Apr 3, 2016

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (4/3/16)

April 3, 2016

Blushing Wild Steel!

Winter Steelhead fishing will be coming to an end in much of the region over the next few weeks.  There are always a few late fish moving in through April and many of our rivers get a nice push of early Summer Steelhead in May, but Spring Chinook are getting the bulk of anglers’ attention as of late and will only continue to attract anglers as passage numbers increase through Bonneville Dam.  Not the easiest fly- rod fare, but arguably the best eating fish that we have access to here.

The ODFW regulations do not mention if there is a Springer season on the Hood River this year as of Sunday, April 03.  We will investigate and post on next week’s report if we can find if there is a season this year.

The Hood River regulations appear on page 49 and 50.

Washington fishing licenses expired on March 31.  It’s time to renew before you get
caught off guard and get a nasty little ticket.

A winter beauty
I went out for one last hurrah of winter steelheading with Sam
Sickles of Steelhead Outfitters and we had a great day on the Sandy.  Managed to land one beauty of a wild fish and had a couple of other chances.  I am so grateful that I got to float one of the most beautiful stretches of river anywhere and it’s right in our backyard.

Rainbow Trout fishing has been great on the Deschutes River as of late.  March Browns have been hatching mid-day with the nice hot weather and Skwala dries have been working early in the day too.  Fishing a stonefly/skwala nymph under an indicator doubled with a March Brown nymph is the way to go.  The fish have been hot and hungry.  It is a great time to hit the river before it gets loaded up with anglers anticipating the salmonfly hatch.

Just a word on lakes: Laurence Lake is closed until April 22. We tend to get a few phone calls this time of year asking if the road is open or if the fishing is good, but regardless of the status of the road, the lake is closed.  If it warms up enough, there can be quite a few anglers on the water in April despite the closure.  Other lakes in the Gorge that are closed until April 22 include Spearfish and Rowland.

Other lakes in the area are open, but access is limited due to snow.  Kingsley Reservoir is usually the first lake to become accessible in the Hood River area when the snow starts to melt and fishing is ridiculously good as soon as you can get up there.  Goose Lake near Trout Lake, WA is another lake that is really good when you can first get in there.  Timothy Lake, Trillium Lake and Clear Lake are all wonderful spring fisheries near Mt. Hood, but snowpack is still significant and it might be a while unless you have some cross country skis.

Ryan and his little girl having a blast on the Columbia

Smallmouth Bass have finally started biting on the Columbia River.  They are not fully piled into the backwaters yet, but nice fish can be found near deep water on rocks and in front of bays.  Keep your fly (or jig) near (on) the bottom and work it slow.  Crayfish patterns would be my first choice today.

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:

Sandy The NOAA prediction site is way upriver from where most of us fish.  It tells us when the river will rise and drop, but does not reflect the flows that we see down below the Bull Run River.  For real-time conditions, we use the USGS site. 


Deschutes near Madras:

Deschutes at the mouth:

Columbia River water temperatures going through Bonneville Dam:

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