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Pacific Northwest Kayak Fishing Reports
Wednesday, 10 November 2010 18:34

Over Before You Know It

November 1st marked the opening day of the Winter Sturgeon season on the popular Lower Willamette.  Retention days were set at Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.  Having been closed since March, many people were eager for the season to begin again.  And so it did.

And then it was gone.

Published in Pacific Northwest
Thursday, 29 July 2010 01:22

Fall nookie is better than none!

Anglers can look forward to one of the best returns of chinook salmon in several years when the fall fishing season gets under way Aug. 1 on the Columbia River.

Fisheries managers are forecasting a return of 655,000 adult fall chinook this year, which is up from a return of 429,000 chinook last year. If the run materializes as expected, it would be the largest fall chinook return since 2004.

Published in Pacific Northwest
Monday, 28 December 2009 10:44

Quagga, Zebra, and Milfoil, oh my!

Invasive clams, mussels, snails and vegetation like milfoil are a scourge to freshwater fishing everywhere.  The State of Washington does random checkpoints throughout the year to look over boats, canoes and kayaks entering the state to inspect them for these invasive invertebrates.

Published in Pacific Northwest
Monday, 28 December 2009 09:27

Good news for Oregon Freshwater Anglers

The State of Oregon is trying something new for 2010 that I nearly forgot about:
Permitting the use of two fishing rods.

In a lot of states this is old hat, but for several others, this is new stuff.  Oregon will allow appropriately licensed individuals and children 13 and under, the privilege of fishing with two rods. The two rod permit is an additional $17 fee on top of your normal fishing license fees.

Published in Pacific Northwest
Sunday, 27 December 2009 11:58

2010 Not looking good for Sturgeon Anglers

2010 isn't looking so good for sport and commercial sturgeon fishing in the lower Columbia River. We won't know for sure until Feb 18th when Oregon and Washing fish and wildlife commissions publish their finalized regulations for sturgeon and salmon.

But last week, Bill Tweit, Columbia River policy lead for Washington, did not want any actions taken for January or February that would preclude cuts in sturgeon harvest as deep as 50 percent.

Published in Pacific Northwest
Sunday, 13 December 2009 11:30

Bbrrr - Bring on the Spring(er) Thaw!

Fishing the last few weeks has been tough, if not impossible.  The Tillamook River is iced over and others are getting a bit hard as well.  Earlier rains washed out rivers makeing them undriftable.  When the rains subsided, the winds picked up.  Then after the winds, the waters were glass clear - too clear for Chinook.  Then the subfreezing temps arrived.  Ouch!

The most interesting bit of news came Friday.  State, Federal and Tribal committees from Oregon and Washington announced their predictions for the 2010 Spring Chinook returns. I'm still skeptical, but they're expecting about 470,000 adult Springers to run the Columbia in a few months.  This newest prediction is the largest return of Springers since 1938 - when the Bonneville Dam was built and fish counting began. In 2009, they forecasted 350,000, but we only saw half that.  In 2001, we did get over 400,000 fish, so it’s possible that this next year could be good.



Even still, if we get half of the current prediction, we're looking at some good fishing!  Its hard to speculate what Spring Chinook regulations will be (announced Feb. 18, 2010) but I’d expect an angler take of about 20,000 adults. Last year we brought in almost 17,000. Fishing for Springers on the Columbia, and we will likely be limited to just 3-days out of the week just like last year.

Scientists base predictions based on the number of young "Jack" salmon that return with the adults.  In 2009, we had a HUGE number of these teenaged Jack salmon in the rivers, instead of the ocean.  The 80,000+ jacks counted this year were four times more than were counted in 2000, which lead to the huge numbers in 2001.  Because of over grossly over-estimated predictions since 2001, scientists have altered their formulas.  The most popular results this marked a return range between 330,000 and 580,000, so committees and scientists settled on a number right in between.






Now, these are the numbers for the Columbia River at Bonneville Dam.  Coming this week we’ll have numbers for the Willamette River through Portland.  This figure rarely follow the Columbia numbers, but they are very often much more accurate.  Biologists in Oregon are thinking 60,000 fish for the Willamette are likely, which would be enough to keep the river open to Chinook fishing 7-days a week, with a two fish limit! Yum!



Published in Pacific Northwest
Tuesday, 08 December 2009 09:19

New PacNW Kayak Angling Group

Fishing in the Pacific North West? Yak Social now has a group for you. The PacNW Kayak Angling group was created just last month but already has some great content for our readers. “Fishing in the Northwest is different. Our waters are cold. Salmon is king. Sturgeons are huge. This group is for kayak anglers of Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, Idaho, and Alaska.” says group creator Isaac AKA “The Nothing”.

Published in Spotlight
Sunday, 22 November 2009 18:40

Wetter Season is here, bring on the Chrome!

Its Winter time, otherwise known as the Wetter Season here in the Pacific Northwest. Just a little bit more rain than the nicer Wet Season, but enough to bring river levels up and the big fish in.

This time of year I have only three things in mind.  Salmon, Sturgeon and Steelhead.

Right now sturgeon are moving into the Columbia and Willamette Rivers and they seem to get bigger every week. The bite was very slow at the season opener on October 1st, but so far every week the action has been getting better. I personally prefer the lower traffic of the Willamette River, and there are a ton of great sturgeon holes throughout the Portland area that are easy paddles. I've had the best luck using whole baitfish.  Fishing for sturgeon is about as easy as can be. Find a deep hole 70+ feet. Anchor up alongside or upstream. Tie on bait (herring, anchovie, shad, sandshrimp, squid, red/orange gummy worms, and much more), heavy lead, toss into hole, wait.


ChinookBig native Fall Chinook salmon are pointed at coastal rivers ready to make the move on up.  Tillamook Bay fishing has been great the last couple and you can expect to see these big fish push their way up the Nestucca, Wilson and Kilchis Rivers now that the rains have come. These rivers are easy to drift, especially if you have a smaller kayak.  My Trident 15 is too big for these rivers, but anything under 13' will feel right at home.  The Fall Chinook run is brief, but does provide some killer fishing. General tactics including bobber dodging, flatlining plugs, and back-bouncing eggs will slay these fish. Be prepared to fish all three techniques with three different rods. If you find a good spot, work your way through all three setups before moving on. If there are fish in the hole, at least one of them will provide some good action.

But the Wetter season is dominated by steelhead.

Winter Steel can be found in nearly every river in Oregon and Washington starting December, and many don't let up until February!  Most people tend to give up boating and head for the bank, or the comfort of a fireplace, but a kayak is still a great fishing platform no matter the time of year!  Some of the best rivers to float AND provide some good fishing this year will be:



For those of you on the eastern sides of the Cascades, you shouldn't be reading this. You should be out fishing.  A huge late summer run of Steelhead have been working your way through the system and the States of Oregon, Washington and Idaho are overwhelmed! They are REQUIRING people to keep every hatchery Steelhead you catch.  On top of that, they have upped limits from two fish a day, to four fish. People have been catching limits pretty quickly on the Columbia, Clearwater, Snake and Grand Ronde Rivers float-drifting darker colored 1/8 and 1/4oz jigs, and back bouncing shrimp and eggs.

There are several more options if you want to work the bank this winter. Check out the November issue of Northwest Sportsman Magazine for some great locations and tactics for Winter Steelies.  There's also a great article by Mark Veary on kayak drift fishing this winter.

Check with local guides on SteelheadUniversity.com (Washington) and TheGuidesForcast.com (Oregon), and local tackle shops for more specific information on good areas to drift!

Published in Pacific Northwest

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