Fly Fishing for Walleye on the Columbia River

by | Apr 9, 2021 | fly fishing for walleye | 4 comments

flyfish-WashingtonMike LaSota and I changed venue today.  Instead of searching for the Springer Chinooks near Portland, Oregon, Mike took me 1:30 minutes up the Columbia River to the Washington side to fish for walleye.  Mike and his wife B recently bought a beautiful house in White Salmon, WA where we will stay over the weekend.

 

Mike-LaSota-fishingAs always we got an early start.  We wanted to beat the hectic traffic out of Portland and enjoy sunrise over the Cascades.  It’s a beautiful sight through the Columbia River Gorge.

 

fly-fishingWe arrived at Mikes and moved into his house around 9.  We got our WA fishing licenses and Mike got himself rigged up for walleye jigging.  You know my stubbornness, I was bound and determined to go at these fish with flies.  I tied on a brown colored Rich Strolis jig fly.

 

Columbia-RiverThe Columbia River is famous for big wind.  While it often blows sunrise to sunset, usually you can enjoy reasonably calm mornings.  Mike and I were pushing it but launched his boat and made it to his first walleye spot before the wind started to crank.

 

walleye-fishingThe Columbia is deep and was difficult for me at the first spot.  Mike likes about 25-30 feet of water and the walleyes are right on the bottom.  I had my Scientific Anglers Sonar and the heavy fly, but with river current, my fly was only in the zone for a few seconds.  While I did my best shaking line out and tossing some fancy mends, Mike pulled in this beauty of a walleye to start the day.

 

walleyeI have an old saying, “Don’t catch a fish near the boat ramp”.  I always find when you catch one too fast the rest of your day is shot.  Well, Mike caught his nice walleye within sight of the ramp – and you guessed it – this was the only walleye we caught today.  Lucky for us we put him right in the cooler for tonight’s dinner.

 

Currier-smallmouth-bassIts not to say we didn’t fish hard for a couple hours though before getting blown off the river.  We did and lo and behold when we got into some water around 18 feet deep I hit a couple of beautiful smallmouth bass.  I’m often asked what’s my favorite species to catch.  Smallies are it and it was great fun to catch my first since November.

 

We indeed had to pack it in around 2 PM.  The wind roared up the river and soon there were 2 foot tall whitecaps and getting worse.  Mike’s boat is an 18 footer but still, managing any boat in big wind and current is a hassle.

 

walleyeThis afternoon we took a crack at a carp lake near Mike’s house.  There were a few around and I got some casts to several on the flats.  But I didn’t have my carp game.  My casts were terrible and I spooked each one I tried for.  Its good to know the lake though and perhaps this weekend we’ll try it again.

 

As for now the fresh walleye has been served.  Mike is a heck of a cook and he’s fried this up with some vegies and its time to eat.  The weather looks shaky for tomorrow but we’ll see how things look when we wake up.

 

Jeff Currier Global Fly Fishing

4 Comments

  1. Lance

    It’s always great to read your blogs. Not very many others in your line of work are as honest about rough days fishing, crappy casts and catch rate. Gives us desk jockeys hope that our days on the water are somewhat normal. Thanks much

  2. Jeff

    Thanks Lance. A little butt kicking keeps me on my game! In fact, if fishing was easy I’d have found something else to entertain myself a long time ago. Take care and thanks for reading the blog

  3. Kristen J. Sorensen

    Looks delicious! He is a good cook.

  4. Jeff

    Kristen – fishing with Mike LaSota is always a treat way beyond the fishing!

Welcome to the Blog of Jeff Currier!

Contact Jeff

I started fly fishing at age 7 in the lakes and ponds of New England cutting my teeth on various sunfish, bass, crappie and stocked trout. I went to Northland College in Ashland, Wisconsin, where I graduated with a Naturalist Degree while I discovered new fishing opportunities for pike, muskellunge, walleyes and various salmonids found in Lake Superior and its tributaries.

From there I headed west to work a few years in the Yellowstone region to simply work as much as most people fish and fish as much as most people work. I did just that, only it lasted over 20 years working at the Jack Dennis Fly Shop in Jackson, WY where I departed in 2009. Now it’s time to work for "The Man", working for myself that is.

I pursue my love to paint fish, lecture on every aspect of fly fishing you can imagine and host a few trips to some of the most exotic places you can think of. My ultimate goal is to catch as many species of fish on fly possible from freshwater to saltwater, throughout the world. I presently have taken over 440 species from over 60 countries!

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