Jun 112018
 

We had a really good day of kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River followed by a few windy days that gave us time to put a few video highlights together and post them on YouTube. The video quality on YouTube seems to be getting worse and worse so we’ll post better quality videos on the watermanatwork.com website shortly.

Click HERE to view the Kayak Fishing for Smallmouth Bass video on YouTube

Click HERE or on the photo above to watch the Kayak Fishing for Smallmouth Bass video on YouTube.

Jun 082018
 

The wind is not giving us Columbia River kayak fishermen much of a break, but we finally got a day when the wind was pretty much calm and we were able to get a great day of kayak fishing for smallmouth bass. The water level of the Columbia River is dropping, down a few feet from the high water marks. The shoreline is coming back, there has been some riverfront flooding for sure.

Columbia River beach

There isn’t too much doubt that the muddy water in the Columbia River watershed has had a negative effect on the fishing in general, but it looks like the river is clearing up as the water level drops and the fishing is getting better.

Kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River with watermanatwork.com

The smallmouth bass fishing has been pretty tough lately. When you can’t catch smallmouth bass on the Columbia River, or even the John Day River, on the first week of June, the fishing is really bad. The water conditions are improving and so is the fishing. We caught a lot of smallmouth bass today, so many that I lost count. That’s what smallmouth bass fishing on the Columbia River is all about. Most of the fish were half-pounders, but great fighters on light tackle. I was finally able to get a couple bigger fish, like this nice Columbia River smallmouth bass

Columbia River smallmouth bass caught by watermanatork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

There was lots of kayak fishing action on the Columbia River today. The river is still a bit on the wild side and it’s going to be windy for a few days, but the smallmouth bass are out there.

Kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River with watermanatwork.com

Looks like windy conditions for a few days, so we’ll try and get the video editing going with more kayak fishing adventures. Keep checking in because we always have something going on.

Jun 052018
 

The wind and high river water has really put a damper on the late spring/early summer smallmouth bass fishing, but we hoped for the best and headed up to the John Day River for some kayak fishing for smallmouth bass. The wind only died down for one day and the water in the John Day River was high and an ugly coffee color from all the muddy runoff. The river conditions have a major effect on the fishing and the normally wide open smallmouth bass fishing was very slow. We didn’t catch any bigger fish and most of the smallmouth bass we did catch were really small. I only caught eight or ten fish the entire day. Normally, you could easily catch that many in a half hour.

There were a lot of people camping at Lepage Park making it seem like southeast Portland rather than rural Rufus, OR. There were a few other kayak fishermen and a normal weekend crowd of power boaters, but there is usually plenty of room for everyone on the John Day. I did get the full shakedown from the river patrol officer for invasive species permit and PFD.

Kayak fishermen on the John Day River near Lepage Park

We paddled upriver looking for the fish but never really hit the jackpot that usually is waiting on the John Day River. One of the best smallmouth bass fisheries in the United States, the muddy water shut down the usually hot smallmouth bass fishing.

Kayak fishing on the John Day River

Most of the smallmouth bass we caught were small and the big one did not get away because we did not find any of the big ones.

John Day River smallmouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The high water in the Columbia River watershed looks like it is beginning to drop a bit, but the wind continues to blow, which is putting a real damper on the kayak fishing. Looks like a relatively calm day tomorrow, but after that, it looks like at least another full week of wind. We will hit the Columbia first thing tomorrow morning and hope for the best. After that, we will either have to hit the road and run from the wind or trade the kayak fishing gear for mountain bikes.

May 222018
 

We got a brief window in the wind so we hit the road for some kayak fishing for smallmouth bass on the Columbia River in eastern Washington. The Columbia River here in the Columbia River Gorge is inches below flood stage with more water coming downstream. We headed upriver a couple big Columbia River dams where the river is more of a lake. The water levels would be high there as well, but not as noticable as further west.

The wind was 5-8mph most of the time we were fishing, but we did get one cloudy day where the wind stayed calm all day. Always a welcome sight to see dead glass at sunrise.

