Looking to hit the John Day River for some smallmouth, any spots or parks I should look into? I've heard stuff about the mouth of the john day but that's about it. It's overwhelming to pick a spot because of how long it is
portlandrain;n606910 said:I would go to Cottonwood canyon/ JS Burres State park. There's a really convenient trail from the parking lot at JS Burres (on the south side of the river, not the camping side) that goes for a long ways down stream. It was the closest place I could find to civilization that had good access. There's a lot of private land that makes it hard to get to the river. My brother and I went out there last summer and lost count at 50 landed smallies. If it's soft plastic they'll eat it. I'm sure we hooked a hundred or more. It was like "oh you lost that one? There are 12 more right there!"
Edit: Looking at the map there's a trail on the north side too, so take your pick.
Aervax;n606936 said:There are many public access points on the JDR all of which fish well if you walk a little bit to get beyond the easy places next to parking areas. Be careful to avoid trespassing on private land. Accessing from a public trail or parking area will get you on the water, which is low enough and still warm enough to wade straight down the river, or stay on gravel bars to stay below high waterline and off private property.
Aervax;n607031 said:The majority of fish caught on the John Day run 5-10 inches. My experience has been 2/3 of fish caught are in that small size and 1/3 are 1-2 pounds. I occasionally catch one or two there that are 3-7 pounds. My tactic is to walk 1-3 miles from the parking area and fish deeper holes that are rock or gravel. You have to get away from parking areas to catch bigger fish. Mud bottomed stretches tend to hold only small fish. The deepest holes are usually the outside bend in a sharp turn in the river. I focus more of my time in those pockets to catch the biggest fish. Micro strategy is to throw the senkos around the edges of a deep hole to catch and release and disrupt bait takes by the smaller bass. They tend to swarm any bait in the JDR water this time of year and make it hard to get bait deep enough for big bass to see it and get to it. I also release these fish downstream of the hole if possible. When they are released directly into the targeted hole they go deep to hide and recover while releasing stress hormone into the water. Put enough of the hormone into the hole and it shuts off the bite. Next I switch to 7" senko to keep the small one's off of it. My largest JDR smallmouth was 7.5 pounds fishing this way. It works. Try it. I am heading out to the John Day at least one day next week. I am in Hood River and my current favorite spot is just over 2 hours from here. Anyone wanting to join me for the day can meet in Hood River to caravan, or to carpool. It will be on a weekday. Private message me if you can go.
Aervax;n607184 said:Just above Service Creek is where I caught my biggest smallie ever. It was in the middle of the day during the heat of the dog days of Summer - air temp was 107 F.