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Smallies on the Willamette

Taco_lean

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There are plenty of places to catch smallmouth up here! Try the sloughs around the Columbia, especially over the next few months.
Really?


Would this place be a good spot to try?

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
1071 S Hillhurst Rd, Ridgefield, WA 98642
(360) 887-4106

Google Maps
 

Flymph

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Really?


Would this place be a good spot to try?

Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
1071 S Hillhurst Rd, Ridgefield, WA 98642
(360) 887-4106

Google Maps
I almost feel like you’re pulling my leg...

Yeah, I would be shocked if you can’t catch panfish out of there. I will admit tho, smallies prefer some current. You’ll find more smallmouth nearer the river, and more largemouth farther back in the slack. They’ll be looking to spawn soon, so you might even hit them in deeper water near shallow flats.
 

Mikej

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When I used to fish for them, regularly, in the Willamette I would go by when the river hit 53 degrees for three days, it was time to go. Fish places just off channel with slight current, rocky bottom, or rocks nearby. Fish right up into trees and black berries. If the water was muddy we'd use black as it shows up as a silhouette better. Black 6" worms, fat black 4" grubs, both with chartreuse tails. Clear(er) water I used mostly cammo colors in 4" grubs. 1/4-1/8 oz jig heads.

I haven't fished smallies much in the past few years. I liked the Oregon City to Milwaukee stretch. Towing the boat down and back from there, during rush hours, got to be too much of a hassle with PDX moron drivers. Some people get intop them in the harbor. I never got the hang of getting them in the harbor though.
 
Haha why? I had been looking at that spot for ever, just never been because I didn't know we had bass up here. Thought is was all steelhead and Salmon.

Thanks for all the help! Will bring my little 4lb spinning rod and striper fly rod. Should be fun .
The Columbia River system has become one of the premier smallmouth fisheries in the country. There are lakes in WA that make the BASSMaster top 100.
 

WAYNO

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The Willamette has become a smallmouth mecca. The crappeye we fished for as youngsters are gone, but have been replaced in huge numbers by smallmouth.

The Columbia too. In either river, find a gravel bottom and it will be stacked with smallmouth.
 

bbbass

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Smallies, hmmmm. I've mostly fished Brownlee, Oxbow, and Hells Canyon Pool. But have also caught a bunch on the Umpqua near Elkton, and of course the John Day is just crazy. Think rocks or just off the rocks. Mud bottoms no good for smallies. My wife and I knock them hard with 2" and 3" grubs. But also small crankbaits. However, where current drifts the boat, all you need to do is trail a grub just off the bottom behind the boat.

Hey Taco, you have a boat?
 

Mikej

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It got so small mouth bore me or something. I absolutely love large mouth though. Maybe if I lived in large mouth country I'd feel the same about them? And crave smallies?

It's like hooking a bull vs an antelope I guess?

018.JPG


Wifey digs Large Mouth too!

033.JPG


We don't get to fish large mouth that much. This is Wifey's best at 5.4 pounds.
 

WAYNO

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Speaking of smallmouth, another of my dumb stories...

When I was hunting for squawfish, I used to tie up to a guys dock in North Portland Harbor. I was catching and releasing a whole bunch of smallmouth. The guy owning the dock brought out a 5 gallon bucket and he asked if I'd catch him a mess of bass. It took very little time to catch enough to feed a village. There are so many smallmouth in the Lower Willamette and Lower Columbia, many don't get big. But they are so competitive for a meal, they can't turn down any bait presented, and it's immediately hammered.
 

Taco_lean

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Smallies, hmmmm. I've mostly fished Brownlee, Oxbow, and Hells Canyon Pool. But have also caught a bunch on the Umpqua near Elkton, and of course the John Day is just crazy. Think rocks or just off the rocks. Mud bottoms no good for smallies. My wife and I knock them hard with 2" and 3" grubs. But also small crankbaits. However, where current drifts the boat, all you need to do is trail a grub just off the bottom behind the boat.

Hey Taco, you have a boat?
No boat for me. Always used to fish for em in smaller creeks wading with a fly rod. Sometimes even down to a 2 wt. Hit em with wooly buggers and nyphms with rubber legs, or grasshoppers on top, or drag a crawdad pattern or sculpin through the silt using a sink tip.
 

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