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Memorial Day Weekend Stay-cation (report with pics)

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  • Memorial Day Weekend Stay-cation (report with pics)

    I think by default, smallmouth bass are becoming my preferred quarry. Lots of opportunity for them within an hour of the PDX area, without much, if any competition. And there sure are a heck of a lot more of them around than steelhead.

    I stayed in town this weekend, which looked to be the right decision when seeing all the red Google maps was showing on the highways out of of the metro area. Decided to check out a suburban stretch of the Willamette about 25 mins from home. The water is very high. I spied many rocky outcroppings when doing Google reconnaissance; these are all submerged and the bank inaccessible. I did find a nearby boat ramp area built on a rocky point. Found a few willing to munch my woolly bugger, small but scrappy.

    I'm still learning about these fish. Trout they are not. Every time I catch a few and think I have them figured out, the bite dies off and I'm left scratching my head. But by having some success with them, I'm motivated to keep learning about what may wind up being Oregon's fish of the future.



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    Last edited by stillwaterdan; 05-29-2018, 11:41 AM.

  • #2
    Good job there, Dan. Love those red-eyed devils!

    Anything that close to home doesn't count against your allotted fishing time.
    The Catchin' Ninny


    • #3
      I just don't catch enough smallmouth. I wish I ran into them more. thanks for the report.
      You don't need no gypsy to tell you why,
      You can't let one precious day slip by.


      • #4
        Been quite awhile since I chimed in here but I'm a big fan of Willamette smallmouth so you hooked me. I've been fishing smallmouth quite a bit this spring. I normally wait until the temp comes up to around 60 but this year on the advice of a coworker I started around 55 degrees. I think he was right as I got into some real nice fish such as the one shown below at those cooler temps. Now that the temp is up closer to 60 I think the spawn is over and all I'm finding are smaller fish. I'm no expert but my understanding is that they are likely males guarding nests or those that aren't of spawning age yet. This past weekend I switched over to my 3wt to make those little guys a bit more fun. Can't wait for the temps to warm up further and the big fish to come back into the shallower water (the kind of fish that can be a challenge on 6wt). Such a great fishery so close to home with so many new things to learn. Have fun out there.

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        • stillwaterdan
          stillwaterdan commented
          Editing a comment
          That's a toad! Nicely done.

          This weekend was an exploratory trip, so all I had with me was my 6 piece Eagle Claw pack rod I keep in the trunk "just in case." Those little guys were fun on it, but next time I'll definitely be bringing a "real" fly rod.

          This was my first foray in the Willamette, and I'm excited for the water to drop and warm so I can continue the explorations close to home. The last few years I've been chasing smallies on Hagg Lake, which has lots of nice fish, but the crowds and power boaters chase me off when the weather gets nice.

      • #5
        I live about 2 miles from the Willy in the near eastside of town. I did try to fish the urban east bank a couple of years ago but got spooked by piles of stuff such as underpants. There were lots of socks, and some Westfly guys explained their function to me. I would consider trying again. I think three anglers, two rods, and one shotgun would be the perfect team. Two guys fish; one patrols with the shotgun, and we trade off.


        • #6
          I'd be into an Urban Smallmouth Assault with small water craft on the W. I have no idea what the Regs are and such. Can we just toss a SUP or toon down the bank around OMSI? Hit it at 6 and then nab beers after? Being able to pull something at a consistent depth along some old pilings or rip rap would be way easier and more enjoyable from a small craft. Plus you really have no idea what you'll hook. Steelhead, walleye, escaped Tiger Muskies, sturgeon, who knows. I've poked around on Swan Island and feels like someone is watching you from the bushes. Another reason to put in a small craft and kick it. I've caught some nice fish around Kelly Point where the W meets the C too. Last year my five year old hooked into a bronze football off the front of my SUP on a rabbit jig he tied. He lost the battle but it was rad while it lasted.


          • #7
            I would be up for a Willy smallmouth rondi sometime later this summer. I work on the South Waterfront and routinely see people in personal kayaks, SUPs, inner tubes, etc. Wind and current don't ever look fierce, I think my pontoon would work well.

            Took last week off for an extended staycation and enjoyed the "tourist" tour of the PDX area, we did the jetboat trip up the Willy to the falls in OC. Tons of surburban parks in West Linn and LO with put-in access and proximity to some rocky shore and outcroppings. Also less chances of running into discarded items/needles and the people that leave them, as opposed to fishing in the city.

            Last edited by stillwaterdan; 06-09-2018, 02:59 PM.


            • #8
              I did a float last summer from Independence to Salem and got into some really nice smallies. I would definitely do that again. Or, the downtown bass rondo sounds fun as well.



              • pigs
                pigs commented
                Editing a comment
                Cator, I live in West Salem, and I've been wanting to do that float....been wantin to prowl around the ponds and sloughs around Minto Brown, I need to get out

            • #9
              Based on yesterday's outing, I can confirm that there are good numbers of smallies in the downtown stretch of river. Also made 50 cents from discarded bottles/cans. I did see a discarded needle plunger on the ground on the walk to the river, but the rocky shoreline I fished was too rough of terrain for your average Portland drug addict, and didn't see any there.