Northwest Microfishing

A view of the Columbia River Gorge

A view of the Columbia River Gorge

Written by Miciah McNelius

A few years ago my brother moved out to central Oregon giving me the excuse to travel to the northwest and fish. Despite having a low diversity of freshwater species, this part of the country makes up for it with natural beauty. Visiting new and scenic country is half the reason I fish. In addition to freshwater, brackish and inshore fishing here has many unique and interesting species to catch.

A striking unscaled Threespine Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) from Alsea River, Oregon

A striking unscaled Threespine Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) from Alsea River, Oregon

A very colourful Cabazon (Scorpaenichthys maroratus)

A very colourful Cabazon (Scorpaenichthys maroratus)

The majority of small freshwater fish found in the northwest are sculpins. Often you can find three or four species in the same location occupying very different habitats. Trout, dace and sticklebacks round out the most common small fish encountered. Unfortunately, similar to California, the northwest has restrictive fishing regulations for native fish species. Fishing culture in the northwest is obsessed with salmon and trout and has little appreciation for other species.

Marbled Sculpin (Cottus klamathensis) can tolerate very warm and polluted waters, this one is from Klamath Lake, Oregon

Marbled Sculpin (Cottus klamathensis) can tolerate very warm and polluted waters, this one is from Klamath Lake, Oregon

Reticulate Sculpin (Cottus perplexus) enjoy the smaller creeks and rivers that drain the Pacific slope

Reticulate Sculpin (Cottus perplexus) enjoy the smaller creeks and rivers that drain the Coast Range

A common river species, Torrent Sculpin (Cottus rhotheus) are known to eat other sculpins

A common river species, Torrent Sculpin (Cottus rhotheus) are known to eat other sculpins

A small Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), these seem to occupy freshwater longer than most Salmon

A small Coho Salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), these seem to occupy freshwater longer than most Salmon

One of my favorite habitats to fish is the tide pool; hiding many small ambush predators among the seaweed and rocks. Other small species that live in open salt water are often very hard to target because of the incredibly good sight. One of the more difficult areas to microfish is deep water where you cannot see the bait or feel the bite. Many small species occupy stay in deep water making them hard to target.

A small Tidepool Sculpin (Oligocottus maculatus) with the ultimate camouflage

A small Tidepool Sculpin (Oligocottus maculatus) with the ultimate camouflage

Scalyhead Sculpin (Artedius harringtoni) associate with cover like many tidepool sculpin species and bait needs to be placed near their hideouts

Scalyhead Sculpin (Artedius harringtoni) associate with cover like many tidepool sculpin species and bait needs to be placed near their hideouts

A small Cabezon (Scorpaenichthys marmoratus), often found hiding in seaweed and sometimes living on the roof of crevices and on vegetated rock walls

A small Cabezon (Scorpaenichthys marmoratus), often found hiding in seaweed and sometimes living on the roof of crevices and on vegetated rock walls

A juvenile Pink Salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha), once leaving freshwater these small salmon occupy open water and are extremely difficult to catch

A juvenile Pink Salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha), once leaving freshwater these small salmon occupy open water and are extremely difficult to catch

A spawning Puget Sound Rockfish (Sebastes emphaeus) these are a very small species of rockfish

A spawning Puget Sound Rockfish (Sebastes emphaeus) these are a very small species of rockfish

Northern Ronquil (Ronquilus jordani) are a common species in the Puget Sound

Northern Ronquil (Ronquilus jordani) are a common species in the Puget Sound

Northern Sculpin (Icelinus borealis) these little guys do not inhabit shallow tidepools

Northern Sculpin (Icelinus borealis) these little guys do not inhabit shallow tidepools

Introduced species have generally added to the fishing interest at many locations and are now part of local fish fauna and should be appreciated. Mostly Warm-water species from other parts of the US have become established along with a few interesting ones from other countries as well.

A Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu) from the Colombia River, these bass do well in the cold rivers of the Northwest

A Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu) from the Colombia River, these bass do well in the cold rivers of the Northwest

Tui Chub (Gila bicolor) are a common introduction from angling and do well in lentic habitats, they experience large seasonal population fluctuations similar to Gizzard and and Threadfin Shad

Tui Chub (Gila bicolor) are a common introduction from angling and do well in lentic habitats, they experience large seasonal population fluctuations similar to Gizzard and and Threadfin Shad

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Freshwater and Saltwater Microfishing in Japan

by Ben Cantrell

I’m writing this post 6 years after the fact. I’ve been microfishing pretty seriously for several years now, and I’d like to write this post to celebrate my first introduction to microfishing, which in hindsight was an incredible way to be introduced to the sport obsession.

In 2008 I visited Japan for the third time, but it was the first time travelling there since I became interested in fishing, especially fishing for new species. My lifelist was only in the low teens, but I was determined to add to it! I didn’t do any research before the trip, so I had to depend on my Japanese friends and advice from the owner of the tackle shop we stopped in. The shop owner set us up with gear that was new to me – extremely long flexible rods, incredibly small hooks, incredibly small floats, and an assortment of artificial and live bait options. We packed up the car and headed up into the mountains near the city of Okayama. We found a good spot to park the car next to the creek flowing adjacent to the road. The scenery was great.

JapanMicrofishing1

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Thinking Outside the Tackle Box for Micro Fishing

by Levi Cain

Since most fishing tackle available within the United States is geared towards larger species, I continuously keep an open mind when looking for a new addition to my arsenal of micro fishing tackle. For a while now, I have been in search of a tackle box capable of carrying all my micro fishing equipment together while still maintaining good organizational factors. So after multiple trips to the various tackle stores in my area, trying out various styles of tackle boxes, I finally found a tackle box that has all the features and capabilities I have been in search of. I found this gear in the last place most people would think to look, a craft and hobby store known as Hobby Lobby.

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Using Wax Worms to Catch Micros (Video)

Video of Miciah micro fishing Government Ditch near Peru, Indiana with wax worms.  Species of micro fish caught include: bluntnose minnow, striped shiner, and creek chub.  It was difficult to find clear streams for micro fishing during this trip because of recent heavy rain.  Government Ditch, unlike other small creek in the area, drained a very small region and clears up quickly after rain.  Also, this stream originates in an air force base and therefore contains less sediment run-off from agricultural lands such as corn and soybeans that do little to prevent washing.

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Micro Fishing North Carolina: From the Coast to the Appalachians

by Levi Cain

Over the last year I have had multiple opportunities to fish the various geographical regions of North Carolina from the coastal Tidewater region of Holden Beach, to the Tar River, Cape Fear River and Rhodes Pond in the Inner Coastal Plain. I’ve even fished the Lower Little River along with a few feeder creeks in the Sandhills. But it wasn’t until early to mid April that I was finally able to fish the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina, Tennessee and northern Georgia. Although I must admit I have fished the Conasauga River in northern Georgia once before.

When fishing the Atlantic near Holden Beach, I targeted the salt marshes, focusing on the vegetation as the tide was rising. My rod of choice was a 13′ crappie rod with about 9′ of 10 lb mono and 2-3′ of 8x tippet. There was a slight wind present so I used a size 6 micro shot, attached about 4” above a Tanago hook baited with a small chunk of worm. I tried to focus most of my attention along the edges of the grass or small gaps in vegetation with sandy bottoms that were no more than 3′ deep. The area was teeming with one particular species. And nearly every cast was a fish-on.

Unknown Saltwater 2

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