“It’s all about the bait.” That is a saying commonly said in the fishing world and it could not be truer. Casey has chosen to focus on being a great bait fisherman since day one. He quickly took to an older fellow he knew from some of the fishing holes he fished that had been curing eggs for over 50 years and started to take notes. Having many friends on local rivers willing to give Casey their salmon eggs gave him the chance to fish a number of different commercial cures. After figuring out what are in those cures and understanding why some worked better than others at different times of the year he started to ask himself the important questions pertaining to what, where, when, why and how? Casey decided to start making egg cures from scratch discovering that he could control the amount of ingredients in his cures, this gave him more options to fish certain cures for certain fish in many different water conditions. Now Casey has numerous cures he uses to back bounce, hover fish, side drift, and bobber fish.
You might ask what these egg fishing techniques involve. Back bouncing eggs is a method of egg fishing that is very productive. Using a cannonball lead weight, we drop our bait into a deeper hole that salmon will be laying in. Constantly bouncing the weight on the bottom keeps the bait in the strike zone. Hover fishing is when we fish slower currents and fish more on top of the fishing holes, holding the rod still and steady, and setting the hook at the right time is the trick to catching fish with this technique. This is a very productive technique for Fall Salmon as well. Side drifting is where you are fishing for steelhead and sometimes salmon in a moving drift, casting the baits in the area where the fish are holding; Controlling the boat so the baits stay in the strike zone is key. This is a technique that is like poker, it takes a day to learn but a long time to really master. This is why being a great bait fisherman in the Northwest is so important to successful fishing.
Egg fishing is not the only technique that is used for successful fishing in the Northwest. During the month of March, spring Chinook start to enter the Columbia River from the Pacific Ocean. Fishing for these grand fish of the Northwest, fisherman change their methods predominantly to trolling herring. Getting the freshest bait possible is essential to the success in this fishery, along with getting the right bait presentation. We cut plug our herring, which means we cut the herring with a knife at a certain angle to get a roll that is desired by the fisherman for the speed of troll that he is running. This is where having tricks up your sleeve sets you apart from the masses of other fisherman that are all after the prized Spring Chinook. We also add a variety of scents and bite stimulants to our herring to give these Spring Chinook a chance to not only see our herring but smell them from far away. Springers are a predator fish so when they get a whiff of something they want they do not hesitate to attack and eat a fresh herring.
During the Spring Chinook run we also use the Luhr Jensen Kwikfish. Kwikfish are a lure that are highly effective during an out-going part of the tide. When the tide is coming in from the ocean it is no doubt time to troll herring, but after the tides start to run back out, the time is perfect to anchor or back troll while fishing these lures. When spring Chinook come across these Kwikfish their predatory instincts kick in and they attack the Kwikfish with extreme aggression, making fishing rods bury toward the water very hard.
In the fall before Kings and Coho enter the tributaries we will troll herring and spinners at “Buoy 10. ” Columbia River fishing guides come from all over the state for this fishery because of its success rate of catching fish. After the Fall Chinook have moved inland we either troll spinners and bait or anchor on the Columbia River and fish with what are known as wobblers. These lures track side to side, flashing bright colors attract fish to them and then make them angry due to the vibrant colors and wobbling action. Anchoring in the right spot is key to success in this salmon fishery. One day you can be the hot boat that is catching a lot fish, and the next day, even in the same exact spot, you’ll discover that it’s not the path of travel the fish are using. fishing the lane they are traveling in is what has to be done. If the fish are not traveling in the lane we are in we move until we find that correct lane of travel. Sitting in the wrong spot is a mistake many fisherman make when fishing these Chinook. After the lower Columbia River starts to slow we start fishing Bonneville dam for a short period and fish Kwikfish once again. Chinook are loaded at Bonneville Dam, which is one of there major staging points before heading to their home tributaries and spawning for a future generation of fish. There are many other techniques we use while fishing for salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon, but for the sake of secrets you will just have to come along and see for yourself.
NW Columbia Fishing Adventures
Northwest fishing guide, Oregon fishing guide and Washington fishing guide, specializes in 1 to 6 man fishing trips on Northwest rivers. From Buoy 10 to Bonneville dam we catch Salmon, Sturgeon, Winter Steelhead, Summer Steelhead, Kokanee, Walleye, Shad and Bass. Book a trip today good dates fill fast.