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Columbia River Sturgeon Fishing Trips in the Pacific Northwest

When it comes to Columbia River sturgeon fishing trips, Oregon is one of the few places on earth an angler can still catch one of the largest freshwater fish in existence today, the infamous white sturgeon. In the Pacific Northwest there’s two species of sturgeon that reside in the various waterways of the region. The first being the green sturgeon, which is the smaller of the species reaching approximately 7ft. in length and 350 lbs. Amazingly enough these fish can live to be 70 years old, however, retention of green sturgeon is illegal because at this time they’re currently listed as threatened by the ESA. This is largely due to the decline in adequate fish habitat for the various fish populations. Never fear, on the Columbia you can still fish for the green sturgeons bigger brother, the infamous white sturgeon. White sturgeon are more commonly found in the deep waters of the of the Columbia and are by far the larger of the Pacific Northwest sturgeon species. We love to target these amazing fish on our various Oregon Sturgeon Fishing Trips and go after them pretty much all year long.

limits of keeper sturgeon caught on the Columbia River

Interestingly enough, this ancient fish predates the time of the dinosaurs and can literally grow in excess of 14 ft. in length and weigh over 1000lbs. Even more amazing, they can live to be older 100 years old. Granted, finding white sturgeon of that size are fairly rare today, it’s still fairly common to catch them in the 12ft. – 600 lbs. range in several sections of the Columbia River. Also the Columbia River is one of the few places sturgeon retention is still allowed in Oregon. Keep in mind the larger fish have to be released due to the decline white sturgeon populations over recent years. The fact that white sturgeon are not listed as endangered is the only reason Washington and Oregon still allow retention although in a limited capacity.

Columbia River Keeper Sturgeon fishing

White sturgeon in the 4-5 foot range are referred to as keeper sturgeon. These fish can be retained during certain times of the year depending on the regulations set forth by the Oregon and Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife. The great thing about keeper sturgeon is that the meat is of exceptional quality. Sturgeon does not have a strong fishy flavor and the meat is firm unlike other popular white fish like cod or halibut. Another great thing about sturgeon is that there are no small bones. It offers a delicate flavor and has a consistency similar to chicken. Sturgeon of keeper size were prized among Russian royalty at the dinner table and once you try some for yourself it’s easy to see why.

Sturgeon caught on an Oregon keeper sturgeon fishing trip

Whether you’re interested in going after keeper fish or chasing record class sturgeon you’re in luck. We are one of the few Northwest sturgeon fishing guides that target these fish all year long.  We not only fish both Trophy class and keeper sturgeon, we also target salmon, steelhead, and walleye as well. Many times we’ll even do doubles and fish for salmon in the early morning hours and go after sturgeon in the afternoon. Keep in mind the fish we target largely depends on the times allowed by the Department of Fish and Wildlife due to the various in season fishing rule changes. If you’d like to target more than one species and go for doubles just let us know. These trips start in the early morning and tend to run into the late afternoon but we’re sure you’ll enjoy the double limits, basically a sturgeon fishing trip and salmon fishing trip all in one.

double catches of both sturgeon and salmon on the Columbia River

The catch and release sturgeon fishery generally takes place in the lower sections of the Columbia from the mouth up to the Bonneville Dam. There are several great spots like the Multnomah Channel and the Willamette River to catch them. Also, further up river at the I-5 bridge and up near the Bonneville. The sections of the Columbia below the Bonneville Dam are part of the catch and release sturgeon fishery. Up above the bonneville in certain section keeper sturgeon fishing is allowed. These keeper fish are generally targeted during the spring and fall. For example, the John Day dam and just below the McNary are a couple of great spots to target these fish. The Columbia River Gorge is definitely one of our favorite areas of the Columbia to target sturgeon as well. This section has one of the strongest sturgeon populations in the region with plenty of keeper fish to go after as well as a few monsters. Our clients love our Oregon sturgeon fishing trips in this section because the catch rates are phenomenal. It is not unreasonable to literally have over 50 hookups with these gnarly fish on just one trip.

