Spring Trout Fishing – Explore The Dalles

By Gary Lewis

We have been looking forward to this for a long time. The Dalles is a great location for a NOWA conference and not the least of the reasons is fishing.

The Columbia River is the obvious fishery. Walleye action can be good in April and May, and the smallmouth bass are beginning to feed, stacking in the eddies and along the rocky points to ambush baitfish. But wait, there’s more to fishing at The Dalles.

There are a number of still water trout fishing destinations close by. Here are four trout hotspots that should be fishing well at the end of April and in early May.

Taylor Lake

This one is in city limits! Expect the water to be muddy. Fly-fishing can work here, but bait is probably a better bet. If you plan to fly-fish, bring a float tube or a small boat.

Don’t look at what the locals are using. When I was there last, they were using everything from crappie jigs to salmon gear, while fishing for trout. Really, people, this is why there is such a thing as outdoor writers. These people need our help!

Take exit 82 off of Interstate 84 and head in the direction of the Port. Turn left on River Trail Way and look for the sign to Taylor Lake. The gravel road ends at the lake in 6/10 of a mile.

 Bikini Pond

A 3-acre pond, about 10 feet at its deepest with rainbow trout and carp. Easy fishing from the bank. A bonus – carp can be stalked in the Columbia River nearby. April, May and June are the best months.

From The Dalles, drive west on I-84 and take the exit marked Mayer State Park. Follow the road west past the Rowena Boat Launch and look for a pair of boulders that frame the road approach to the water. Recommend you stop here and walk in. In your bikini.

Rock Creek Reservoir

Plan a few hours for this excursion. Built to hold irrigation water, Rock Creek Reservoir draws down in the summer, but April and May are prime time for this trout fishery. At 90 acres, the lake supports rainbow trout, bass, bluegill and catfish.

From The Dalles, drive to Tygh Valley, head six miles west on Tygh Valley and Wamic Market roads. From Wamic head west on Rock Creek Dam Road. Turn west on Forest Road 4820 and turn right on Forest Road 120.

Pine Hollow Reservoir

The biggest trout – brood stock fish to 10 pounds – and lots of 8- to 12-inch legals are planted here, beginning in early April. Pine Hollow covers 240 acres and can provide good fishing year-round, but check it out – Pine Hollow Reservoir really shines in April and May. Depth is 15 feet on average and fishes well with fly gear, bait and trolling methods. If bank fishing is planned, bait fishing is the best bet. The fly rodder can do well with a float tube or pontoon boat.

To get there, take Highway 216 and head west on Tygh Valley Road. Proceed to Wamic and turn left on Wamic Market Road. Drive for 4 miles then turn right on Ross Road. Drive for 3.5 miles and turn left at the intersection.

For more fishing ideas, pick up a copy of Fishing Mount Hood Country by NOWA members Robert H. Campbell and Gary Lewis


Longtime NOWA Member Gary Christenson Passes

From Gary’s daughter Christie: It is with a sad heart that I announce the passing of NOWA active retired member Gary Daniel Christenson on 1/12/2020 at the age of 78. If anyone would like to be contacted regarding his memorial service, that is yet to be planned, please send a note with your name and email to his daughter Christie Wright at christiec16@gmail.com.

Gary gave generously of his time and abilities to NOWA. He was a frequent contributor to the NOWA newsletter and wrote “the 37th Frame” for many years. He was also a past President and Enos Bradner award winner. He will be missed!


EIC Contest Deadline Extended

NOWA has extended the contest deadline to February 1, 2020.

Here is the contest entry form and rules:  2019 NOWA EIC Contest.  It’s understood the contest submission guidelines can be a little confusing; this is for the blind judging process.

New this year, NOWA will prepare your contest entry for a fee of $3 for members and $5 for non-members.  This preparation service is for categories 1-6 only & all proceeds will go to NOWA. If you’re interested in this service please mail your entry to NOWA, PO Box 888, Tualatin, OR 97062 or email to Dave@kbi-ins.com

QUESTIONS? Call Matt Liere at 509-202-7790 or email: mwliere@gmail.com and/or call Dave Kilhefner at 503-692-1520 or email: dave@kbi-ins.com

Good luck everyone!


2019 December NOWA Member News

Peter Schroeder and Risa Wyatt welcomed the new year in style with a “podium finish” at Whistler Ski Resort.

