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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi, All! I'm tentatively planning a run to the Cottonwood Bridge area of the John Day this weekend...any advice on hot spots near the bridge or insight on what works there for the bass?

My 7-year old son has decided he's a fisherman this year, and he is super curious about different species of fish. He wants to catch and taste them all!

We've landed some stocked trout, a few brown bullheads, bluegill, redear sunfish, yellow perch, chinook and coho this summer. We've had our lines snapped a few times by aggressive bass (as we had our drags set too tight). We've learned the drag lesson, and now we're ready to land some bass.

Any advice would be appreciated.
 

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If you're fishing from the bank, I would suggest going to the Clarno Rapids area, since there's a lot more bank access. That being said, the few hundred yards below the Cottonwood Bridge can be pretty good; above the bridge the water's too shallow. Senko-type baits, tubes, and Brush Hogs all work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, boblag...is it all private property below the bridge? Is that what limits the access, or is the bank to steep to walk on? I've been looking at Google maps, and it looks like the west/north side of the river may be walkable down to the first bend, where the island/bar is...I'm thinking to walk this mile or so to find the sweet spots.

Thanks again.
 

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Good access above, & below hwy 206 is another option, good ole bobber & worm works well, espically for a 7 yr old. Good Luck!
 

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According to my BLM map, the whole North/West side of the river is private property for 1/2 mile up and down from the bridge. The South/East side is BLM land (public access OK) for 1/2 mile up and down from the bridge. The part above is shallow and not particularly fishable. The part below can be pretty good, but it's usually fast-moving and hard to fish. You could walk several miles on BLM land (or see if you can find a dirt road) to access other areas near there, but you will need a BLM map. But, if I had a choice, I would drive the extra 45 minutes to Clarno, which has easy access to miles of bank on the West side, with a dirt road that follows the river.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks again for the info., guys...any particular hot spots you know of? Or should I just try to find deep spots?
 

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Below hwy 206 has the best holes, it's private property with a dirt road, but the owner allows access by foot, or peddal bike, typically this time of year the fish hold up in deeper water, closer to where the current comes in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, guys...I'll let you know how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
:bricks:Went to Cottonwood bridge and walked down the road for a long way...almost to the spot where the river bends Eastward...fished some holes along the way. Fished the same holes on our return walk...no bites. Skunk city!

We tried black Senko's, green/yellow craws, little blue minnows, a few different crankbaits, and the stand-by worm on a bobber. Nada.

I don't know if it was just too cold or what, but I didn't like the feeling that we might be trespassing, even though there were signs posted about catch limits on the gate to the ranch.

Thanks again for the info., guys, next Spring we'll head to Clarno.
 

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Sorry about your luck, or lack of, I guess thats why they are called warm water fish, if you make it back, try during a warmer spell, I remember one late Sept morning, they didn't bite til the sun warmed up the water, I caught plenty after the warm up, I also had some great snorkle dives in late summer, there is a lot of life in the John Day, from big schools of bass, & suckers in the deep pools, to tiny minnows in the shallows,frogs too, its all good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
We're excited to return next summer...our technique should be better by then as well, which will probably make a big difference. Thanks again for all the helpful info.
 
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