5 Successful Walleye Fishing Tips For the Columbia River
By Bob Alter
5 Successful Walleye Fishing Tips for Rivers are location, speed, direction, presentation and depth. Let’s explore all of these characteristics now.
1. River Walleye Fishing Locations
Out west we walleye fish a lot on the Columbia River. It’s a big river and if you are new to it, then it is best to find a map, study it, mark your hot spots and head out to the river to see if you are correct. While you are on the river, look at the other boats and it won’t take long to determine if they are walleye fishing, bass fishing or sturgeon fishing. Pay attention to the walleye fisherman not for presentation sake, but to find the locations. If you notice one boat in an area for an extended period of time, chances are good they are catching walleye. Usually it is a drift or trolling method and it’s not that hard to get your boat positioned in the drift.
Walleye Fishing hot spots can change from year to year. What was once a great hot spot is now dead as a piece of drift wood. You are smart enough to know that walleye migrate to spots that contain easy food and a bolder or two to rest behind during the day. My personal favorite locations to catch river walleye is to find a bend in the river and fish it. Next is finding islands that have considerable drop offs on one side.
2. River Walleye Fishing Locations
Using our fish finder we will begin bouncing bottom walkers at about 2 mph. If the current is stronger we will slow down our troll and if the current is slower then obviously we will speed up. During the summer and early fall, it really doesn’t matter how fast you go, these fish will nail it, if you can get it within a reasonable distance from their resting spot.
3. River Walleye Fishing Directions
Direction is critical if you are in the main body of the river. Using bottom bouncers and trying to move upstream is very hard, therefore we always head downstream with bottom bouncers. If you want to pull crankbaits, then it’s best to troll upstream. That is why we have at least 2 rods in the boat when we are walleye fishing. One is used for bottom bouncing and the other is used for crankbaits.
4. River Walleye Fishing Presentations
Presentations are straightforward. Either the walleye will see a crankbait or it will see a crawler harness. When we use a crawler harness our goal is to allow enough worm beyond the last hook to make sure it will wiggle. When we use smiley blades we cut the worms in half and when we use blades we use a whole worm.
5. River Walleye Fishing Depths
Depth is another key factor in your success rate. Depth is always changing depending on where you fish and the surrounding structure. The Columbia River is a long winding river and depths can change from 10 feet all the way to 300 ft. Prime walleye waters are dependent of food sources. Think like a minnow for a minute and tell me where you would want to hang out for safety and to find food sources. During the evening hours where can you go to hide from Mr. Walleye.
I’ve caught walleye on the Columbia in depths of 8 feet all the way down to 100 feet. Generally we catch most of our fish in the 30 foot range.
We’ve had many fishing trips that started out by targeting bass only to catch a bountiful harvest of walleye and we’ve had days when we target walleye only to catch bass and perch. During September one of our favorite things to do is multi-species. That means we will target steelhead in the am hours and then fish for walleye in the pm hours. The past 2 years we have been able to catch walleye bigger than the steelhead we caught earlier in the day. That’s the beauty of the Columbia River, it contains all sorts of fish and it is basically very hard to go home empty handed.
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