limits of Columbia river sturgeon on the deck

When fishing for sturgeon it’s important to understand that you need to fish fairly heavy gear for when you hook into one. For example, even the small ones generally weigh around 40-60 lbs. We like to use the size 8-12 gamakatsu octopus hooks and use about 2-6 oz lead weight to get our setup down to the bottom. Sturgeon are considered opportunistic bottom feeders, however, they will chase down bait as well. We’ve had several clients reeling in to do a bait check when suddenly their setup get’s slammed. After that the fight is on. When it comes to bait, shad is probably our favorite bait to use. Sturgeon like to go after shad during the spring time when the shad inter hte Columbia to spawn.  Don’t have any shad? That’s perfectly ok. Sturgeon also love lamprey, shrimp, herring, mussels, clams, smelt, anchovies and other dead stuff, some guys swear by chicken livers or even hot dogs. I’ve even heard of guys shooting some WD-40 on their baits to inspire the bite. On our sturgeon fishing trips, we at Columbia River Fishing Adventures tend to stick to baits that are part of the Pacific Northwest Sturgeons natural diet. It’s always worked great and has never failed us thus far.

Check out this trophy class sturgeon caught on our Columbia Rive Sturgeon fishing trip

Once you get your bait one and start fishing it’s just a matter of doing whatever works best for you. Some anglers like to plunk it. Basically let it drop to the bottom and leave it there till the fish takes it. Although this is a fairly effective method, we like to work the baits off the bottom in the deep free flowing water of the Columbia where sturgeon like to hang out and feed. Basically Sturgeon jigging. You, simply let your set up drop to the bottom and occasionally work the bait up and down in the water till you entice one of those monsters to take a bite. Once you feel a tug you give it a yank and that is when the magic happens. I have to say that even after all these years as a sturgeon fishing guide, one of the amazing aspects of catching a sturgeon is that even though they are an exceptionally large fish they tend to surface with such ferocity that it literally gets the heart pumping to see one of the beasts leap from the water. Anytime a fish over 100lbs. catches air and slaps it’s body on the river’s surface the wake it leave behind will definitely get the boat a rocking. There’s also nothing quite like the sound of a squealing reel as a sturgeon peels off the line off while making a run for it. These fish will literally toe the boat around as well as give the old arms the kind of workout you’ll never forget. However in this case you’ve love every second of feeling the burn.

Once the fish finally rolls over and give up it’s belly, you’ll know it’s finally surrendered. From that point it’s time to get out the camera for a photo shoot. After a healthy dose of glamour shots, we safely set the beast go back to the deep or we start cutting up your keeper fish to take home. In the end you’ll have pictures of yourself and one of the oldest fish on earth or a pile of meat to enjoy with your friends, family and loved ones at the dinner table. Even better both. As long time Oregon fishing guides we always strive to provide Columbia River sturgeon fishing trips like no others. Contact Buddy Dupell of Columbia River Fishing Adventures and book your guided sturgeon fishing trip today. The best way to get ahold of Buddy is on the phone. You can give him a all at 503-490-3099. Book your trip now, as these Columbia River sturgeon fishing trips fill up fast.



Oregon Sturgeon fishing guides
Buddy Dupell
Columbia River Fishing Adventures
19580 S Kalal Ct, Oregon City, OR 97045



Trolling Spinners for salmon on the Columbia

Beautiful Chinook salmon caught with the ‘Fire Squid” Salmon Trolling Spinner by Dirty Troll 

When it comes to fishing the Columbia River every angler knows trolling spinners is very effective methods for catching salmon. Of course trolling bait, cut plug herring, plugs wrapped in tuna, spoons, and hoochies, all have their place. Trolling spinners for salmon on the Columbia is by far one of our favorite methods. 

Don’t get me wrong, bait is still extremely effective, but when bait fails Trolling spinners are more likely to get fish in the boat 

Best Trolling Spinners 

When deciding on what trolling spinner to buy, we tend to focus on quality. As a fishing guide it’s important to use the highest quality products on the market or make your own. This will overall ensure the success of ones business. our favorite trolling spinner are made by a small manufacture that makes the Dirty Troll.  The Dirty Troll is unique in the world of trolling spinners in that they’re made of high-quality parts, like natural gemstone beads, brilliant spinner blades with various UV paints and quality metals like gold, silver, and copper. They also use high end aftermarket hooks for example VMCMatzuo and Gamakatsu.  To us this is a very important factor. We simply have no desire to waste time cutting the poor-quality hooks off the spinners to put the goods one on ourselves like we’ve done in the past.  In this case Dirty Troll does it for you with some of these hooks retailing for a $1 each. 

