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Oregon Walleye Fishing Guide Trips Trophy Walleye Fishing. Portland Columbia River Gorge. Walleye Fishing Year-round. Pro Guides and Custom Charters, all Tackle Provided. Call 503-720-9033

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About Oregon Walleye Fishing
Walleyes have made their reputation for being excellent table fair, but aren't known for being great fighters. I think that's because most walleyes that anglers catch are in the 2- to 4-pound class. However, when an angler takes a guided trip with a professional Oregon walleye guide and hooks a 15-pound walleye, it brings on a whole new view of this fishery.

Walleyes up to 6 pounds are the best eating. Most guides discourage clients from keeping the big females unless they're going to be mounted. A mount that would memorialize your catch and provide you with a lasting memory of a day fishing the great Columbia River is a great way to go.

WalleyeHead out now for the big ones
Walleye fishing is year-round and always improves as waters warm in February and March.

(Photo): Get fishing below the John Day Dam May through August to nail Columbia River walleye like these.

When the Columbia warms to 48 degrees, the fishing will really pick up, and it will stay good at least until August. That's when the shad smolts move down through the system, flooding the river with easy prey. When that happens the walleye will be next to impossible to catch." Columbia River monthly temperatures

Mid January through February is the time to fish, especially if you have your eye on a real wallhanger. This is also the best time to catch the big females.

Fishing will remain good for numbers of keeper size fish as the weather warms, but the fisherman that wants a really big one should plan their trip early in the year.

Water temperature, more than the time of year, is what triggers the bite. April is usually the best month, but the Columbia has been slow to warm this year, so the peak could easily stretch into May.

The mighty Columbia River offers the best walleye fishing in Oregon, possibly in the country. Brownlee Reservoir is the primary lake for walleye fishing in Oregon. Walleye are also found in some of the smaller lakes and rivers. The Columbia River has produced both the Oregon state record walleye and the Washington state record walleye. The next world record will likely come from the Columbia River. If you would like a shot at getting your name in the record books give us a call.

Oregon Walleye

Washington Walleye

WA Record Walleye 19.3 lbs
Walleye Picture Walleye Picture
World Record Walleye World Record Walleye

25 lbs - 0 oz

25 lbs - 0 oz

Oregon State Record Walleye Oregon State Record Walleye

19 lbs - 15 oz

19 lbs - 3 oz  (photo)->>

Preferred Water Temperature Preferred Water Temperature

38 - 60 Degrees

38 - 60 Degrees

Preferred Habitat Preferred Habitat

Prefers slightly stained to murky water with little or no current.

Prefers slightly stained to murky water with little or no current.

Oregon walleye spawn in spring and when they have the option will choose to migrate from the lake or river up into feeder streams to spawn. If this option is not available they seek out shallow bars or shoals with clean bottom surfaces near deep water.

This toothy fish will eat virtually anything it can catch and get in its mouth. They prefer small fish and will eat crustaceans, worms and insects. They tend to be somewhat wary and prefer the safety of deeper darker water. /font>

Where to go
One of the best places to try your luck has traditionally been the reach of river below the John Day Dam The floods of '96 slowed the fishing down, but walley have really rebounded in this area. This is  a great area, whether you're seeking a monster or looking to take home some tasty walleye fillets.

Compared to many other states, the limits here are generous. Currently there is no limit on walleye, minimum size is 18 inches, only one of which can be over 24 inches. However, many guides who work the area suggest you release the big females after a photo or two, to insure they keep contributing their "big" genes to the gene pool. Likewise, they also encourage you to release most of the smallest keeper-sized fish to provide the recruitment necessary to sustain this quality fishery.

Washington Trophy Walleye

Photo above: Ken Bain of Spokane poses with a 14-pound, 7-ounce trophy walleye he caught on the lower Spokane River near Fort Spokane on Feb. 20, 2010. Full story The Spokane River is a tributariy of the Columbia River.

Here are your best bets for John Day walleye:
The Deadline: Walleye can be caught from a number of different locations below the dam. The Deadline is a good hole to take some big ones, but it's a difficult stretch to fish, and not a place for beginners. It's very snaggy and the currents can be tricky. There are also some nasty shoals and rocks that lie just under the surface of the water. If you're not familiar with the area, you can get into trouble quickly. I strongly suggest you fish with someone who's done it a couple times before.

Preacher's Eddy: Just downriver from The Deadline, Preacher's Eddy has long been famous for its big fish. While not as difficult to fish as The Deadline, this stretch has an undulating bottom, running anywhere from 12 to 32 feet. Schneider considers this prime depth for walleye. As you troll or drift downstream, you must continually adjust the depth of your bait to keep it on the bottom.

The Willows and downstream:: The Willows, just down from Preacher's Eddy near the Washington bank, is an easier stretch to fish. The bottom is less irregular and it's easier to stay in the strike zone. While some good walleye are taken here, this stretch is better known for eating-sized fish.On the Oregon side, you'll find 106 Hole, another good spot. In fact, there is good water just about everywhere.

A good trick is to look for the buoys of the tribal fishermen, since they're almost always set in the right depths for walleye.

How to hook 'em
We were fishing with nightcrawlers rigged on bottom-walkers, one of the easiest ways to catch walleye in the Columbia, especially when the winds are up. The rig is simple. Attach the bottom-bouncer to your main line, and run a 4 or 5-foot leader from the walker to the bait. Set a few beads and a Spin-N-Glo on the line directly above a double hook rig.

Chartreuse and green are good colors. Pass the worm's head through the first hook and set the stinger hook in the worm, an inch or 2 below the first one, leaving some slack in the line between the hooks. This allows for the stretch of the worm once you've dragged it through the water for a while.

Let the bait to the bottom and troll downstream. Be sure to keep adjusting your line so that the bouncer is ticking the bottom at all times. If you're not on the bottom, you're not fishing for walleye.

A last word
There are boat launches close to the action on both sides of the river: one at Rufus on the Oregon side, another at Maryhill in Washington. Even though the run to the action is short, the wind in the Gorge is treacherous, and you should check the forecast in advance and keep an eye on the weather at all times.


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Oregon Walleye Fishing Guide
E-mail: walleye@abproguides.com
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