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

SA Bass - - Contents -

“Big Wa­ter, Big Weather, Big Small­mouths (Part 2)” Here are two more tips on how to han­dle rough wa­ter. – Fish­ing­boy and David Swend­seid

(DUO Realis U.S.A)

In Part-1 of this fi­nal in­stal­ment of the Columbia River se­ries, I talked about the high­lights of my small­mouth bass fish­ing ad­ven­ture, fo­cus­ing on mid-depth crankbait fish­ing for pre-spawn fish in Lake Celilo’s east pool.

I fin­ished the ar­ti­cle with rough wa­ter tips from David Swend­seid. He ad­dressed dif­fer­ent types of rough wa­ter, life jack­ets & flota­tion de­vices, pre-launch safety checks and boat de­sign. Here are two more tips on how to han­dle rough wa­ter.

Rid your boat of wa­ter

Al­ways en­sure you have strate­gic means to get rid of wa­ter from inside the boat. A swamped boat is the num­ber one rea­son for deaths and in­juries. When your boat gets swamped by waves, ac­cess wa­ter will short the electrics leav­ing you im­mo­bi­lized on the wa­ter.

A dead out­board ren­ders you im­mo­bile in sit­u­a­tions where waves will con­tinue to crash your boat onto rocks caus­ing it to take in more wa­ter. Boats with upright flota­tion of­fer ad­di­tional safety but even well-built boats may sink ren­der­ing the oc­cu­pants in dan­ger. So, ex­tra bilge pumps, even por­ta­ble units and or even buck­ets will be use­ful.

Prop and power cor­rectly

Never run your boat out in big wa­ter with a fast pro­pel­ler. When you are fish­ing in windy con­di­tions, use a prop that lifts the boat quickly that al­lows the hull to climb.

For in­stance, a four-blade prop with smaller pitch will al­low the hull to lift up quicker. A prop with heavy slip is slow out of the hole and can lead to disaster in rough wa­ter sit­u­a­tions.

All in all, re­gard­less of what you might face out on the wa­ter, it is im­per­a­tive that you ac­quaint your­self with ba­sic on the wa­ter safety skills be­fore you head out to big wa­ter.

Find­ing pre-spawn stag­ing ar­eas

We got started in Lake Celilo’s east pool un­der pre­dom­i­nantly clear but windy con­di­tions af­ter hav­ing made it through rough wa­ter that has be­come a daily rou­tine for us since day-1. We spent the morn­ing fish­ing deeper ar­eas such as riprap and bluff shorelines but ended up catch­ing only walleyes.

Find­ing small­mouths in stag­ing ar­eas of­ten de­pends on the tem­per­a­ture gauge. As a case in point, we fished the west pool two days ago where wa­ter tem­per­a­tures were in the 9°C range. As con­di­tions stand in the east pool, the wa­ter tem­per­a­ture was al­ready push­ing 10°C by mid­day on one of the riprap shorelines where we were headed to fish.

The riprap banks in Lake Celilo are vast. It is prac­ti­cally im­pos­si­ble for the angler to hit ev­ery fishy look­ing spot. In­stead of fo­cussing on ev­ery­thing that is out there, we nar­rowed the high per­cent­age ar­eas down to tran­si­tion­ing rocks where we found school­ing fish in iso­lated ar­eas tight on the break un­der ap­prox­i­mately 1.5m to 2m of wa­ter.

Swend­seid had an awesome day crank­ing gi­ant small­mouths

Swells and white caps are com­mon in open ar­eas on Lake Celilo

Who says there are not big small­mouths in the ma­rina?

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