Columbia River Cats

Columbia River

My wife Pam and I got home from our trip to Yakima around 9:00 pm and by the time we had unloaded everything and headed for bed it was after 11:00 pm. We had planned to go fishing in the morning at Rufus which is an hour and a half from home, so we would have to get up early. So about 5 hrs of sleep later we are standing around the coffee pot like a couple zombies waiting to come back to life.

We got the boat ready and fueled the truck and boat on the way out of town. Pam slept while I drove and slept until the coffee kicked in. Thank goodness for Auto VonPilot, he has gotten me home more than I want to admit.

Well we intended to fish for American Shad because the numbers looked good coming over Bonneville Dam, but we didn’t find any shad, or at least any schools of shad where we were fishing.

Drifting for Walleye with worm rigs

We tried to drift for walleyes, but the water was low and had been very high for weeks, so I think the change may have put the fish down. There were many boats out fishing for walleyes, and I didn’t see anyone with a fish on. We did get a couple of Smallmouth Bass while drifting, but nothing of any size, so they went right back into the river.

We went to my usual spot to eat lunch and put out baits for catfish, but all we got was little fish stealing our bait. all in all it was looking pretty bleak for catching a fish dinner.

Secret spot for eating lunch

We tried to anchor up and fish for salmon, but I anchored us in too fast of water for the amount of weight we had available in the boat, and when I tried to move us to a calmer spot I couldn’t get the anchor loose from the rocks and ended up loosing it.

The temperature was rising and we were about to call it a day, but I had one more trick I wanted to try for cats so we returned to the lunch spot.

I wanted to drift through the run with the baits on or near the bottom. This is not an easy thing to do as the weight has to be very near the bottom, but cannot drag or it will snag in the rocks.

So we lowered our baits to the bottom and then lifted them an inch or two and began a controlled drift (using the trolling motor to compensate for wind and current).

First drift, nothing. Second drift through I put us more into the current, and about half way though I hooked a small sturgeon. It surface with a jump and came off the hook, but it was fun for a minute.

After that we repeated the drift and picked up a couple catfish around 4 to 10 lbs, and a couple more small sturgeon before the run went cold. (too much activity)

We tried a couple other spots and even another drift for walleyes, but we didn’t catch any more fish so we got the boat out of the river and headed home.

Special thanks to my beautiful wife for her camera work.

Pam (Camera Operator)

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