John Day River Trips

John Day CanyonThe John Day River

 

   The longest undamned river in the western United States, the John Day flows over 280 miles from it’s headwaters to the Columbia river. It’s outflows vary in the extreme due to the lack of man made controls(dams) and the climate and terrain through which it flows. 

   While it’s tame gradient and limited whitewater aren’t listed among it attributes, it’s still a popular river with rafters due to its seclusion, scenery, wildlife, and history. Wildlife, from abundant waterfowl, raptors, game birds, beavers, otters, mink, muskrat, mule deer, bobcats, and lots of bighorn sheep are regularly spotted. The footsteps of history are evident, both Indian and European. Pictographs, petroglyphs, and the ruins of many early settlements, large and small are still seen in this arid country. If geology is an interest then the canyon offers a glimpse into the tumultuous past of this part of Oregon. Volcanic in nature, the variety of outcroppings  and the clues they give to the formation of this country seem to change by the mile. Add to that, it’s reputation as one of, if not the single best smallmouth bass fisheries west of the Rocky Mountains and you start to see what draw us to this river. Smallmouth bass, introduced to the river in 1974, have thrived, to state it modestly. As the water warms, clears, and drops into shape, the bass start to make the most of the ideal conditions and go into a feeding frenzy for the short warm summer season. 

 

                                           John Day Smallmouth Bass
 

   The fact that this is a highly productive and technically uncomplicated fishery make it perfect for family, corporate, or less experienced groups.  While few of the bass attain trophy size, they more than make up for it in hunger, fight, and sheer numbers. Poppers are the norm as the water climbs into the 60’s and the visual aspect of this style of fishing is awesome. Expect nonstop action if you visit the river during prime time! 

 

California Bighorn Sheep

 

   We fish the river in style, utilizing McKenzie style drift boats for a dry and pleasant ride. We fish 2 anglers per boat and send a gear boat ahead with all camp related equipment to secure an ideal location for camp for each evening. The entire camp including tents and all personal gear is set up and ready for you at the end of each fishing day. Appetizers are usually started and dinner prep is done as you float down to the campsite of choice. You can choose to fish, swim, or just relax while dinner is prepared. Meals, like on all our trips, are top priority and we guarantee you will not go hungry nor be disappointed  with the food.
John Day Petroglyphs

Stream Flows
  • DESCHUTES RIVER - Madras
  • Flow (cfs): 4930
    Temperature (°F): 46.58
  • DESCHUTES RIVER - Moody
  • Flow (cfs): 5840
    Temperature (°F): 43.34
  • JOHN DAY RIVER AT SERVICE CREEK, OR
  • Flow (cfs): 345
  • OWYHEE RIVER NR ROME OR
  • Flow (cfs): 183
  • Blog Recent Posts
  • We just returned from one of the most spectacular and remote river trips anywhere in the US. If you are like most people, you have never seen or even heard of the Owyhee River canyon....

  • This has been a long standing description of hooking steelhead on the fly, especially winter steelhead. I admit to having that coming close to the truth when I started chasing steelhead...

  • View all posts