“Big Water, Big Weather, Big Smallmouths (Part 1)”
Columbia River Smallmouth Adventure: Lake Celilo (Celilo Park, Oregon)
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.
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