Over the past 8 to 10 years Smallmouth Bass fishing has grown in popularity and today you will find anglers who make this species of fish their entire focus from very early spring to the early winter months.
The entire river system from the Columbia to the up river slack water areas has become a Mecca for inland anglers looking for a variety of conditions and habitat that hold Smallmouth Bass.
The Snake has areas of free flowing river that hold large numbers of fish as well as the slack water pools where bluffs and bars drop off areas are prime habitat and hunting areas for these great game fish.
Baits of choice remain the same even though the river conditions change. These fish will take tube baits, plugs of varying size and patterns as well as spinner baits. Smallmouth respond to the same baits no matter where you fish. Color and patterns may need to be adjusted for conditions and area but the techniques and general type of baits will work everywhere.
Tributaries such as the Grand Ronde River are great places for bass fishing. When water temps raise enough to be comfortable to draw in fish which have staged around the confluence of the Ronde and the Snake River. These fish will migrate well up into the Ronde and spend the summer in this small river system. They spawn and the young grow to several inches during the bountiful summer.
Once the water temps start dropping in the late fall these fish will then drop back into the warmer main stem of the Snake to winter.
The Upper Snake River into Hells Canyon has huge numbers of Smallmouth Bass and days of 100 or more fish per angler is not uncommon. However, because of the population size and available food the overall size of fish caught can be quite small. Anglers in this area would do well to harvest their limit of fish to help reduce the numbers which in turn would help to increase the size.
The reservoirs below the Dams of Lower Granite, Little Goose, Lower Monumental and Ice Harbor all have their own resident populations of bass. These fish are well adapted to the environment of changing waters behind dams that they may be found along most stretches of the river.
To increase your fishing success it is wise to purchase a good river atlas which will aid in learning the prime fish holding waters.
Where ever there is road access you will find bass and areas that are restricted to boats only will usually have a denser population.
Smallmouth Bass fishing in the waters of the northwest is an extremely popular pastime because of the stamina and fighting ability of this commonly found species. Even the smaller sized bass can fight like champs.