So the theme of this year is HIGH WATER! I think that would be an understatement, but personally, outside of having to reschedule a few trips for our clients fishing with us out of our Portland locations, I like the high water.
And there are a number of reasons why.
The fishing has been good. I’ve got no complaints. The Willamette River has produced good days and so has the Columbia. There’s been a few slow days, but when we play the tides and stay disciplined, even the slow days yielded fish for our customers.
Water temperatures are still below 50 degrees. I think this is the biggest deal going forward. Certainly the wet, cold weather has it’s drawbacks, but if you’re a Salmon fisherman, you’re licking your chops for the next month of fishing. Our runs are showing up later and later. As far as I’m concerned, the longer water temperatures stay low, the greater the opportunity we have to run into slugs of fish in May and even June. “June?”, yes June. During our last high water year, I caught my last 8 fish limit in the Willamette on June 22nd. I’d love to see fishing like that again in June and as far as I’m concerned, it can stay cold and wet as long as it would like, just so I can again see the opportunity.
Not everyone knows how to fish high water. Ok, I’m being a little selfish, but it’s true. New generations of fishermen come along and haven’t seen these kinds of conditions before. There’s lots more room to spread out and the areas that are holding fish in a year like this, aren’t at all popular. We fished an area the other day on the Willamette, saw perhaps two boats and creamed fish after fish. I haven’t been able to fish that area in a number of years because it only fishes in high water. I have to admit, revisiting some of these areas is like hanging out with an old friend.
The Willamette is bumping up for the moment, but I don’t expect it to be turbid for very long. In fact, there are enough fish right now that we’ve caught decent numbers as it’s risen the last few days. Not exactly what you’d expect, but more evidence that we’re on fish.
Expect an extension above Bonneville. There will be some great fishing above the dams in May. I think that managers underestimated this run and there may be another shot below Bonneville after the run update. I realize there hasn’t been a ton of fish over Bonneville at this point, but we’ve also had very high water (400,000 cfs) and cold temperatures. The evidence is simply in the catch numbers that we experienced in the lower river. It was good and fish manger test netting also proved good. They’re coming, there just moving appropriately with the conditions.
Thanks for the incredible trip today Lance!! My best springer trip ever, and you made memories for my crew that will last forever. Thanks again my man!
Man oh man….by far the best salmon I’ve ever had. It was also the first time in my life that I caught something and ate it. Thanks for taking us out on the river and showing us a good time….we’ll be doing it again for sure!
Eric B.- Mainz Brady Group
Lance, thank you for another wonderful day fishing. Again, thanks for the wonderful service you’ve provided each and every time we’ve fished with you.
I had an absolute blast fishing with you and the guys earlier this week…..I was so impressed with your knowledge and ability to put us on the fish! Thanks again, and looking forward to fishing with you down the road!
Tony V.- Convergint Technologies
Thanks again for taking us out today. It was really fun watching the old guys forget about their aches and pains for a while. All three of them are ready to go again on a moments notice.
Lance, we had a blast. Thanks for taking us, you are not only a great guide, you are a fun guy to be around. Until next time, keep up the good work!
Thank you so much for an awesome time today! Both you and your other two guides were very professional, knowledgeable and hard workers. I will definitely recommend you! The weather was unbelievable as well. All in all, a perfect day.
Craig M.- RedBuilt
Just had a fabulous salmon for dinner thanks to my friend Lance Fisher. Thanks again for the great trip with my family. We always appreciate your kindness and generosity. You’re a very good guide but have also become a good friend to my clan. Looking forward to our next trip.
Thank you for an awesome trip last week. We had a blast and would love to be on one of your trips in the future. We’ll definitely be in touch. It was great hanging out with you as we caught Chinook after Chinook. Thank you for making this such a wonderful trip.
Thanks again for a good day on the river. Our customers had a good time and appreciated your dedication and hard work. It was very nice to all come back with some nice fish in less than 2 hours.
Paul H.- Hollabaugh Brothers
Thanks for taking us out and showing me the ropes on how to fish today. I have only tried fishing on the banks of lakes before. Had a blast; who wouldn’t when you can land three Salmon on your rookie trip?!
Thanks again for this weekends time on the water. I always enjoy fishing with you – it had been too long - and this trip will be one I will not forget. Glad to be back in the boat with you and already looking forward to another trip.
About Lance Fisher
Lance Fisher is a native Oregonian and has fished since he was able to hold a rod. Lance began his life as a guide in 2001 and over the years has personally hosted thousands of clients, both private and corporate.