Sunday, May 6, 2012

Columbia River's Grim Distinction: Top Bass Fishing Destination

According to an article in the Columbia Basin Bulletin last week, BASS magazine has named two locations in the Columbia Basin in their "Bassmaster Top-100", an inane list of the nations supposed top bass fishing spots. The Columbia River in Washington and Oregon ranked 20th on the list and Dworshak Resevoir ranked 85th. The dubious distinction of being a "top" bass fishing location is an ironic and sad fate for the Columbia and Snake Rivers, once home to annual runs of salmon and steelhead of more than 20 million fish, they are know celebrated for the abundant invasive species supported in the dozens of impoundments created by dams throughout the watershed. Native salmon and steelhead in the Columbia would likely benefit substantially if bass were eradicated entirely from the system. Perhaps managers ought to be directing some of the resources from the pike minnow bounty project (pike minnow are native by the way) to paying anglers to kill off the bass. 

Dworshak dam on the North Fork of the Clearwater is a particularly egregious example of short sighted greed and destruction. The North Fork once supported the majority of the Clearwater's fabled B-run steelhead. In 1972 the Army Corp of Engineers built the 717 foot high dam knowing full well that it would destroy the steelhead run in it's entirety. Today B-run steelhead are functionally extinct in the North Fork Clearwater and anadromous fish are confined to the lower mile or two leaving a tepid, artificial resevoir in the place of a once mighty river. 

See the CBB article:


chaveecha said...

I always thought of it as more of a carp destination, myself.

Stew said...

Native salmon and steelhead in the Columbia would likely benefit substantially if bass were eradicated entirely from the system?
While you do have a valid argument that Dworshak Dam ruined the wild steelhead on the the North Fork of the Clearwater, you obviously have no idea what you are talking about if you think that eradicating Bass from Dworshak would have any apact at all on the Steelhead runs. And since that is the main basis, eradication, and since you have chosen to concentrate on Dworshak by the choice of your photo, lets set the record straight. Eradication of Smallmouth bass would have ZERO impact on the Steelhead population there is no wash down of fish from dworshak and no ladder for adults to the resevoir, as such there are no smolt harmed by Dworshak bass. I am a bass fisherman but I am also an avid Steelheader who has spent over 600 days on the Clearwater system half of those as a guide. Maybe do some fact checking before your next story.

Osprey said...

Stew, if you read the post more carefully you'll realize that the point being made was that salmon and steelhead would be better off in the whole Columbia system would be better off if bass had never been introduced. You're entitled to enjoying bass fishing, guiding steehead, or whatever angling pursuit you choose that is irrelevant to the point which was that bass are non-native predator which eat ALOT of juvenile salmon, and that they are a meager consolation prize considering the abundance of salmon and steelhead which once thrived in the Columbia Basin.