We at Columba River Fishing Adventures are one of the few fishing guides in Oregon that offer year-round guided walleye fishing trips. These fish can be aggressive bitters, but what they may lack in regards to fight and excitement on the line, they make up for at the dinner table. In our opinion, walleye are probably the best eating freshwater fish ever. They’re known for their delicate flavor, fluffy but firm meat, and are considered by many even better eating than lingcod or halibut. Best of all on the Columbia River during certain times of the year there’s no catch limit. Basically, you can fill the boat with as much as you can manager to catch. If you catch more than you can eat, never fear, your friends will definitely be grateful for a nice tasty treat as a gift.
We fish for walleye on the Columbia from Portland all the way to the McNary Dam in the upper sections of the Columbia. The upper area of the Columbia is known as the John Day pool and is where you’ll find the bigger fish with Trophy class fish available in the 10-pound range being relatively common. We spend a good amount of time fishing in this section when the action dies down for salmon and sturgeon giving our clients another great option on their fishing trip.
The Columbia river offers some of the best Walleye fishing in Oregon and we love to fish for them. During the winter months the John Day and Dalles pools are some of the best places to target the big ones. It takes a bit more work to get at them because they like the deep water with lots of coverage, boulders, and endless structures which tend to be easy to get snagged up on. However, even though the fishing is a bit slower and you lose more gear it’s well worth the effort because the fish you catch are much larger.
Just to give you an idea, the Washington State record walleye was caught further up river in the McNary Pool near the Snake River back in 2014. This monster walleye weighed in at a whopping 20.32 lbs. In 2018, the lure manufacturing company Macks Lures issued a press release that claimed that a new record walleye was caught with one of their kokanee lures by a local Wenatchee angler named Andy Donabauer. The reports were that Donabour’s walleye was a whopping 23.12 lbs. At the end of the press release however, it turns out to be nothing more than a publicity stunt with Mack’s Lure President Bob Schmidt apologizing for those who fell for the elaborate April Fools day joke.
Venturing further down river from where the Washington State record was caught at the mouth of the Umpqua river is the tail end of the John Day Pool just below the McNary. This section offers some great walleye fishing with big fish as well but during the winter months the weather is cold and fishing is generally not as attractive due to the fact that you’ll freeze your butt off. With that in mind there are still some die hard walleye anglers willing to brave the cold winds and snow out going after them. Generally we focus more on steelhead in the winter months but can do walleye as well depending on our clients needs.
As springtime rolls around the real walleye action starts to happen. From Spring to Fall is the best time of the year to fish for walleye on the Columbia River. Not long after the spring runoff comes trickling down the Cascade Mountains, walleye start to warm up and become more active as they begin their annual spawning ritual. The catch rates are not as high as in the early spring because walleye tend to be more interested in getting their freak on rather than biting.
Don’t get me wrong, you can still catch them due to the high fish numbers available, but the hottest time of the season for the bite is without a doubt summertime. There’s nothing quite like targeting walleye on the Columbia when the sun is shining bright in the sky and the warmer waters turn these love birds into ferocious bitters. During the summer months and early fall, its fairly easy to load up the boat with limits and several of our clients love the non-stop action.
March through April we focus more on the Dalles Pool and below. Ironically the Dalles pool is where the Oregon walleye state record fish was caught. This walleye was just under the Washington State record at 19 lbs. 15 oz. which was literally just a couple ounces shy of the Washington record. In regards to fish count numbers, the Dalles pool probably has one of the largest walleye populations in the Columbia. Even better this section of the Columbia is within an couple hours of Portland making it a decent destination for our Portland walleye fishing trips.
We like to work are way down the Columbia from Rufus Landing to Preachers Eddy targeting structures and overhangs on the flats. Further down river we focus on the mouth of the Deschutes River and work the area all the way to Browns Island. This is definitely one of our favorite walleye fishing spots and we have had excellent success year after year fishing these stretches. In the lower section of the Dalles pool on the Columba is the section where mouth of the John Day River empties out into the Columbia. This little hidden gem has produced some very good catch rates as well. Most importantly is that it’s generally not very crowded which means that on many occasions we have it all to ourselves.
Depending on how good the fishing is, our favorite walleye fishing haunt is right here in our own back yard. The Bonneville Pool has a pretty healthy walleye population and is basically within 40 minutes of our home base here in Portland Oregon. To start the season, we like to focus our walleye fishing efforts on the areas of the Columbia from the I-5 bridge up to I-205 near Government Island. These walleye fishing trips are very popular because we generally switch over to walleye when the salmon or sturgeon fishing is slow and our clients are primarily interested fresh water with white meat.
Upriver just above the mouth of the Washougal is one of the best walleye fishing spots in the lower sections of the Columbia. From Ough Reef to Crown Point we work the shelf and produce very good catch rates. The best parts about fishing this area is that it’s close to home making it one of our favorite Portland guided fishing trips we offer.
The Columbia River is one of the most popular fishing destinations in the Pacific Northwest. It hosts some of the best walleye fishing in both Washington and Oregon, and we are honored to provide guided walleye fishing trips for anyone looking to catch these excellent eating fish. We’ve been Oregon fishing guides for over 30 years and it would be a privilege to provide the fishing trip of a lifetime for you, your family, or corporate event. If you’re looking to book a walleye fishing trip, please feel free to give us a call at 503-490-3099 and reserve your seat on one of our comfortable jet sleds today.