Columbia River Walleye Fishing

Fishing For Walleye On The Columbia River

Fishing for Walleye in the Columbia River is good all year long. World class walleye fishing in Oregon and Washington for trophy Walleye. Umatilla, Biggs and areas of the Columbia River are favorite spots. Contact an Oregon fishing guide or Washington fishing guides for Walleye fishing that just doesn't get any better anywhere. Columbia River Walleye fishing is great sport and if you know how to catch Walleye you will have lots of fun. Learn how to catch Walleye on the Columbia River near Boardman, Oregon, or Irrigon and other popular Columbia River World record Walleye fishing locations. Walleye fishing guides on the Columbia River in Oregon offer fishing trips and use the best Walleye fishing techniques and baits.

Where to Fish for Walleye and Walleyes on the Columbia River in Washington
Where to Fish - Columbia River

ROOSEVELT LAKE: Washington’s first walleye lake remains an important one. The best walleye fishing is in the Spokane River arm, followed later in the year by the northern part of the reservoir near Northport and Hunters.
Roosevelt Lake’s walleye production is important to most of the other walleye fisheries in the state. To protect some of the large fish and to improve the quality of fishing, a seasonal closure has been established on the Spokane, SanPoil and Kettle River arms from April 1 through May 31. Fishing on the rest of Roosevelt Lake and the mainstem Columbia is open year-round. Be sure to check the regulations pamphlet to make sure this hasn’t changed.

Access to the Spokane arm is available at Porcupine Bay and Fort Spokane, approximately 20 and 24 miles north of Davenport, respectively. Access to the upper part is available at Hunters Park and Gifford.

BANKS LAKE: Located in an old glacial channel of the Columbia River, Banks Lake is producing fat, fast-growing walleyes. Access is available at a number of sites on the south and east shores, from Coulee City to Electric City.
RUFUS WOODS LAKE: Immediately below Grand Coulee Dam there is some fairly good walleye fishing. Biologists report that the fish are larger now than before the 18-inch minimum size limit. Access to this stretch is available off state route 155, three miles north of Elmer City. The only other access to this lake is on the lower section near Chief Joseph Dam.

LAKE PATEROS: Walleye productivity below Chief Joseph Dam has been low in recent years, but dedicated anglers may find the tailrace a sleeping giant during spring spawning runs. Access to the tailrace can be found in Bridgeport.

LAKE ENTIAT: The tailrace below Wells Dam has also been a slow producer in recent years, similar to Lake Pateros. Access is very limited, but a few knowledgeable anglers avidly fish this area.

ROCK ISLAND POOL: A limited walleye fishery exists in Rock Island Pool and in the tailrace below Rocky Reach Dam. Access to the reservoir and tailrace is available near Wenatchee.

WANAPUM POOL: Walleye fishing has improved recently in Wanapum Pool, from Vantage up to the tailrace below Rock Island Dam. Fair fishing occurs year-round, with peaks in November-December and February-March. Access is a problem, however. The closest boat ramp is at Crescent Bar, 14 miles below Rock Island Dam, with three others at the lower end of the reservoir near Vantage.

PRIEST RAPIDS LAKE: A small walleye fishery exists below Wanapum Dam, and a boat launch is conveniently located at the Wanapum Dam Tour Center. A limited fishery also exists below Priest Rapids Dam, but access is poor. There is a restricted-use boat launch at Vernita Bridge, and the next access is near White Bluffs. Boaters and bank anglers should watch for rapidly fluctuating river flows.

LAKE WALLULA (above McNary Dam) and HANFORD REACH: The only walleye fishery in this area is adjacent to the Hanford Reservation, for a few large fish. Boating the channels, however, can be treacherous.

LAKE UMATILLA (John Day Pool): Large walleyes are the target of anglers in this stretch. Best fishing is from Paterson Slough upstream to McNary Dam. The current 18+ pound state record walleye was caught in this area. Access is available near Plymouth Park.

LAKE CELILO (above The Dalles Dam): Biologists feel that there are a fair number of walleyes below John Day Dam, and this is a favorite spot for Washington and Oregon anglers. There is a boat launch just downstream of John Day Dam, and another near Maryhill.

BONNEVILLE POOL: This is another possibility for walleyes for Washington and Oregon anglers, particularly in the upper portion near The Dalles Dam, and in the Stevenson and Wind River areas. Access on the Washington side is available in Bingen, along Highway 14 at Drano Lake, at Waterfront Park near Carson and at Sailboard Park in Stevenson.

LOWER COLUMBIA RIVER: Walleyes are being caught in the Columbia River from Bonneville Dam almost to Ilwaco. The number of fish being caught is limited, but the fish are large. Numerous access sites exist along this stretch of the mighty Columbia, including: below Bonneville Dam, at Beacon Rock, in Camas, Vancouver, Kalama, on the Cowlitz near Kelso, and at Cathlamet.

Walleye Fishing Tips  - Walleye Lures  -  Popular Bait for Catching Walleye

Early spring brings serious Walleye fishermen to The Columbia River in pursuit of one of "the finest eating freshwater fish available." This time of year, known as the "pre-spawn" period, also presents the finest fishing action for the species. This is due in part to the availability of larger concentrations of fish in smaller areas.

