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Author Archives: Kyle Jones

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Clearwater River Steelhead Report 10/26/20

This week we had some ups and downs on Idaho’s Clearwater River, but by the end of the week the entire River was fishing fantastic.

The week started out slow, as we had a bunch of rain and river levels quickly rose and water quality suffered. We struggled for a few days but still managed to find some willing fish every day on the water. By the end of the week the water had cleared up and fishing was again going great.

This week we caught fish both drifting bait and single egg imitations, but we did most of our damage late in the week backtrolling plugs and diver and shrimp. Friday and Saturday we found fish in most tail outs we fished, and the key was to cover a lot of water to find pods of fish that were grouped together. Some water was empty and some was loaded!

This week we are looking at some great fishing conditions. The water was high last week, but because of cold temps over the weekend the River has stabilized. Water temperatures will also stabilize this week as we should see some fab weather by Wednesday.

All in all the River looks to be setting up for a fantastic November. We have quite a few open dates in November and with the help of a great teammate, Barry Howard, we are able to run multiple boats every day. Get in touch with us now and let’s get your November and December trips lined up.


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Opening Day on Idaho’s Clearwater River

Today, October 15th 2020 was the traditional opening day of Idaho’s catch and keep season on the Clearwater River. Today is a much anticipated day and signals a changing of the season for us. From today through March our focus on the Clearwater is Steelhead! B Run Steelhead are amazing fish.

We had a fantastic day today despite some challenging conditions. Over the last week the Clearwater region has received quite a lot rain, and for the past few days the army corps has been messing with the flows out of Dworshak Reservoir. This caused some early season high water conditions and we started out our day with flows well over 10,000 Cubic Feet/ Second. This is double the flow we normally see this time of year.

Lucky for us we have been guiding on Idaho’s Clearwater for the past 13 years and we relied on that experience to come up with a winning game plan. Our key to success today was backtrolling Yakima bait Maglips. When the water is up or rising on the Clearwater our steelhead kick their migration into hyperdrive and use the higher flows to cover some river miles. This makes the slow presentation of a backtrolled plug your best bet to consistently put fish in the boat under these conditions.

The Clearwater will most likely be a backtrolling game for the next few days, but as the water comes back to normal levels the side drifting bite should be fantastic.

We have two boats operating on the Clearwater and currently we have open dates, so if your interested in some big Idaho Steelhead make sure to give our office a call and Dani will get your trip all set up.


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Idaho’s Clearwater River is off to a Great Start.

This past week was our first full week of fishing back home on Idaho’s a Clearwater River. Although the steelhead season is still catch and release through October 15, Fall Chinook and Coho are open for retention Thursday – Sunday.

Our boats have been out daily this week and fishing has been very good for both Steelhead and Chinook. We are seeing fantastic numbers of steelhead already spread out between Lewiston and Orofino, and the morning bite has been very good for Fall Chinook on the deep salmon holes.

Catch and keep steelhead is coming fast and we are so excited to be targeting our favorite fish in our favorite places.


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Clearwater/ Snake Confluence Fall Chinook

We have been home from the Oregon coast now for about 10 days and in that time we have spent some great days fishing for Fall Chinook on the Clearwater and Snake Rivers out of Lewiston, Idaho. Although we love to fish in Astoria it just doesn’t quite measure up to our local fisheries and sleeping in our own beds. The confluence as we call it is one of our favorite fisheries and we can’t be more excited to be catching fall Chinook at home in Idaho.

The confluence is a unique fishery as the cold clear waters of Idaho’s Clearwater meet the slightly stained warm waters of the Snake River. The Clearwater this time of year is often running at around 50 degrees when it meets the hot 70 degree water of the Snake. These are the conditions that allow this fishery to thrive. Migrating salmon and steelhead bound for the Snake, Salmon, and Clearwater rivers seek this cold water refuge. While the Clearwater fish tend to shoot straight up the Clearwater, the Snake and Salmon River fish hold up, hang out, and wait for water temperatures on the Snake to cool down before continuing their migration, and it’s these holding fish that provide us with fantastic fishing.

