I hit the Willamette river in Oregon for a multi-species trip. I was hoping to catch a sturgeon out of the upper river and combine that with some bass fishing. Long story short, I did not get a sturgeon. I believe I had a bite from one but I had forgotten to re-tighten my drag at the start of the day (I loosen drags between trips since it is better for the washers). It was a good strong bite (different from all the pecking that was going on all morning) and when I tightened up to set the hook the fish ripped a bunch of line out and then came off. Felt like a good sized fish.
What I did catch. After a while I was curious who was constantly pecking at my bait so I put a worm on my drop shot rig and lowered it down. I caught several pikieminnow doing this before I got bored. I did cut one up and try it for sturgeon later in the day but did not get a bite.
After about 5 hours of this I decided to try a little bass fishing even though it was the start of a cold snap (temp had dropped about 15 degrees from the day before). I pulled into a little area that is protected from the current and I started slow rolling a spinnerbait through the area. I was not expecting anything but it was a nice change from sitting on anchor. After about 10 minutes I felt like I had a strike, but then passed it off to wishful thinking. About 10 casts later - wham, fish on:
Not was I was expecting. FYI, this is pretty huge for a pikieminnow. I continued to work the small protected area, switching off between the spinnerbait and crawling a crankbait along. When I got the edge of the current I had another strike on the spinnerbait and this fish felt a little better. I carefully worked the fish and was surprised by this nice 2.5lb largemouth:
The fish is curling away from the camera a bit so the pic does not do it justice. I also was impressed by this fishes coloration. I don't think I have ever caught a largemouth with such a pronounced side stripe, it almost looks more like a spotted bass. Well after that fish, I worked the area for a bit longer but did not get any more strikes.
Towards the end of the day I marked some fish in some faster water where it dropped from 10' to about 20'. I thought this is going to be it. I tried nightcrawlers and sent them down to bottom. After a few minutes I got a good bite and set the hook. It felt like a small sturgeon! However, when I got it to the kayak it turned out to be a big sucker (probably about 5lbs or so). I caught several in that spot. I assume that is what I was marking. I tried switching to a chunk of squawfish, but I did not get bit at all on that. After a while I moved on.
So after a long day of sitting in the rain with the wind blowing in my face I decided to call it a day. As I got to the ramp the rain stopped. As I loaded up my kayak the sun broke out and felt really great after spending a fair bit of the day shivering. A beautiful end to day of fishing that was at times disappointing and at others exhilarating. That's just fishing I guess.
Fish tremble when they hear my name
A ship in harbor is safe -- but that is not what ships are built for.
--John A. Shedd, Salt from My Attic, 1928