Fall Chinook caught with the “Death Star” Trolling Spinner by Dirty Troll. 

Trolling Spinner Element’s  

One of the key elements to trolling spinners for salmon on the Columbia is that you need a spinner that is light enough not to interfere with the movement of the flasher. We use the 9” Pro-Troll flashers for running our spinners and prefer spinners with the #3 or #3.5 Colorado blades. These blades really engage well in the water and can be run at slow trolling speeds which is great for targeting chinook.  

Over the years one of the things we have come to learn is that Chinook tend to bite when trolling at slower speeds. Coho on the other hand usually bite when trolling at faster speeds. This makes the Dirty Troll Colorado perfect for beefing up your spinner game and catching Columbia River Salmon.  

Choosing The Right Colors

 An important element of trolling spinners for salmon is choosing the correct colors. Selecting the the right colors can be the difference between catching limits or spending hours on the water and going home with empty cooler. One of the things we’ve found over the years is that Columbia River salmon are responsive to just a few colors. If you’re looking to the absolute best opportunity for success, we have found that fall chinook love reds, greens, pinks, or chartreuse.

 These four colors have proven effective over and over again for catching fall salmon and that we use religiously to make the magic happen. Another element of coloration that is important is contrast. High contrast lures tend to be more effective at catching fish than lures that are just one solid color.  

The last element of coloration has to do with Ultra Violet light spectrums. As humans we are unable to see light through the UV spectrum. Fish on the other hand can see through the ultra violet spectrum and in low light conditions this allows them to see their food as well as avoid predators.  

Apply Scent    

Given that fish have an exceptional sense of smell and most importantly use it to find food, scent is among one of the most vital factors to consider when trying to attract fish. When applying scent to your trolling spinner it’s always a best practice to select a scent that most closely matches food source of the fish species your targeting. We like herring, shrimp, krill, sardine and anchovy which have all proven to work well.  

Add Natural Bait  

Another effective option for catching fall salmon with spinners is to apply actual bait to your spinner. We do this sometimes then the bite dies off and we’re not getting any action. Place a chunk of herring on the end of the hook of your spinner or possibly a shrimp tail. This can provide a nice little change of pace and get the fish biting again. Remember for optimal results we recommend using bait that is a natural food source for the species of fish your trying to catch. However, we have also had decent results with other bait option such as tuna that has been spiced with a cocktail of stinky stuff prove quite effective, we prefer the natural stuff.   

Nice Chinook caught with the Dirty Troll Sparkler hoochie spinner

On the Troll 

When trolling spinners for fall Chinook on the Columbia you should get your gear down anywhere from 30’ to 50’ depending on which part of the river you’re fishing. Troll at about 3-5 mph keeping the gear low and slow! This ensures that you’re getting the spinners in front of the fish and so the magic can happen. Once you see your rod get bent over and over again, it’s hard to fish anything else. The only down side is that when we troll spinners on the Columbia, we tend to limit out pretty fast. Definitely a great way to get these fish in the boat.   

There are three Dirty Troll spinners we love that just can’t be beat.  The first and probably our most favorite is the Dirty Troll Full-Scale Assault “Pink Nightmare” spinner, the Dirty Troll Death Star and Sparkler spinners have proven effective as well. Also the Fire Squid spinneris another winner. Alof them excellent trolling spinners for catching these feisty Columbia River salmon.  These spinners are very effective and are one of the ways we are able to get the fish biting and keep our clients on the fish. The end result is satisfied customers and limits of fish in the boat.  

In Conclusion 

If you’re looking for an effective method of fishing for fall chinook on the Columbia River, we recommend trying the methods mentioned above while trolling spinners for fall Chinook. It’s a fun and effective way to catch fish and rarely disappoints when applied properly. If you’d like to experience trolling spinners for yourself on the Columbia River feel free to give us a call. We book Columbia River fishing trips year-round on the Columbia and would be more than happy to help you call 503-490-3099. 

Also if your not a fan of salmon as a long time Northwest walleye fishing guide we’d be more than happy to offers a guided walleye fishing trip on the Columbia river as well.








What is the Best Spinning Reel for the Money?

