Recommendations on lures for Willamette river bass?

igquick

Active member
Any recommondations on lures for willamette river bass? I'm going to be walking the banks around st. Johns.
 

Aervax

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This time of year in general a 3/16 ounce jig tipped with a plastic worm is always a real good starting point. Turbid water right now, to increase visibility I would start with a black jig head with feathers or hair and a bright colored plastic worm. Chartreuse on the worm is an easy bass pick, though my favorite color in these conditions is called Witches Tea. It is dark brown with chartreuse tail. Give it a friendly massage with a little crawdad flavored smelly jelly if you have it. They will hang on to it a little longer and give extra chances to feel the difference between subtle bites and botto, or current varation.
 

igquick

Active member
Thanks man I really appreciate the help. I'm going to purchase more fishing gear, and get ready for bass season.
 

C_Run

Well-known member
I don't claim to be much of a bass fisherman but I wait until it warms up and then go out with a few Senkos (brown) and a jointed Rapala. I always get some smallmouth on my local Willamette trib.
 

Aervax

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I don't claim to be much of a bass fisherman but I wait until it warms up and then go out with a few Senkos (brown) and a jointed Rapala. I always get some smallmouth on my local Willamette trib.
You are too modest. Senkos and jointed Rapalas are spot on classic bass catching techniques. They really work. I even catch big trout on both!
 

reid

New member
Hey, I'm pretty new to fishing, so sorry if this is a dumb question:

Will bass go for pink steelhead worms? I’m gonna hit up the Willamette, near west linn after school today. Is it too cold for bass this time of year?
 

C_Run

Well-known member
Hey, I'm pretty new to fishing, so sorry if this is a dumb question:

Will bass go for pink steelhead worms? I’m gonna hit up the Willamette, near west linn after school today. Is it too cold for bass this time of year?
I had the same question once and answered it myself. Pink worms indeed can catch bass.
 

reid

New member
I had the same question once and answered it myself. Pink worms indeed can catch bass.
Awesome, thanks! One more question: are you putting a sinker on your line? I’ve seen people catch bass with and without one. Also, are you letting the worm hit the bottom or are you reeling in like you would with a lure?
 

C_Run

Well-known member
Awesome, thanks! One more question: are you putting a sinker on your line? I’ve seen people catch bass with and without one. Also, are you letting the worm hit the bottom or are you reeling in like you would with a lure?
The only places I have fished for bass are at a couple of lakes and one really sluggish tributary here so I've just gone without any weight. They will definitely strike a worm that's being slowly retrieved.
 

Aervax

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The Willamette is still below 50F right now. That is still a little on the cold side for bass to really turn on and bite aggressively. It is a little bit turbid, too. Realistic color is less important in those conditions than visibility and motion. Go with dark colors or bright colors that are visible in that water. I would take a black sharpie and run a wide line down the back of those pink worms, or black out the tails to create a little contrast to increase their visibility and catch rate. And yes to using a little weight. Bass are hanging close to the bottom and not looking up much when the water is colder than 55. When water is cool most of my bites on plastic worms come after moving the lure and letting it settle to a dead rest on the bottom. That takes a split shot or two to do with regular plastic, or more if the water is deep, or if there is much current. Senkos are denser and will sink fine on a slacker line without weight. The bass will start looking up more and get more aggressive and want more lure motion as temps approach 60, and start hitting topwater more when it passes 65. Bass are starting to think about the spawn right now. If you can find side sloughs and areas sheltered from the wind and current those are the places they are starting to gravitate toward, because they will be 5 - 10 degrees warmer than the main channel. They are hunting for water temps in the 55F range to start feeding more regularly, and 65-70 to spawn. If you find those spots that warm up first, places like ponds formed by the highway and roads, or railroad tracks that are still connected to the main river by a culvert, those areas are money! That is where the bass were born and where they return to spawn. When the temp is right a guy can catch multiple bass in consecutive casts in those spots without moving around much. Especially over the next couple of days with the full moon. Spawning spikes with peaks in the lunar cycle and increases with water temps approaching 70. There will be some spawning activity now with the full moon, and it it will really pick up and move shallower as the next couple of full moons coincide with higher water temps. These next 3 full moons are like Christmas morning to bass fisherman. This week will be the slowest of the 3 because it is colder. It is possible to have 50 plus fish days wade fishing this "sweet spot" of the bass year. My favorite time!
 