From Michelle Peters: Idaho Fish and Game Commission reopened steelhead fishing in the Clearwater River and lower Snake River downstream of Couse Creek Boat Ramp, beginning on Jan. 1. Daily bag limit in those sections is limited to one adipose-clipped steelhead per day, none over 28 inches in length.

Full news release: https://idfg.idaho.gov/press/update-fg-commission-expands-2020-spring-steelhead-fishing-season

Gary Lewis took advantage of the Clearwater opener with guide Toby Wyatt and they caught 12 steelhead!

From Arnold J. Theisen: I have been retired for many years now and I don’t get out much with my camera anymore, but I was recently reminded of a lesson that many new members may not yet fully appreciate: Try to assemble as many “evergreen” articles and photos as possible in your library of work. That is to say photos of scenes that will not be altered significantly by passage of time. Likewise, articles that will be timely whether they are read today or years from now. I offer this tip because I recently sold two 20+ year old photos from my old 35mm library to one of our members who needed them for her new book.

From GI Wilson: My plunking buddy Doug, a young guy, (only 50) also a logger, talked me into buying a second season spike bull elk tag. “You have a handicapped license; I have a key to where we have logged 10 years. You get a bull down, I’ll go get him. We will get you a bull.”

Opening morning we sit in heavy fog five hours drinking tea. Decide to give it up, come back tomorrow. He gets out of the truck to move a log, fog lifts and a herd has fed out of the timber at 225 yards across a canyon.

Two shots and I have a big spike. He bails off into the canyon, does all the work. We come back the next morning with another fishing buddy, trailer and ATV. They drive right to the bull, load it up–two trips–head home for a cold one. My toughest task was to very carefully use my walking cane to get 20 yards for a shooting rest.

Doug even took it to his cousins walk-in cooler for a few days.; can’t find friends any better than that!

I’m probably going to do an article for Oregon Hunter about the hunt.

From Dennis Dauble: NOWA members Bradley Trumbo, Gary Lewis and Dennis Dauble were recently asked to contribute a monthly article for the East Oregonian’s Saturday “Outdoor” page. This development suggests opportunity for NOWA members to contribute articles to their local and regional newspaper as full-time outdoor staff retire or are laid off.

From Dave Kilhefner: The latest edition of Fishing in Oregon just came out. Many of the photographs in this book were contributed by NOWA members.



Help Needed at Tri-City Sportsman Show

Shuyler Productions has graciously offered NOWA a free booth at the Tri-City Sportsman Show, January 17-19.

There is a need for individuals who live within driving distance to help staff the booth. Times are available from 1-7 pm on Friday, 10-6 Saturday, 10-5 on Sunday. You do not need to be present for the entire shift.

Please contact Dennis Dauble (DennisDauble@icloud.com or text 509-392-3229) if you can help out. This event provides opportunity to interact with hundreds of sportsman over the weekend. Wayne Heinz and Dennis Dauble hope to sell a few books, you could do the same.

2019 NOWA Excellence in Craft Contest

It’s time to submit your entries for the 2019 NOWA Excellence in Craft Contest!

Here is the contest entry form and rules:  2019 NOWA EIC Contest. The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2020.

It’s understood the contest submission guidelines can be a little confusing; this is for the blind judging process. New this year, NOWA will offer to prepare your contest entry for a fee of $3 for members and $5 for non-members. This preparation service is for categories 1-6 only & all proceeds will go to NOWA. If you’re interested in this service please mail your entry to NOWA, PO Box 888, Tualatin, OR 97062 or email to Dave@kbi-ins.com

QUESTIONS? Call Matt Liere at 509-202-7790 or email: mwliere@gmail.com and/or call Dave Kilhefner at 503-692-1520 or email: dave@kbi-ins.com

Good luck everyone!


