Senkos Swimming With Salmon

Gary Y Inside LogoInsideLine 4 Part Series (All Links Here): You’ve heard it a jillion times—the only thing that doesn’t change is change itself. Does that bit of wisdom apply where fishing is concerned?  You better dang well believe it!  And it applies every bit as much as to where fish are to be found as it does to how they can be caught. Except for the first 12 years I spent as a kid on the prairies of North Dakota, most of my life has been lived close to the Columbia River where it divides the states of Washington and Oregon.  I learned almost as soon as I got there that the backwaters of the big river provided a home for largemouth bass as well as panfish.

I cut my bass fishing teeth on these backwater bass.  At that time—in the mid-1930s—these largemouth were just a fringe benefit where Columbia River fishing was concerned.  I hung my hat in that part of the world for more than half a century.  Except for those backwater bass I never associated the Columbia with anything other than salmon, steelhead and the other species that come in from the Pacific Ocean on their annual spawning migrations.

Does that situation still exist? No way, baby!  And talk about change!  Today the Columbia River produces some of the best smallmouth bass fishing to be found in the West and also is home to some of the largest walleye being caught anywhere in the country.

A half century ago you’d not have heard of or seen either of these species on lower stretches of the Columbia.  Be assured that’s not how it is now.  I could introduce you to friends who manage to catch more than a 1,000 smallmouth a year from the Columbia.

Think that bit about big walleye being caught out there in the Pacific Northwest is nonsense?  Check the record books and you’ll find the current Washington State size record for walleye is 19-pounds, 3-ounces.  The record in Oregon stands at 19-pounds, 15.3-ounces.  Both of those whoppers came out of the Columbia River.  How do those size records compare to those in your home state?

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