558 N. Main St., Prineville, OR 97754 | (541) 447-6205
Duane Huber with a Columbia River steelhead.
While strolling among the many booths at the Central Oregon Sportsman’s Show, I began to daydream about a Hells Canyon adventure, deep sea fishing and whale watching off the Oregon coast and catching sturgeon, salmon, steelhead and walleye in the Columbia River.
If I had more time and money I’d be on an endless adventure. However, unless I win the lottery, I may only be able to dream about these trips. Here are a few at the top of my list.
River Run Guide Service
The next time someone asks you how big a fish you caught, wouldn’t it be nice to tell them you caught the largest freshwater fish in North America? If you tag along with Duane Huber of River Run Guide Service, that’s exactly what you could say.
Sturgeon in the Columbia River can get up to 14 feet long and weigh over 500 pounds. I’ve fished with Huber when he had one angler catch a nine-and-a-half-foot sturgeon, the next angler caught an eight-and-a-half-footer and I caught a four-footer. But even that fish took me 15 or 20 minutes to get to the boat.
Huber fishes year- round in the scenic Columbia River Gorge for sturgeon, salmon, steelhead, shad and walleye. His 25-foot jet sled is comfortable, roomy, stable and can be covered and heated.
The best time to fish for the oversize sturgeon is May through October. “Keeper” fish (42-60 inches) can be fished for year- round. Salmon fishing is best in April and May and a fall run occurs from August through and October. Steelhead can be caught July and August, shad in mid-May to July 7 and Walleye in April and May.
For more information call 509-427-5706 or go to www.riverrungs.com.
If you dream about ocean fishing then head for the Tradewinds - Tradewinds Charters in Depoe Bay that is. They’ve been operating since 1938, providing ocean charters for whale watching, sportfishing, bird watching and ecology tours. With a fleet of ten modern, fully-equipped vessels and experienced captains and crew, it shouldn’t be hard to find the perfect trip.
Recently their boats have been returning with limits of lingcod and rockfish. The most popular outings are their five-hour bottom fishing trips. Other fish you can catch include sea bass, halibut, and salmon. In the summertime, you can fish farther out for the hard-fighting albacore tuna.
Depoe Bay is dubbed as the “Whale Watching Capital of the Oregon Coast.” Tradewinds Charters offers one- and two-hour whale-watching trips year round. Oftentimes, you’ll be spotting gray whales in just a few minutes. Pods of whales are now migrating north back to their feeding grounds in Alaskan waters. Sightings are reported on 98 percent of their trips.
For more information call 800-445-8730 or go to www.tradewindscharters.com.
How about a jet boat adventure into the deepest gorge in North America? Killgore Adventures, out of White Bird, Idaho, offers six-hour tours through the largest rapids in Hells Canyon in their 30- and 36-foot jet boats.
They put in at Pittsburgh Landing and head upriver through the deepest part of the canyon, all the way to Hells Canyon Dam. Stops include the Kirkwood Historical Ranch Museum, Sheep Creek Cabin, Bernard Creek Cabin, McGaffee Cabin, Native American petroglyphs, and lunch at the dam visitor center. Along the way, it’s possible to spot big horn sheep, bear, deer, elk, bald eagles, otters, and an occasional cougar. In the summer, they usually stop at a sandy beach for wading or swimming in the 70-some degree water. This tour includes lunch, beverages, water, and an unforgettable day of fun.
Killgore Adventures also offers fishing trips on the Snake River and Salmon River for steelhead, salmon, sturgeon, bass, and trout. There’s plenty of whitewater to experience on these trips as well.
For more information call 800-469-8757 or go to www.killgoreadventures.com.
Walleye Willies Guide Service
Located in The Dalles, Walleye Willies Guide Service specializes in catching walleye, but also fishes for salmon, steelhead, and bass. All you have to do is peruse their website and see some lunker fish and lots of fish. This is the time of year to go after big walleyes. Fishing is done from Hood River to Umatilla, depending on the time of year and the fish you’re after. Trips are a full day.
Walleyes are one of the better eating fish, so bring a cooler and ice if you want to take some home. Fish under 24 inches are the best eating. Willie likes to release the bigger females since they represent the future fishery. The limit on walleye is 10 fish per day. No more than five per day over 18 inches, and only one may be over 24 inches.
For more information call 541-993-7335 or go to www.walleyewillie.com.