SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 March 20 - www.ifish.net
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Old 03-25-2020, 06:11 PM   #1
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Default SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 March 20

I hit the Willamette out of Willamette park in West Linn on Sunday hoping to find some smallmouth. I had not been fishing in nearly a month and I was chomping at the bit to score some tug (as in tug is the drug).

I started fishing near the mouth of the Tualatin, casting, reeling, switching it up. Wondering if this was going to be my last trip, was fishing going to close, what did the future hold. The water temp was round 50-51 degrees and I was cycling through a jerkbait, swimbait, drop shot, Ned rig, squarebill and rattletrap. I made a few casts with each and then moved a little. I did not have a ton of confidence since this was pretty early in the year for me to be fishing the Willamette.

Normally this time of year I am mostly at Hagg trolling for trout. I was concerned about crowds there which is why I decided to hit the Willamette. At first the smallmouth were respecting my social distance. Dang it, governor Brown had gotten to them.

It took about 45 minutes before I felt a solid smack on my rattletrap! My first 2020 bass, a solid pound a half, was subdued after putting up a good fight!



I had felt the lure ticking off of something right before he smacked it. I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. If I did not get another bite I would have called the day a success. The water is interesting in that area because the current is constantly shifting around due to the interaction between the Tualatin and the Willamette. The exact same cast can be in an eddy, in the main current, or in the Tualatin current.

I now fished the rattletrap a larger percentage of the time but kept rotating some. A short time later I could feel the rattletrap ticking off something and I felt a bite. I jerked and missed, turned the handle a couple more times when BAM, I had a really hard hit. That fish fought great. Breaking the surface once and jumping clear of the water later in the fight. I was able to corral it into the kayak. A 1lb 13oz fish. This is getting good!



I fished that area for quite a while longer but could not pick up a 3rd bass. Both fish had come from the pretty shallow water so I decided to work my along with the rattletrap for a bit to see if that might be the deal for the day. A little further up the bank I hooked an even better fish. Woo hoo! The fish was not well hooked so I carefully worked it close to the side of the kayak and was able to grab it. This fish was a solid 2 and a half pounder. I quickly put my rod in the holder and went to quickly unhook and weigh the fish.

It is important to note at this point that this point I did not have much line out and my rod was bent pretty good while I was unhooking that fish. I worked the hook loose and it slipped through my fingers. The lure basically bow and arrowed straight into my ball of the thumb of my left hand. I just stared at it, not believing. I tossed the fish back and just stared at my hand.

The lure was buried straight in and deep. No way close to being able to attempt the trick with some line around the bend of the hookd and the quick jerk. I realized after a bit of fussing that I would need to push the hook through. This happened to me a few years back so I knew how this would go. I grabbed my pliers, gritted my teeth and rotated the hook back out my palm.

At first I tried to pinch the barb and work the hook back through. I futzed with that for a while but I could not get the barb mashed down well enough to be able to back it back into my palm. After a while I gave up on that and decided I need to cut the hook. The problem was that with the hook being buried deep to start the barb was barely protruding. I had to kind of use the pliers to slide the meat down towards the bend so that I could snip it below the barb. I tried with my normal pliers (which have a cutter on them) but there was no way I could get the cutters below the barb.

Fortunately, after the last accident I had bought a pair of diagonal cutters for just such and emergency. They were behind me in my tackle bag. As I turned to reach for them I tangled my foot in line and jerked pretty hard on the lure. That was even less fun than it sounds. I second more careful attempt and I had the diagonal cutters. I was able to get below the barb easily with the small cutters and I gave a good squeeze. I could not cut the hook with those cutters.

At this point I was imaginging trying to get back to the ramp, pull my kayak up the ramp, unload everything and pack up with a rattletrap in my hand. I was about there when I remembered I had one more set of pliers with cutters in my hatch. They are nice rapala pair but I had relegated then to the hatch since they were a little slippery. I got them out and they looked promising. After a couple of tries I was able to cut the hook below the barb and slide it back out. Brings a whole new meaning to barbless on the Willamette.

