Springer Report

We’re not quite out of the single-digit days, but the editor is breathing a little easier this morning: Spring Chinook are trickling over the dam in increasing numbers — nine yesterday!

Even so, we understand that some officials in Springerville are starting to say there would be a few more fish by now. Test netting yesterday on the Columbia primarily below Longview only turned up six springers, so there will be no commercial fishery this week.

The mainstem is where Northwest Sportsman writer Andy Schneider started out fishing last weekend, but he found better action in the Multnomah Channel. Here’s his report:

I was fortunate enough to get out and chase springers the last three days straight.  But with casual plans scheduled every evening I needed to stay close to home, but that didn’t hinder my pursuit.

I started off fishing the Columbia at Davis Bar and Caterpillar Island on Friday in windy and gusty conditions.  The first thing I noticed on the Columbia (besides the white caps) was the water temperature had dropped from last week to 44 degrees.  Because of the colder water I heard multiple anglers complaining about fish dropping their baits only after a couple of tugs.  As I motored back, empty-handed, to the boat ramp in the Multnomah Channel Friday, I saw that the water temperature was just shy of 50 degrees … so I made plans to hit the warmer water Saturday morning.

I must not have been alone on my thinking, because everyone was on the water Saturday.  With coastal and local steelhead water conditions being good, I couldn’t figure out why there was so much pressure?  But there seemed to be enough action to keep anglers in a cheerful mood as we passed each other in the Multnomah Channel.

When I lost my first fish at the boat, I was feeling a little sick to my stomach.  It took a little over four more hours to get the next bite, but this fish was a little bigger and I felt fortunate enough just to get two bites on my rod on the same day in early March.

ANDYCOHO, ERRR, ANDYKING WITH A SPRINGER. (ANDY SCHNEIDER)

I couldn’t have been more happy to land my first springer of the 2010 season and felt a conflict growing deep inside: I’ve caught the first springer of the season — now I can relax.

And:  I’ve caught the first springer of the season — now I have to catch more and more and …

I settled my inner conflict by siding with my ‘springer fever’ half and went again Sunday.

The amount of boats on the channel decreased dramatically and so had the water clarity, but of the two bites we had, one made it into the boat … again on my rod.  I guess I should feel a little guilty about landing two fish in two days, but something that tastes as good as springer can’t be bad, can it?

(ANDY SCHNEIDER)

As for tactics, whole herring produced four of our six bites, 20-inch lead dropper with a 6-ounce lead dragging the bottom more often than not.

A green Big Al’s Fish Flash 6 feet above the bait got the most attention.

I only trolled water deeper than 14 feet a couple of times and of course fishing warmer water was the ticket for my first and second springers of 2010.

Now back to my springer sandwich …

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