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Bass_junky

So much water - so few smalies

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It's time I ask some expert smallie fisher-people for some help.  I have caught my share of smallies but have never been so perplexed with this new area, the lower Columbia River.  I have fished all the tides, slack water, sloughs, deep main river structures.  Let me re-phrase I have fished all these areas "unsuccessfully".  I have thrown everything from dropshots, rattle traps, hula grubs, 3/16" spinnerbaits, 4" senko's, 4" worms ect....I have fished from 4ft to 30ft depths without success.  This is tidal water, water temps are currently mid 60's water visibility is about 3-4ft, which should clear up in the next week.  I have looked for the deep structure in the main river, but it is almost impossible to fish due to wind, unless you troll, eww.  I have tried dragging lurs across points, inlet channels, ect...  This river has humbled me to say the least.  I could venture to the mouth of the Willamette river but that is a very far run from my launch point.  I am on the downstream side of Portland, OR. about 25 miles as the river flows.

If any of you have any wisdom you would share and what your approach would be, I would appreciate your comments.

Get this monkey off my back!!

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I think you need to fish another part of the river. It sounds to me like the water you are fishing is unsuitable for smallmouth bass. Otherwise, doing what you have aslready done would have produced some fish. Perhaps "tidal water" has a differnt ph, salt content or oxygen levels than other portions of the river. I would fish somewhere else.

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Thanks for the response RW. I noticed you are from Germantown, Tenn. I believe, my father & I use to pass through your area on our way to lake Cherokee/holsten river area, was very long time ago. I say I believe, due to typically i was asleep, lol....was long drive from KY then. I thought about the tidal water, but in Oregon on the Umpqua I have caught nice smallies less than 15 miles from the ocean, th is is well over 50 miles from the ocean. I will try different areas, may be due to tidal in this area or industries. I have covered (hit & miss of course) a range of 10 miles. But I have the same thoughts in my mind, just paranoid of the winds on the Columbia to venture too far. Guess I need to baton down the hatches and give it a whirl.

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Hey Bass junky,

 I have fished that area.  Try fishing up river in the Washougal / Camas area.  There is a BIG flat with numerous rock bars on the north side.  You will be well out of the main river current.  Find one of the rock bars and fish the down current side.  Cranks, and carolina rigs works for me.

Mark

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I have zero knowledge of tidal water so I dont know how smallies behave in that type of water.  Maybe stop in at a local tackle shop on the water and ask them?  

At what temp or time of year do the smallies spawn in that cool of water?  You may want to find that out.  Knowing when they spawn or have spawned can help you determine what stage they are in and where they may be.

Wish I could give you more advice but again, I know nothing about tidal water for green heads, let alone smallies.

B

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I have asked people from this area and smallies spawn in first few weeks of June in this part of the Columbia.  Iwent out again this weeked and surface temp's were between 68-70 degrees.  I stayed in the main river fishing and rockpiles/ledges I could find that lead off to deep water.  I fished the last couple hours of the incoming tide and stayed for several hours at the outgoing tide.  I did see some bait fish and tried to match what I saw.  I tried water that I haven't been on yet but still had no luck.  Maybe I just need to hire a guide for a trip and see what knowledge he has to share.  Am I whinning? lol

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Yes. you must get some local knowledge on smallies.  With all you've done, I would conclude that this is a marginal fishery (unless you can prove it otherwise.) Have any tournaments fished that area?  If so, check out the results. Otherwise, find a different place to fish for smallmouth.

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