We asked one of our favorite people, Kayla Lockhart, to give us a few fishing tips (sadly, she didn’t give us any of her secret fishing spots, but we’ll take what we can get!). Here’s what she had to say.
In the Pacific NW, we’re totally spoiled with diverse fisheries. You can head up to a small mountain creek and catch sea run cutthroat or find yourself engulfed in the salmon fly hatch on the infamous Deschutes river in the high desert terrain. Or maybe some offshore fishing out of a dory is more your thing. Whatever type of fishing you choose, the summers here in the NW are incredible. So, grab your gear (my go-to on the water includes a Leatherman® Skeletool or Leatherman® Micra but here are a few more options) and get out there!
TOP 6 TIPS FOR SUMMERTIME FISHING IN THE NW
1. Relish the options.
Warmer temps mean more ways you can go fishing. Ditch those waders and boots and get wet by wading in a small mountain stream. Head out on a paddleboard or boat on your favorite lake. Or float one of the mighty rivers that are keystones in the Northwest.
2. So. Many. Fish.
I call it “ADD Fishing” because there are just so many species of fish to try to catch. Here’s the shortlist: the native Redside trout on the Deschutes and the smallmouth bass (underrated but I think one of the best!). Pro tip: the John Day Wilderness has great guide services to fish for smallmouth bass, and you can catch 20+ fish a day! I might get some side-eye looks, but…carp fishing is so much fun, and when the temps get hot, so does the carp fishing. Headed to the beach? Try to fish for surf perch or even rock bass ling cod.
3. Check yer dates.
Trout opener starts just before summer hits for most streams/rivers which is May 22nd. However, certain zones or fisheries could have different regulations, so it is always best to check with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife prior to getting out on the water.
4. Add camping to the mix.
Camping in the summertime is the best way to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and fishing is a great activity to add to the adventure. One of the easiest ways of incorporating this is one of the many lakes that we have here in the northwest. Pack a paddleboard, or a kayak or float tube - you can even find camping spots that rent boats out to get out on the water.
5. ODFW is a great guide.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife offers many resources to make fishing easier—whether it’s finding a fishery close to you, obtaining your fishing license through the ODFW app, or even finding when lakes are stocked with fish. It is a great tool to use when planning your next fishing trip.
6. Be respectful to nature and others.
Incredible weather means more crowded areas. For fishing, always keep these things in mind. Pack out what you pack in. If there is someone fishing a spot you were going to, give them adequate space and walk in the opposite direction that they are fishing.
Pro tip: A simple “Hey, are you fishing up river or down river?” goes a long way to show that person you see them, and you’re respecting their time on the river. Plus, maybe they will be your next best fishing bud or even give you the secret fly that is working… ;)
I hope these pointers inspire you to explore the waters that we have here in the Northwest. We are all privileged to have access to them, and the more people we have out there fishing and connecting in the outdoors, the more care we will have for these resources. So, grab your fly rod or fishing pole, get out there, and always remember – catching the fish is just a bonus!
Kayla Lockhart is an avid fly fisher, traveler, artist, conservationist and general outdoor enthusiast. Follow her on Instagram.
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