Snake River Fishing
Guided Fishing Trips - Hells Canyon
Drift Boat and Rafting
Drift fish or raft 50 miles of the Snake River through the protected and Wild section of Hells Canyon. These four-day trips include great smallmouth bass, giant sturgeon, catfish, steelhead, and world-class whitewater with several III and IV Class rapids.
Hells Canyon National Recreation Area
Hells Canyon, a ten-mile-wide canyon on the border of eastern Oregon and western Idaho, is the deepest river gorge in the United States and the second deepest in North America. At its lowest, 7,993 feet, Hells Canyon is 2,000 feet deeper than the Grand Canyon and averages 5,500 feet deep for over 70 miles.
The Snake River travels a 1,056-mile journey from its headwaters in Yellowstone Park to its confluence with the Columbia River. The Snake River tumbles hundreds of feet between the basalt and granite walls of Hells Canyon. Eagles and falcons soar above the ridges. More than 100 years ago, Chief Joseph and his tribe of Nez Perce Indians lived in Hells Canyon. The area and its milder winters also drew Shoshone-Bannock, Northern Paiute, and Cayuse Indians. The canyon walls display their fine petroglyphs and pictographs.
George with Smallmouth Bass
You’ll float 50 miles from the put-in at Hells Canyon Dam to the take-out at Pittsburg Landing. Four-day trips include exciting white water with several III and IV-class rapids such as Wild Sheep, Granite, Waterspout, and Rush Creek, to name a few.
Season: Fishing trips run from late April through early November. Cast-and-Blast option from mid-September to early November. You'll target sturgeon, trout, smallmouth bass, and chukar on the Idaho side of the river.
Sturgeon Fishing on the Snake River
Sturgeon: A sizable population of white sturgeon lives in the Hells Canyon area, and fishing is excellent because the dams on the Snake trap these huge fish. In both Idaho and Oregon, sturgeon are a catch-and-release-only species. These monsters can live to be 100 years of age and fish over 10 feet in length live in the river. (The majority caught are between six and eight feet.) The population of Snake River Sturgeon in Hells Canyon is exceptional thanks to the practice of catch-and-release for sturgeon for the last 70 years. Barbless hooks and heavy tackle are used.
Other Species: Smallmouth bass average 1-2 pounds. The largest to date weighed in at 4 pounds. Rainbow trout average 9 to 16 inches. Channel catfish weigh up to 10 pounds. The best time to catch them is just before dawn. You'll occasionally catch a catfish during the day while you're targeting the other species.
Guides, Boats, and Rafts:
Guides: The guides are expert oarsmen and anglers well-versed in the history, archaeology, and geology of Hells Canyon. They are also fine camp chefs. Guides are trained in first aid, CPR, and wilderness rescue. Two anglers per guide and boat.
Boats: 20-foot aluminum drift boats, roomy and stable with comfortable padded seats and watertight compartments to store firearms for the fall chukar hunts.
Rafts: 18-foot inflatable rafts carry four guests. One and two-person inflatable kayaks are also available. In mid-summer, the water is a comfortable 70 degrees, not in April and May.
Life Jackets: All adults and children are outfitted with Coast Guard-approved Type V life jackets.
Equipment and Fishing Licenses
Equipment: Each guide carries quality fishing gear and tackle for all species. You are also welcome to bring your own gear.
Fishing Licenses: are not included in the package. It's best to buy them for both Oregon and Idaho, as there will be opportunities for you to fish on both sides of the river. An angler must also have a steelhead tag to keep fin-clipped fish.
Hunting License: An Idaho upland bird-hunting license is required for Chukar and is not included in the package.
Shore Lunch: During the morning session, you can keep enough fish to grill for the lunch stop (except for sturgeon). Steelhead are in the river after mid-September.
Sample Fishing Day
Sample Day: Coffee and tea are ready early each morning. Hearty-cooked breakfast. You’ll usually be on the water by 10:00 a.m. During the day, you can stop to visit abandoned 100-year-old homesteads and pictograph sites or take some time off to hike and swim. Mid-day, a shore lunch is served along the river. When you arrive at camp, usually around 4:30 p.m., the tents will already be set up. You'll find your bag and select a tent for the evening. Enjoy appetizers before dinner.
