Friday, November 15, 2013


Mr. P and I figure that between the two of us we have walked roughly 290 miles of the Columbia river...on both sides. Granted, we may have skipped some stretches but ultimately that is a relatively true statement. I tell people all the time that if you walk a half mile of river in the middle of July and DON'T see a aren't looking. We have a target rich environment.

With winter bearing down on us though, I find myself wishing I could find the carp right now. Where do they go on the big c? No idea really, though I assume they run deep, find a temperature they like and hang out in a gigantic carp ball. That would be quite a sight. One thing I have figured out is that I am much more likely to find them when the temperature is warming than when it is cooling. A 52 degree water temp on the drop...empty flats and bays...52 degrees on the rise, well, you have a shot then. If you know what to look for.

Basically, you want three things. First, you need a stretch of water that is totally out of the current. Much of the Columbia is slow, but almost all of it moves at some pace...find the areas that are the most stagnant and you are 1/3 of the way to an early season river carp. Second, sun. You need a place that will soak in the shadows, cliffs, weird topography that limits the want that stagnant water soaking up the rays. Lastly, you want a dark, softer bottom to absorb that light. Anyone that reads this knows that most of my season is spent stalking cold, cobble and gravel bars, but when you want to find them in late February or early March you gotta play the game. The glory shots will come in July...find the mud, find the sun, and avoid the current and you can find early season river carp.



Sunday, November 03, 2013

Meat eater


Wendy Berrell and I had been riding a pretty good high. We smacked Lake MI around and were laying into the carp left, right, back and forth. Our bay of choice was literally frothing with fish...targets everywhere...and some were hungry. This fish was highly memorable. For the most part, we had been spotting fish and casting to specific cruisers in relatively shallow water. The depth, and color of the bottom made visibility perfect, and when we found a player, the cat and mouse game of stripping and killing the flies was intoxicating. As the bay narrowed a bit, I slipped to the deeper edge...still only waist deep but gone were the perfectly clean visuals of the knee deep water, replaced instead by groups of moving black masses...carp, milling free from the spawning frenzy to circle out and then back into the scrum. I couldn't clearly see individual fish, nor mouth nor fins or scales,but I could see hordes and groups moving through the deeper channel. On the big C...this is a zero sum game...but on lake MI...they eat meat.


I threw the rabbit monstrosity above well ahead of one group, giving time for the heavy dumbell eyes to pull the fly to the bottom. When the marauders were a few feet away I hopped that fly right across their path...skittering, moving, jumping and stopping every few inches. I could see in my mind as the rabbit pulsed and the fly jigged with each strip and rod shake. Out of the middle of said pack of predators, one big dark shape broke a 90 and began to follow. Strip, strip, pause...strip, pause...strip, strip, BIG strip and then kill the poor fly and leave it helpless on the bottom as the darkness surged forward, unable to resist. The rest was a matter of one final strip, good tippet and a strong drag.

God bless the meat eaters.