Some of you Bassmaster.com readers may have noticed a fish photo that I recently posted on my social media. It’s definitely not a bass, but it’s a pretty noticeable fish: big, kinda ugly, hooked-nosed critter with a ginormous hump on its back.
That fish was a pink salmon – they’re nicknamed “humpies” because of the hump they develop on their back as they mature – one of the five species of Pacific salmon that swim in the part of the world I call home: the Pacific Northwest. I caught that fish – along with two of the other salmon species, coho and Chinook – on a trip my wife and I recently took to the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska.
I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that being from Spokane, Washington, I’ve grown up and lived most of my life in the most diverse fishing region in the country. And I’ve fished for virtually everything that swims there: walleye, all five species of salmon, steelhead, several species of trout, halibut, albacore tuna, catfish, white sturgeon, northern pike, kokanee, perch …the list just goes on and on.
And I genuinely think that every one of them – and the diverse kinds of waters they live in – have helped me become a better tournament bass fisherman.
First, let’s talk about the bass fisheries in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The smallmouth fisheries of the Columbia River, Lake Washington and the Snake River are easily as good as places like Lake St. Clair and the St. Lawrence River. We have good largemouth fisheries, too (we just don’t have giant 10-plus-pound Florida-strain fish). The thing about all of these Pacific Northwest fisheries, though, is that they’re all so different.