If there's one thing I learned while fishing the Georgia Kayak Tournament Trail at Lake Harding this month, it's this:
It's hard to fish muddy water.
That's what we're looking at in the PacNW since I've gotten back too. Rain upon rain has done a good job at muddying up the local rivers. While I was away, it sounds like I missed some of the greatest salmon fishing of the season. However, it seems that numbers are still way down. With the expect 470,000 spring chinook expected through the Columbia River system this spring, fewer than 500 have even made it up to the Bonneville Dam. That's not good. Other than one good week, angler efforts have mostly gone unheard.
Recent storms haven't helped. The Willamette River has been blown out for over a week, and the Columbia is barely doing any better. Smaller rivers are unapproachable for at least the next week, if not two.
Most effort, and the most catching, has been done along the Columbia River's Davis Bar. I've not fished this stretch yet this year, but might do so if the weather cooperates with me. I spent a windy and rainy day along the Willow Bar, though. In 6 hours time, I saw 4 fish caught: two on kwiks, one trolling, and one by a bank angler.
Ok, time to make things happier around here.
Coming closer are milder days, and milder days mean Saltwater! I'm wholeheartedly looking forward to getting out on the salt. While I have rockfish coming to me at work, I'd love to have some fresh blackies at home, and even nicer would be some fresh lingcod! Current swell predictions for the next week are running 10-20', depending on the day, so the wait will continue.
Washington Anglers! It's April! Remember, your 2009 licenses expired on March 31st, so it's time to renew, and remember to fillout and return your old tags! You can do all of this online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/
While your dong that, remember also that Washington has introduced a new license requirement if you're fishing around the Columbia River. The Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement is required for anglers fishing the Columbia River and its tributaries throughout the state. Funds for this endorsement are supposed to "...support the evaluation of selective fisheries in the Columbia River Basin. Funds also will be used for other management activities, including fisheries enforcement, data collection and monitoring."
Other fisheries have been slow as well. The Willamette River is now closed to sturgeon retention since March 31st. Willamette sturgeon season will not re-open again until November. As is normal, dino fishing is still allowed 7 days a week, you just cannot keep them. And, honestly, why do you really want to keep them? Yeah, they're good eats, but not from that river, and their numbers are declining rapidly.
Bass fishing is picking up in southern areas of the region, and only getting better elsewhere. I'd suspect to be in full swing in about 3 weeks. Locally, most waters are hovering around the 50F mark. If the weather ever calms, we're in for a great warmwater season.