I fished the Columbia River for Walleye this past week 12/16/2020. We concentrated on the Irrigon to Paterson area below McNary Dam. I had really done my homework and talked to many people about location, depth, technique, colors, presentation. All the reports i had in my bag from the prior week were really good. So my plan felt solid and we were going to pile up the Walleye in the fish box........ WRONG!!!!! So we started the day by Jigging. Using our 5/8 to 3/4 ounce Columbia river tackle jigs tipped with worms soaked in Graybills Craw/Anise scent. Colors of choice Purple, Silver/Black, and White. My reports told me that there were a lot of fish deep in 50 to 60 feet of water. So I started on my normal search pattern. We made a drift in 40ft of water doing a nice slow vertical jig staying in contact with bottom. Then we made a drift in 45ft then we made a drift in 50ft then we made a drift in 55ft then we made a drift in 60ft. Feeling a little puzzled i came up with my 1st excuse of the day... LOCATION. So we moved to another typically very productive spot and repeated this process. This time covering all the way to 75ft of water as i was feeling determined. No luck! so back to my excuse??? Location... We moved again and still nothing. Now it was approaching 1 p.m. and i decided to go back to my bread butter. Trolling with Super slow death hooks with a worm threaded on and a purple, or black or chartreuse small Spin n Glo above the worm. We also soaked this in some Graybills scent. We put these on a 4ft leader behind a 3oz bottom walker. Then I ran back to the spot we started and went right to the best water for this time of year 50ft. We put our bottom walkers to the bottom lightly and consistently tapping along. We trolled down hill at 1.2 to 1.4 mph and watched the rod in the holders. Look a bite wait, wait, wait dang he let it go. Look back rod bite wait got em!!! and we put our 1st Walleye in the boat a nice little 15inch eater. We were on the board and onto something with trolling. We continued this process for another couple hours and never hit another fish!?? My conclusion to the day is yes the bite was off but why? The bite had been really good the week prior. The week prior had even steady barometer pressure where this week had many fronts moving in and out. Last week was colder creating a sharper drop in water temp which can make Walleye think they need to feed up for the winter. But my over all conclusion was current speed. After talking more with my contacts and comparing notes. I concluded that the week prior the dams were running a lot more water than the day I was out there. When they shut off the water and it turns into lake like conditions. The Walleye not only get less aggressive but they also spread way out and are not concentrated into smaller areas. This combination created for a very tough bite. The good news is that it was still a lot of fun and will get better! Good luck out there and don't forget your Northwest bait and scent!
December Walleye Columbia River
Posted by Shane Magnuson on Dec 22nd 2020