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