As water temperatures slowly climb to 36-38 degrees Fahrenheit, Walleye begin their spawning runs from the lower reaches of impoundment's towards the tailraces of dams. It is here where they will find good spawning gravel and rock, aerated water and a good food supply. When the temperature reaches 44-46 degrees, the Walleye will be getting ready for spawning and some may already have. Either way, this is prime time to catch good numbers of fish.


Jeff Knotts Owner of JB's Guide Service fishes for Walleye from Boardman to the Tri-Cities from March through early September. Jeff's 30+ years of experience fishing the Columbia Basin and surrounding fisheries gives you a great chance for the best possible fishing trip. In addition to targeting on Walleye, Jeff fishes Spring Salmon and Hanford Reach Fall Chinook, Steelhead, Sturgeon, Spring Smallmouth Bass and Shad. CALL TODAY (509) 366-4052. Visit our website:
JB's Guide Service

Fishing techniques for the early part of runs emphasize vertical jigging. Your choice of jigs may not be as critical as your technique, but some consideration to size and color should be carefully thought out. In the high and muddy waters of February and early March, I usually have better results with high visibility colors, such as chartreuse, fluorescent green or red, or a fluorescent pink and white combination. When the water clears, a myriad of colors will produce fish, but the greens and chartreuse's remain my favorites as the river always has a darker cast to it at the depths we find fish.

Place Your Ad Here!
Email Columbia River Walleye Fishing

Columbia River Walleye Fishing

The Lure My favorite jig is known as a "bullet jig" or "tube jig." It is simply a bullet shaped lead-head jig with a tube skirt over it. Some bass fishermen may know this as a "Fat Getzit," only we tend to use a little heavier weight to offset strong currents encountered below the dams. Start with a 3/4 oz. or 1oz. bullet jig with a 1/0 or 2/0 hook and attach a "stinger hook" (trailing hook size of your choice, snelled to the jig hook with twelve lb. monofilament). Slide the lead head into the tube skirt using your favorite scent attractant or WD40 as a lubricant. Now all you need to do is thread on a nite-crawler (THIS IS A MUST!) and go fishing. To thread the 'crawler,' start with the stinger hook and thread the worm from below the band towards the tail onto the hook. Now hook the head of the worm onto the jig hook so it is stretched out between the two.

The Technique Jig fishing for Walleye is a "finesse" technique that can be quickly learned if one has the proper equipment. You can simply drift with the current and quickly lower your jig to the bottom. Once down, work your lure only six to eight inches, making sure you keep a taught line on both the up AND down stroke. The key here is always keeping your line taught as the Walleye's bite can be very subtle, and any slack in the line will produce a missed strike. Another method for a more controlled drift is to use a bow mounted electric motor to slow your drift. This will keep your jig at a bit of an angle ahead of you so you can prevent more snags and detect the strikes easier. It will also allow you to stay in preferred depths as the current carries you downstream.

Email Columbia River Walleye Fishing
Walleye Fishing Equipment

Without going into great detail on boats and motors, I would just say that the Columbia River can go from a calm impoundment to a raging river with five to six foot swells in a matter of minutes, due in part to prevailing winds blowing against the current. If you are in a smaller boat, stay near the shore, near the boat ramp, AND ALWAYS watch the weather! Your choice of rods and reels will be a critical factor in your success, and should be matched to the tackle you are using. With the heavier jigs, I prefer a six and a half to seven foot medium or medium/heavy action rod. A "soft tipped" rod will NOT give you the control and feel of what your jig is doing. Both level wind and spinning reels will work, but I prefer a level wind finding it easier for line control and "adjusting" for changes in depth. Eight to twelve lb. monofilament will suit most fishing conditions. I find the new "Spectra" lines are great, just a little hard to break loose from snags.


Mid Columbia River Guide Service featuring full-time fishing guide Elmer Hill. Specializing in Trophy species such as Walleye, Spring & Fall King Salmon, Keeper & Oversize Sturgeon, B run Steelhead and Shad in areas from Bonneville Dam and surrounding areas upstream in the Columbia River to Tri Cities Washington "Hanford Reach" Including Snake River Fishery. 30 years experience will insure you have a comfortable and safe trip.
CALL TODAY 541-969-2537 OR Visit our website


Finding the fish Walleye can be found most anywhere in the river, but a good place to start is on or around sunken islands, generally in the twelve to twenty foot depth range. Breaklines or shelves that run parallel to the bank are another prime holding area. These breaklines generally taper or stairstep off towards the center of the river offering a variety of depths for fishing. Try a drift in ten to twelve feet of water, and gradually move to deeper drifts until you locate the Walleye. A fishfinder is a must, if only for depth control, though it is always nice to know there are fish in the area.

Patience and Perseverance Walleye fishing can be a frustrating experience IF you expect to catch your limit (or even one fish) on every trip. The sometimes elusive fish seems to be affected by many factors, including but not limited to such things as barometric pressure, water fluctuations, wind and current. Don't be discouraged if you go out one day and catch a big stringer of fish, then come home "skunked" the very next day. Sometimes they just do not want to bite! Stick with the basics, experiment a little, and be persistent. Eventually they WILL BITE! Good Luck.......

This article submitted by: Jack laFond Young's Fishing Service, Inc.

 Email Columbia River Walleye Fishing