Columbia smallmouth bass bite is on the verge of busting wide open. 3 of us went fishing for smallmouth on the Columbia Saturday. We were catching them here and there, about 20 fish each over the course of the day. For the most part they made us work pretty hard for it. Big fish for each of us went 2.75 - 4 pounds. My big fish of the day in the pic was the smallest big guy from our crew. We all started fishing at different times and places, then joined forces in Hood River for a couple hours, and migrated down river from there. Fish are still on the prespawn with the colder than usual water. They were biting spring finesse and reaction baits. I fished straight up Senko all day, from noon till 8:30 PM. The Hood River area bite finished nicely from 7:45 - 8:15 PM with 7 fish in 30 minutes after the water had all day to warm in the sun, and the wind finally started to subside. I will not disclose particulars of my pal's fishing techniques, but partners both used different methods and colors that were just as effective as my Senkos if not more so. I was fishing a 4" bi-color senko weightless on 8 pound test nylon mono with a 3/0 offset shank hook. My most effective color on Saturday was watermelon over cream laminate. Each spot we hit had surface temp in the low 50s in the morning, but warmed 5-8 degrees by the end of the day. Most of the fish that I caught were grouped up in very specific spots. There could be long dry spells between bites, then several take downs in a row - sometimes on consecutive casts. In one spot at around 2:30 PM two of us caught about 15 fish tossing Senko in a prespawn structure that was maybe 30X20 feet. The majority of the fish came out of the dead center of that spot. I did not see any sign of spawning beds today. The next full moon should change that. This year's spawn has some serious pent up energy. I am accustomed to seeing a few smallmouth spawning in April with numbers building to a peak in mid May, then tapering off over the next 2 or 3 weeks. I covered tons of ground wet wading 7 hours yesterday without seeing a single bed. The last time I saw similar conditions it completely exploded all at the same time after a couple days of 80 degree weather. Pay close attention to Columbia water temp and weather as we approach the next full moon phase. The bigger 4 pound plus females will begin to move shallow cruising and looking for beds. When that happens if you're in the right place at the right time those big bass can sometimes be caught walking the bank, though I catch most of my biggest smallies while wading waist deep or so and casting parallel to the shore near small drop offs as they.are setting up for the spawn. Please share your stories and pics when you catch them!
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