Good crappie fishing spots in the cold- water environs of the Pacific Northwest are few and far between, but Brownlee Reservoir on the Oregon/ Idaho border is a place where crappie anglers can find the kind of frenetic action that crappie fishing is known for, especially during the spawn.
On any given day in May, Gary Gorbet of Brownlee Charters (541-893-6863) can be found guiding a boatload of clients.
“The fish move in close to the banks,” says Gorbet. “They’ll be shallow, at least by Brownlee standards, in eight to twenty feet of water.”
Look for rocky points, big rock structure and indentations and small bays along the shoreline. Any little nook will likely hold spawners. If you can hit the reservoir during the full moon, even better; Gorbet says it tends to trigger the spawn.
Fish will be close to the bottom. Position yourself a boat length from shore and throw toward the bank, bouncing leadhead jigs along the bottom. One of Gorbet’s favorite offerings is a 2-inch Kalin grub fished on 4- to 6-pound-test Berkley Trilene with a 1/16-ounce leadhead and a No. 4 hook. The hot Brownlee color is Acid Rain (white/chartreuse/yellow).
Some of the best fishing will be in the Powder River arm, and on both sides of the main Snake River within 10 miles of Hewitt Park. There’s no limit on crappies, and there are no size restrictions. Live bait is not permitted.