For salmon the confluence is primarily a troll fishery although there is a strong following of bobber and shrimp fisherman that do very well for steelhead, and also catch a few salmon while targeting steelhead. We absolutely love to troll and this fishery is a trollers dream. Our go to set ups are almost identical to the other troll fisheries we fish throughout the Columbia River Basin. We fish 360 style flashers with superbaits or spinners as our lures of choice, and all of this is easily accomplished without the use of downriggers.

When targeting salmon in the confluence we tend to try and keep our gear within about 5 feet of the bottom. Utilizing lead cannon ball weights and line counter reels. Our go to depths the past few outing have been to run 12 ounces of lead at 30 and 35 feet on our line counters, and 8 ounces at 50 feet. Water depth ranges in in the confluence from 25- 40 or so feet and the above numbers do a great job of having us in the zone at all times.

Another thing to keep in mind when fishing at the Confluence is that trolling speed is your friend. These Chinook seem to like a fast troll, and we want to see a deep thump on the rod telling us that our flashers are working well. If your not getting that deep thump, then speed up. Also speed can be used to raise and lower your gear when trying to fish over shallower humps. If you need your set up to raise up just simply go faster and get your gear up and over the hump. Often times these speed changes are really what get these salmon to bite.

Like we stated before this is one of our favorite fisheries and the flat calm waters of the Snake and Clearwater Confluence are a great place to hone your salmon skills. So, grab some canned tuna, a handful of 3.5 Colorado Spinners, and your favorite superbaits and get out on the water.


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Buoy 10 update, only a few days left to go!

Today marks the start of our final week chasing Fall Chinook and Coho in the Columbia River estuary for 2020. This has been an awesome season so far, and it has been a pleasure to spend some great days on the water with such great people. Our customers are the absolute best and our business would not be growing without their support.

While we have seen some amazing fishing, this season has also had plenty of challenges. We have had some days where we struggled to get fish only to have our day saved in the 9th inning, and other days that we just couldn’t quite come up with the magic formula. Some years this fishery is difficult and this is one of those years, but despite having to work extra hard for fish this year the payday is seeing a 30 pound black and chrome specimen hit the deck.

With the tides setting up great it’s looking like we will have the opportunity to end our season with a bang. The next few days we get soft tides, and great fishing should follow.

While this season is winding down others are just starting to ramp up! We are beyond excited to get back to our side of the mountains and chase fall chinook and steelhead in our favorite fisheries. September will find us both on the Hanford Reach and at the Confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers. We consider both of these locations to be home waters, and we are so looking forward to this season.

Once fall is officially here and the nighttime temps get crisp, you will know October has arrived. October will find us fishing for fall Chinook and steelhead on two of our favorite rivers. The Clearwater and Snake Rivers in October are two rivers everyone should have a chance to fish. We will be targeting the 1-2 punch while side drifting small baits on light rods for both acrobatic steelhead and hard pulling Fall Chinook.

We still have openings during both September and October, and with access to some of the best guides in the inland northwest we can find a way to get you on the water almost every day.


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Buoy 10 is off to a Great Start

Our first day of the 2020 buoy 10 season was a huge success. We started off the day on the Oregon side of the River near Hammond. There was a good bite going but it only lasted about a pass, then we managed to just pick up one here and there, and had all our Chinook by 10 am.

Today our hot combinations were both anchovies, and 3.5 Colorado style spinner. We almost exclusively fish with rotating 360 style flashers. This is just a combination that we have a ton of confidence in, and we just like to roll our program.

This is setting up to be a great, although short season down here, and we are excited to se what happens over the next 13 day. Please stay with us on the journey and hopefully we can provide some insight to this incredible fishery. Look for a video from us soon that goes over our setup, and get the full rundown on what gear is working best for us.

Also don’t forget that even though we are full for this years Buoy 10 season, we do still have openings for our Snake/Clearwater Fall Chinook, and our Snake and Clearwater Steelhead season will be upon us before we know it.

Please let us know in the comments below, or shoot us a message on our social media pages with any questions you might have. We always love to help people be become more effective anglers.


