Any smallmouth yet?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by longstick, Apr 11, 2009.

  1. longstick

    longstick Member

    Anyone find smallie yet? I am very interested in trying to get into them. I am not looking for hot spots I am just seeing about the time and the temps.
     
  2. suckegg

    suckegg Active Member

    At this time there will be some Smallmouth on beds on the Columbia. Water temps vary quite a bit from mainstem to the farthest reaches of sloughs. Particularly when the run off has yet to kick in and the river is not stirred up yet. Long Lake below Potholes should be turning on now. We caught some good Largemouth already and the like warmer water than Smallmouth
     

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  3. suckegg

    suckegg Active Member

    My log says we found plenty of Smallmouth on beds 4/15. They were in deeper water than they will be later. By no means not so deep you can't fish them with the fly or see them. My thinking is they build beds deeper early because the chilly nights doesn't effect the water temps at 10' deep like it might at 2 or 3'. Some of the sloughs have essentially zero water exchange with the main channel once you get way back in them so they can be much warmer.
     
  4. Chester Allen

    Chester Allen Fishing addict and scribbler

    I'm in Hood River for the next few days, and I plan to get out there and look for smallmouth. I'll post reports afterwards....
     
  5. suckegg - NICE FISH!
     
  6. longstick

    longstick Member

    would you guys use top water or sub surface with this colder timeps. I am guessing slower retrieves
     
  7. WaFlyCaster

    WaFlyCaster Tricoptera

    I would be going subsurface if i were out right now. Wait until you see some action on the surface before going up there.
     
  8. Connor H

    Connor H Bobbers n Beadz

    I would wait until early May before I really go to some topwater patterns. A night with a little breeze is MONEY!!!
     
  9. Steve J.

    Steve J. Red's Fly Shop

    If you find fish on beds in shallow water, they often will take poppers. In order for this to happen, water clarity needs to be good enough to see them, and water temps need to be high enough to get the fish on the spawn (60 plus degrees typically - but like Suckegg said, on the Columbia the sloughs can be much warmer than the mainstem, and clarity throughout is normally good). Spring waters on the Yakima are much dirtier than the Columbia (like 12"-24"), so we don't sight fish very often. We fish a lot of sink tips with Crawdad/ Smolt patterns near the bottom.

    Steve
    www.redsflyshop.com

    Steve
     
  10. Mike Etgen

    Mike Etgen Not Quite A Luddite, But Can See One From Here

    I'm honestly not trying to stir up anything, but I'm intrigued by the comments about fishing for bass on their beds.

    Most of my smallmouth fishing was done in Virginia, and well over ten years ago, but me and my fishing friends never targeted fish on their beds. Maybe the Columbia-Yakima populations are healthier than what we had on the New, James and tribs, and I do know in some quarters of Washington that warmwater fish of any kind are considered to be bad news. But aren't you pretty much wiping out an entire batch of eggs if you take a fish in that situation - unless you practice strict catch and release?

    I'm just plain curious.

    For what it's worth, we talked to a pair of guys one day that had a cooler full of smallmouth, none of them less that four pounds. They were gear fishermen, targeting bedding fish, and using soft plastic lures that looked like salamanders (actually newts, native to those waters.) Obviously, they didn't know about our inclination to leave sitting bass alone. Anyway, the bass just hated those salamanders, and these guys described the fish as actually picking up the salamander imitations to carry them away. Don't know if there's anything like that in the Columbia drainage, but I'm guessing that something tied up to suggest a salamander would trigger a protective strike in any bass sitting on a bed. Probably an olive or tan woolly bugger would do the trick...
     
  11. Jeremy Floyd

    Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

    Almost any soft plastic lures you drop on to, or swim over the bed, will be picked up and moved away by the fish. I prefer to use a motor oil colored grub with a 3/8 oz jighead when gear fishing. I like the jighead that holds the lure up off of the bottom at an angle.

    Same thing works for flies, but it is much harder to make it "puff" a small amount of dirt on the bottom without a big beadhead or conehead. Jiggling the rod while the fly makes a small disturbance on the bottom is really key sometimes though.

    When I was a kid this was the time of the year that everyone slaughtered bass. It was completely acceptable to target bass on their beds. We never kept the bass on the beds, but we did catch the shit out of them.
     
  12. suckegg

    suckegg Active Member

    WA Department of Health (D.O.H.) recommends eating no more than 6 oz of bass per month due to mercury contamination.

    My take: If they suggest JUST 6oz.... I think I'll pass all together Thank You.


    On top of that. Last fall it was a reported significant drop was measured in that ol' DDT in the Columbia fish. But..... they found a whole new class of contaminates. Personal care products and pharmaseuticals!

    Then if you look back historically we had aluminum smelters dumping waste into the river.
    Up in BC they still release terrible stuff into the river. Most of the basins ag waste water goes back into the Columbia also.

    While the water may be surprizingly clear it's decieving. I see a minority of gear guys keep fish. The local hispanic population appears to keep them all. They also target carp for eating purposes.

