The Northwest's Premier Outfitter offering guided fishing trips on Idaho's Clearwater and Snake Rivers, American Falls Reservoir, CJ Strike Reservoir, Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir, and the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon.
Barry has been down in the Columbia gorge since the 20th of April and has been fishing for Spring Chinook on Drano Lake and the Wind River. The fishing started a little slow, but this past week has been nothing short of fantastic. With passage of Spring Chinook over Bonneville looking great, especially considering the dismal returns of the pst few years, this fishery will continue for the at least the next few weeks.
While there are quite a few different ways to rig up for Drano Lake, and Wind River Spring Chinook, Barry has been doing best fishing prawn spinners with 3.5 Colorado blades. For flashers the stand by chrome pro trolls have been getting plenty of work, and have also been the top producers on his boat. For an in depth look at how he rigs his prawn spinners make sure to check out the video link below
Barry has a few seats open this week and through the weekend, so if interested make sure to call our office at 208-669-1569.
Next week we will be kicking off our Clearwater Spring Chinook season in Idaho. We still have quite a few open slots to fill from May 10th – The first week of June (if the season lasts that long). Watch for updates from Idaho’s Springer season over the next month.
Sitting here today at my dining room table I have to say I’m glad I’m not out on the river. We are in the middle of a late February cold snap and the temperature here at my Deary, Idaho home was a balmy -1 degrees yesterday morning. Today things have warmed up a little, and by the weekend we should be seeing some much more normal temperatures. Saturday the 26th of February will most likely be my last day on the Clearwater for our 2021/2022 season. While we look to close one season, we are looking forward to lots of trips chasing Walleye, Trout, Crappie, Perch, Salmon, and Sturgeon both in Southern Idaho and the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon. I also wanted to take a moment to look at some MAJOR changes coming to our steelhead season on the Clearwater starting this fall.
For the past 30 plus years the Steelhead season on Idaho’s Clearwater River has pretty much remained the same. We have had a very simple to understand season structure where the river was catch and release for steelhead through October 14th with catch and keep season opening on October 15th and running through the entire rest of the season. Starting Fall 2022 everything changes!
For the Fall of 2022 Clearwater anglers will have drastically different regulations then they have been accustomed to. Keep season for Steelhead will now open September 10th and Run through October 14th, then from October 15th through November 10th the Clearwater will be catch and release only for Steelhead. This is a drastic change in how we operate our Fall. October 15th – November 10th has traditionally been our busiest time of year. We are prepared to make the adjustment, and these changes will actually offer some really exciting opportunities!
Clearwater anglers will now have the opportunity to fish for and keep Steelhead early in the year when their table quality is at its peak, and in addition we will be able to very effectively target both Fall Chinook and Steelhead during the same trip. In all honesty for a lot of years it never made sense to me why we could keep steelhead on the Snake, but if we moved into the Clearwater they were off limits.
Like everything in this industry we are constantly having to make adjustments, and we will adjust and hopefully thrive with these new regulations. Will this be frustrating? Will we get tired of answering questions and doing Fish and Game’s job of educating our customer and the public about this regulation change? The answer to these questions is a resounding yes, and all I can hope for is that in three years when regulations are re-visited, that we don’t enter a cycle where a few interest groups are able to convince fisheries managers that regulations should be changed again. This change in steelhead season will have absolutely 0 impact on harvest numbers, and will in fact allow Clearwater anglers the ability to harvest more steelhead bound for other Idaho and other Snake and Salmon River destinations.
Our plan moving forward for 2022 is to bring more of our Fall Chinook business home to the Clearwater where we will be able to target both Fall Chinook and Steelhead. Our Fall Chinook limit will once again be 3 adults and unlimited jacks, combine that with a Steelhead limit of 2 hatchery adults, and the possible addition of 2 Coho and it becomes very obvious that early Fall on Idaho’s Clearwater will be the place to be. I am excited to be able to fish all Fall from home. I always fish better when home every night, and the Elk and Deer in our home units better be ready as my archery season, that I had given up to fish the Hanford Reach, will be fully active again. All in all we are used to constantly changing runs, regulations, and angler preferences, this regulation change will be no different and we will be here excited to show our customers how awesome Idaho’s Clearwater is in early Fall. We hope you will be as excited as we are and willing to embrace some new opportunities!
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.
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.
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.
On this weeks Tip Tuesday we are going over how we rig up our Kokanee Cut Plugs to catch more salmon. Over the past three years we have experimented with a number of different hook configurations to try an get the best performing hook setup. What we have settled on two different set ups that seem to give about an equal hook to land ratio. The first is a single #4 treble rigged behind eight 4mm beads, and the second is two #1/0 Owner Cutting point octopus hooks. The two hook set up is also rigged behind eight or so 4mm beads. The purpose of the beads is to set the hook just behind the cut plug, an to let the lure spin freely on the line enabling it to spin faster that it would if it had to spin the hooks an the lure. Check out the video below to get all the details on how we rig these awesome little lures. Also make sure to check out our other tip videos on how to make you a better salmon fisherman.
Its no secret that the line of Superbaits produced by Brads Killer Fishing Gear have become a staple in the Northwest Salmon scene. One of the newest arrivals in the line is the Kokanee Cut Plug. While this version was originally designed for the little land locked Sockeye that inhabit many of our local lakes and reservoirs, it quickly gained a following among serious salmon fisherman on the Columbia River and its tributaries. Even though it’s smaller than a lot of lures used for salmon this little bugger has proven itself for both Spring, Summer, and Fall Chinook. Its primary foothold in the Adult Salmon world came from spring Chinook fisheries such as Drano Lake, and the Wind River.
Although the Kokanee Cut Plug fishes very well directly out of the package, there are a few tweeks that allow the KCP to be a Chinook catching machine. Check out the video below for a modification that we do that makes these things fish much better.
We have had an absolutely fantastic week on the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River, near tri cities, WA. We continue to catch all of our fish downstream trolling, with both Brads Superbaits and VIP Spinners. Trolling has enabled us to cover a ton of water and locate the fish willing to bite.
If you are looking to get out on the water with us we have just a few days left open. Sunday the 7th, Monday the 8th, and Tuesday the 9th open. Book online on this website or give our office a call at 208-669-1569 and let’s fill these last few dates, before we head home and target steelhead on Idaho’s Clearwater River.
We continue to do well on the Hanford Reach near the tri cites. Most of our effort continues to be spent down stream trolling both brads superbaits and spinners. Our favorite blades have been the VIP Bronco and Chartreuse Green Dot in the 3.5 sizes.
The Reach can be one of the most fickle and frustrating fisheries around, but when a good plan comes together it makes it worth the effort.
We still have some open dates before we switch over to steelhead at home on the Clearwater. October 3rd has 2 seats open, and we have open boats the 7th-15th of October. Give our office a call at 208-669-1569 to book or book online through our website.