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Columbia River Walleye Fishing Heating Up!

With the official start of summer just around the corner the walleye bite on the Columbia River is really starting to heat up. Water temps are now in the upper 50’s and walleye are feeding heavily as they feed on migrating juvenile salmon smolts heading to the ocean. We have been having success both pulling crankbaits, and fishing bottom walkers and worms. Our best bites the past few outings have been using crankbaits in color combinations that mimic downstream migrating salmon smolts. Any baits with chrome, blue, and purple hues to them have been getting consistently attacked by hungry walleye.

A major key to our success this year has been the use of inline planer boards. We like the yellow boards made by Offshore Tackle Company and we use them in conjunction with the tattle flag system. Trolling with planer boards lets us really expand the amount of water we cover, with our outside boards often 50 feet to the side of the boat we are covering over 100 feet of river from the outside board on the right side to the outside board on the left side. Another benefit to fishing boards is that it lets our baits fish out away from the influence of the boat. Fish that come in contact with our plugs on outside boards have no idea our boat is even in the area. Yet another advantage of fishing planer boards it the ability to run deep diving plugs on short set backs. Yesterday for example the fish really seemed to be keyed into a Bandit Walleye Deep, and by using a planer board to fish the lure to the side of the boat we were able to run them at 40 feet behind the board. This put our Bandits fishing at around 13 feet which was perfect for the active feeding walleye that were looking up from 15-19 feet of water.

The video included below is an example from some trout fishing earlier this year on how we set out our planer boards and the spread we get from using them.

Using planer Boards to Catch More Fish


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Brett Jones Lands Idaho State Record Catch and Release Rainbow Trout

Brett Jones, owner and manager of our southern Idaho operation was on a afternoon trip with good friend Jeff Fetters of Fetters Custom Rods, when he hooked something big! As Brett got the fish close to the boat he realized he had something special. Jeff, in true walleye tournament form quickly scooped the monster up with the net. After a quick measurement the huge rainbow was sent back to the lake to continue growing and is still out there for someone else to put their hands on. Congratulations are in order as Brett is one of the the best and most accomplished anglers we know, and to see his name next to a state record is a special treat.

The video below shows the excitement just after the fish is landed and being released.

American Falls has long been known as a big fish hot spot. To anglers that know these waters a fish like this is no surprise. Jones Sport Fishing holds an Idaho Outfitter license for American Falls Reservoir, and Brett would be more than happy to show you exactly how he targets the huge fish that roam this large reservoir.

Brett Jones and his Record Breaking Trout!

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Columbia River Walleye Report

We started our 2020 walleye season last week on the Columbia River. To say that fishing started out hot was an understatement. Fishing was on fire! The beautiful spring weather has pre spawn Columbia River Walleye on the bite, and the box of fish we brought back to the landing last Thursday was one of the best we have seen in years. The fish this year are averaging a little bigger than the past few, and although we may be catching a few less the overall size is fantastic. If you are looking to break the magic 30 inch mark you need to do yourself a favor and give us a call.

All our fish were caught last week trolling crankbaits in 16-24 feet of water. Currently the large deep diving plugs such as the Bandit Walleye Deep, and the long extra deep Bay Rats are fishing well. We also did very well on Berkley Flicker minnows in the #11 size. For a detailed article on how we fish crankbaits early in the season click on the following link.

https://jonessportfishing.com/how-to-fish-for-columbia-river-walleye-crankbaits-when-where-why-and-how-to-take-your-walleye-game-to-the-next-level-part-1-winter-early-spring/

Fishing will continue to be very good for big fish over the next few weeks. The water temperature last Saturday was 41.5 degrees, so we still have a little ways to go before active spawning starts, at least in the mainstream Columbia. The Walleye spawn will kick off when water temps are between 45 and 50 degrees.

Our main focus will be on chasing Columbia River Walleye now through June, and into July. These are a great, excellent eating, and plentiful fish that are great for the entire family. If you are looking to learn this fishery booking a trip with us is a great way to shorten your learning curve, and we love helping people learn how to target these cool fish.