2019 November NOWA Member News

In addition to Bert Gildart’s great cycling adventure story, NOWA members got out last month and enjoyed the great outdoors. Here’s their stories:

From Joe Warren:  November is one of my favorite months of the year.  Though I would prefer to mostly fly fish, big game hunting is also on the menu.  This year’s November was epic starting off with some fabulous lake trout fishing in central OR where I caught the largest trout ever on a fly, a 37 inch lake trout using a fast sink line from a boat.  My deer hunt soon followed with a special draw on Washington’s quality buck in Eastern WA near Omak where I bag a nice 3×4.  With plans to possibly hunt two weeks, it was too soon to go home after only four days of hunting, so with fly rod in hand I wandered over to the Columbia River on Rufus Woods Reservoir and caught a handful of nice rainbows but one particularly nice 28 incher!  Needless to say, my Lunar S-Glass 5 wt. fly rod was bent to the handle for quite some time!  All in all it was truly a blessing and this fall is definitely one for the memory book.

Quality buck hunt, Pogue unit, WA, mule deer buck

Central Oregon lake trout on the fly!

From Randy Bonner: I’ve started writing for the Visit Corvallis tourism office. Great news, congratulations Randy!

From Dave Kilhefner: Fished the Deschutes on the Warm Springs Reservation side with guide Elke Littleleaf. While heavy rains pelted Portland this day, it was dry in eastern Oregon; a bonus for sure! Fishing partner was NOWA member Robert Campbell who caught 2 steelhead on spinners and I caught a couple nice redsides on beads.

From Tom Knight: I keep plugging away on my book. Right now I’m into two chapters on wild turkey hunting in “ancient times,” like 50 years ago, when the turkey population mushroomed in Klickitat/Skamania counties after their introduction. The first chapter got kind of long (10 pages), so I am working on a second. I am having fun reliving old times!

If anyone would like to a copy, email me at headfish98005@yahoo.com. I’m still laid up awaiting hip transplant, so I am glued to my tablet all waking hours with tons of time to write + answer emails.

Bert Gildart Cycling Adventure

For any who believe that NOWA membership consists only of those who hunt and fish in the Northwest, please put that thought aside.  Many of us engage in other outdoor activities such as the biking excursion described here.  It is a trip National Geographic calls “one of America’s greatest adventures.”

I concluded that adventure late this September and, in brief, the ride links together two trails: the Allegheny Gap and the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.  The trails are joined back-to-back and span almost 400 miles, beginning – or ending – in either Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, or in Washington, D.C.

If the ride is made in a relaxed manner you’ll need about 10 days.  Campgrounds are available along the way but so are B&Bs, and that’s where we camped, roughing it (sometimes!) with cocktail napkins and Meissen China.

Three friends joined me and we all agreed that the trip was a tour through American history and also through some of America’s most pristine woodlands, often graced by sycamore trees arching overhead.  Shortly out of Pittsburg we climbed to the Eastern Continental Divide and then traveled across the Mason Dixon Line.  In West Virginia the trail took us into Harpers Ferry, and some may recall that it was here, in 1859, that a Lieutenant Colonel Robert E Lee put down the John Brown rebellion.  Riding on we crossed into Maryland and passed the shanties of several lock master’s old homes.  Today, if you have advanced reservations you can move in and stay overnight.

Essentially the Canal was initiated by George Washington, hoping to increase trade with Washington D.C. and newly created states such as Pennsylvania, but the Potomac River was laced with many rapids and treacherous falls, and barges could not negotiate them.  Consequently, traders needed a canal.  Today, those falls are an attraction for bikers and so we also stopped to view that river’s many examples.

While riding I believe that I rebounded from some lingering health issues, but equally as significant, became more of the individual we all wish to be. Here, I felt important and not diminished by the burgeoning U.S. population that is now saturating our personal living space and clogging so many national attractions. During our many stops I’d been able to lose myself by soaking up American history and the wildness the two trails preserved. And, then, when I thought myself saturated, I had been able to ride on – stopping at will to soak it all up again, and again and again.

A much expanded and varied version of this story is intended for a travel magazine and I hope, too, in a magazine intended for seniors… not, of course, that I can relate, but I do feel many older folks might be inspired.  In the meantime, if anyone wants details on logistics, please drop a note. Thanks! Bert


Hatchery & Wild Coexist responds to Patagonia’s Artifishal

After posting the link to Artifishal, a film that’s generating some controversy, several NOWA members asked to balance the discussion by provide some countering information on NOWA’s website.

Dave Schamp from Hatchery & Wild Coexist graciously provided a copy of their press release: H&W Patagonia release final

This is a hot topic and both sides of this issue offer ample writing opportunities!