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Author Topic: Salmon from a small boat on the upper Columbia?  (Read 569 times)

Offline jamesfromseattle

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Salmon from a small boat on the upper Columbia?
« on: July 06, 2020, 12:43:32 PM »
My wife has advised me that she'd be far more tolerant of my salmon fishing habit if it took place somewhere sunnier and where people don't get seasick.  So I've started thinking about heading east to the Columbia, rather than Sekiu and Neah.  We've got a 21 foot trophy, but don't have enough truck to tow it over the passes regularly, so I'd like to make it work with our 12 foot lake boat.

I've never fished the upper Columbia before, and I'd rather not die.  I'd appreciate any recommendations on good small boat fisheries over there.  My understanding is that Brewster pool is a popular place for small boats?  Are there any other spots I should be considering?

I've got a lot of experience in the straights and on the ocean, but none in Eastern Washington.  However, my assumption is that wind exposure and moving water are the things I should be worried about.  So I think that probably take Hanford Reach, Lake Chelan, and below Wells/Wanapum damn off the list with a small boat.

Offline MerriamMagician

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Re: Salmon from a small boat on the upper Columbia?
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2020, 04:59:00 PM »
No reason to worry about waters over here if you are experienced on the ocean. Plenty of people take small boats out on all the bodies of water you mentioned. Having that said, the river is really cranking this year with much higher flows than usual. Most of the worst currents are the tailraces directly below the dams. Wells and Wanapum dams are 2 popular places where fishing is done in close proximity to the dams so those 2 spots in particular may be best avoided by small boats. The brewster pool is pretty wide and is almost like a lake a lot of the time.  :twocents:
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Offline huntnnw

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Re: Salmon from a small boat on the upper Columbia?
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2020, 07:40:00 PM »
Completely doable at Brewster, itís like a big lake. Chelan falls is a popular place and doable.

Offline Stein

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Re: Salmon from a small boat on the upper Columbia?
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2020, 08:25:37 PM »
I used to have a 12' Smoker Craft and went many places I shouldn't have.  I would have no problem fishing the upper Columbia as well as Chelan or pretty much any lake.  I wouldn't fish the lower Columbia at all.

Next year, if you pick your days right pinks are doable.  Find a day with no wind and a good tide set and you can get there and back easily.  You could also fish sockeye at Baker or Wenatchee on good years.

Offline Mtnwalker

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Re: Salmon from a small boat on the upper Columbia?
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2020, 09:38:40 PM »
Below Wanapum gets ripping pretty good, I took my 16í Lund down there and it wasnít scary but definitely enough to keep you on your toes. I fished Washaway to the Sound with that boat with no hesitation but the moving water can add a new element for sure. No input on the other areas though

Offline jamesfromseattle

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Re: Salmon from a small boat on the upper Columbia?
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2020, 10:26:04 PM »
Awesome, thanks guys. Brewster is at the top of the hit list, and Iíd love to fish Baker and Wenatchee if thereís a season.

I actually hit the Sound around Seattle pretty regularly in the small boat because I can beach launch it anywhere, so I donít need to run far and can quickly go back to shore when the wind kicks up. It was a liberating moment when I realized I could catch a salmon without getting the big boat out. I find that I get out more often with the simpler logistics of the small boat. Looking forward to broadening my horizons and getting some sun.

I used to have a 16 foot duroboat right after I got out of school and did a bunch of stupid stuff in it on a regular basis (like fishing out of Neah Bay and crossing the strait to the San Juans), but had a couple scary incidents (I.e. waves over the transom) that convinced me to start acting like a grownup. Not worth the risk for a slimy fish, so Iím pretty darn conservative on the water now.

 


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