COLUMBIA RIVER AND COLUMBIA GORGE: IF YOU GO
Here's a closer look at the Columbia River, white sturgeon fishing, and places to check out if you make the trip:
About the river
- The Columbia River flows 1,243 miles from its source in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia and ends in the Pacific Ocean. The river in British Columbia flows north and west initially, then south into Washington, eventually turning west and forming the border between Washington and Oregon.
- The Columbia Gorge, which is carved through the Cascade Mountains along the Washington-Oregon border, extends about 80 miles from Biggs, Ore., and west nearly to Portland, Ore., on the Oregon shore, and from Maryhill, Wash., to Vancouver, Wash., along the Washington side of the river. Info: Columbia River Gorge Visitors Association, www.crgva.org.
About the guide
- Oregon fishing guide Charlie Foster of Northwest Sturgeon Adventures charges $150 per person daily for the first four people and half price for the fifth person. All gear and bait is supplied, and lunch is included on full-day trips. Foster has daily licenses, which cost $16.50, onboard. He also offers half-day trips for $90 per person and $50 for the fifth person.
- Foster fishes in a 22-foot Alumaweld that comfortably accommodates five anglers and has a full top for inclement weather. The top also provides welcome shade during warm, sunny days, as we discovered during our recent trip.
- Foster, who logs about 275 days on the water annually, fishes the Columbia River from early July through fall and the Willamette River, a tributary, during the winter months through early summer.
- For more information, contact Foster at (503) 820-1189 or check out his website at www.nwsturgeonadventures.com.
- Lodging: We rented a house through the Bridge of Gods Motel in Cascade Locks, Ore., in the heart of the Columbia Gorge. The house comfortably accommodated five of us, and one of the crew negotiated a reduced rate. The house was less than 10 minutes from the boat ramp on the first day of our trip and about 45 minutes from the ramp where we fished the second day. It's also close to several attractions in the Gorge. Info: bridgeofgodsmotel.com.
- Hatchery: Check out the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, where the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife raises trout, salmon, steelhead and sturgeon. The big attraction -- literally -- is Herman, a 70-plus-year-old white sturgeon that exceeds 10 feet in length and weighs nearly 500 pounds.
- Multnomah Falls: Just down Interstate 84 from the hatchery is 611-foot Multnomah Falls, a popular tourist attraction. Expect lots of company, especially on weekends. If you're feeling adventurous -- and in shape -- hike the steep trail with its 11 switchbacks to the top of the falls. It's a workout and a half, but definitely worth the trek once you're there. Info: www.oregon.com/attractions/Multnomah_falls.