Bake

Member
A black doll fly jig, about 1/4 oz. nake, or a black doll fly jig 3/16 oz. dressed with plastics would be my first choice when fishing in unknown water. The colder the water, the deeper & slower I would swim and jig it off the bottom.. As far as colors go, deeper, the darker. I got a lot of mileage flipping a "pig and jig" back in the day....
 

troutdude

Well-known member
Moderator
The Willamette is still below 50F right now. That is still a little on the cold side for bass to really turn on and bite aggressively. It is a little bit turbid, too. Realistic color is less important in those conditions than visibility and motion. Go with dark colors or bright colors that are visible in that water. I would take a black sharpie and run a wide line down the back of those pink worms, or black out the tails to create a little contrast to increase their visibility and catch rate. And yes to using a little weight. Bass are hanging close to the bottom and not looking up much when the water is colder than 55. When water is cool most of my bites on plastic worms come after moving the lure and letting it settle to a dead rest on the bottom. That takes a split shot or two to do with regular plastic, or more if the water is deep, or if there is much current. Senkos are denser and will sink fine on a slacker line without weight. The bass will start looking up more and get more aggressive and want more lure motion as temps approach 60, and start hitting topwater more when it passes 65. Bass are starting to think about the spawn right now. If you can find side sloughs and areas sheltered from the wind and current those are the places they are starting to gravitate toward, because they will be 5 - 10 degrees warmer than the main channel. They are hunting for water temps in the 55F range to start feeding more regularly, and 65-70 to spawn. If you find those spots that warm up first, places like ponds formed by the highway and roads, or railroad tracks that are still connected to the main river by a culvert, those areas are money! That is where the bass were born and where they return to spawn. When the temp is right a guy can catch multiple bass in consecutive casts in those spots without moving around much. Especially over the next couple of days with the full moon. Spawning spikes with peaks in the lunar cycle and increases with water temps approaching 70. There will be some spawning activity now with the full moon, and it it will really pick up and move shallower as the next couple of full moons coincide with higher water temps. These next 3 full moons are like Christmas morning to bass fisherman. This week will be the slowest of the 3 because it is colder. It is possible to have 50 plus fish days wade fishing this "sweet spot" of the bass year. My favorite time!
Crikey! I now know who I want to go bassin' with!
 

bass

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I would recommend looking for small ponds and fishing there. The smaller waters will warm much faster. I think you could try places like Blue Lake, Bethany Pond, Commonwealth Pond, etc. Those places have fewer bass but they should be a good bit more active. The other thought would be to make the drive to Hagg and fish the coves. The nice thing there is that you can always do some trout fishing if the bass do not want to play.

Everything mentioned in terms of baits sound good. I would add that you should not to forget about in early season are a rattle trap, crankbait and especially a jerk bait (minnow plug). Fish the jerk bait with really sharp hard pulls with a good pause. Often deadly in colder water. For crankbaits I reel fast to get them down and then try and once making contact with the bottom I fish it as slowly as possible. It is almost like fishing a soft plastic that is noisier and more visible. The down side is that you can lose some baits doing this.

Best of luck!
 

reid

New member
I would recommend looking for small ponds and fishing there. The smaller waters will warm much faster. I think you could try places like Blue Lake, Bethany Pond, Commonwealth Pond, etc. Those places have fewer bass but they should be a good bit more active. The other thought would be to make the drive to Hagg and fish the coves. The nice thing there is that you can always do some trout fishing if the bass do not want to play.

Everything mentioned in terms of baits sound good. I would add that you should not to forget about in early season are a rattle trap, crankbait and especially a jerk bait (minnow plug). Fish the jerk bait with really sharp hard pulls with a good pause. Often deadly in colder water. For crankbaits I reel fast to get them down and then try and once making contact with the bottom I fish it as slowly as possible. It is almost like fishing a soft plastic that is noisier and more visible. The down side is that you can lose some baits doing this.

Best of luck!
I hit Hagg Lake last saturday, didn't catch any bass but I pulled in four trout.
 

Aervax

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I need to head down to the Willamette Valley to go bass fishing. I can see the river there is at 50F. Here in the gorge the Columbia is still only 41F. I have been plunking my thermometer in one of the isolated sloughs. The warmest water I have found so far was 55F. I am betting some of the sloughs along the Willamette are approaching 60F. Is anyone having any luck catching bass in the sloughs yet, or is the action just in the smaller lakes so far? I am going to have to head that direction to get my bass on until the gorge water starts warming up.
 

Aervax

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That is not encouraging. Water is still cold. Must be too cold. Give it a week or two. It will turn on. In the meantime I am getting stir crazy.
 
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