Buoy 10- Your guide to this weeks fishing opportunities
I’ll be honest, I’ve had some pretty disappointing early fishing in years past at Buoy 10. You know the story. You show up to what should be decent tides and the fish just aren’t in the river. To add to the despair, the ocean blows up and you’re left with a bite or two in difficult, wear you out conditions in the river. Anybody who has fished early at the mouth of the Columbia River has experienced this and fortunately, this years result won’t we counted as disappointing.
This years fishing began in earnest on the 9th with the arrival of softening tides. Young’s Bay, Chinook and the area on the Washington side above the bridge all fished well on the incoming tide from the 9th to the 11th. The Church Hole was probably the top performer on the outgoing tide with a great snap on the 10th. By the 11th, the outgoing tide bite was starting to wane, but the incoming tide bite in the morning remained good with the area in front of Hammond stating to pick up the pace. That trend has continued and today, Hammond probably had the best overall bite on the river.
As tides continue to build this week, look for the areas around Hammond and Chinook to be the places to be on the incoming tide. The mid morning incoming tides will offer some of us the opportunity to get a little more rest as I’m not sure one needs to be on the river early in the morning to find good fishing.
Should you really feel the need to get there early, you might try an outgoing troll on the Washington side at A Jetty. Wait for the push to show up and then fall back to either Chinook or the area around 20 or 22. If you get on them, you should be able to play hop scotch with the incoming push of fish.
The sands around the day marker will be the wild card for the week. In years past it has performed well, but last year the area to the Washington side of Desdemona was hit and miss at best. If this area does fish, it should be about half way through the tide and with the number of Chinook around this year, you’re not going to have to wait long to know if it’s going to happen.
The area above the bridges on both the Oregon and Washington side should be your high slack destination. Washington has fished well to this point in the year at high slack, but the outgoing has only been marginally productive. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of intel from the Oregon side in regards to the outgoing tide. I’ve only fished it once in the last five days and haven’t needed to go late into the afternoons with fishing being as good as it’s been on the incoming.
My set ups have included Lamiglas XCF 1064’s and 904’s with 500 Tekota LC reels. I’ve been running 10-16 ounces of lead with chartreuse and silver, UV, Shortbus Flashers. I’m sure other patterns work, but I tend to keep it simple. JT of Shortbus Flashers did a great article on flasher colors you might want to read if you’re interested in more options. On the business end- Seaguar Premiere 25 lb. attached to tandem Gamakatsu Octopus hooks with the size dependent on my bait. I know a few folks have caught some fish on spinners, but I haven’t fished with anything but herring and anchovy. My herring has far outfished the anchovy to this point, but I’ve heard of guys showing a bit more commitment to anchovies doing quite well.
With the shortage of Puget Sound, blue and green label herring, I bought a case or two of this years red labels from Barview Store (503-322-2644) just outside of Garibaldi. A few years ago I had a great year on reds and I figured it was worth a try. I can fish them whole or cut plug them and although some feel it’s a bit small for the Chinook, when they want it, they just swallow the little fire crackers. This particular bait was swimming just a few weeks ago and when I saw the bait I thought that by today’s standards, many companies would be selling these baits as greens.
My first day out I brought two trays of reds and several trays of blues and the reds far out performed the blues. I don’t know exactly how many of the 25 chances I had on day one came off the reds, but with a guess I’d say it was close to 20 of the opportunities were on the reds. The only reason in wasn’t more is because I ran out of them.
All it all I would give the early fishing in Astoria an A. Things could get a bit tougher this week with the building tides, but I’m very encouraged to see a good early showing. Early numbers, in my experience, is the biggest indication there is for run size. And from the looks of it, we’re going to be in for a barn burner.
Lance Fisher is a Buoy 10 Fishing guide and host of the NW Outdoor Show in Oregon and SW Washington. You can find Lance on Facebook or on his guided fishing home page.