Good conditions continue in the Columbia River. The bite picked up quite a bit in the lower Columbia this last week, and anglers did much better at Tenasilahe and Puget Islands. While anglers caught fish trolling, the best bite came to those that fished on the hook, or on the anchor. Hatchery fish tend to show up in bunches, and it looks like a good school moved through the lower river last week.
In this part of the river anglers practice the art of the plug, and the adherents of this art know that not all plugs are created equal. This is especially true of the older versions of the Kwikfish, before the modern “X” versions came out.
The newer versions do vibrate more and need less tuning out of the box, but they lack the side-to side action of the older Kwikfish IMO. These older versions may be the better bait, but not all were fish-catchers. Some did not seem to fish at all, but others seemed to have that “magic touch,” an action that draws strikes, time and again. These proven plugs are like gold to their owners, and the loss of any of these magic plugs can make grown men cry.
While upriver adherents have always favored the K-15 Kwikfish, lower river anglers prefer the smaller K-14 and K-13 sizes. Not sure why this is, but it’s been this way since we’ve been able to fish for Springers in the modern era.
Anglers down here also practice another art: that of the sardine fillet. There are as many secret recipes for juicing up the sardine fillets as there are fishermen, and many of them are ultra-effective. Don’t be afraid to put some additional scents on your sardine and plugs. Chinook are finicky, and the right scent can push them to strike.
Just be sure to align the fillet correctly on the plug, so that it does not affect the action.
Lower Columbia conditions good
Water conditions are very good in the lower river, with water temps at or near 50 degrees. Water temps at the Bonneville Dam are lower, at about 47 degrees. So, if you are having trouble finding biters in the Portland area head downriver and try it. Know however, that with the improved fishing, competition with the fur bags is brutal and never been worse.
Someone that’s terminally ill can start shooting these things any day now. I’ll name boats and children after that individual.
If the drive is too much for you, wait a few days as those fish will be up here soon, and the local bite will improve. The fishing in these last days of the season should be as good as it gets.
I still have a few seats open for the Columbia if you’d like to get out. Call me at 503.680.6809 or send me an email.
Here’s the segment on Columbia River Spring Chinook from this week’s show.