Some of the best Smallmouth Bass fishing in the country takes place on the John Day River. Bass season is at its peak from mid-June to the end of August. It is not uncommon to hook in excess of 75 fish per rod per day. These fish average from 8-12″, with larger fish in the 18-20″ range. We offer day floats and multi day floats.
Running more than 500 miles, the John Day is the third longest free-flowing river in the contiguous United States. It is protected as a “Wild and Scenic” river under Oregon Scenic Waterways Act. The river’s serpentine course meanders along steep basalt canyon walls, juniper and sagebrush-dotted hills, abandoned homesteads, and petroglyphs. This is one of the most culturally rich river corridors in Oregon. For thousands of years the Northern Paiute lived on this river they called the Mah-Hah. In 1805 these canyon dwellers met their first Europeans, the Lewis and Clark expedition. In 1812, the river was renamed the John Day after one of the members of the Astor-Hunt overland party. The John Day River is truly the Grand Canyon of Oregon.
The John Day is also arguably the finest smallmouth bass fishery west of the Mississippi. Anglers of all skill levels can enjoy insanely high rates of feisty smallmouth bass while experiencing one of the West’s most interesting and least traveled wilderness float trips.
Bass season is at its peak from mid-June to the end of August. It is not uncommon to hook in excess of 75 fish per rod per day. This is the perfect river to introduce new flycasters to the sport, as the fish are typically aggressive and plentiful. The majority of the fishing is done from the boat and from the banks targeting feeding fish. When the shade is on the water we fish with poppers and surface bugs, sun on the water flies are typically muddlers and woolly buggers.
For families and private parties keen on fly fishing success, these multi-day rafting trips provide a high level of adventure while not sacrificing comfort.