That was a good 30 mintues or more with that lure hanging from my hand. My kayak was covered in blood and my hand would not stop bleeding. I once again called on the healing powers of the Willamette. I alternated putting pressure on the holes and dipping it in the water to chill it and stop the throbbing. I used the time with my hand in the water to wash my kayak off.

When the bleeding had finally stopped (slowed to barely a trickle) I sat and tried to decide what to do. I was already worried that this was going to have to be my last trip for a long time and there was no way I was going to end it like that.

So I sucked it up and went back to fishing. Every once in a while I would have to stop and put some pressure on to re-stop the bleeding and my hand hurt like a toothache but some days are just going to be like that. I did not do a very good job of capturing video for the rest of the day but the fishing stayed kind of slow and steady for the rest of the day.

I ended up catch 6 more bass, none as big as the second or third. I caught 5 of those on the now 5 hooked rattletrap and one on a Ned rig. I also caught a pretty big (2lb 15oz) pikieminnow on the rattle trap. All the bass I caught were pretty shallow, near current and not too far from deep water. The bite was never terrible and never great. In addition to the fish I caught I lost another handful. I was a little gunshy in landing them

Here is some terrible video of the day. Don't worry there is nothing graphic. I deleted all the gross stuff and only have a little bit of video of me landing some fish.

Thanks for reading!

https://youtu.be/RIOK7ojnlcE

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Old 03-25-2020, 06:32 PM   #2
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

Nice fishing report! Keep em coming.

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Old 03-26-2020, 03:01 PM   #3
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

OUCH!

I find it funny that you bothered to weigh the pikeminnow. I avoid bringing them on the boat as they seem to pee on me quite a bit.

Have you considered getting a place on the river where the Tualatin dumps into the Willamette? This one is on the market and looks pretty nice...

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2...48267453_zpid/
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Old 03-26-2020, 03:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

Thanks ampersat. More reports will depend on the ODFW keeping things open.
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Old 03-26-2020, 04:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

Thanks for sharing another great trip.


Have you ever fished the lower Tualatin? Always looked at it from 205 while driving by on the way to work and wondered what lurked there.


Dirtman.... Too much lawn.... I showed it to my wife, she's always looking for a housing deal. Told her she had to give Rollcast a couple days to make an offer so she wouldn't snatch it away from him.
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

Looks like fun!
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtman View Post
OUCH!

I find it funny that you bothered to weigh the pikeminnow. I avoid bringing them on the boat as they seem to pee on me quite a bit.

Have you considered getting a place on the river where the Tualatin dumps into the Willamette? This one is on the market and looks pretty nice...

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2...48267453_zpid/

I like to catch all fish!


I saw that house for sale but I did not like the color of the grout in the servant's guest house
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

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Originally Posted by DogZilla15 View Post
Thanks for sharing another great trip.


Have you ever fished the lower Tualatin? Always looked at it from 205 while driving by on the way to work and wondered what lurked there.


Dirtman.... Too much lawn.... I showed it to my wife, she's always looking for a housing deal. Told her she had to give Rollcast a couple days to make an offer so she wouldn't snatch it away from him.

I have fished the big T a few times out of Tualatin community park. That river changes every winter. I find a good spot one year and it is washed away the next. I do OK with numbers but the fish are generally small.


Tell your wife it is all hers
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Old 03-26-2020, 07:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

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Looks like fun!

Thanks!
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Old 03-27-2020, 09:08 AM   #10
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

Thanks for the report. I haven't fire up my sea doo yet but I changed the oil. This is a great time of the year to use frogs. I had to clean out my pool last weekend because the frogs started to get loud. Every year when I hear this I get my sebile frogs out and bank fish the Tualatin which I see I need to do. I have been below the falls catching steel head from the bank hoping to transition to salmon soon. Your post is making me now think twice. I really appreciate your posts was the launch or parking lot open? or do I need to launch from my friends house??
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Old 03-27-2020, 09:17 AM   #11
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

Quote:
Originally Posted by dirtman View Post
OUCH!

I find it funny that you bothered to weigh the pikeminnow. I avoid bringing them on the boat as they seem to pee on me quite a bit.

