter to one pound range, you have to keep on your toes because not all the fish are small. The Columbia River is one of the best smallmouth bass fisheries anywhere and there a lot of big fish in the river. Nice day, good fishing and a big smallmouth bass is pretty much perfect fishing.

Smallmouth bass caught kayak fishing on the Columbia River

Get out there and go fishing!

May 212017

The weather here in the Pacific Northwest is starting to look more like summer. When the wind is calm, and it is not that easy to predict when that will occur, we are out again on the Columbia River for a little kayak fishing for smallmouth bass. The Columbia River is one of the best places for smallmouth bass fishing in the United States. The smallmouth bass can be found just about everywhere on the river, all a fisherman has to do is find them.

Kayak fishing in the Columbia River Gorge

There are many places to launch kayaks on the Columbia River. As long as you can get to the river’s edge, which in places is easier said than done, you can launch the kayak and look for the fish. A fisherman could easily spend the entire spring and summer on the Columbia River fishing for smallmouth bass. There are places to camp and the environment ranges from temperate rain forest to high desert in just a couple hundred miles.

Kayak fishing on the Columbia River at a remote launch site

As it has been since springtime struggled to emerge from the brutal 2016-17 winter here in the Columbia River Gorge, the water levels in the Columbia River remain high with strong currents and high river flows. The water level in the river is controlled by the dams and there is plenty of water from snowmelt to keep the pools behind the dams at maximum levels. I don’t think they can let much more water through the dams without flooding at this point. The high water, constantly changing water levels and sediment in the water have not made for the best fishing. Perhaps the oxygen level of the water, which comes from the bottom of the pool behind the dams, is lower than normal, making the fish sluggish. All of this is making for much slower than normal smallmouth bass fishing. We are catching a few bass, but you really have to work at it. We’re catching more small fish, so the spawning season is over and we should be seeing a little more action from the small to medium size smallies, but at this point, the smallmouth bass fishing around here remains challenging.

Early morning smallmouth bass fishing

We’ll be back out on the river tomorrow, then we have some business to take care of so we might not have a chance to go fishing as much as we would like to. The kayak is on the truck and ready to go in the morning.

Kayak fishing

When you have an opportunity to get out and do something you like to do, you should get out there. You can never be sure what tomorrow will bring. The only thing you can be sure of is that things will always change, many times not for the better. Don’t wait until tomorrow or next weekend or when the weather is better. Get out there today!

May 122017

We had a stretch of nice days with moderate winds so we were out on the Columbia River on the kayaks doing a little smallmouth bass fishing. There was a slight delay in launching in the morning as we waited out one of the Columbia Gorge’s infamous long trains. The tracks usually run along side the interstate so you don’t often have to cross train tracks, but if you do and there is a train coming, you may be in for a long wait watching the flashing red lights.

Early morning freight train in the Columbia River Gorge

The water level in the Columbia River is extremely high. It’s as high as I’ve ever seen and don’t think it goes much higher without calling it a flood. The upriver dam controls the amount of water in the river so unless there was some kind of huge natural disaster, there wouldn’t be any serious flooding on this part of the river. The water is high and the current is super strong, keeping us off the main channel until it calms down a bit. The water is still off color as well and the smallmouth bass fishing remains challenging. We did manage to scrape out a few fish before the early afternoon wind ended the kayak fishing day.

Columbia River smallmouth bass

The size of the fish seems to be getting a little smaller so that may mean the bass are starting to move around more as they normally do when the water warms up. That’s good news for the fishing, but now we are back to very windy days so it will be another day or two before we can get back out on the water. Perhaps the water level will drop a little and the water flow will start to settle down.

May 072017

It was a beautiful spring day today, perfect for a bike ride around Hood River, Oregon. This area is undoubtedly one of the best places in the United States to ride bikes. Riding on the road through the valleys and mountains of the Columbia Gorge or on one of the many trails on a mountain bike, it’s pretty hard to beat. We are lucky enough to be able to ride here all the time, something we are very thankful for.

The road through the Hood River valley to Mt Hood

The spring pear blossom bloom is pretty much over. Some of the apple trees are still blooming. Lots of bees flying around.

Mt Adams 5-7-17

The mountain biking is great, but we are on a short and quick fitness program, so you get more workout bang for your buck on the road bike. For the next couple weeks, if we aren’t kayak fishing, we will be bike riding. Looks like decent weather as well so we are looking forward to every day.

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 292017

We have had a really intense winter here in the Columbia River Gorge, but today the kayak fishing season officially opens with a few nice Smallmouth bass caught on the warmest day of the year so far. As is usually the case this time of year, there are fewer fish, but the fish you do catch are a little bigger than average.

Kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River 4-29-17

It was a great way to kick off the 2017 fishing season. We’ll have more in the next day or two…

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…