“Big Wa­ter, Big Weather, Big Small­mouths (Part 1)”

Columbia River Small­mouth Ad­ven­ture: Lake Celilo (Celilo Park, Ore­gon)

SA Bass - - Contents -

My day at Lake Celilo’s east pool for­mally marks the third act of my small­mouth bass fish­ing ad­ven­ture on the Columbia River where we will be striv­ing to end on a strong res­o­lu­tion – Fish­ing­boy and David Swend­seid (DUO Realis U.S.A)

In Part-1 of this fi­nal in­stal­ment of the Columbia River se­ries, let us talk about the Day-5 high­lights of my small­mouth bass fish­ing ad­ven­ture, fo­cus­ing on mid­depth crankbait fish­ing for pre-spawn fish in Lake Celilo’s east pool.

We will also be shar­ing some use­ful tips on boat han­dling and safety in rough wa­ter from sea­soned Columbia River small­mouth an­gler David Swend­seid; be­cause be­fore you can even catch small­mouths in the Columbia River it­self, you need to be able to get to the fish hold­ing spots first.

Ris­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties

My day at Lake Celilo’s east pool for­mally marks the third act of my small­mouth bass fish­ing ad­ven­ture on the Columbia River where we will be striv­ing to end on a strong res­o­lu­tion.

Pick­ing up right where we left off at Lake Umatilla, we made a tac­ti­cal decision to re­visit Lake Celilo once again based on the positive ex­pe­ri­ence we have had dur­ing a re­cent warm front.

Lake Celilo’s west pool was where we had re­cently ex­pe­ri­enced a slugfest with small­mouths that were crush­ing crankbaits deep, ear­lier in the week. More so, we sensed an op­por­tu­nity to catch big weights once again in ar­eas that have been ex­hibit­ing trends of ris­ing tem­per­a­tures.

There­fore, we will be ze­ro­ing in on ar­eas with depth tran­si­tion zones where we be­lieve pres-pawn small­mouths have started mov­ing shal­low. With wa­ter tem­per­a­tures al­ready push­ing 9°C, we pre­dict that large fe­males might have been up in their stag­ing ar­eas.

How­ever, be­fore you could even get started on the fish­ing, it is im­per­a­tive that you pos­sess the know-how to en­able you to get to the fish hold­ing ar­eas first. Noth­ing comes easy on the Columbia River. Get­ting from one area to another is not as sim­ple as get­ting from point A to point B and you will see why.

Big wa­ter and big weather

One of the ma­jor chal­lenges on the Columbia River is weather and wa­ter con­di­tions be­cause where and when you fish is of­ten dic­tated by those two driv­ing fac­tors. You may have no­ticed that I use the words ‘rough wa­ter’ a lot be­cause rough wa­ter it­self is a se­ri­ously dif­fi­cult bar­rier to over­come, es­pe­cially when you are on vast wa­ter river systems.

Be­fore I talk about the crankbait fish­ing fo­cuses on Lake Celilo’s east pool, let us veer onto an im­por­tant sub­ject that is fun­da­men­tal to bass fish­ing in big wa­ter fish­eries, boat han­dling in rough wa­ter. All in all, if you can­not nav­i­gate through rough wa­ter and make it back to the dock safely, chances are you will not be able to reach those fish hold­ing ar­eas.

One of the few small­mouths we caught in deeper wa­ter on the 11A

The Realis Crank M65 8A was the top bait of the day

We got started on Lake Celilo’s east pool fish­ing steep riprap banks

The ma­jes­tic bluff walls in Lake Celilo’s east pool

A close-up shot of the Realis Crank M65 8A in the jaws of a wall­eye

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