Cloudy and calm sunrise on the eastern Columbia River

The Columbia River has smallmouth bass just about everywhere and this stretch of the river in eastern Washington/Oregon is no exception. We caught a lot of smallmouth bass. Unfortunately, most of the fish were pretty small. No idea where the big ones were hiding. Maybe the high river water and relatively cool water temps have given the big bass a case of lockjaw.

Columbia River smallmouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The Columbia River here is wide with lots of steep rock cliffs and broken rocks on the banks that are perfect habitat for smallmouth bass. It is also pretty windy much of the time so when you get a calm day, you have to milk it for all it’s worth.

Kayak fishing on the Columbia River in eastern Washington

There’s not much in this part of eastern Washington; vineyards, farms, ranches and a few small towns with no stores or gas stations. If you run out of supplies, you can get in your kayak and paddle across the river to Oregon, where there is a well stocked general store. When you go looking for adventure, you can find the whole package around here.

If you need supplies, you can paddle across the Columbia River to Oregon where there is a general store

We like fishing on the eastern Columbia River and we know the big smallmouth bass are there, we’ll get them sooner or later. Waiting for the wind to die down in the next couple days and we will be back out on the Columbia River kayak fishing for smallmouth bass. We already have another kayak fishing trip on the eastern Columbia coming up so check back for more kayak fishing action!

May 162018
 

We are back in the Pacific Northwest and back out on the Columbia River kayak fishing for smallmouth bass. It didn’t take long to notice that the weather has been warm and dry and the snow in the mountains is melting at a rapid clip. The rivers and streams that flow from the Cascade Mountains down to the Columbia River are running high and fast.

Cascade Mountain streams and creeks running high and fast from melting snow

The Columbia River water level is as high as it can go without flooding. The water is only a few feet from the pavement of the boat launch parking lot. Usually, there is about thirty or forty feet from the pavement’s edge to the water.

Extreme high water levels on the Columbia River

Changing water levels in the Columbia River have a tendency to slow down the fishing, I think that may have been true for the first smallmouth bass kayak fishing trip of the season. The river water is still pretty chilly, about 56°F. It probably should be a little warmer, but the rapidly melting snow is filling the river with cold water. Even with all this, we managed to catch a few smallmouth bass. Nothing big, but we won’t get skunked for the year.

Columbia River smallmouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The wind came up pretty quickly and blew us off the water after a few hours of fishing, but the 2018 smallmouth bass season on the Columbia River has begun with a successful kayak fishing trip. We have already planned more kayak fishing trips and are waiting for the wind to calm down to get going. Keep checking back for more kayak fishing adventures!

May 082018
 

Our kayak fishing adventures on the Colorado River in the American southwest desert have come to an end. The daytime temperatures in the desert are well over 100° every day now, that’s a bit too hot for our outdoor living gear. It’s been a fantastic fishing trip and we have had a great time. Even though the past few days have been very hot, we’ve been out on the water getting the most out of our final hours of fishing on the Colorado River.

It’s uncomfortably hot during the afternoon, but the mornings are beautiful. We’re out there with our lines in the water before the sun comes up.

Sunrise over the Colorado River in the desert southwest

Most of the time, being on the water early has paid off with some nice fish. Here’s a nice largemouth bass caught just a few minutes before sunrise.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught just before sunrise by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

We are primarily fishing for largemouth bass, but there are plenty of other kinds of fish in the Colorado River like this healthy crappie.

Colorado River crappie caught just before sunrise by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

We caught a lot of nice fish, lost a bunch more and had a ton of weak hits that didn’t stick, so there was plenty of kayak fishing action.

Kayak fishing on the Colorado River with watermanatwork.com

We lost count of how many nice largemouth bass we’ve caught, but have plenty of photos and a lot of great video to remind us of all the kayak fishing action. On our last day, I lost a huge largemouth bass the spit the hook right next to the kayak. It could have been the best bass of the trip and a personal best, all I have is the video of the bass throwing the hook as it took to the air.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

One of the highlights of the trip was chasing and catching striped bass. We got lucky when a school of stripers started hanging out just a short distance from where we were camping. I managed to catch at least one striper each of the last four days we were on the river. For a fisherman who, until this trip, never fished for or caught a striped bass, it was really exciting.

