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Washington record walleye from Columbia River 19.3 lbs.

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Oregon Walleye Fishing Guide Trips Trophy Walleye Fishing. Portland Columbia River Gorge. Walleye Fishing Year-round. John Day, McNary Dam. Pro Guides and Custom Charters, all Tackle Provided. Call 541-969-2537



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About Oregon Walleye Fishing
Walleyes have made their reputation for being excellent table fair, but aren't known for being great fighters. I think that's because most walleyes that anglers catch are in the 2- to 4-pound class. However, when an angler takes a guided trip with a professional Oregon walleye guide and hooks a 15-pound walleye, it brings on a whole new view of this fishery.

Walleyes up to 6 pounds are the best eating. Most guides discourage clients from keeping the big females unless they're going to be mounted. A mount that would memorialize your catch and provide you with a lasting memory of a day fishing the great Columbia River is a great way to go.

WalleyeBook your Columbia River guided trip now!

(Photo): Get fishing with a pro guide below the John Day Dam to nail Columbia River walleye like these.

When the Columbia warms to 48 degrees, the fishing will really pick up and it will stay good at least until August. That's when the shad smolts move down through the system, flooding the river with easy prey. When that happens the walleye will be next to impossible to catch. Columbia River monthly temperatures

January and February is typically the best time of the year to catch the big females. Fishing will remain good for numbers as the weather warms, but the fisherman that wants a really big Oregon walleye should be on the water in February or early to mid March.

Water temperature, more than the time of year, is what triggers the Columbia River walleye bite. April is usually the best month, but the Columbia has been slow to warm some years, at these times the peak could easily stretch into May.

The mighty Columbia River offers the best walleye fishing in Oregon, possibly in the country. Brownlee Reservoir is the primary lake for walleye fishing in Oregon. Walleye are also found in some of the smaller lakes and rivers. The Columbia River has produced both the Oregon state record walleye and the Washington state record walleye. The next world record walleye will most likely come from the Columbia River.

Oregon Walleye

Washington Walleye

WA Record Walleye 19.3 lbs
Walleye Picture Walleye Picture
World Record Walleye World Record Walleye

25 lbs - 0 oz

25 lbs - 0 oz

Oregon State Record Walleye Oregon State Record Walleye

19 lbs - 15 oz

19 lbs - 3 oz  (photo)->>

Preferred Water Temperature Preferred Water Temperature

38 - 60 Degrees

38 - 60 Degrees

Preferred Habitat Preferred Habitat

Prefers slightly stained to murky water with little or no current.

Prefers slightly stained to murky water with little or no current.

Oregon walleye spawn in spring and, when river walleye have the option, will choose to migrate from the lake or river up into feeder streams to spawn. If this option is not available they seek out shallow bars or shoals with clean bottom surfaces near deep water.

This toothy fish will eat virtually anything it can catch and get in its mouth. They prefer small fish and will eat crustaceans, worms and insects. They tend to be somewhat wary and prefer the safety of deeper darker waters of the Columbia.

Where to Fish Walleye

One of the best places to try your luck has traditionally been the reach of river below the John Day Dam, even after the floods of '96 slowed the fishing down. You'll still do very well here, whether you're seeking a monster or just looking to take home some tasty walleye fillets.

Compared to many other states, the limits here are generous. On the Columbia River you can keep five walleye under 18 inches and five fish over 18 inches, one of which can be over 24 inches. However, Most guides who work the area suggest you release the big females after a photo or two, to insure they keep contributing their "big" genes to the gene pool. Likewise, they also encourage you to release most of the smallest keeper-sized fish to provide the recruitment necessary to sustain this quality fishery.

Best Areas for John Day Walleye

The Deadline: Walleye can be caught from a number of different locations below the dam. The Deadline is a good hole to take some big ones, but it's a difficult stretch to fish, and not a place for beginners. It's very snaggy and the currents can be tricky. There are also some nasty shoals and rocks that lie just under the surface of the water. If you're not familiar with the area, you can get into trouble quickly. I strongly suggest you fish with someone who's done it a couple times before.

Preacher's Eddy: Just downriver from The Deadline, Preacher's Eddy has long been famous for its big walleye. While not as difficult to fish as The Deadline, this stretch has an undulating bottom, running anywhere from 12 to 32 feet. Pro walleye guides consider this a prime depth for trophy walleye. As you troll or drift downstream, you must continually adjust the depth of your bait to keep it on the bottom.

The Willows and downstream: The Willows, just down from Preacher's Eddy near the Washington bank, is an easier stretch to fish. The bottom is less irregular and it's easier to stay in the strike zone. While some good walleye are taken here, this stretch is better known for eating-sized walleye.On the Oregon side, you'll find 106 Hole, another good spot. In fact, there is good water just about everywhere.

There is good walleye water near the Highway 97 Bridge, and other good water all the way down to The Dalles.

A good trick is to look for the buoys of the tribal fishermen, since they're almost always set in the right depths for walleye.

How to Catch Oregon Walleye

Fishing with nightcrawlers rigged on bottom-walkers is one of the easiest ways to catch walleye in the Columbia River, especially when the winds are up. The rig is simple. Attach the bottom-bouncer to your main line, and run a 4 or 5-foot leader from the walker to the bait. Set a few beads and a Spin-N-Glo on the line directly above a double hook rig.

Chartreuse and green are good colors for walleye. Pass the worm's head through the first hook and set the stinger hook in the worm, an inch or 2 below the first one, leaving some slack in the line between the hooks. This allows for the stretch of the worm once you've dragged it through the water for a while.

Let the bait to the bottom and troll downstream. Be sure to keep adjusting your line so that the bouncer is ticking the bottom at all times. If you're not on the bottom, you're not fishing for Columbia walleye.

Jigging blade baits such as the Rattlin' Ripple Tail and many guides favorite, the Heddon Sonar, is another good technique for finding good river walleye hangouts. You'll have to handle your boat a little more precisely in order to keep the bait near the bottom, as the boat will move down with the current.

Expect to lose a few baits, since those two treble hooks will occasionally bounce off the rough bottom. Other good bets are tipping Li'l Hummer spinners or jigs with worms, or trolling crankbaits, a technique that works best in the areas with level bottoms.

A last word
There are boat launches close to the action on both sides of the river: one at Rufus on the Oregon side, another at Maryhill in Washington. Our river walleye guides will meet clients at these locations which are just a short drive from quality lodging. Many of our guides offer training trips for walleye. On these trips they will concentrate the majority of the walleye trip showing you the how, when, where and why of Columbia River walleye fishing, along with which lures work best under various conditions.


Book your walleye trip now!
Columbia River Walleye Guides
E-mail: elmerhill@charter.net


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