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...
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.
 Feather Merchant Owner Travis Duddles started tying flies commercially when he was 12 years old and opened the Gorge Fly Shop (gorgeflyshop.com) at 17. Twenty years later, Duddles and his team welcome local and visiting fly anglers to this Hood River institution.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 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.
 Brews and Bros With the hip crowd packed two deep at the bar of Double Mountain Brewery (doublemountainbrewery.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.
 Make mine a double Take a class on spey casting and put your drag to the test with Tom Larimer of Larimer Outfitters (larimeroutfitters.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