Colorado River striped bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

Kayak fishing on the Colorado River was everything we hoped for and then some.

Kayak fishing on the Colorado River with watermanatwork.com

Adios, for now, to the Colorado River and Yuma, AZ, which was pretty much our home base. We met a lot of nice people and fished with some real hardcore bass fisherman, we had a great time. Thanks to everyone around Yuma for making us feel welcome and giving us the information we needed to find our way around the area. For sure we will be back.

We have a lot of great video we are working on and hope to start posting it on the watermanatwork.com website and YouTube channel.

May 012018
 

We had a good time fishing for smallmouth bass on the Colorado River at Picacho, but we are really looking for largemouth and striped bass because we will be fishing for smallmouth bass all summer on the Columbia River. Hard to beat the Columbia for smallmouth bass fishing and hard to beat the Colorado River for largemouth and striped bass fishing, so we are back on the lower Colorado River. It didn’t take long to get back in the largemouth bass groove. On this day, I got a fish on the first cast about a half hour before sunrise.

Pre dawn Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

By the time the sun started to show over the riverside bushes, I had already caught a few nice largemouth bass and farmed a couple more.

Colorado River sunrise

The warm temperature, glassy river water and early morning sunlight made for some spectacular largemouth bass fishing action.

Kayak fishing on the Colorado River with watermanatwork.com

Getting out there early paid off again with a number of nice early morning largemouth bass.

Nice early morning Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

While fishing the shoreline for largemouth bass, I noticed some surface action out of the corner of my eye. There are a lot of carp and tilapia that wallow around the surface here so I didn’t think too much of it until I looked a little closer and saw it was a school of striped bass chasing baitfish against the bank. I’d never seen a school of striped bass before but I paddled as quick as I could over to the feeding frenzy and tossed the only lure I had tied on; a white 4″ grub, into the school of stripers. On the second or third cast I got hit and the fight was on! After a nice battle, I had my first real Colorado striped bass in the kayak.

Colorado River striped bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

At Picacho, I caught a largemouth bass and a smallmouth bass on the same day. One day later, I catch a largemouth bass and a striped bass on the same day. Not sure how much you could ask for as a bass fisherman.

After landing my first striper, I was pretty fired up and chased the school of striped bass around the river until they vanished without another bite. The stripers were gone but the largemouth bass fishing was still on fire.

Kayak fishing on the Colorado River with watermanatwork.com

We were catching so many fish, even one of the locals came over to see if he could get in on all the fishing action.

Natural fisherman on the Colorado River

The largemouth bass action stayed hot until the early afternoon. As the days get longer and hotter, this seems to be the trend. We caught a lot of nice bass while it was good.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The hotter days mean that our time on the Colorado River is coming to an end. Temperatures over 100° for days on end are more than we can handle with the gear we have so it won’t be long before we are headed back to the Columbia River Gorge and a summer of smallmouth bass fishing. The kayak fishing action won’t stop, it will just be changing location. Stay tuned.

May 012018
 

One of the places we wanted to check out here on our Colorado River kayak fishing adventures was Picacho State Park in southeast California. Picacho is an old mill site on the California side of the Colorado River, now it’s a state park. It has to be one of the more remote parks in the state of California. You can only get there by boat on the Colorado River, or an eighteen mile trip over a sandy, rocky and rutted dirt road.

Eighteen miles of dirt road to get to the Colorado River and Picacho State Park

Depending on how long since the road has been graded, it can be a pretty bumpy ride for trucks, I don’t think a car would be a good idea. Even in the trusty Toyota pickup, it was a slow haul to keep the truck from rattling apart. There was a section of pretty deep sand wash where it was gassit and keep the truck on the road. Reminded me of our many trips to the corners of Baja looking for waves.

