Oregon Fishing Guides

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Bob Rees
(503) 812-9036

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Columbia River Fishing

The world famous Columbia River winds right through the backyard of Portland and Vancouver. Once revered for the largest return of pacific salmon in the world, it has gone through its difficult times but still remains one of the strongest sportfisheries in the Northwest. Annually, well over one million salmon and steelhead enter the Columbia River and are pursued by anglers from around the world. Columbia River fishing can offer some of the most exciting action imaginable by any angler. In the heat of the run on the Columbia River, fishing for salmon can offer multiple hook-ups and super fast action for salmon upwards of 50 pounds.

Chinook salmon make a strong showing both in the spring and the fall. The spring run of chinook salmon start in February and peak in April. Columbia River fishing for spring chinook mostly takes place in the 100 mile stretch both east and west of Portland and Vancouver. The Columbia River Gorge offers some excellent fishing and is only a short 30 minute drive from Portland and Vancouver.

Fishing the Columbia River for fall run salmon can be excellent as well with an intense fishery taking place at the rivers mouth in Astoria. The famed Buoy 10 fishery just west of Astoria will give up easy limits of salmon during the peak run in August. On a good year, anglers may see salmon returns as great as one million coho and chinook salmon back to the lower river in a short time frame! Coho salmon as well as chinook salmon are present here in great numbers and fall easy to hardware and bait being offered up by anglers. Astoria is a great town to visit and an even better town to take a limit of fresh ocean reared salmon home from for your friends and family to enjoy.

Sturgeon fishing has also made the Columbia River world famous in the Northwest. From Astoria through Portland and onto the Columbia River Gorge, sturgeon fishing on the Columbia River has resulted in over 170,000 angler trips annually. Most years, over 30,000 keeper sized sturgeon are taken from the bountiful Columbia River fishing fleet. Keeper sturgeon range from 42 to 60 inches but sturgeon over 10 feet are frequently hooked in some areas of the Columbia River.

The lower Columbia River near Astoria offers some of the most exciting fishing for keeper sturgeon as 20 to 50 fish days are not uncommon with up to 20% of those fish being in the keeper size range. Sturgeon is a very versatile fish for consumption and revered by many anglers in the Northwest. The limit is one sturgeon per day and May July is the peak fishing period for sturgeon in the Astoria area.

For anglers wanting to fish closer to Portland or Vancouver, Columbia River fishing is far from mediocre. Not only are keepers in good numbers but the ever popular oversize sturgeon fishing is an opportunity of a lifetime. These 6 to 12 foot hardy sturgeon are of world class size and sport as thousands of anglers each year are catching on to this fishery. Frequent hook-ups are common during the peak of the shad run in May and June and although this is a catch and release fishery, anglers rarely go home disappointed.

Walleye fishing on the Columbia River is growing by the year. Many experts believe the next world record walleye will come from Columbia River fishing experts. Walleye on the Columbia River average between 4 and 10 pounds but fish up to 17 pounds have been taken. Most of the walleye fishing on the Columbia River takes place above Bonneville Dam in the drier climates of Biggs, Rufus, The Dalles and Hood River. However, there is some great walleye fishing near Portland and Vancouver as well.

Other area rivers: Willamette River, Sandy River, Hood River, Deschutes River, John Day River and Snake River



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