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Best Gamefishing Destination: Hood River, Oregon

Hood River, Ore., may best be known as a world-class windsurfing destination, but with bronze-backed smallies, silver salmon, and gold-medal rivers, the surrounding Columbia River Gorge offers a virtual Olympics of angling. To help you qualify for a spot in the games, we’re providing this multispecies map.

[1] Feather Merchant Owner Travis Duddles started tying flies commercially when he was 12 years old and opened the Gorge Fly Shop (gorge​fly​shop.com) at 17. Twenty years later, Duddles and his team welcome local and visiting fly anglers to this Hood River institution.

[2] The Fall Run King salmon are called chinook in these parts, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is predicting a strong surge in 2012. The Columbia also gets a good number of silvers swimming upstream at this time of year. Best bets for both in early September include the mouths of the Deschutes, White Salmon, and Klickitat Rivers.

[3] Primitive to Plush Go native and reserve a rustic cabin at the Lost Lake Resort (lostlakeresort.org). Or if indoor plumbing and nearby bars are more your style, opt for the historic Hood River Hotel (hoodriverhotel.com) downtown.

[4] Bonneville Bass Steelhead and salmon get all the glory on the gorge, but as local bass anglers know, the Columbia regularly produces 50-plus-fish days for smallmouths up to 6 pounds. Toss a watermelon-colored tube bait against the shoreline or along current seams above Bonneville Dam for the best results.

[5] Gorge Yourself Nora’s Table (norastable.wordpress.com) makes the most out of the gorge’s great ingredients with a local and seasonal menu that includes fresh sturgeon (among other amazing eats) and a locals-only wine list.

[6] Brews and Bros With the hip crowd packed two deep at the bar of Double Mountain Brewery (double​­mountain​brewery.com), you may have a hard time telling the steelheaders from the surfers. To find a fellow angler, just look for the telltale stains of hot-pink egg cure under his fingernails.

[7] Make mine a double Take a class on spey casting and put your drag to the test with Tom Larimer of Lari­mer Outfitters (larimer​­outfitters.com), who runs steelhead camps on the Deschutes from June through the fall.

 

From the August 2012 issue of Field & Stream magazine.

Illustration by Haisam Hussein

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

It is a fabulous area. Let's hope they do get a great run of Kings because Alaska sure did not get many this Summer. They were non existant, and the Kenai River, famous for its big Kings, was shutdown early this Summer for King fishing. Cook Inlet at Anchorage?..my friend never saw one king caught, and few fisherman even fishing it.

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from Steve Tessmer wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

You can find great fishing almost year around in this area but the Fall hunting season creates multi-sport opportunities. If you are considering a trip with friends, check out Columbia Cliff Villas Hotel in Hood River, which offers great views of the river from the edge of a 200' cliff. The larger villas can be set up to adjoin several rooms to share a spacious living area and fully equipped gourmet kitchens. Lots of great restaurants, brew pubs and wineries in the area too. Ask the the Villas' concierge for a wealth of local knowledge.

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from Sayfu wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

It is a fabulous area. Let's hope they do get a great run of Kings because Alaska sure did not get many this Summer. They were non existant, and the Kenai River, famous for its big Kings, was shutdown early this Summer for King fishing. Cook Inlet at Anchorage?..my friend never saw one king caught, and few fisherman even fishing it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Steve Tessmer wrote 1 year 38 weeks ago

You can find great fishing almost year around in this area but the Fall hunting season creates multi-sport opportunities. If you are considering a trip with friends, check out Columbia Cliff Villas Hotel in Hood River, which offers great views of the river from the edge of a 200' cliff. The larger villas can be set up to adjoin several rooms to share a spacious living area and fully equipped gourmet kitchens. Lots of great restaurants, brew pubs and wineries in the area too. Ask the the Villas' concierge for a wealth of local knowledge.

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