Have you considered getting a place on the river where the Tualatin dumps into the Willamette? This one is on the market and looks pretty nice...

https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2...48267453_zpid/
When my son was a young boy he used to play a lot in that house with Brian grants son. He would always ask me why were we so poor and how come our pool and house were so small ???
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Old 03-27-2020, 09:30 AM   #12
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

Bleed and rally! I love it!
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Old 03-27-2020, 01:45 PM   #13
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

You and Roger (Exbassguide) are my two favorite posters on ifish. Thank you
for all the hilarious and informative posts over the years!
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Old 03-27-2020, 04:42 PM   #14
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

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Thanks for the report. I haven't fire up my sea doo yet but I changed the oil. This is a great time of the year to use frogs. I had to clean out my pool last weekend because the frogs started to get loud. Every year when I hear this I get my sebile frogs out and bank fish the Tualatin which I see I need to do. I have been below the falls catching steel head from the bank hoping to transition to salmon soon. Your post is making me now think twice. I really appreciate your posts was the launch or parking lot open? or do I need to launch from my friends house??
I would not have thought to try frogs this early (or any topwater). The fact that a couple of my fish jumped sure makes it seem like they would have plenty of energy to bust a frog.

The ramp was open last Sunday but that is all I know. I checked the park websites at a bunch of places last week when deciding where to go and they all seemed to be open then. I have not checked since.
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Old 03-27-2020, 04:43 PM   #15
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

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Bleed and rally! I love it!
I think the bass appreciated my blood sacrifice
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Old 03-27-2020, 04:44 PM   #16
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

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You and Roger (Exbassguide) are my two favorite posters on ifish. Thank you
for all the hilarious and informative posts over the years!
Thanks! I feel honored to be in Roger's company in anybody's book!
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Old 03-30-2020, 02:30 PM   #17
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

My son and I fish the Tualitan all summer from our Kayaks. Like you stated, the bass are on the smaller side but still good fun for an 8 year old. We usually put in at the 99W overpass and paddle up river almost into the nature preserve. There is considerably less pressure up there and the fish are always on the bite.
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Old 03-31-2020, 08:01 AM   #18
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

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My son and I fish the Tualitan all summer from our Kayaks. Like you stated, the bass are on the smaller side but still good fun for an 8 year old. We usually put in at the 99W overpass and paddle up river almost into the nature preserve. There is considerably less pressure up there and the fish are always on the bite.
I have not been to the big T in a few years but it is definitely a fun place to fish. We always launched at Tualatin community park and fished between there and Cook park.

I have never launched at the 99W overpass. Can you roll a kayak on a cart all the way to the water or is it a carry in spot?
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Old 03-31-2020, 10:28 AM   #19
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

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I have never launched at the 99W overpass. Can you roll a kayak on a cart all the way to the water or is it a carry in spot?
I have launched there and you could easily roll a kayak/canoe down it. The Tualatin Riverkeepers headquarters is right by there. Also, there is the Jurgens Park dock, but that is quite a long walk to roll your kayak there. Here is a picture of the 99W access...
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Old 03-31-2020, 10:43 AM   #20
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

BTW... I recently talked with the Adventure with Purpose guys after they recovered a mustang from the river at the Tualatin City Park Boat ramp. These are the same group that pulled a yellow Corvette out of the Willamette and Roger was seen fishing in the background.

Here is the video where they find 6 vehicles in the Tualatin near the city park ramp....


I wonder if the 99W crossing also has ditched vehicles.

In the video with Roger, there are 2 nice smallmouth checking out the Corvette recovery at the 6:05 mark...

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Old 03-31-2020, 11:55 AM   #21
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Default Re: SIK (Shelter In Kayak), Smallmouth are starting to heat up on the Willie, 22 Marc

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I have launched there and you could easily roll a kayak/canoe down it. The Tualatin Riverkeepers headquarters is right by there. Also, there is the Jurgens Park dock, but that is quite a long walk to roll your kayak there. Here is a picture of the 99W access...

Thanks! That is great. I will have to give that a try this year once the water warms up.
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