Apr 24, 2016

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (04/24/2016)

Another beautiful spring sunset driving home from a great day of lake fishing in the desert!
I hope that everyone has been able to get out and enjoy the great fishing conditions that we have had lately.  Most lakes are now open for trout, the bass are snapping, the carp are biting, and we even have some salmon and steelhead are lurking around the local rivers.

Salmonflies will soon be upon us!
Rainbow trout fishing has been great across the area, but the shining star is the Deschutes River right now.  The stoneflies are crawling and the fish are happy.  The colder weather late in the week did slow the bite down,but that is just a small step back in a long march forward.  Stonefly nymphs should be on every angler's rod at this point.  They can be doubled up with a number of smaller flies such as copper johns, pheasant tails or san juan worms, although most of the fish are being caught on the bigger bugs.  Adults will likely be popping off below Sherar's Falls by the end of the week if they haven't started already.  

Lake fishing for Rainbow Trout just started this weekend and we have not heard many reports so far, but the colder weather should have spurred Callibaetis to hatch in many locations.  Buggers, chironomids, and Callibaetis should all be in the box, and anglers should be prepared for anything this time of year.  Weather changes quickly in April, and the hatches can change in a minute with the weather.  Poor weather tends to spur on Callibaetis, while steady weather is what the chironomids seem to like best.  

Lost Lake required a hike last week to get into.  The gate was closed just above campground, but it will be opening May 1.  Fishing should be great through spring, summer and fall up there.  

Callibaetis spinner chillin on a float tube
Laurence Lake is another local favorite.  Just a reminder:  it is not legal to target bull trout in Laurence Lake.  The trout fishing at Laurence is typically great throughout the entire time its open.  Fish average size is fairly small as this lake does not tend to grow too many lunkers, but the occasional larger rainbow is caught, and bull trout are routinely caught as by-catch on buggers and leeches.  

Spearfish, Horsethief and Rowland Lakes all opened on the Washington side of the Gorge this last weekend.  They are typical put and take lakes loaded with planter rainbow trout.  The fishing is good and the trout are plentiful.  They are great places to go catch a few fish if you don't have all day, or if you have your kids with you.  Goose Lake should be accessible by now, but I haven't talked to anyone up there recently.  It is also a great place to go slay some trout early season. 

Our local streams are generally not open for trout fishing right now.  The Hood (Main and East Fork), Eagle Creek, Klickitat, Little White Salmon and the Big White Salmon River* are all closed for trout fishing right now.  The Deschutes and the White River are the only decent trout stream options close to here this time of year.  

Its a great time to swing for a late spring steelhead!
*The (Big) White Salmon opens June 1 above Northwestern Lake Park Bridge for trout and August 1 below the bridge downstream to the old power plant.  The lower couple of miles (below the old power plant) is open year round for trout.  

Chinook Salmon fishing has been slow, but improving daily.  Drano Lake is the place to be apparently.  There were about 200 boats there on Sunday morning.  The Hood River is open, but minimal effort and mediocre success has been reported so far.  We should start seeing more "springers" in the next couple weeks.  The Hood typically hosts a later run of springers, mid to later May.  

Winter Steelhead are just about done, but there are definitely a few fish still moving into local rivers.  Late for the prom, but just in time to catch the after-party, some big steelhead can come in this time of year.  Check the regulations; many of the rivers in WA are closed this time of year.  

Smallies have
been snapping!
Smallmouth Bass have been snappy this week.  Bigger fish are sitting on the bottom, but smaller guys are suspended and chasing everything.  Look for structure and rock in 2-6' of water near, not too far from shore.  They are not up on beds yet, but they will be staying in close for the next month or more as the full moon in late May should be when the bulk of the smallies spawn.

Carp fishing has been great!  I went bass fishing on Wednesday and hooked two carp dragging a crayfish fly across a shallow shelf in the Columbia.  The bass weren't cooperating in that spot yet, but the carp were happy, so I packed up, went up the road to one of the many impounded lakes along the highway in the Gorge and hooked up with two more fish on a small rubber-leg nymph.  The colder weather that moved in later in the week has not been great for the bite, but fish will be active once it warms up again.  Mid-day seems to be the best for me, but that is probably because it is easier to spot them.

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.

Local Water Flow Reports
Hood River:
Deschutes near Madras:
Deschutes at the mouth:
Columbia River water temperatures going through Bonneville Dam:

Andrew Perrault
Columbia Gorge Fishing Reports
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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