Monday, April 19, 2010

Columbia River Satisfaction

Sunday, April 18, 2010. Isn't it wonderful when a plan comes together. Yesterday was one of those days. For the last year, my primary objective for fishing has been to outfit a boat that is suitable for the Columbia River. I bought the boat in December, re-painted it despite the blustery winter weather, built platforms/floorboards, glued on carpet, added a double anchor system, and bought a new trailer. I must mention that my buddies, Scott and Mark, helped me at each step along the way.
Scott and I launched the boat just after 9 a.m. The sun was out, the wind was calm, and the temperature would eventually rise to almost 75 degrees. We motored up the river to a protected bay where I thought some smallmouth might be staging for the spawn. I was stripping an olive Barr's Slumpbuster in about 3 to 5 feet of water when I felt a tug. Probably a rock I thought. On the next two casts, I felt that same tug in that same spot. Hmmm. Must be a rock. This time I cast back to the spot where I felt the tug and stripped the fly back faster. My fly stopped as if hung on a rock, and the 4.5 lb. smallmouth pictured began its fight. A few minutes later the fish was in the boat, weighed, photographed, and released. What a way to start the season!

An hour later we were casting to schooling carp back in the same bay. First, Scott hooked a 15lb. carp that he fought for about 20 minutes until his tippet gave way. Later, he landed a 13 pounder on an olive Meatwhistle. The water was still around 50 to 53 degrees, so I am not sure how much these fish were really feeding. Nevertheless, they fought quite well.
This Columbia River fishery is fantastic. Miles of rocky shoreline with world class smallmouth fishing. Carp from 10 to 40 pounds. Drop offs, flats, islands.
I've fished this reservoir over half a dozen times and yesterday was the first time I've seen another fisherman, a gentleman fly fishing for carp from a jon boat. On the water, we gave this guy plenty of room. Later, we met our competition at the boat ramp.
We spoke for about 15 minutes as he told me about several spots I will have to try in the future. Later that afternoon we got in the truck to head home when Scott noticed a note on the windshield. I assumed that someone was angry with us for parking in the wrong spot or some other violation. Instead, it was a note from Steve, the other angler. He left us his e-mail and invited us to meet up with him sometime this year to fish the river together. What a great day!

You are lost
in miles of land without people, without
one fear of being found, in the dash
of rabbits, soar of antelope, swirl
merge and clatter of streams.

"Driving Montana" by Richard Hugo


  1. sweet report, big carp are a ass kicker! Nice Bass pics!

  2. That is sure enough a sweet bass and a sweet boat. (I've seen it, folks. It's a cherry.) Really great post and a great looking fish. I wish I'd been there! Keep 'em coming.

    What family has no mariner in its tree? No fool, no felon. No fisherman. - Suttree

  3. Looks great, James! Glad the boat has turned out well and it sounds like it was a heck of a trip.

  4. I love the utilitarian simplicity of a johnboat.
    Truly a fishing platform for the new economy.

    That is a nice smallie.

    UC Steve

  5. Nice fish and nice report James. Well done.