Mid Columbia River Guide Service


Keeper Sturgeon
These prehistoric monsters can be caught year round in the Columbia River system. January and February are the best months for keeper sturgeon, usually seeing multiple limits per day. May, June & July are the three best months of the year for catching the monster sturgeon since they are out and about feeding on the other fish that are currently in the river system, like salmon and shad.

Since sturgeon are bottom feeders we fish with sand shrimp, herring and shad out of anchored boats. We often have to release the anchor to chase these monster sturgeon. We use 7 foot rods with 50 to 80lb braided Dacron, outfitted with sliding sinkers and barbless hooks. Each person on the boat is allowed to keep one sturgeon from 4 to 5 feet. The state law allows sturgeon anglers to catch and release after you have tagged your limit. Hooking into one of these prehistoric fish is a blast, and sturgeon may be one of the best eating fish you have ever tasted. Sturgeon not only have great strength but it is not uncommon to see them jump during the battle.

Fishing for shad usually kicks off around the first of June and runs through the month of July. Limits of 40 to 50 fish per day are not uncommon. These fish pack a huge fight and are very acrobatic, often caught on ultra light rods and tackle. I like to fish until people are fished out. While only fishing a couple rods and not being able to keep up with the net, it's exciting and fun for the whole family. It's one of those days that you may only fish for couple hours and catch more fish than you want to clean. After the shad fishing I encourage my clients to take advantage of going and catching an oversize sturgeon using one of the shad that you just caught for bait. Hooking five oversize sturgeon per day isn't uncommon when the shad are in the river system. Most shad run from 3 to 5lbs and fight like an 8lb salmon fresh out of the ocean.

Winter Steelhead
Winter steelhead is a blast and usually kicks off in October and runs through late January, when there's not much else to do with the weather being nasty and cold. Fishing from my covered and heated boat isn't a problem with the cooler temps and rainy, foggy weather conditions--we still catch lots of fish. Daily limit the last few years has been three adult fish. We use trolling plugs or fresh baits and spinners. Day trips and night fishing trips are both encouraged. Here on the Columbia River it is not uncommon to catch the Upper Snake River fish which range from 18-22lbs.

Spring Chinook
Usually kicks off in mid-March and runs through late May and depends on what the state will allow before shutting the river system down. Quick limits along with multiple limits for the boat easily allow the state to shut it down. It usually starts on March 16th at Bonneville Dam and runs till the last week in April, when the season is shut down for that particular part of the river system. We then move up river to Drano Lake and the Wind River. Daily limits are easily taken until the end of May. Fishing at John Day Dam along with McNary Dam is also encouraged, depending on dam counts and daily catch rates. We will be back to using trolling plugs and fresh bait; fish usually run between 10 to 30lbs.

Fall Chinook
Fall Chinook season usually kicks into gear around mid- August from Bonneville to McNary Dam. There are the few spots for jigging but usually bobber fishing or back trolling, Kwikfish or fresh bait. September and October are the months of higher catch rates and better-sized fish. The state limit is six fish with no more than two being adults. Sometimes they will up that limit to four adults which allows a whole boatload of fish, ranging from 15to 55lbs!!

Catfish trips start when the weather gets warm, which is usually in June. The best trips are at night and are encouraged as that's when catfish are feeding. Often sturgeon are hooked at night while fishing for catfish but must be released because state law says so. Still fun to catch! Catch rates are usually around five to thirty fish. Fish's average weights are six to fifteen pounds. Most trips are 12-hour trips unless clients feel it necessary to come home early. Once again my covered and heated boat is comfortable in any weather conditions.

The Boat
Fishing from my boat you will find yourself in the comfort of a new 24 ft. Alumaweld. Powered by a 225 hp Mercury engine, it allows me to run in water less than 4 ft deep. I have 5 seats for customers on board with room for myself and a deckhand. You will find yourself with plenty of room to move around, with extra storage for your daily lunch and clothes.

My sponsors have provided me with the best rods and tackle for you to fish with. I change out all my rods every year so you always have the best. You're more than welcome to bring your own rod, if you have something you prefer, or just use mine. All the bait and tackle will be provided along with a helping hand that knows best. Once again if you have something you want to show me I'm always listening.

Columbia River Excursions
Take a scenic 150 mile round trip up the Columbia River to the last free-flowing stretch of the river "The Hanford Reach." See wildlife eating on the riverbanks along with the historic sites of the Hanford Nuclear Project, Ringold fish hatchery, White Bluffs, Coyote Rapids, the Vernita boat launch and going as far as Priest Rapids Dam. The trip will be around six to eight hours long stopping and starting several places to take pictures and gossip. Minimum boat fee is for four people, but you're welcome to ask me to fill a spot to save on pricing. Book the trip for the whole day for yourself. Box lunches provided free or for an extra twenty dollars and a BBQ on the bank can be provided with proper notice. It's fun and exciting for those who aren't into fishing and would just like to spend a day on the water. Year round trips available.

Come and Get Your Fish On Today!!

leaping trout
Mid Columbia River Guide Service
Cell: (541) 969-2537
Email at: elmerhill@charter.net

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