Fishing For Walleye

Columbia River Walleye Fishing enthusiasts agree that the next world record Walleye will come out of the Columbia River. Fish are regularly being caught in the 15lb range with occasional fish close to 20olb.

Walleye are perfectly suited for the Columbia Rivers fast current and silty waters. The best Walleye fishing is during days with a slight wind and chop on the water, sounds like the Columbia doesnt it?

Columbia River Walleye Fishing techniques are much different than other types of fishing. If you have never experienced the excitement of hooking a 10+lb Walleye you are in for a real treat … Columbia River Walleye Fishing is addictive!

The Secrets To Columbia River Walleye Fishing

Fishing the Columbia for Walleye can be some of the most fun and exciting fishing you can experience. Where else can you regularly catch Trophy Walleye with a chance to get your name in the record books every time you go out? Like other types of fishing Columbia River Walleye Fishing is as much of an art as it is a sport.

Fishing for Walleye is a different type of fishing than most people are use to. If you are an novice at Columbia River Walleye Fishing don’t always listen to the experienced fisherman because the techniques and places they fish will not be productive if you are just starting out..

“Why?” … do you ask?


Answer: improper use of gear and not knowing where Walleyes hold up is why.


Here is a list of lures and techniques that you may use on the Columbia while fishing for Walleye: Jigging blade baits, soft plastics, swim baits, weighted macks smile blade and worm, spinner worm harness with metal blades, spinner worm harness with plastic blade like macks lure, wedding ring spinners, crankbaits shallow lipped behind a bottom walker, deep runners like luhr jensen hot lips, drifting worms and weight behind a bottom walker or slinky weight slider.


One of the simplest ways to catch fish that is almost impossible to mess up is drifting or trolling downstream with a plastic blade macks lure spinner worm harness behind a 2-3oz bottom walker. With a bit more experience you can use lighter weights but as a novice feeling bottom may be difficult.


Why not use a metal blade spinner worm harness?


Keeping proper trolling speed or simply having to troll to fast down river to keep blades thumping is a challenge for the novice Walleye fisherman.


Most people will tell you that if your not jigging or blade baiting you won’t catch fish. Yes an experienced fisherman will out fish you doing this method but as a novice jigging or using blade baits is a method that is easy to mess up and spending hours without results isn’t what most people enjoy while Columbia River Walleye Fishing. Trolling or drifting downstream will cover the most water so if your not in the right spot because of lack of experience than you didnt just waste a hour drift jigging.


While novices need to cover more water to catch more fist.


When you gain experience after catching a few walleyes then start listening to the experienced walleye fisherman and move into the move difficult techniques and baits that will yield high catches.


Start with a 6.6ft – 7ft rod. I recommend a med heavy action casting rod for bottom walkers 2 oz and larger. For more experienced fisherman a med rod fast action casting rod is going to give you better feel of soft bites. Once again a novice will need heavier weights to find bottom due to high flows in the river.


Another thing to keep in mind with casting rods and open faced reels is that it is easier to let line out due to constant bottom changes rather than opening a open face spin reel.


For more experienced anglers looking to step up using a spinning rod will give you the best action and you will fell more lighter bites. The problem with spinning rods is that most manufacturers don’t make great casting rods in light actions for a reasonable price. A 6ft to 7ft light heavy to medium rod is recommended for blade baits, jigging or swim-baiting lures commonly 3/8 oz to 3/4 oz depending on the time of year and water flows.


Weather you are casting or spinning, setup your reel with 15 – 20lb fireline. If your bottom bouncing a spinner worm harness just go straight to the swivel with the fireline to keep from loosing gear all day. Walleye Fishing can eat up tackle if you are not sure of what you are doing.


if your blade baiting or jigging tie in a couple feet of 10lb -14lb fluorocarbon mono line as your using a slower method of presentation and walleye have time to look at it. with their eyesight being so good you will get more bites with a hidden line and the fluorocarbon leader.


Now that you are rigged up for Columbia River Walleye Fishing now it is time to talk about where to fish.


Well that’s the age ole question.


The quick answer is “You want to fish where the fish are”


Reality is the Walleye are everywhere, except where there is no current and the water is stagnant. I’ve fished the Columbia from Buoy 10 in Astoria, all through Portland, Longview, Tri Cities area and upstream to the free flowing Hanford Reach and there are fish all along the way.


This is where listening to the reports of the where and hows will get you headed in the right direction.


Commonly current breaks off of deep channels are where the fish hide. Keep in mind what time of the year it is and what kind of bait fish are located in the river for that time.


Most people wont believe it but I’ve experience that at least half the year walleye are eating other small walleye. Walleye tend to spawn before other baitfish and the habits of the small walleye are similar to the medium sized walleye so opportunity is what it is and the big ones eat the small ones.


The best knowledge I can leave you with in regards to Columbia River Walleye Fishing is to find that part of the river where the current is running between .80mph – 1.3mph. Walleye are lazy and will not commonly hold in the fastest current of the river.


if you’re an experienced fisherman you may find the bigger hogs in the river will hold up in the deep holes in the fast current but usually at the head end of the hole behind the river bottom current break. Once again, Walleye Fishing requires a different skill set and knowledge than fishing other fish in the river. if you are a novice Walleye fisherman then sticking to the flats and slower water will be much more productive for you.

Columbia Walleye - Here are just a few photos of happy Columbia River Guides.