Another tough day on the Columbia

I hit the big C on Friday, September 3rd in hopes of having a killer day. That did not happen. It was a grind all day long. I had a few brief flurries of action and even some back-to-back fish but there was a whole lot of just casting in between. Wind was a bit of an issue with it being windier than forecast. Some white caps out of the East in the morning and some white caps out of the West in the afternoon. It was dead calm for a few hours in the middle which was really nice.

The shad fry out-migration seems to be in full swing. There were tons of fry jumping around near the shore and I was marking massive schools of bait out over deeper water. I am sure that amount of bait played some role in my difficulties. The other thing that was even tougher to deal with was the amount of algae and pieces of weed that were floating around. With the ripple on the surface I could not see it and a lot of my casts came back all gunked up. Very frustrating but I am not sure what to do in that situation.

I started the day tossing a Choppo and caught a small one and lost a decent one pretty quickly. "Everything is going according to plan", I chuckled evilly to myself. However just like in the movies, when the evil villain gets over confident their plans turn to ruin. After those first two quick bites I went a long time with no action. I moved spots a couple of times when I finally caught my second bass (another small one) and on the next cast I hooked and lost a decent size (~2lb) on the jump. However, that was it for that spot.

How does it go from back to back bites to crickets? Asking for a friend :)

Well I kept grinding away and finally found a spot of 15-20' rocky bottom where I was marking fish on the bottom. I hit that spot hard with a drop shot and caught quite a few fish in a short while, but only a few may have been a pound (and most well under a pound). That was at least a whole lot better than the casting practice I had being doing. I did try to see if I could coax a better fish with a wobble-head jig and a creature bait but the Columbia decided steal that lure from me within a few casts so I just went back to the drop shot.

After that flurry of action the East wind finally died and I moved out to a spot that had been good to me over the summer. I kept switching between lures and depths when I saw a nice smallmouth come up and look at my Choppo and turn away (it was dead calm and sunny). I stopped the Choppo and it turned back towards it. When I restarted it, kapow! I had my best fish of the day (1lb 15oz, nothing to write home about but better than a treble in the hand). The fish put up a good fight and I was feeling really rejuvenated by that bite.

I stayed on that spot for a while. I would occasionally see a fish splash here or there in the area but never consistently. Very random. I just kept covering that area with different baits and different depths when I hooked a really nice bass on a swimbait. It was so fast. It hit and I reeled like crazy trying to catch up to that fish and I don't think I had a good hook set or good pressure on it. It jumped to the side of the kayak and was gone.

Back to grind, grind, grind but no more bites in that area. I decided to pedal upstream a ways and fish some new stuff. Almost as soon as I started out the dead calm was replaced by a wind building from the West. By the time I got up around where I wanted to fish there were small rollers and white caps across most of the river. I tried throwing a variety of lures and did miss a couple and finally catch on on the Choppo. However the weed/algae problem seemed even worse up this way (I was hoping that was going to improve). After a bit of casting, reeling and cleaning off my lure I decided to call it a day.

It was not a total bust but the bite was much slower than I had anticipated. I ended up with 17 bass, but that was over a 10 hour period, and nothing over 2lbs. I fished my hardest but overall the Columbia was not impressed. I think all that algae and all those shad are making for some tough conditions. I have not fished the Columbia during the shad fry out migration in the past but had read it can make the fishing tough. I can certainly add my support to that theory.

I did not take any pics on the day but here some video footage.

Thanks for sharing, another great read/vid! I can imagine it being pretty tough going out there at least you had nice weather.

Headed back down south last weekend and caught my first largemouth, couple small guys, but I'm on the right track!!! Tried topwater eaDecent action on a senko texas rig, I think you called it nose rig? same thing? Lost a few lures, gonna have to pick up a Choppo!! Another angler reeled in a big ole fatty 3lb or so right across the pond totally put me to shame.

I did look around Hayak park as you mentioned previously, nothing jumped out at me I just explored a little bit. I was pretty tired and didn't see any appealing spots but would like to find access to Bowers state park across the river right there. Another day when I have fresh legs and can do a little homework so I'm not wandering around again.
Story of my "fall" so far = a grind!

Fish are definitely in transition, lakes are dry and hot, but the weather is cooling a touch!

Does the big C change temp much? continue to fish through the winter?

You prefer the choppo over the plopper?
@Bassnoob , cool that you had some success! in the video the guy was fishing from the boat ramp and catching some bass.

@NKlamerus , definitely into the fall transition. The Columbia will get down to the low 40s in the winter. The Willamette even drops into the upper 30s for short periods in some years. Usually at some point in the late fall I switch over to sturgeon fishing - when the rivers get high, muddy and fast.

I do like the Choppo (in the 90 size) a little better than the 90 size Plopper. I feel like the Choppo comes to the surface more quickly at the beginning of the retrieve. The 130 sized plopper comes up right away, but it seems like 90 plopper usually takes a few feet of retrieve to start plopping. I do throw both but for smallest I usually reach for a 90 size choppo as my go to.
Totally agree on the plopper, Ive got a 90, some 110s (actually found 2 of them floating!) And some 130s

130s definitely swim the best, 110s are alright

But the 90s are terrible, they take too long to float and mine spin real bad unless I'm barely moving it. I've tried a larger front hook and a shank weight but then it also takes longer to float up!
@NKlamerus , I am glad to hear that your experience echoes mine. The 90 Choppo behaves quite nicely. I don't think I have thrown a 90 size plopper since I first tried the 90 choppo.
have you guys tried the plopper 75? its small like a crankbait plus the prop. I like it for tight areas where you don't need to cast a country mile. I go 120 on the choppo's they work great just can't find em in stores
Shaun Solomon
Shaun Solomon
“Eric your breath smells…”
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