Category Archives: Columbia River Salmon Guides

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Hot Columbia River Sockeye Fishing

We have been on the Upper Columbia River fishing Sockeye and Summer Chinook since it opened on July 1st. Fishing has been absolutely amazing, and we are just now starting to see the bulk of the Sockeye run hit the Brewster area.

Due to a later than normal arrival of summer we have been spending most of our time downriver from Brewster in one of our favorite Summer areas near Wells Dam. This area has provided some incredible fishing, but has also lead to a lot of frustration as the high flows are causing some very rough river conditions. Spill from Wells Dam is highly variable, and completely unpredictable, making it necessary on some days to patiently wait for the rollers to subside so we could access the best fishing areas. The upside is that as soon as we have been able to get into the zone we have been in the fish.

We have been having great action on both Summer Chinook and Sockeye pulling 360 flashers and prawn spinners. This set up allows us to very effectively target both species at the same time. If looking for a rundown on how we rig this system up click on the video below.

Summer Chinook and Sockeye Report 7/5/22: Hot tips to catch more fish!
https://youtu.be/fDP3Y6-5A4U

As of this writing it is currently 100 degrees and the Brewster Pool will likely be setting up and fishing very well within the next few day. This is when Sockeye mania will start in earnest. We still have a few dates left to fill so if looking to book a trip make sure to get ahold of our office at 208-669-1569 and Dani will help get you booked.


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Drano Lake and Wind River Spring Chinook

Barry has been down in the Columbia gorge since the 20th of April and has been fishing for Spring Chinook on Drano Lake and the Wind River. The fishing started a little slow, but this past week has been nothing short of fantastic. With passage of Spring Chinook over Bonneville looking great, especially considering the dismal returns of the pst few years, this fishery will continue for the at least the next few weeks.

While there are quite a few different ways to rig up for Drano Lake, and Wind River Spring Chinook, Barry has been doing best fishing prawn spinners with 3.5 Colorado blades. For flashers the stand by chrome pro trolls have been getting plenty of work, and have also been the top producers on his boat. For an in depth look at how he rigs his prawn spinners make sure to check out the video link below

How To Rig Prawn Spinners for Drano Lake Spring Chinook

Barry has a few seats open this week and through the weekend, so if interested make sure to call our office at 208-669-1569.

Next week we will be kicking off our Clearwater Spring Chinook season in Idaho. We still have quite a few open slots to fill from May 10th – The first week of June (if the season lasts that long). Watch for updates from Idaho’s Springer season over the next month.


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Spring Chinook Season is off and Running

Barry is currently down in the Columbia River gorge near Hood River, Oregon fishing Drano Lake, and the Wind River. I was awaken this morning by our first Spring Chinook of the 2022 season!

Barry will be fishing this area for the next 2 1/2 weeks, and it’s such a great opportunity to catch these wonderful fish. It’s amazing how good a spring chinook tastes on the grill, and once you have experienced it you will definitely understand why we crave this fishery so much!

If traveling to the Columbia river gorge is just a little too far that’s ok because our flagship fishery, Idaho’s Clearwater is just about to kick off. We are currently booking dates starting the 15th of May, but if a good push of fish comes up a little early we will be here. The Clearwater Spring Chinook Fishery is our absolute favorite of the year, and is the catalyst that got us into the salmon guiding lifestyle.

We have opening for both Drano Lake, and the Clearwater here in Idaho, so don’t hesitate as this is a fishery that goes very quickly once the fish arrive.


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Hanford Reach Fall Chinook: Adjustments are the name of the game

It’s been a strange year to say the least on the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River. As I’m writing this we are in the midst of a pretty darn good Fall Chinook Run, and while fishing was absolutely on fire here early in the season, it has since cooled off, and been downright tough on some days.

We too have had our struggle days, and Barry and I have been very frustrated a few times this season. For the past few years the downhill trolling program has been absolutely on fire here, and we entered this season thinking that we would see more of the same, and while early in September was great, it didn’t take long for that bite to absolutely hit the skids. So, instead of just pounding away and hoping each morning would be better then the last we decided that there had to be a better way. We made some adjustments.

A little over a week ago we made the full on switch from downriver trolling 360 flashers to what is now considered an old school technique, we went backtrolling. We dusted off the plugs, shined our divers, grabbed the eggs, and went to work. We haven’t looked back since. For some reason this year backtrolling divers and eggs, and plugs has just been the best way for us to catch fish. Now that doesn’t mean other methods are not working, it just means that we have finally found consistent action after making the switch.

