Field and Stream, a longtime outdoor sports, hunting and fishing publication, recently named Hood River as a “Best Gamefishing Destination.”
The article (read at www.bit.ly/OGUZmR) lists world-class steelhead, salmon and bass fishing as well as several notable businesses in and around Hood River that make the area a top-notch destination for travelers looking to make fishing their activity of choice.
Hood River “offers a virtual Olympics of angling,” the article notes, with bronze-backed small-mouth bass, silver salmon and gold-medal rivers.
As an unofficial fishing tour map, the article offers these suggestions for touring the Gorge:
n Travis Duddles started tying flies commercially when he was 12 and opened the Gorge Fly Shop (gorgeflyshop.com) at 17. Twenty years later, Duddles and his team welcome local and visiting fly anglers to this Hood River institution.
n The fall run king salmon are called Chinook in these parts, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is predicting a strong surge in 2012. The Columbia also gets a good number of Silvers swimming upstream at this time of year. Best bets for both in early September include the mouths of the Deschutes, White Salmon and Klickitat rivers.
n Go native and reserve a rustic cabin at the Lost Lake Resort (lostlakeresort.org). Or if indoor plumbing and nearby bars are more your style, opt for the historic Hood River Hotel (hoodriverhotel.com) downtown.
n Steelhead and salmon get all the glory on the Gorge, but as local bass anglers know, the Columbia regularly produces 50-plus-fish days for Smallmouths up to 6 pounds. Toss a watermelon-colored tube bait against the shoreline or along current seams above Bonneville Dam for the best results.
n Nora’s Table (norastable.wordpress.com) makes the most out of the Gorge’s great ingredients with a local and seasonal menu that includes fresh sturgeon (among other amazing eats) and a locals-only wine list.
n With the hip crowd packed two deep at the bar of Double Mountain Brewery (doublemountainbrewery.com), you may have a hard time telling the steelheaders from the surfers. To find a fellow angler, just look for the telltale stains of hot-pink egg cure under his fingernails.
n Take a class on spey casting and put your drag to the test with Tom Larimer of Larimer Outfitters (larimeroutfitters.com), who runs steelhead camps on the Deschutes from June through the fall.