Picacho Road to Pichacho State Park on the Colorado River

We got to Picacho State Park, it looked like we just pulled off I-5. Despite it’s remote location, it had park rangers, a camp host and river patrol facilities. Campsites are pretty basic. Most of the people have campers or trailers so you don’t need much. No river access campsites at the main campground, so we headed over to the Taylor Lake boat-in campsite. The Taylor Lake campsite had a paved ramp to the lake, bathroom, picnic tables and canopies for relief from the hot desert sun. $20 a night, but it is California…

Taylor Lake is one of the many Colorado River backwaters, it’s a beautiful place.

Taylor Lake on the Colorado River in Picacho State Park in southeast California

We had the place to ourselves for a little while until a few other fishermen from San Diego County showed up. A couple of them were kayak fishermen, all cool guys. We did a lot of fishing and a good time was had by all.

Taylor Lake fish camp

Taylor Lake is a beautiful lake, perfect for kayak fishing. Even on windy days, the tall reeds provide wind shadows all over the lake. One end of the lake is a huge rock wall.

Taylor Lake, Picacho, CA

The lake is ringed by reeds and floating grasses. There are submerged trees throughout the lake.

Taylor Lake, Picacho, CA

We caught sunfish, bluegill and largemouth bass in Taylor Lake. There are also catfish and plenty of carp. I think carp may be the most common fish in the Colorado River system. We were told the largemouth bass don’t get very large here, but I hooked and lost a fish that was probably a bass that was at least a couple pounds. Most of the largemouth bass we caught were hard fighting “one pounders”.

Taylor Lake largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

Taylor Lake was nice, but we were here for a look at the fishing on the Colorado River itself. The river here is pretty wide. The river flow depends on water releases from upstream dams, but the days we were there, the current was steady and moderately fast. A full day of paddling here will leave you pretty worn out. The water was 70°F and very clear. The bottom was sand, just like the desert on either side of the river.

Colorado River near Picacho, CA

We did find a few small largemouth bass on the Colorado River, but with the swift current, it did not seem like ideal largemouth bass habitat. The kind of habitat more suited to smallmouth bass, and that’s what we found; plenty of nice sized, hard fighting smallmouth bass. This is the southern limit of their range. Always happy to see smallmouth bass, it was a great day of fishing.

Colorado River smallmouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

After a few days of fun kayak fishing, great desert scenery and evading mosquitoes, it was time to load up and get ready for the long trip out of Picacho. Up at sunrise for one last photo, load up and head down to the solar shower before heading out.

Taylor Lake sunrise

Check back for more kayak fishing adventures from the Colorado River in the southwest US.

Apr 232018
 

Here are a few more photos from the great kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River. We’ve been catching plenty of fish, but for a couple days all we caught were small fish in the one to two pound range. The past couple days the bigger fish have started to get in on the action and we caught some really nice bass.

As usual, we’ve been hitting it early while it’s still pretty cool. The fishing in the early morning has been good.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

The fishing slowed down in the late morning and early afternoon for a couple days, but lately the fish will bite throughout the day. All you have to do is find them.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River with watermanatwork.com

The lower Colorado River is a great place for kayak fishing. There are plenty of high horsepower bass boats zooming around, especially on weekends, but the vast majority of boaters are good sportsmen and will give you some room. During the week, there are far fewer fishermen.

Kayak fishing for largemouth bass on the Colorado River with watermanatwork.com

It’s starting to get really hot, but with protection from the sun and plenty of water, we can fish all day. You never know when a fish is going to bite.

Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

Even this chunky Colorado River white crappie beat the bass to a black plastic worm.

Colorado River white crappie caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

All the fish we catch are released. We started using forceps to extract lures that largemouth bass have inhaled or swallowed, using them has saved a lot fish. This bass needed a little poke on the cheek to get going.

Catch and release largemouth bass

One of the past week’s highlights was this big largemouth bass that hit a plastic work about a half hour before sunrise. A bit too dark for video, but this big fish put up quite the battle, running into the reeds a number of times between big jumps.

Big pre-dawn Colorado River largemouth bass caught by watermanatwork.com kayak fisherman Ron Barbish

We’ve seen plenty of these desert sunrises in the past week.

Colorado River sunrise

We are in town for a few hours to pick up supplies and use the internet, then we are headed back to the desert and further up the Colorado River. Check back for more kayak fishing action from the Colorado River.