If you are a bass fisherman, or simply enjoy fishing for warmwater denizens, you probably don’t think of Washington, specifically southwest Washington, as a great place to fish. After all, it’s a land of forests, rain, salmon, trout and steelhead fishermen. It’s not exactly a prime locale for your favorite finned fighter, the largemouth bass, or even the smallmouth bass. However, if you happen to live in this part of the world, and are saddened by the lack of fishing opportunities for the warmwater type, fear not. There are several places in the area that offer a chance to hook into one of these nonnative types.
The Columbia River is perhaps the most obvious place to look for these opportunities. Bassmaster has hosted several Western division tournaments on this river, albeit further upstream. Smallmouth are rather plentiful on this watershed, and as many anglers will tell you, they aren’t too shabby! Most of the locale tournaments by area bass clubs have been won with smallmouth catches, although the river does host a sizable population of largemouth bass. Try the tributaries, offshoots and sloughs for the largemouth. Lake River is a manmade canal that connects Lake Vancouver to the Columbia, and I’ve heard of 6 pounders coming out of there. Not too bad, eh?
Many of the lakes and ponds in the area offer opportunities for largemouth as well, like Lake Vancouver, Lacamas Lake, Round Lake, and Klineline pond in the Vancouver/Camas area. Vancouver Lake is pretty immense, and doesn’t seem to receive too much boat fishing, or even bank pressure. Lacamas and Round both get hit pretty hard by fishermen, and Lacamas has the unfortunate gift of being a jet ski hangout. Round is a little quieter than Lacamas, and I’ve even caught bass from there just off of the shoreline. Klineline is mostly a trout pond, although they have stocked bass, and some of the ‘hidden’ ponds in the back of the park may have some rather exciting catches.
Further north, the likes of Horseshoe Lake, Kress Lake, and Silver Lake are the better known places up by Woodland and beyond. Kress and Horseshoe are mostly trout lakes, but they do have a lot of warmwater fish, with a lot of perch coming out of Horseshoe, and bluegill and catfish from Kress. I have caught a lot of bass in Horseshoe, and Kress is supposedly stocked by the state as an official bass area. Finally, there is Silver Lake-it is an incredibly popular bass lake, and has hosted many area tournaments. It’s one of the few lakes in Western Washington known just for its bass fishing, and it has maintained that reputation for a good reason.
There are also a lot of undiscovered/secret spots scattered throughout Clark County and beyond. A quick glance at Google Earth will show you a ton of water, especially near the Columbia River, that doesn’t get too much pressure, and is reportedly laden with warmwater fish. Just be sure to get permission before heading out to these waters, as much of it is on private land.
For more information on bass fishing in the area, check out the links attached to this article. Fish on!