Fishing Secrets Oregon Fishing Guides Don’t Want You to Know


When it comes to catching salmon and steelhead in Oregon’s beautiful Pacific Northwest, every fishing guide has their own list of secret weapons. However, not all Oregon Fishing Guides want you to know these secrets due to the fact it’s taken years of blood, sweet and tears to develop them.

They huddle over their setups, tucking it away from peering eyes as they tie on that little extra something. A few drifts later like magic there are limits in the boat and the trip is over before the day has even begun.

The real secret is that fishing isn’t rocket science and in truth that secret technique doesn’t remain a secret for very long, especially if it works. This bring us to our first secret that Oregon Fishing Guides don’t want you to know.



Salmon will hit almost anything


In a world of mega sponsors and endless fishing gear, lures, and baits the truth of the matter is that 90% of an angler’s success is determined by being in the right place at the right time.  Salmon and steelhead will try to eat almost anything you put in front of them if they’re hungry. For example, one time we decided to throw on one of our soft fishing beads on while we were trolling a riff. Generally, we fish natural bait like cut plug or possible trolling spinners when fishing for fall salmon. This time however, it was just a single soft bead and whammy! it was fish on. Granted we understand the effectiveness of soft beads, but generally you would never troll them behind a flasher.

Usually you fish soft beads under a float or drift them off the bottom. Point and case, if the fish are there and hungry you could throw almost anything that sparkles or stinks and catch them. Over the years I’ve seen fish hit all kids of crazy things, gum drops, cheese chunks, spam, liver, chicken, peanut butter, corn, dog food, even cigarette butts. You name it, if the fish are hungry, they’ll probably give it a try. Still we would never suggest using a cigarette butt. The most successful anglers generally stick to whatever is closest to a fish species natural food source. This invariably will always produce the absolute best results.


 GPS Coordinates of fishing hot spots


If you want to see a contorted facial expression from your fishing guides, just ask them for their GPS coordinates hence longitude latitude of their favorite fishing hotspots? Just be warned you might not like the response you’ll receive. Some Portland fishing guides spend years learning the waters and marking all their spots. The real pros don’t even need to because they’ve been doing it for so long that they know very pool, every eddy like the back of their hand.

As far as them dishing it out, some might just do it, but rest assured they hold out on the locations that count the most. Still, I don’t recommend you ask them,  instead get a boat and get on the water and learn for yourself. As they say, every day on the water is money well spent.


 If You Don’t Catch Fish, The Trip isn’t Free


This is one of the dirty little secrets most fishing guides will try to avoid. If the fishing goes south and no fish are caught, some Oregon fishing guides might offer a discount. Truth be told there are just some days you don’t catch fish. This doesn’t mean you get a free ride. The amount of money a guide has to spend just the put the boat on the water is enough to turn most peoples faces pale. Not to mention, the time spent for maintaining the boat and clean up after.  If fishing Guides started dishing out free trips on no catch days, they’d probably go out of business fairly soon. Just keep in mind, you’d probably pay the same for a scenic boat ride. Basically, it boils down to the worst-case scenario being that you’ll see some of the most beautiful creatures and natural surroundings the region has to offer. Even better you still likely to catch a bunch of fish too.



Fishing Guides Are Superstitious


Almost every fishing guide on the water has their superstitions. Some guides have their lucky hat or lucky lure, while others a lucky pole,  lucky stink, you name it. However, when it comes to thing that can ruin the mood, one of the big bad juju moves is to bring a banana on the boat. I’ve seen guides literally put someone the bank for bringing a banana. Most will let you know ahead of time, but I recommend that you choose another fruit for your lunch sack when you go on your trip. Unless of course you’re looking to intentionally pissing off your guide. Remember bring good juju not bad. Everyone on the boat will like you all the more for it and you won’t find yourself stranded on the bank wondering why nobody thought your joke was a big funny.

We have to stop fishing so I can pick up the next group


Be sure you know what you paid for. Before you begin your journey on the water firm up on if you’ve purchases a day trip of half day. Granted on some occasions Oregon fishing guides will run a whole day trip for the price of a half day, but don’t be surprised if you paid for a half day and find that the fishing was slow and your packing it in any way because there’s another  group for the day. Granted this generally only happens with guides that might not exactly manage their time well. But overall, you’ll need to understand the exact terms of your trip before getting underway.


Tips are not required


This is obviously one of those things that no all guides will volunteer, however tipping your fishing guide is not a requirement. Granted if you enjoy your experience, you should indeed provide a tip, but do so if you feel they deserve it, not because your feel obligated. Any guide worth their salt will be more than grateful for your generosity and showing your appreciation is never a bad thing.

Don’t be afraid to ask about expectations


As a client you should always let your fishing guide know your expectations. In addition you should find out what their expectations’ are as well. Good communication is key to a successful trip. Follow your guides instructions. Remember your in the boat with a pro, they are there to teach you the ropes for the area your fishing.  Your fishing guide can be a tremendous resource and in some cases a trusted friend. Several fishing guides develop relationships with their clients and take theme fishing over and over again. If you find a good one recommend them to your peers. They will be grateful for your support and more than happy to continue providing those unforgettable moments that will last a lifetime.


All in all even though there are a few secrets your fishing guide might not want you to know, once you get on the water they’ll probably dish out more secrets than you’ll ever need. Especially if your not an avid angler. One thing for sure, if you find a good Oregon fishing guide, once you develop a relationship with them you will find that they will do their best to share the very same secrets that made them a success.


This post is brought to you by

Oregon Fishing Guide

Buddy Dupell


Columbia River Fishing Adventure









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