Spinning reels are a useful device that every avid fisher should have in their arsenal. These are so popular among anglers of all skill levels since they are really lightweight, intuitive, and easy to use. However, not all spinning reels have created an equivalent. Since this type of reel is such a crucial part of the fishing procedure, it is imperative to find a superb spinning reel on the stock market. Here are some suggestions and tricks to assist you to locate leading one for your requirements.

Material and Construction

The building of spinning reel is essential to your fishing success. It’s important to pick a reel that is durably created so you’ll be able to get years of use from it. To test the construction of the reel, consider how the parts are constructed. Everything must feel strong, without defective pieces, and the products need to think heavy duty. When the reel is in movement, the action must believe smooth and comfortable.

It’s likewise useful to think about the material your reel is made of. Generally, spinning reels are made from either graphite or aluminum. There are have benefits and drawbacks to both materials. Aluminum reels are powerful, but they could additionally be very heavy, which can be a challenge for some fishers. But, their construction tends to be more robust. Graphite reels are lighter and less complicated to handle, which make them an excellent choice for beginner fishers. They’re also necessary for anyone which fishes in saltwater because graphite does not corrode in the same way additional materials do.

Quickness and Equipment Ratio

The velocity at which your wheel revolves may influence the level of control you invite the reel. To establish what rate you need for your best spinning reels 2018, you’ll have to look at the gear ratio of your reel. The equipment ratio shows the number of times the reel turns with the turning of the handle. A higher equipment rotation means the gear will revolve much faster. For new fishers, a sluggish to mid-range equipment rotation is going to be the best reliable for control. And also as I avoided to earlier, you need to quickly manage to locate a functional spinning reel for under $50. Just ensure you stay away from unidentified produces and insanely inexpensive price tags.


Because spinning reels can be quite substantial, the total volume is significant to think about. The weight will also be directly correlated with the weight of the line you plan to make use of. For bigger fish, you will need to use a more substantial line. If you are utilizing a much heavier line, it is necessary that best spinning reel under $100 can deal with the added weight. Nonetheless, it’s also crucial to consider how the reel manages generally. If you do not have much top body strength, it’s best initially a light reel and works your way up to heavier angling.

Spindle Quality

Another element is important to consider the overall quality of the spool on the spinning reel. The method the spindle is built will influence the designs and overall handling while you’re casting. There are 2 types of spools – inner and skirted. Skirted spindles are generally the recommended design of reel in modern-day fishing since they help prevent tangling of the line. For those who choose a longer casting distance, it might likewise be helpful to seek a lengthy actor’s spindle that will get to a lot further. The cast and feel of the spool is something that’s important to test prior to buying something. At the end of the day, the location of the drag is really around whatever you like the best spinning reels 2018. Whichever position is a lot more comfy to you is the one you need to go with. As I said, I love having my drag modification get on the spool of my spinning reels, so the kind I buy.


Fishing products can be costly, so it’s essential to get a reel that will give you the best worth for money. You might have to spend even more to obtain the quality you need, but it is necessary to earn sure the cost straight corresponds to the worth of the reel. A great reel is an investment piece, so do not wait to take your time searching to find the greatest spinning reel on the market.

There are many aspects to think about when searching for a spinning reel. The total construction, as well as handling of the product, is necessary to the means the reel handles. When unsure, aim to most likely to a local angling shop and test the reels in person with the help of a professional. This will assist you to discover the reel that is the best fit for you.

An Excellent Spinning Reel Can Make All the Variation

If you are an inexperienced angler, you may not understand the significance of excellent fishing reel. I’m referring to spinning reels more than any other type of angling reel, just because spinning reels are what I utilize for 95% of my fishing. A great reel really can make all the distinction worldwide.

The exciting thing is that when it pertains to angling reels, words excellent doesn’t have to imply expensively. In fact, you should be able to discover a very functional spinning frame for under $50. There are a few points that need to be remembered when trying to find a spinning reel, which is what I’m planning to discuss in this post.

The drag may either be located on the spool of the spinning reel or at the heel of the reel, in the form of a dial. The dial type drags situated at the heel of the spinning reel is very practical, yet usually, experience, even more, changes troubles than having the drag situated at the spindle in my experience.

The various primary considerations when it pertains to buy best spinning reel under $100, the variety of ball bearings that the reel has. For example, in the description of most spinning reels, it will tell you how many round bearings it has. The standard rule is the extra ball bearings the far better. This might sound odd, but it’s true. You see, the more ball bearings, the much less play the reel will certainly have.