UPDATED: Gotta blaze home here shortly to attend to a sick wife and kids — thank you, cold season, for a fine Valentine’s Day present — but thought I’d pass along a quartet of fishin’ reports.
The first comes from our Main man in Spokane, steelheader Jeff Main:
I went to the Grande Ronde on Sat. I hooked 13, landed 8; Sun. 1 for 1. River is in beautiful shape. Tried the UV Corkies on Sat. Never used them on Corkies before, seemed to work well or could have been a day when color did not matter just right place right time — kinda like to think maybe UV though. Counted 37 people on Sat.; most only had onesies or twosies or none (ouch).
With rain then snow in the forecast, getting to the Ronde may be adventurous, but even with not-exactly-prime conditions on the Clearwater, I’ve been hearing good things from there this winter. And that’s where our second report comes from, via Pautzke’s director of operations Chris Shaffer:
Our shipping guy won’t leave me alone! Guy went back from Eburg to Lewiston last weekend to try again
And our third report comes North-central Washington, from guide Anton Jones of Darrell & Dad’s Guide Service.
What’s hot is trolling on Lake Chelan for lakers in the trench. Also hot is bait fishing the net pens on Rufus Woods for Triploid Rainbows.
Fish on Lake Chelan in the Trench using Silver Horde’s Kingfisher Lite spoons in chartreuse splatterback glow. Above the Yacht Club try Worden Lure’s T4 purple glow Flatfish for some bigger fish. Try Worden Lures M2 Flatfish in Chub pattern on “the Bar” for some nice quality fish. Another great choice in any of those locations would be Mack’s Lures Cha Cha Squidder in a glow color.
It was slow for Upper Columbia Steelhead fishing.
Rufus Woods produced nicely bait fishing near the net pens. Try rainbow colored Fire Bait by Pautzke.
Your fishing tip of the week is to remember to be creative when thinking about “matching the hatch”. It has become passé among fly fishers for sure, but all anglers need to try and mimic their lure or bait to what the fish are eating, or “matching the hatch”.
On both Chelan and Rufus we think in terms of taking into account what the fish are eating, but instead of trying to match an incredibly plentiful food supply we try to capitalize on the fish’s opportunistic nature. At Rufus, we know the fish are feeding below and downstream of the net pens on fish pellets. How would they find our pellet imitation among the gazillions of actual food pellets? Well, they wouldn’t. So we fish where they are with a bait that is in the area they are eating, and only a bit bigger than what they are feeding on. However, we use rainbow color and glitter to attract their attention. On Chelan, the fish are keying on Mysis shrimp or other fish. We put our lures closer to them and make them look a bit more vulnerable and attractive than their naturally plentiful food. Anyhow, it’s something to consider when deciding what to use.
The kid’s tip of the week is to capitalize on school age children’s mercenary ambitions to shape desirable and useful ambitions. Somewhere from ages 7 to 9 most kids are motivated by money. I pay my 9 year old granddaughter a few dollars to clean the boat after trips. After she does a good job I reinforce it with praise. I’m saving my back and getting a helper. She is developing that elusive “self-esteem”. Keep it age appropriate and be reasonable with your expectations.
Your safety tip of the week is to remember to clean that fish blood and goo off the deck before people slip and fall!
And finally, No. 4 from biologist Joe Hymer in Vancouver:
Cowlitz River – No report on angling success is currently available. Last week Tacoma Power recovered eight coho adults, 63 winter-run steelhead and one winter-run steelhead jack during four days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
During the past week Tacoma Power employees released three coho adults and 30 winter-run steelhead into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek and 13 winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.
River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 9,570 cubic feet per second on Monday, February 14. Water visibility is two feet.
Lower Columbia from the I-5 Bridge downstream – A few more anglers were sampled last week but still no catch. Forty-three boats and 102 bank anglers were counted during the Saturday Feb. 12 effort flight count. Half the boat effort was found around Woodland. The majority of the bank effort was on the Oregon shore.
Bonneville Pool – No salmonid anglers were sampled last week.
The Dalles Pool – Boat anglers averaged a steelhead per rod when including fish released. Bank anglers were also catching some steelhead.
John Day Pool – Boat and bank anglers are catching some steelhead.
Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Generally light effort and catch. We did not have any catch in our sample, including sublegals released. A total of 51 boats and 37 bank anglers were counted during last Saturday’s effort flight count. The largest concentration of sturgeon boats were found around Vancouver.
Bonneville Pool – Including fish released, boat anglers averaged a legal per boat. Bank anglers also caught some legals.
The Dalles and John Day pools – Boat anglers caught a few legals. Slow fishing from the bank.
WALLEYE AND BASS
Bonneville Pool – Boat anglers are catching some walleye. No effort observed for bass.
The Dalles Pool – Boat anglers averaged slightly over a walleye per rod when including fish released. Bank anglers were also catching some fish. No effort observed for bass.
John Day Pool – Including fish released, boat anglers averaged a walleye per boat. No effort observed for bass.
Klineline Pond – 28 bank anglers kept 42 rainbows. Planted with 1,500 rainbows averaging 2/3 pound each Feb. 11.