Catch More Springers in High Water!

Spring Chinook are highly prized no matter how hard it is to catch them-Jason Brooks

by Jason Brooks

With record high water and water clarity the color of mud it’s been hard to get excited about spring Chinook fishing. That is until you realize that it’s already mid-April and the fish are in the river. Regardless of the water conditions this is our chance to catch the worlds best eating salmon before they head to their natal streams. The main Columbia and most of its tributaries are flowing high this spring but here are some tips on how to fish for Springers while we can.

Double up on in-line flasher’s like Big Al’s from YBC attracts fish in muddy water-Jason Brooks

Double up! Its no secret that trolling Big Al’s Fish Flash with a trailing herring is a top producer for springers. With low visibility use two of the in-line flashers to create even more flash. Buzz Ramsey of Yakima Bait Company explained that the fish are attracted to the flashing of the rotating flashers so in very low visibility waters he will put two of them end to end to create even more flash.

Brined and Dyed baits with UV finish on a shorter leader will catch more fish-Jason Brooks

In low visibility water the double flashers draw the fish and if you use the standard 48 inch leader the fish simply won’t see the bait. Instead shorten the leaders to 24-30 inches.

Ultraviolet light is radiated from the “electromagnetic spectrum” of light that “glows”. You and I can’t see it but the fish can. Many lures come with UV enhancements and on dark days using lures, flashers, and bait dyes with UV can attract fish. In high water this can make a bite turn on. Use cures such as Pro-Cure’s Brine-n-Bite Complete with UV on your herring and UV dyes such as Bad Azz bait dye don’t hurt either.

High water means fish will be on the move so trolling can be more productive for suspended fish-Jason Brooks

Trolling in high water can put you in front of more fish, as the fish are on the move and can be scattered. During normal flows it’s common to sit on anchor for the outgoing tide and on smaller rivers anchoring on seams and current breaks can work well. With the extreme high water we have right now, however, the fish are on the move and trolling can produce more fish than “sitting on the hook”. Keep in mind that the fish are not always right on the bottom and in slack waters they’ll suspend so it’s a good idea to stagger the rods at different depths while trolling.

Regardless if a storm is coming or a sunny day is forecasts, get out and fish!-Jason Brooks

Get out and fish! Regardless of tides, high water, rain, wind, or any other excuse that you’re using to stay home, the Spring Chinook season is very short so get out and wet a line!

Buzz Ramsey is no stranger to springer fishing on the Columbia River and regardless of the conditions you’ll find him out there on the river on a daily basis trying new color patterns and techniques. All the hard work paid off with this nice springer for Shirley Sanchotena on a recent outing.

Shirley Sanchotena and Buzz Ramsey are all smiles with Shirley’s Springer caught during high water that bit a herring on a short leader trailing two Big Al’s Fish Flash-Jason Brooks

Jason Brooks
The Outdoor Line Blogger
710 ESPN Seattle

Luhr Jensen Releases New Flasher Colors for 2013

I just got my grubby little hands on the new Coyote flashers that Luhr Jensen just released for the upcoming 2013 salmon season and they look pretty schnazzy.

I hate to admit it but I’ve kind of grown fond of trolling for Chinook in Southeast Alaska and none of these flashers will be spared in our pursuit of chrome in the early part of the upcoming charter season. These flashers will be beaten in sand, gravel, and rock and thrashed by lingcod, halibut, and salmon. There isn’t a better place on earth to test out new tackle than Southeast Alaska!

Without further ado here’s the new flasher colors from Luhr Jensen:

Black/Double Crush Glow

Frog Racer

Glow/Double UV

White/Blue Bubble and Crush Glow

White/Chartreuse Dew and Crush Glow

If I had to choose three of the new colors when we start fishing in Southeast Alaska in early June I’d probably pick Glow/Double UV, Blue Bubble Boy, and Chartreuse Mountain Dew. Might as well start giving them nicknames right now!

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle


Dirty Downrigger Trick: Silver Horde’s Rudder Flasher!

Now that “seminar season” is begrudgingly giving way to fishing season, I’m looking back on the most frequently asked questions I’ve heard after my  “Dirty Downrigger Tricks” PowerPoint presentations.

I’m always looking for some new and interesting blog ideas and I believe a series of blogs answering these questions regarding controlled-depth trolling techniques may just be what the “downrigger Doctor” ordered!

One of the relatively recent additions to the downrigger fisherman’s attraction repertoire is the Silver Horde Rudder Flasher!

“We originally marketed it as a halibut spreader back in the mid 1970’s and by the late ’80’s some guys out of Edmonds started using them as rudders on their downriggers” said Silver Horde’s Kelly Morrison. Indeed, it is the “spreader effect” that is one of the most endearing qualities of the Rudder Flasher. As soon as it’s placed in the water, it immediately “weather vanes” or points behind the boat which allows you to easily reach your release -without untangling it- and quickly get your gear back to the fishes’ depth.

There are two ways to rig the Silver Horde Rudder Flasher: One, simply run your release directly off the back of the rudder…

…and two, running a “Dummy” or remote flasher off of the Rudder Flasher and then stacking your release a few feet up from the flasher!

By far the biggest advantage of the Silver Horde Rudder Flasher is it’s fish attraction characteristics. The Rudder Flasher affords your downrigger presentation a consistent horizontal profile which allows salmon to find your gear more easily. Simply stated, a rotating flasher makes noise and vibration in the water column but it’s continually moving, rolling aspect can often be a challenge for a salmon on the far reaches of the attraction threshhold to locate. The combination of a rotating flasher and a Rudder Flasher is a one, two salmon attracting “punch” that will result in more fish in your box!

Next time you’re out on your favorite trolling drag and you see someone land a fish, take a close look at what is running just on top of their cannon ball… The Silver Horde Rudder Flasher used to be the trollers secret handshake. Now, it’s more like the mark of the highliner fishermen.

Tom Nelson
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle