Columbia River Walleye Trip Yields Large Fish
Written By: Bill Kremers, August 13, 2013
I have not fished for walleye in two, maybe three years. One reason is that the areas I know where to fish are in central and eastern Oregon and that is a three to five hour drive for me.
And frankly on my last couple of trips the fishing has been a slow. Walleye fishing has always been in my blood as I grew up in Michigan and some of my fondest childhood memories are of fishing with my dad for walleye on waters like the Muskegon River and Little Bay de Noc by Escanaba on the Upper Peninsula.
Don’t ask me why, but for years now I have been aware of the walleye fishery on the Columbia River in the Portland area and just east of Portland and have never fished for them there. About all I know is that summer is best time to fish them, and that two of the better areas are Multnomah Channel along Sauvie Island and above the 205 Bridge east of Portland.
Then the other day a friend, Bob, called me and asked if I wanted to go walleye fishing with him and wife, Arlene. It is pretty obvious what my answer was.
Bob and Arlene had done some walleye fishing with a guide the week before so they knew a lot about where to go than I did. All I had was a bunch of walleye tackle that has been accumulated through the years and it was just taking up space in my garage.
The tackle most people use for walleye fishing on the lower Columbia is a three ounce bottom walker and a nightcrawler harness. Then what you do is slowly troll downstream with your bottom walker tickling the bottom.
Much of the bottom on the Columbia is a series of humps and the one key to success when is to make sure that you presentation also tickles down the backside of these humps. This means that you are constantly taking in line and then quickly releasing line to keep in contact with the bottom.
We quickly found that there are a variety of fish in the Columbia, not just walleye. We ended up catching, chubs, pike minnows, smallmouth bass and even a starry flounder.
Our first few trolls produced a few bites and a couple of chubs but no walleyes. Then we switched to the other side of the Columbia to an area where there are a lot of humps and river pilings and the depth varied from four to thirty feet. On our second pass we went over a big hump and I released several feet of line to keep on the bottom.
Just as I clicked my reel into gear I had a solid strike that felt like the bottom gobbling my nightcrawler. It was one heavy fish with a lot of head shakes and short runs.
Unbeknown to me, Bob started to video the fight as Arlene grabbed the net as I tried to get the fish close to the boat. Finally it appeared out of the depths and Bob wondered if the net was big enough.
Fortunately it was, as Arlene slid the net under my 8.3 pound walleye. I still have a lot of walleye gear left, and I can assure you that it will not be sitting in the garage collecting dust.