We had a fantastic bite this morning at Drano Lake in the Columbia River Gorge. We hooked 10 and landed 6 to fill a three person limit by 7am. Almost all our fish were caught today of Prawn Spinners with brass or Copper #3 Colorado blades. We did manage to hook two fish on a Brad’s cut plug in the 2.5 size.
We have opening in the Columbia Gorge now through next week, with an open boat of up to 4 people for tomorrow Saturday the 27th and 2 seats for Sunday the 28th. We also have openings starting Thursday June 1st
It’s no secret that we use a lot of different canned tuna concoctions while targeting Chinook salmon through the year. One of the biggest advantages we have is that we fish for Chinook from March – October every year starting with Spring Chinook, then Summer Chinook, and finally rounding out our salmon season with Fall Chinook. This 7 month season give us the advantage in truly being able to dial in our baits to match the situations we are presented with. Over the course of our 7 month salmon season we target fish with many different baits and lures, but there is one item that can always be found in our boat, canned tuna. One of our favorite ways to use tuna is to wrap it onto plugs such as the Maglip by Yakima Bait. The following video will show you just how we go about turning our tuna concoctions into a great bait wrap.
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Many salmon anglers have come to realize the effectiveness of canned tuna as a bait source for salmon fishing. Canned tuna, especially packed in oil, has many uses as a salmon bait. It is often wrapped in mesh to form tuna balls, wrapped onto plugs, stuffed in Super Baits, or added to eggs as a flavor enhancer, and because canned tuna is sold in every grocery store and is transported with no refrigeration needed it is an extremely versatile and cost effective bait. While basic tuna taken directly from the can has, and continues to be, the most used variation of the bait there are a some things we can do to make our tuna fish even better.
Myself and many other anglers throughout the northwest have discovered that there are often extra things we can do to our tuna to make it fish even better than taking it directly out of the can. The end result is what we often call Tuna Concoctions, or mixes of scents, cures, salts, and a few other key ingredients that takes that old boring canned tuna and turns it into a very dynamic bait that can be tailored to any salmon fishing situation presented.
The following steps are just a simple version that some would consider just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to development of tuna concoctions. The information provided here is presented in a way that might open up your mind to many possible ways to improve you salmon fishing success with the use of canned tuna.
Tuna (packed in Oil)
Salt (non iodized)
Super Dipping Sauce ( My Favorite )
Container with a lid
Open the can of tuna and drain off the oil.
Add tuna to container (preferably one with a lid)
Add salt to your tuna. The amount varies depending on time of year and where the fish are in the system. As a general rule of thumb for Chinook it seems that the farther you get from the ocean and the warmer the water the more salt the fish crave, I often add anywhere from a tablespoon to a half a cup per can of tuna.
Add scents and additives to this mixture. A must have line of scents for me are Super Dipping Sauce scents by Money Maker Fishing. I add a table spoon of each scent I want to use to per each can of tuna. My all time favorite is the Garlic Super Dipping Sauce.
Refrigerate overnight or place on ice. Give this mixture time to set up and really let the scents and salts get into the tuna. The next morning your tuna concoction will be ready to fish!
As you can see this is a very easy and quick process that will give your tuna an extra kick. The sky is the limit as far as what can be added to this mixture. Always be experimenting because you never know when you might stumble upon the cant miss recipe that fills your boat with limits.
Look for blogs in the near future that discuss how to wrap tuna on plugs, rig tuna balls, stuff / rig Super Baits, and other creative ways to fish this versatile bait.
Don’t forget to sign up for our Newsletter and enter yourself for a chance to win a free fishing trip. We draw a random winner from our email list every July and January.
As we enter the last streach of our Lower Columbia Columbia Spring Chinook season I wanted to give a quick update on our season.
Fishing overall has been good. We have had a few days in which we have had to work hard for bites, but overall the action has been more than satisfying. We have focused our efforts in the Portland area near the the I5 bridge. Downstream trolling herring has been our go to technique and our best bite has been during the first few hours of daylight.
We look for the the next four days to be some of the best of the year as everyday there are more and more tasty Spring Chinook in the system. The Columbia is set to close the 9th of April. After the Columbia closes I will switch gears and spend a few weeks targeting the Willamette, before moving up to the John Day Dam area the last week of April to target the migration up the Columbia system.
I still have plenty of openings for both the Willamette River and the John Day Dam fisheries. On the Willamette we have a 2 chinook limit, and up at John Day I offer salmon and Sturgeon combination trips. As always full boat and single anglers are encouraged to give us a call and book dates.
Fishing is really starting to pick up down here in the Portland area for Spring Chinook. A fellow guide buddy and I snuck out for a little fun fishing this morning and we’re handsomely rewarded with a quick limit of Columbia River Spring Chinook. We picked both these fish up trolling flashers and herring downstream. Our favorite flashers have been the new Leo Flashers by Money Maker Fishing.
Now is the time to get down here and get in on this action. I have full day openings this week and 4 hour evening trip openings the 2nd – 9th of April. Also have openings for the Willamette River after the 10th of April. Also for people willing to wait until the end of April and into early May we still have some open dates for our John Day Dam Spring Chinook and Keeper Sturgeon combo trips. Give me a call at 208-861-0654 to book your dates.
March through early June we target Spring Chinook, starting on the Columbia River near Portland in late March and early April then following the fish up river to the Columbia Gorge, John Day Dam and finally ending up on the Snake River sometime early to mid may. These are the Kobe Beef of the Salmon world. In our opinion no other salmon species are as good on the table as Columbia River Spring Chinook. Most Spring Chinook average between 10-15 pounds with fish over 20 pounds considered large.