The 2015 chinook season for me ended this weekend with one last trip with guide Dave Grove of Captain Dave's Guide Service. I fished with Gringo Pescador and Dave on Saturday and Sunday. It was a beautiful weekend, with partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low seventies. The crowds are considerably thinned out, no more than 8-10 boats in the King Hole, and even less in other locations. The fish, however, are anything but thinned out. Indeed, we saw and caught a lot of fish in our two days of fishing. The fish are fully into their fall color changes. Everything we caught was colored up, some red dragons mixed in as well. That said, they are OK to smoke, if you wanted to keep a few.
Each day we fished multiple locations, moving and changing tactics as the fish dictated. Dave has the spots, water flows, and techniques dialed in. I’m really learning after fishing the Vernita area this year that a good understanding of the river flows and how the fish respond to water being discharged from the dam is critical for success. So next year, if you’re hiring a guide definitely make sure they have a good understanding of this factor. Dave did, moving us throughout each day to various locations depending on the water flows and his understanding of fish holding water.
We fished deep holes down to 70 feet on the downriggers using flashers and super baits, mid depth slots using downriggers and/or divers, and transition water of 10-15 feet using divers and plugs. All methods worked for us, and there were very few holes we didn’t either catch a fish or get a strike. So things never got boring. Our most effective method by far was eggs and spin n glows. Hot color was a peach/salmon shade.
The fish as I mentioned are colored, and mostly more suitable for the smoker than the grill. That said, it’s a great time to fish the area as the crowds are gone and the fish are plentiful. SO if you have the opportunity take one more trip down to Vernita to get in on yet another awesome year of chinook fishing on The Reach.
Note - pictures are just a sampling of the fish we caught. A lot of the fish were released at boatside with minimal handling. We took what we could use, not everything we could keep.