When you hear a story about the big one that got away, it’s easy to roll your eyes and smile at the growing length of that humongous near catch. But in Eastern Oregon these winter fish stories are more than tall tales. With some of the most wild and scenic river miles in the state, the region is just the place to land the big one this winter.
John Day River
With nearly 300 free-flowing miles, the wild and scenic John Day River is home to some of the world’s best secluded fishing holes. Winter steelhead runs begin as early as October and continue through mid-April as determined fish wriggle their way to spawning grounds upstream. You can venture out on your own or hire an experienced guide through one of several high-quality outfitters. Little Creek Outfitters offer packages that include overnight and full-days of fishing fueled by hearty dutch-oven meals.
Grande Ronde, Wallowa & Imnaha Rivers
The stunning Wallowa Mountains provide an unforgettable, snow-draped backdrop for anglers casting their lines along the Grande Ronde, Wallowa and Imnaha Rivers in northeast Oregon. Visitors can expect healthy runs of wild and hatchery steelhead combined with numerous public access points along the banks of all three rivers. Find the best fishing holes through trial and error or hire one of the region’s experienced guides.
Pendleton River Parkway
For an entirely different Eastern Oregon fishing experience, pack up the family and head to the Pendleton River Parkway. Three miles of flat trails weave along the Umatilla River, through the heart of Pendleton, and past numerous fishing holes teaming with steelhead. Anglers have the most luck here from January to mid-April. When you need to warm up, the Parkway is an easy walk to Pendleton’s historic downtown and its western shops, brewery, and restaurants.