    I'm all for catch and release even though the bass eat plenty of smolts. I have never kept even a single fish from the Columbia. Having said that I would like to have kept some of the beautiful steelhead that were incidental catches over the years. The problem is there is no steelhead season on the stretch I usually fish. Had I caught the same fish 20 miles upstream or 20 downstream I could have kept some.

    Given the size of the Columbia and the extent of the basses range I doubt they are in risk of dissappearing. Widespread targeting for retention could put a dent in the populations in some areas though given the concentrations of fish in the prime spawning grounds.
     
  13. Brazda

    Brazda Fly Fishing guide "The Bogy House" Lodge

    Smallies are great fighters I to would like to know how to catch the buggers, for alternative reasons though.
    There should a no limit kill on those pests, non native bass are huge predators and survive partly by eating salmon and steelhead fry, some say they eat as much or even more than the dams kill.
    Look at some of the regulations for the Snake and Columbia, there is a higher fishing kill limit on native trout than Walley and Bass in areas, WDFW out of touch again. If you guys know were to slay them you would be doing the native species a favor in killing them all...if you don't eat them do as the native americans did and use as fertalizer, now I am not saying to break the law by taking more than your limit but just think how many steelhead would be saved by taking what you can.

    That could be blast, stripping big ass fry paterns from a jet boat with sink lines drifting over flats, do the drag back aproach and hang on, damn I am going as soon as the steelhead season stops! Did I hear someone say you just had to get 10ft deep no problem. I have a jet sled anyone know where to go!

    Do you suppose that a 6oz. lmit on eating steelhead would shut down the comercial side of that fishery?

    Brazda
    wild fish forever
     
  14. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Man.....in a few years it looks like all the swinging water and bass water will be crowded in the state of WA with professional fishermen and guides. I guess I won't be sharing any spots on bass fishing over the web.
     
  15. longstick

    longstick Member

    I think we found a cure to save the wild stealhead in the northwest. Tell everyone the meat contains mercury.:beer2:
     
  16. Jim Allen

    Jim Allen "Fish-On" Custom Fly Rods

    Suckegg

    Those are some pigs, and on a fly. I am impressed..:eek:
     
  17. CoastalCutt

    CoastalCutt Member


    Mr. Brazda, as a smallmouth fanatic, I actually agree, except for the Smallies in our locked in reservoirs such as Banks and Potholes, Moses...etc. Even though some canals eventually drain to the Columbia, and then support your opinion on muching salmon and steelhead fry, these reservoir fish should be released and managed for quality. I'll show you some awesome smallmouth fishing any time you want....as long as you return the favor with some native steel!
     
  18. flyfish_pimp

    flyfish_pimp $2 coyote steak

    Why anyone would keep a 4lb smallie really boggles my mind, let alone a cooler full of them. I have kept a few bass to eat over the years, and the 8" fish were much better than the 3lb fish...and that isn't saying much because they all tasted pretty bland at best.

    I would say that Suckegg is right...the Columbia system is not in much danger of being severly impacted by people keeping fish. Every year there are tons of fish and really great habitat and spawning grounds for them. Really, they are a very prolific species and seem to thrive there, no matter what. Pollutants would be the only thing that would do them in at this point, so hopefully not. By the way, nice fish from the lakes! I told Jon to bring me one of the Black and Blue flippin flies next time I see him. ;)

    BTW, I think that the Grande Ronde has the potential to be a "blue ribbon" smallie river...but in the last 13 years of fishing it I am constantly amazed that the majority of the fish I have caught there are on the small side (say 8-10") and I am throwing huge flies for them. Generally the river has all the key elements for them to thrive (food sources, rip-rap for them to hide/ambush, clean running water, hot weather, and nice flats for them to spawn). They have to be doing pretty well, because the trout/steelhead smolts are almost non-existant these days and there are tons of little smallies (I assume they are eating the juvenile salmonids)...but generally not a lot of large bass. In this case poaching really takes it's toll...I see a lot of people in the summer now doing floats with a spinning rod and soft plastics keeping a lot of fish. Maybe the same deal on the John Day?
     
  19. Brazda

    Brazda Fly Fishing guide "The Bogy House" Lodge

    Totally agree those locked in lakes should be left as is when not used by native species, I have noticed the WDFW just can't seem to let things alone they comonly try to improve things for the sake of non native species. Anytime you want to go chase some steel I am in for a trade, have done some Banks lake stuff those carp are pretty cool as well.
    By the way do you remember fishing Samamish slough for steelhead in the 80's now its all bass and some big buggers too,,,they love all those state raised salmon fry, who do you suppose will win out the ctthroat or the smallmouth,,,,my bet is on smallie!!
     
  20. Chester Allen

    Chester Allen Fishing addict and scribbler

    I was out on a Columbia River backwater this morning -- near Hood River -- and found a few smallmouth. I even hooked a few on a rubber-legged Woolly Bugger.
    It's not red-hot yet -- way too cold of a spring so far for that -- but it's starting to happen.
    More on my blog.