If you’ve never fished in the Portland, Oregon area, it’s an unforgettable destination with some of the best fishing in the world. The Willamette River and Columbia River offer a wide variety of fish to target, including Chinook and Coho salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, walleye, bass, and more.
Whether you’re a local angler or investing in a fishing charter for the first time, it’s essential to know what to expect from your fishing guide. Below, we outline everything you need to know before embarking on a Portland fishing adventure.
First, let’s discuss what a fishing guide is.
A fishing guide is a professional who takes you out on their boat to fish in desired areas. Fishing guides are professionals with years of experience, and have an intimate knowledge of the area and species you’re targeting.
The best fishing guides have a wealth of knowledge about the areas you’ll be fishing. In addition, they should be able to provide quality gear and fishing tackle to use during your trip.
Now that we’ve established what a fishing guide is, let’s discuss what you can expect from them during your charter.
Fishing Guides Should be Patient and Willing to Teach
Not everyone who goes on a fishing charter is an experienced angler. But unsurprisingly, many people book fishing trips to learn more about and experience the sport firsthand. That’s why it’s essential to choose a guide who is patient and willing to teach.
An experienced fishing guide will always be patient with beginners and take the time to explain things in a way everyone can understand. In addition, they should be willing to teach new techniques or share their knowledge of the area.
It’s a good idea to ask your guide about their fishing style before booking a trip. For instance, does the fishing guide prefer to charter for experienced anglers only? Or are they open to chartering for beginners as well? By learning more about the guide’s preferences, you can be sure to choose one that’s a good fit for your group.
Your Fishing Guide Should be Knowledgeable About the Area And Species
Among the most important things to look for in a guide is their knowledge of the area and species you’ll be targeting.
Charter fishing guides have a wealth of knowledge about the local fisheries and the best spots to fish for certain species. In addition, they should be up to date on where the fishing are currently biting, as well as the latest fishing regulations.
In addition, a good guide will know much about the fish you’re targeting. They should be able to tell you about the fish’s habits, diet, and life cycle. This information forms the basis they use to choose the best bait and techniques to use on your guided fishing trip.
Guides Know The Ebbs And Flows
The waters in Portland, Oregon, are constantly changing due to the tides, currents, and weather conditions. Because of this, it’s essential to have a guide who is in tune with these changes and knows how they will affect your fishing trip.
A quality guide can adapt to the ever-changing conditions and help you maximize your time on the water. They should know when the best times to fish are so you can target the species you want to catch.
For instance, when fishing for salmon in the Columbia River, the best times to fish tend towards early morning or later in the evening when the water is cooler. The reason why is because salmon are cold-blooded fish and are more active in cooler water temperatures.
Salmon season in the Columbia River typically runs from April through October, as the various runs of salmon make their way up to river to their spawning grounds. However, the ideal time for salmon fishing will vary depending on the specific location within the river and the species you are targeting. Your guide will know these details when planning your trip.
Safety is Paramount
Boating can and should be a fun experience. But the truth is that boating can also be dangerous. That’s why choosing a guide who puts safety first and foremost is essential.
A good guide will always adhere to safe boating practices, such as maintaining a proper lookout, checking the weather and marine forecast before heading out, and using functioning navigation lights in dim, dark, or foggy conditions. In addition, they should know first aid and CPR in an emergency.
It’s always a good idea to ask your guide about their safety policies before booking a trip to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding water safety.
A Good Guide Should Prepare For The Unexpected
No matter how experienced a guide is, there’s always the potential for something unexpected to occur while out on the water.
A responsible fishing guide will always have a plan B (and C) in place in bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances. They should have safety equipment, such as a life jacket for everyone on board, a first-aid kit, and a fire extinguisher onboard the watercraft.
Don’t forget to ask your guide about their insurance coverage before booking a trip. Legitimate and reputable fishing guides and charter companies insure their boats and business interests to provide the safest and best experience possible.
Sets Reasonable Expectations
Fishing is a sport that can be unpredictable, no matter how much experience you have. That’s why choosing a guide who sets reasonable expectations for your trip is essential.
A trusted fishing guide will always be upfront about the risks involved in fishing and the chances of success. In addition, they should be honest about the experience required for specific techniques or areas.
It’s a good idea to ask your guide about their cancellation and other policies before booking a trip. This way, you can avoid surprises.
Keep in mind that depending on the boat policies, you may be unable to keep your fish. So if keeping your catch is essential to you, ask about this before booking a trip.
Makes Sure You’re On The Right Boat
Not all fishing and charter boats are created equal, and not all are suitable for every type of fishing. That’s why it’s crucial to have a guide who can match you with the right boat for your trip.
For instance, if you’re planning on fishing for salmon in the Columbia River, you’ll need a boat that can handle the heavy currents. A smaller boat might be fine for fishing in a lake, but it could get swept away in the river’s strong currents.
It’s wise to ensure that your boat has all the necessary safety equipment, including life jackets, a first-aid kit, an emergency radio, and a fire extinguisher.
A good guide will ensure the boat is clean and comfortable to enjoy your time on the water.
A Good Fishing Guide Will Communicate Well
Among the essential qualities of a good fishing guide is having strong communication skills. There are two important reasons why.
First, their guests must understand their fishing guide’s instructions to stay safe while fishing. Secondly, guests must communicate their needs and wants to the guide to tailor the trip to these wishes.
Experienced and caring fishing guides ensure all guests understand their instructions before heading out on the water. In addition, they should be patient and willing to answer any questions you might have.
Choosing a guide with good communication skills is essential so you can feel comfortable discussing your fishing goals for the trip. This way, they can tailor the trip to your specific needs and preferences.
In addition to communicating about the trip, a solid fishing guide will update guests on what’s happening while you’re on the water. For example, they should let you know when they’re going to move to a new spot, what fish are biting, and how the overall conditions are.
And maybe they will even have a fish story or two to tell!
Utilizes Technology To Optimize The Experience
Not only do the best fishing guides rely on previous experience and intuition to find the perfect spot to fish, but they utilize technology to aid in a successful fishing trip.
For example, GPS tracking can help a guide locate areas that have previously been successful for other anglers.
Other onboard technology, such as fish finders, can identify fish and underwater structures that could hold fish. Again, this information is critical for success, and your fishing guide should utilize technology to their best advantage.
The best guides will use every tool at their disposal to optimize your experience and help you catch fish.
Aims To Make Every Fishing Excursion Memorable And Successful
The best fishing guides aim to make every fishing trip memorable and successful.
They do this by providing a high level of customer service and using their knowledge and experience to ensure that you have a great time on the water.
So if you’re thinking about planning a salmon fishing trip in Portland, Oregon, talk to the experienced fishing guides at Portland Oregon Fishing Adventures today.