Oregon-Washington Walleye On The Columbia River

by Glenn Summers

When the walleye fell into the Columbia River in the early 1960's only God knew what He wrought. Since then, the walleye has been a major player in providing a recreation window for eastern Oregon and Washington. The epic habitat of the Columbia River provides this toothy predator room to grow to enormous sizes as witnessed by the Oregon State Record of 19 lb., 15 ounces and the Washington Record of 18 lb., 11 ounces. Wily and elusive, these critters are as fun to catch as they are good to eat.

Guide Glen Summers with a 'rather nice' Columbia River walleye.

This unique fishery fluctuates with the condition of the River. Pre-runoff in January, February and March typically provide a slow, stable trophy fishery prior to spawn. April, May, June and July yield big summer pasturing fish for techniques from classic jigging to spinner/bait combos and, finally, dragging deep-diving crankbaits. After the hottest days of summer are past, fall fishing is trophy fishing once again.

What was once one of the best-kept secrets is rapidly becoming one of the most popular fish in the area. The Columbia River walleye is THE year 'round fishery on much of the River and has even worked its way up the Willamette. Seems the rule of thumb says that if one reservoir on the River offers slow fishing, then the next pool adjacent shows good juvenile recruitment and excellent walleye catching.

Although the mid-Columbia weather thus far this spring has been unusually windy, apparently only the fishermen are bothered by the gusty conditions, as walleye success continues to increase over the past few weeks.

Rivers Bend Bar