How To Catch Bass

Tips and information for catching Bass and links to bass fishing guides. Information about Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Striped Bass and more. Oregon Bass fishing guides, Washington Bass fishing guides and lakes and rivers in the Northwest where you can catch all types of bass as well as resorts and RV Parks, bed & breakfasts and campgrounds near popular bass fishing locations. Bass fishing reports for the Columbia river, the Snake river, the John Day river and other Oregon and Washington Bass rivers and lakes.

Riffe Lake Fishing 

This lake was formed when Tacoma City Light completed the Mossyrock Dam 1968.  It is a large 23 mile long reservoir & has a shoreline of 52 miles.  When full at a pool height of  778' it has 12,000 surface acres of water. The water depth can reach 360'.

This lake is an impoundment that is basically a catch basin used for flood control of the snow run off from the higher elevations around Packwood & Randle. With this in mind, the lake is lowered in the late fall in preparation to the estimated winter rains.  Then in the spring when the rainy season appears to be over with, the lake is raised again for storage during the summer months.

Located about 90 miles south of Tacoma, Riffe Lake can be reached from I-5, turn  east onto hiway12 and going about 20 miles to the town of Mossyrock.  

There is a bank fishing area just upstream from the dam beyond Mossyrock, on the east side, right on the side of highway 12.   Another good non-boat area is on the east end of the lake near Taidnapam Park .  This is a fishing bridge west of this park.

Boat launches

Mossyrock-- Turn right, at the service station, & go into the town of Mossyrock.  About four blocks you will come to a T. (either right or left)  Turn left and continue out of town for about 3 miles and you will come to Riffe Lake Campground..  There is a launch at the campground.  Phone number for Riffe Lake Campground 241 Osborne Rd. 360-983-8122.   The launch is on thru this campground & located on the SW end of it.  The launch is blacktop with four lanes, and has a nice slope which enables you to back in and launch with a car, pick-up or even a motorhome.  It also has a dock on both sides of the ramp, about 30 ft. long for passenger loading into the boat.   This is usable most of the year, until they draw the water down in the fall & winter in anticipation of the spring rains.  Water height to use the dock will have to be about 760', anything lower than that, it will be high and dry, the ramp is however still usable  until the water level reaches about------feet.  Below this height the gravel tapers off into mud & only recommended for smaller boats & a 4 wheel drive towing vehicle.  This launch area has ample blacktop parking, restrooms, a fish cleaning station and very nice toilet.

During the week-ends in the summer months, there will be a sign at the launch stating that parking fee is $5.00.

  The park also has a store with limited amounts of baits.  But a word of advice,  get bait and supplies before leaving Mossyrock.  There is a store in town past the T on the right that carries tackle & can offer advise. There is no gas or anything like that available at the launch or park areas

The water level height can be obtained by calling Tacoma City Lights fishing hotline at 1-888-502-8690.

  Kosmos -- There is another launch on the east side off Hiway 12, on -------road.  This is located in a Sand Creek bed, and again if the water is too low it has it’s problems.

Taidnapam Park--   The other ramp is located in Taidnapam Park.  Phone number 360-497-7707.  Go right thru & past the entry gate (just tell them you are going to use the launch).  This has a concrete ramp, fish cleaning stations & restrooms.  The one thing on this ramp is that there is a major drop-off off the end.  It has a bumper at the lower end to stop a trailer from dropping over.  Word is that there is a 20' drop off here.  Under these circumstances I would not recommend trying to launch a large boat here unless you check it out completely first. This ramp of course would also be not usable at a real low water level i the late fall or winter.  

A new launch is proposed by Tacoma City Light just east & near Taidnapam that will be more of a year around launch no matter the pool height.

  Fish that are in the lake are silver trout, (essentially a landlocked Coho), with a size up to 20”+.  With the best fishing for them starting in the early spring.  It has also been planted with landlocked Chinook salmon, brown trout, rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, bluegill, crappie, and perch.  And there has been some of the planted catfish from nearby Swafford Pond take up residency here also.

Largemouth Bass caught on the John Day River in Oregon. Thanks to Mah-Hah Outfitters for the photo above.

Largemouth Bass caught on the John Day River in Oregon. Thanks to Mah-Hah Outfitters for the photo above.

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  The local bass club puts on a bass derby here every May.

  Fishing can be from the bank, or from a non-moving boat.   Many still-fishermen use cocktail shrimp with a bit of Power-Bait.  The shrimp is put in a micro-wave for a couple of minutes to toughen them up so they will stay on the hook better.   Drop the bait to the bottom & then bring it up a few feet.

   Boat fishermen usually troll.  A depthfinder us usually needed to locate the depth of the fish., and then troll at that depth.  Usually this depth is around 50 feet.  You may be able to do this with a weight on your line or a diver.  However many times you may need a down-rigger to achieve the desired depth.

Lures & rigging  for the silvers & trout include--

              Wedding ring spinner
             Heidebrandt double blade spinners with a rudder & Flatfish about 12” behind   
             Heidebrandt double blade spinners with a rudder & worms about 12” behind  
             Heidebrandt double blade spinners with  a rudder & Power Bait  & shrimp about 12”
             Small dodger, or Fish Flash with a Apex Kokanee Special plug, either red or chrome
             Small dodger, with a small rubber squid

Some fishermen use a small snubber on the line before the dodger when using the downrigger.   This snubber is then pierced a few times on the rear, & injected with a scent.  The thought here is the snubber acts as a scent reservoir  & leaks the scent out over a long period of time.

This lake is long, not overly wide & usually calm, but can become white-capped if the wind picks up from the West.  If that happens, it is suggested that if you have a smaller boat, that you try to follow the leaward shore back to a launch.  

Spinyray fishermen will concentrate in the shallower eastern end areas.  Baits can include crawfish colored crankbaits, grubs, jigs and any of the conventional tackle.

Bank Fishermen  There are many places to bank fish on this lake, but probably the 2 most popular are at the upstream side of the dam right off Hiway 12. & the fishing bridge at the upper end of the lake near Taidnapam Park.

You will many times see eagles & ospreys on this lake

The above information was used with the permission LeeRoy Wisner of
LeeRoy Wisner had posted several EXTREMELY informative articles on the Puget Sound Anglers website and we strongly recommend visiting that website or
click here to email him directly. As an editor's note I must say that in my lifetime of searching every available resource I have never come across so many helpful and informative articles as those written by LeeRoy Wisner. Thanks again and hats to LeeRoy for giving us permission to post these articles so that you can learn more about fishing and hopefully you catch more fish!

John Day River Fishing ReporTS

by Steve Fleming of  Mah-Hah Outfitters

  • John Day River

  • Central Oregon

  • Smallmouth Bass

  • Largemouth Bass

  • Trout

  • Summer Run Steelhead
  • Winter Run Steelhead
  • Crappie
  • Bluegill
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