Moen - Columbia

GAT

Dumbfounded
There are certain places on the Willamette River in Oregon where you can catch very large, wild cutthroat and redband trout. We once thought that when news got out, the river would be overran with guides and bait anglers. As a preventive measure, many years ago, a number of fly clubs banded together and fought to change the regs to C&R for wild trout in a section of the Willamette. The ODF&W biologist fought us be we still managed to win ... with some horsetrading in regards to the distance of the C&R area.

For awhile, the regulation battle did result in an uptick of anglers in that section of Willy but you know what? Once anglers figured out the Willamette is a large river and there's more places you won't touch a fish than there are places you will hook up, the interest in the fishery dropped and now there's no more pressure on the river than there was decades ago. The invasion of anglers and guides never happened.

Considering the length and size of the Columbia, I have a feeling that any sudden interest in the fishery will eventually wane due to the same reality that was discovered on the Willamette. Just because a large river holds large, wild trout, that's no guarentee that you'll catch them or even locate them.
 

Chris Scoones

Administrator
Staff member
I miss the pre-Jack Mitchell days of fishing up there. BIG fish and rarely saw anyone else fishing. Yeah, Swimmy , no need to worry about hotspotting or advertising it anymore than it has been.
I’m glad Jack has graduated from having clients pull big spawners off of reds....oh , wait , that’s because they closed the fishing during spawn so that wouldn’t continue to happen
  • No, you don't come across as having an agenda.
  • Yes, it's in fact your (tiny little piece of) water.
  • No, Jack and I aren't acquaintances, so this chat will stay between just you and I.
  • Yes, you can say shit on the interwebz forumz and always expect complete anonymity.
Look, it's not that I have a problem with you. I don't. I have a problem with that kind of approach. Can I ask, did you not take care of this problem to resolution at the time? or... Do you have plans to confront Jack on this face to face in the next few days / weeks? Can I assist with setting that up so you can take care of it, and perhaps get over it?
private offline message deleted
I've always liked you Jack. You've run a guide business in WA for a duration we've seen a LOT of others come and go. IMO it's well deserved if not for it just how much fun it is being around you guys. Thinking back, every time SAK and I saw you on the river I can say without reservation it was a good visit. So it sucks, yeah, but lets clear some things up on your end...
  • Your free to reply yourself. I'm not your personal internet filter against those who don't sing your praises.
  • You've got my number and obviously my contact here if you have any questions.
  • I've got a history helping sort these things out, and striking a fair balance regarding other topics such as certain 509 blue lines which has historically worked to your advantage. So, the callout was unnecessary, and a bit dumb.
  • I learned long ago that running a website forum as a business model is about as stupid as it gets. I never started this with monetary intentions, and that's reflected now at WFF. I closed the sponsor program, stopped displaying google ads and have zero affiliations beyond my other website (www.tides.net) that pays the server fees. I did that so I could open up small business usage without cost to them (you), and to ensure in cases like this that I could moderate the site fairly, when needed.
 
Last edited:

Joshualow

Member
This is why I always chuckle when someone says the Yakima is the best fly fishing river in Washington. Not even close. I'm surprised they never catch any browns, cutts, or brookies in the videos. I get cutts and brookies every trip, browns occasionally.
Columbia doesn't touch other hidden wa gems. But I agree to yak is a joke.
 

Steve Bird

Member
GAT, you nailed it. Yours is the best-considered comment on this thread. One has to keep in mind that the Moen video is composed of segments filmed over a number of days & does not represent the typical outing. I've lived beside the Columbia since 1973, & have guided here since 1984. Currently, I spend about 150 days a year on that particular water. If I may, let me shed some light: The section where the film was made hosts about 700 trout per mile. Compare that to, say, the Missouri, with 4000 trout per mile. You don't kill numbers here, the attraction is quality wild redbands. It is big-water technical & no place for beginners. It is huge water & fish are not everywhere, so require hard-bought local knowledge. And I wouldn't advise anybody to attempt operating a power boat here without previous experience on the river, as there are bottom-ripping bars scattered throughout. And, as one gentleman asserts, there are riffles, however, there is nowhere you can wade nearly "half-way across the river." Most places, the river drops off very quickly from the bank, & wading is difficult, the bottom composed of round, skull-sized glacial rubble covered with slick algae. And forgive me for saying but, the guy who says he catches "a lot" of browns, brookies & cutts here: is full of it & guilty of more hyperbole that the Moen video. There are browns in the system but they are rare. I have caught 4 since 1973. Me & all my clients combined, maybe 12 since 1984. Been seeing a few more in recent years, though nowhere near "lots." Brookies, about twice that number; though they are more plentiful in Canada. Used to be we caught about one cuttthroat to every ten redbands, so there's never been a lot of cutts in my time; & now even fewer since WDFW did a gillnet survey five years ago & killed thousands of trout -- we've only seen a handful of cutts since then. Like cutthroat, characteristically, wild redband do have red slashes in the jaw folds, so are often mistaken for cutthroat or cuttbow, so maybe that's what the the gentleman who thinks he catches a lot of cutties is really catching. And no, the river is not closed during spawning season, only three of the creek mouths. The creeks open June 1st, under general regs. I'm not sure how Mitchell is slamming the redds, as one gentleman asserts, as Mitchell never gets out of his boat... Anyway, if you fish for steelhead, or inland trout, March to June, you are fishing for pre-spawn & spawning fish.
 