Memories made with days spent fishing, spotting wildlife, floating alongside the rafts in your lifejacket, kayaking, stargazing, new friendships, and more.
Tent Camping on the Snake River
Each evening when you arrive at camp, the tents are set up and waiting for you. Roomy, 8’ x 10’ A-frame tents are tall enough to stand in. Two guests per tent with twin-sized cots and inflatable sleeping pads. The camp has a hot shower set-up. Sanitized toilets are placed in discreet locations close to camp and include a hand-washing station.
Communications: A satellite phone is available for emergency use on all trips. Cell service is not available in the Canyon.
Meals During the Trip
Meals: In the custom-built camp kitchen, Lynette and the guides produce a wide array of food. Breakfast includes a variety of free-range eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, French toast, fresh fruit, and juice. At lunchtime, there’s a sandwich and salad buffet, usually accompanied by the fish you’ve
caught that morning. Dinners feature thick, juicy New York steaks, George's fried chicken... Lynette is famous for her carrot cake and other homemade goodies. With advance notice, they can cater to special diets.
Alcohol: No alcohol is provided. The Camp is not licensed to serve alcohol, but you are welcome to bring whatever beverages you wish and store them in the camp's ice-filled ice chests.
Getting to the Trip Start:
Plan to arrive in Halfway, Oregon, the evening before your scheduled launch date. Halfway, Oregon, is a six-hour drive east of Portland, Oregon, and three hours northwest of Boise, Idaho.
After dinner, there is a brief orientation covering safety and an overview of the trip. This tradition has endured for over 30 years and has become an integral part of the river trip.
An overnight is required in Halfway and not included in the package. A list of recommended lodging is in our confirmation packet, and discounts are available for our guests.
The following morning, you'll drive 40 miles to the launch site at Hells Canyon Dam, about a 40-minute drive. The boats will be in the water, loaded with guides standing by.
The night before your rafting trip begins, you'll meet the group at 6:00 p.m. at The Halfway Outpost for Meet and Greet dinner with your crew and other guests. the outfitter will provide you with your dry bags, and you'll pack your gear in them that evening. Our outfitter suggests that you stay at The Pine Valley Lodge. After the meet amd greet dinner, enjoy an evening at the Pine Valley Lodge. Breakfast the following morning is included at this location. (The hotel night is not included in the package.)
Day 1: At 9:00 a.m., you'll meet the group at The Halfway Outpost for the shuttle to Hells Canyon Dam Visitors Center, where you'll put in. The guides will rig the boats. You'll raft all day with a stop for lunch along the river. Early evening, you'll pull into camp, where your tents are already set up for you.
Appetizers, dinner, and camaraderie.
Day 2-3: You'll awake to the sounds of the river. Enjoy coffee, tea, or cocoa in the morning before breakfast in camp. Followed by another day of rafting and fishing, with a stop along the river for lunch. Appetizers, dinner, and camaraderie.
Day 4: Watch the sun crest the canyon walls as you enjoy a hot beverage before breakfast. Pack up camp and begin rafting. Riverside lunch. Upon arrival at Kirkwood Ranch, the group will travel by Jet boat back to the Outpost. The two-hour Jetboat shuttle (approx. 30 river miles) to Hells Canyon dam is $100.00 and not included in the package.
2023 USD Rates:
Hells Canyon Drift Boat Fishing
Maximum of 10 guests
3-nights and 4-days guided fishing $2,100.00 per person
Hells Canyon Drift Boat Fishing and Chukar Hunt
Maximum of 10 guests
3-nights and 4-days guided fishing and hunting
$2,100.00 per person
Hells Canyon Summer Rafting
Maximum of 18 guests
3-nights and 4-days $1,600.00 per person
An orientation and special pre-launch dinner at their home/headquarters the evening before the trip; use of professional river equipment (20-foot drift boats, 18-foot Inflatable rafts, a paddle raft, inflatable kayaks, Coast Guard-approved life jackets, and waterproof bags for personal gear); tents with cots and thick, self-inflating sleeping pads; all meals on the river, use of fishing tackle, and a 3-percent Forest Service Use Fee.