What to know before hiring a Columbia River fishing guide

March 18, 2023

What to know before hiring a Columbia River fishing guide

If you are looking to book a fishing guide to chase salmon, walleye, or sturgeon on the Columbia River, then you have many options. When searching for an Oregon or Columbia River fishing guide, you will want to find someone to help you make the most of your precious time on the water.

That begs the question, what makes a good guide? 

What makes a good guide?

Choosing a guide is a challenging task. With many Oregon fishing guides to choose from, it can take time to sort the good from the bad. Therefore, knowing what a good guide looks like is crucial to ensuring you have a good time on the water. 

Professional Approach to Gear

Being in a new environment and chasing after a fish you don’t know is already a mental challenge. Throwing in an amateur approach to gear won’t make it any easier. A good guide is no better than the gear that they use. That doesn’t mean that it has to be the fanciest and most expensive that money can buy; instead, that it is well maintained and organized.  

A fishing guide is a professional fisherman, and their equipment should reflect that. Pay attention to how their boat is set up, how it is organized, and if it’s clean or not. A clean boat is a quick indicator of how much effort the guide puts into maintaining and caring for the equipment you will be using when you are out with them. If they don’t take the time to make their boat presentable, then you will likely encounter other problems along the way. 

Are They Fishy?

Believe it or not, there are many professional fishing guides that struggle to catch fish. While those that are never successful don’t make it in the business, there are plenty that get it right often enough to maintain just enough of a presence to keep going. 

If you are burning your vacation time, investing your money, and braving the elements, you will want to be successful on the water. Steering clear of guides that have a mediocre record is crucial to take a picture that you will be showing people for years to come. A good guide will always tell you that they can’t guarantee fish but will point you to satisfied customers that have pictures and stories that are magazine worthy. 

Bedside Manner

While there are plenty of good Columbia River fishing guides out there that can put you on fish, the one thing that separates a good guide from a great one is their bedside manner. A guide that can make you feel like you are some long-lost uncle that you haven’t seen in years is the hallmark of a great guide. They are welcoming, encouraging, and patient with your inexperience. 

These guides are often extremely social and love being around people almost as much as they love fishing. Guiding is an inherently social experience. To be a great guide, you have to love the social aspect of the profession. If you talk to the guide on the phone and it is awkward or off putting in the slightest, look somewhere else. Things will only get worse when it is wet, cold, and the fish are hard to find. 

Finding A Good Guide

Since we know what a good guide looks like, how do we go about sorting through all the guides that are on the market? Luckily in our digital age, it is fairly easy to size up a guide by leveraging reviews. 

Trends Tell All

Everyone is inclined to have a bad day now and again. The best fisherman has days when nothing seems to go right. However, good fishermen bounce back and get back into catching fish. 

Guides are no different. When you are looking through reviews, pay attention to the trends. Don’t read one review and develop your expectations from that. You could easily mistake a good guide for a bad one or vice versa. When you read through several reviews of customers that caught fish and were happy doing it, then you will know that you have a good guide on your hands. 

Tone is Everything

Thoreau said it best when he stated that “many go fishing all their lives without knowing it isn’t the fish they are after.” When you hire a guide, you aren’t purchasing access to fish. You are buying an experience. This is critical to remember when reading through reviews of fishing guides.

If most reviews are just pictures of fish and three-word sentences, you may want to look elsewhere. Catching fish is not overly difficult, but providing people with an experience they want to write a paragraph about is. Pay attention to the tone and length of the reviews that people leave. Was this an experience they will tell their grandkids about? Or did they just catch some fish?

Columbia River Fishing Adventures

We don’t strive to be good guides at Columbia River Fishing Adventures; we seek to be great ones. For those seeking to catch salmon, walleye, or sturgeon on the Columbia River, you won’t find a better guide for your trip. 

However, as the season gets underway, our schedule is starting to be booked out. For those that are looking for an excellent guide, our Spring Salmon season dates are as follows:

March 1 through April 7

We will fish Buoy 10 and upstream to Beacon Rock. The daily limit is six, including no more than two adults. Out of those, only one can be an adult Chinook. We can only keep those salmon that are 12 inches in length, so you can expect fish bigger than that! 

April 1 through May 6

During this stretch of the season, we will be fishing from the Tower Island power lines,6 miles below The Dalles Dam, up to the Oregon/Washington border. The limits are the same during the earlier season.

Call  Us Today

Sadly, we can only accommodate a finite number of anglers. Therefore, we have to work on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please don’t wait and book the trip of a lifetime sooner rather than later, as the season has begun, and our time is limited! 

Book Your Trip Today