Last edited:

Buzzy

Active Member
GAT, you nailed it. Yours is the best-considered comment on this thread. One has to keep in mind that the Moen video is composed of segments filmed over a number of days & does not represent the typical outing. I've lived beside the Columbia since 1973, & have guided here since 1984. Currently, I spend about 150 days a year on that particular water. If I may, let me shed some light: The section where the film was made hosts about 700 trout per mile. Compare that to, say, the Missouri, with 4000 trout per mile. You don't kill numbers here, the attraction is quality wild redbands. It is big-water technical & no place for beginners. It is huge water & fish are not everywhere, so require hard-bought local knowledge. And I wouldn't advise anybody to attempt operating a power boat here without previous experience on the river, as there are bottom-ripping bars scattered throughout. And, as one gentleman asserts, there are riffles, however, there is nowhere you can wade nearly "half-way across the river." Most places, the river drops off very quickly from the bank, & wading is difficult, the bottom composed of round, skull-sized glacial rubble covered with slick algae. And forgive me for saying but, the guy who says he catches "a lot" of browns, brookies & cutts here: is full of it & guilty of more hyperbole that the Moen video. There are browns in the system but they are rare. I have caught 4 since 1973. Me & all my clients combined, maybe 12 since 1984. Been seeing a few more in recent years, though nowhere near "lots." Brookies, about twice that number; though they are more plentiful in Canada. Used to be we caught about one cuttthroat to every ten redbands, so there's never been a lot of cutts in my time; & now even fewer since WDFW did a gillnet survey five years ago & killed thousands of trout -- we've only seen a handful of cutts since then. Like cutthroat, characteristically, wild redband do have red slashes in the jaw folds, so are often mistaken for cutthroat or cuttbow, so maybe that's what the the gentleman who thinks he catches a lot of cutties is really catching. And no, the river is not closed during spawning season, only three of the creek mouths. The creeks open June 1st, under general regs. I'm not sure how Mitchell is slamming the redds, as one gentleman assets, as Mitchell never gets out of his boat... Anyway, if you fish for steelhead, or inland trout, March to June, you are fishing for pre-spawn & spawning fish.
I guess the 700 trout per mile on the UC versus the Missouri (5K per mile below Holter is what I've heard) makes sense and perhaps explains why I had to work so hard for the fish we did catch up there in your area. Very interesting information, thanks for sharing.
 

Steve Saville

Active Member
I've been to Black Bear Lodge twice and fished with Jack on both occasions. It's a very nice set-up and the men and women who work for and with Jack are quality people. I have never seen Jack or any of the other do anything untoward. I doubt anyone is "hot spotting" this location considering the knowledge of it has been around for years. I can say that if you don't know the river well you should be very careful while fishing it with a jet boat or any other craft and the distance from Jack's lodge to the Canadian border is miles not yards so your craft better be in good shape.

The fishing is excellent for very large rainbows, many topping 24". The fishing at dusk can be epic. The weather can change in a heartbeat and the type fishing depends almost entirely on the time of year and water level just as in all other waters.

As for his lodge, I have seen better set-ups but I can't remember where. It's very nicely appointed, right above the river and has a dazzling view. The food has always been excellent and the guiding ain't bad either. Whether you know and like Jack or not, it's a place everyone might consider on their bucket list.:):)
 
The river is a great place and fragile just like many, maybe even more so than others. We certainly do not and will not target rainbows on their beds....contrary to what is stated here. We/I spend ample time in and out of the boat depending on fishing technique and time of year. As stated, when fishing February to May on any western stream, coastal or inland, you are fishing during pre-spawn, spawn and post spawn activity.
Have fun out there...
Jack Mitchell / The Evening Hatch
 

Steve Bird

Member
Lol "I'll take him out five times to water where I've never been able to catch those fish. That'll prove that they can't be caught"
Funny. Captains are usually smart people capable of nuance. Of course I'd take the guy wherever he wants to go. And I've fished all of it.
 

Dustin Bise

Active Member
And forgive me for saying but, the guy who says he catches "a lot" of browns, brookies & cutts here: is full of it & guilty of more hyperbole that the Moen video.
well this is a fun thread. This made me LOL.

i will say in my experience chris is one of the most reasonable forum admins/owners i have seen on the internet.

i find the mindset odd, that an individual fishing on his own can not learn as many, or more, of a systems secrets then a guide. maybe im mistaking, but i generally feel most of the people who really get dialed into rivers are often the local guy puts in lots of work. sure, guides sometimes get to spend days exploring water they are not used to in order to find new things, or sometimes they get to row around a guy who is an ace on his rod and makes perfect casts and presentations.... but more often or not that guy is just someone who fishes after work and learns and explores the river in the way a guide with clients never will.

im not saying guides cant do well, dont get me wrong. just some people fish with systems and programs that just dont work for guiding for the most part. and i dont mean what fly or what run...
 
Last edited:

Latest posts

Top