Oct 12, 2015

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (October 12th)

Pic: Steelhead Outfitters - Sam Sickles

Fishing Report

This could be a tough week in the region for steelheaders, but last week was on the verge of epic from what we’ve heard. 

Chinook Salmon are definitely declining in quantity and quality as we are seeing post-spawn fish washing down the river.  The bulk of the spawn is still a week or two out, but this week’s “high water” should help push some of them out of the system and get the latecomers into the rivers.  We have a really good chance at breaking the all-time fall Chinook record through Bonneville Dam, and we have already broken the all time Chinook count for the year (Spring, Summer and Fall Chinook combined). 

This also marks the time of year that Chinook start to “bed up” on their spawning gravel, otherwise known as redds.  Please respect the incredibly long and difficult journey that these fish have made and avoid walking through spawning areas or fishing at spawning salmon.  They have made it this far, so let’s allow them to spawn and die in peace so that we can have more salmon in a couple of years.  If you see dark colored salmon in shallow water, they are likely trying to spawn.  A spawning Chinook does not put up much of a fight and you are taking away the last reserves of energy that it has left for its final act.  If you see someone fishing at spawning salmon, please respectfully say something and suggest that they move on to better water.  We don’t need any confrontation, just education.  Thank you so much and fish on!

Coho Salmon are really not showing up as predicted.  The following article is a good explanation of the state of the runs.  I suggest signing up for the Columbia Basin Bulletin newsletter if you are interested in keeping track of the ins and outs of the management of salmon and steelhead in the Columbia Basinhttps://www.cbbulletin.com/435193.aspx  Always a wealth of good information. 

Although numbers are far, far below the pre-season predictions, and I suggested last week that the run was late due to the lack of rain, we should still have far more fish than our current counts show. 

Summer Steelhead are definitely spread throughout the Columbia Basin.  The Grande Ronde, Clearwater, Salmon, Deschutes and Klickitat are all fishing well right now.  As of Sunday, the Klickitat and the Hood are mud, and we haven’t heard about the Deschutes, but it’s a pretty good bet that the White is puking mud into the river.  We are never sure how long it will take to clear up, but you can’t always wait for perfect conditions to go fishing.  Give it a few days and I would be that the D and the Klick will be fishable by mid week.   If you really need to get out before mid-week, head up to the Deschutes above the White River confluence, it is in good shape. 

The Hood River has been very muddy.  I went down on Thursday to cast the OPST Commando Heads on my old Sage XP 8100.  Finally I can spey fish effectively with a single hand rod!  Anyways, there was about three inches of visibility at best.  By Friday, it had cleared to about 6 inches, but by Saturday afternoon, it had dropped back down to zero…  There is very little access on the Hood and there are a lot of Chinook spawning in the accessible areas.  Please refrain from fishing at them.  More than one local angler has spotted filleted salmon carcasses on the river.  Targeting Chinook in the Hood River is prohibited after June 15.

Lost Lake and Laurence Lake are still fishing really well right now.  We do get very few reports from the lakes in the fall because most people are fishing for salmon or steelhead, but it can be wicked awesome this time of year with very little (no) pressure.  Laurence Lake closes on October 31, so get out while you can. 
Smallmouth Bass fishing has been good… Not one report in the last few weeks, but conditions have been good on the Columbia.  Ryan needs to get back from Chicago so I can break in my new Sage ONE 690-4, aka, the smallie slayer.  I lined it up with a Rio Outbound Short WF6F/I, and it has been sitting in the corner of my tying room getting neglected…  Friends with bass boats are always good friends.

As always, we are happy to talk fishing any time.  Give us a call if you have any specific questions on local rivers, gear, and tactics, or if you just want some encouragement to get out of the office.

"Fly Fish the World with Us"


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