Backtrolling is how I cut my teeth on this fishery and it has been such a blessing to be able to fully commit to one of my absolute favorite methods for catching salmon. We are now more relaxed, our gear is in the “slots” longer, and we are catching more fish than we would if we had stayed the course. Now, I’m fully aware that the only thing consistent on the reach is that things change, and after writing this it may just be that we see an incredible downhill trolling bite, but for me, I have a little over a week left in this fishery before I head home for the Clearwater, and I’m going to spend my days relaxed and running my favorite plugs through some of the best water on the river. don’t be afraid to do the same.


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Upper Columbia Summer Of Salmon! Hot weather equals Hot Fishing!

Last week our Summer Chinook and Sockeye season opened on the Upper Columbia, and fishing was absolutely on fire! Opening day was one of the absolute best opening day’s we can remember! We had two boats out and early limits where the name of the game. while the rest of the season won’t be quite as on fire as the first two days we will see consistently great fishing for the rest of the month of July.

We are seeing great success trolling both super baits and 3.5 Colorado spinners behind 11 inch 360 style flashers. One of our keys is to really watch out speed and make sure our rods are thumping at about a 1 thump per second interval. It’s a little hard to explain, but this action really leads to more fish in the boat. For this reason we run cannon ball droppers and skip out on the downriggers. Also by running cannonball lead we are able to let all our customers drop lines and be part of the action.

We still have some open dates mid month, so don’t hesitate to give us a call and book your trip. These fish are amazing and we would love to share this experience with you. Enjoy the pictures below, the smiling faces and big fish tell the story. The Upper Columbia Summer of Salmon is an experience you need to be part of.


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Buoy 10 update, only a few days left to go!

Today marks the start of our final week chasing Fall Chinook and Coho in the Columbia River estuary for 2020. This has been an awesome season so far, and it has been a pleasure to spend some great days on the water with such great people. Our customers are the absolute best and our business would not be growing without their support.

While we have seen some amazing fishing, this season has also had plenty of challenges. We have had some days where we struggled to get fish only to have our day saved in the 9th inning, and other days that we just couldn’t quite come up with the magic formula. Some years this fishery is difficult and this is one of those years, but despite having to work extra hard for fish this year the payday is seeing a 30 pound black and chrome specimen hit the deck.

With the tides setting up great it’s looking like we will have the opportunity to end our season with a bang. The next few days we get soft tides, and great fishing should follow.

While this season is winding down others are just starting to ramp up! We are beyond excited to get back to our side of the mountains and chase fall chinook and steelhead in our favorite fisheries. September will find us both on the Hanford Reach and at the Confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers. We consider both of these locations to be home waters, and we are so looking forward to this season.

Once fall is officially here and the nighttime temps get crisp, you will know October has arrived. October will find us fishing for fall Chinook and steelhead on two of our favorite rivers. The Clearwater and Snake Rivers in October are two rivers everyone should have a chance to fish. We will be targeting the 1-2 punch while side drifting small baits on light rods for both acrobatic steelhead and hard pulling Fall Chinook.

We still have openings during both September and October, and with access to some of the best guides in the inland northwest we can find a way to get you on the water almost every day.


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Buoy 10 is off to a Great Start

Our first day of the 2020 buoy 10 season was a huge success. We started off the day on the Oregon side of the River near Hammond. There was a good bite going but it only lasted about a pass, then we managed to just pick up one here and there, and had all our Chinook by 10 am.

Today our hot combinations were both anchovies, and 3.5 Colorado style spinner. We almost exclusively fish with rotating 360 style flashers. This is just a combination that we have a ton of confidence in, and we just like to roll our program.

This is setting up to be a great, although short season down here, and we are excited to se what happens over the next 13 day. Please stay with us on the journey and hopefully we can provide some insight to this incredible fishery. Look for a video from us soon that goes over our setup, and get the full rundown on what gear is working best for us.

Also don’t forget that even though we are full for this years Buoy 10 season, we do still have openings for our Snake/Clearwater Fall Chinook, and our Snake and Clearwater Steelhead season will be upon us before we know it.

Please let us know in the comments below, or shoot us a message on our social media pages with any questions you might have. We always love to help people be become more effective anglers.


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Hanford Reach Fall Chinook

How to Rig Brad’s Kokanee Cut Plugs to catch more Salmon

On this weeks Tip Tuesday we are going over how we rig up our Kokanee Cut Plugs to catch more salmon. Over the past three years we have experimented with a number of different hook configurations to try an get the best performing hook setup. What we have settled on two different set ups that seem to give about an equal hook to land ratio. The first is a single #4 treble rigged behind eight 4mm beads, and the second is two #1/0 Owner Cutting point octopus hooks. The two hook set up is also rigged behind eight or so 4mm beads. The purpose of the beads is to set the hook just behind the cut plug, an to let the lure spin freely on the line enabling it to spin faster that it would if it had to spin the hooks an the lure. Check out the video below to get all the details on how we rig these awesome little lures. Also make sure to check out our other tip videos on how to make you a better salmon fisherman.