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


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.