Anglers are enjoying big catches of walleye on the Columbia this season, with 46 teams at a recent derby landing literally nearly a ton’s worth — top bag was 79 pounds — and fishermen from far and wide flocking to the big river for its tasty bounty.
“No wonder walleye are now our top fishery here,” noted Tri-Cities’ Wayne Heinz, who penned two stellar pieces on the species for the February and March issues of Northwest Sportsman magazine.
One of Wayne’s handful of sources in both articles was on that winning tourney team, guide Kimo Gabriel.
Another, guide TJ Hester, was who the South Sound’s Dave Anderson went out with recently. Dave shared his story with us:
By Dave Anderson
A few weeks ago my father in law and I were talking about doing a fishing trip to get out and unwind as our lives have been very busy. We originally wanted to do the normal steelhead trip on the coast but our friends were booked up.
As I was browsing on Facebook, I saw a picture and article about great walleye fishing on the Columbia. I grew up walleye fishing and have missed it since moving out here, so I was excited when we decided on planning this trip.
I called up TJ Hester and got a date set up to get a day of fishing in with him. TJ and his dad are well known for being some of the best walleye guides on the Columbia. They offer trips targeting both trophy walleyes and the eaters (which is what we wanted to do).
We met up with TJ in the morning and after about a 45-minute run downriver we were on the grounds to do some fishing. We used bottom bouncers with about a 24-inch leader to a Smile Blade and half of a nightcrawler.
In our first pass we caught four walleye and I knew it was going to be a great day with flat water and some great company. Throughout the day we had multiple doubles, a triple and a quad hook up.
Around 2:00 pm, we decided we had plenty of walleye and headed back upriver on glass-like conditions to get dropped off. All we had to do was make a quick stop on the way home to clean our catch.
It was a great trip and I’m super excited to add this to my list of awesome fishing opportunities we have in Washington state. This was definitely the first of many trips for me to target walleye. I can’t wait to take my son in the future.
I even decided to try a quick and easy recipe for a Easter Sunday appetizer, which turned out amazing! I cracked a couple eggs and used the egg whites to dip the clean and dried fillets in. Next, I rolled the fillets in a mixture of gluten-free bread crumbs and Johnny’s Seafood lemon dill seasoning. I fried the fillets in a pan of hot avocado oil. It was delicious and guaranteed some of the finest table fare you’ll ever have!