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John Day River, Bass
John Day River, Bass
John Day River, Bass
John Day River, Bass
John Day River, Bass
John Day River, Bass
John Day River, Bass
John Day River, Bass
John Day River, Bass
John Day River, Bass

Details

  • Fresh Water
  • Season

    June - August. The season may be affected by a low snow pack and start earlier or a large one and start and end later.
  • The 2017 multi day float trip rate $500 per person per day.
  • Number of guests

    The trips are typically booked in groups of 2 anglers per guide. The maximum is usually 3 boats for 6 anglers.
  • Species:
    • Smallmouth Bass

John Day River, Bass

United States >> Oregon >> Condon
Fishing and Species
Floating through the scenic and isolated John Day Canyon, fly rod in hand, covering miles of water that is thick with bass, is really fun. Fishing is done with dry flies, poppers, nymphs or streamers. All of these methods to catch them work at one time or another. It is summer and the days are long so you can fish your brains out or hang back a little. Bass range from 1 to 5 lbs, with some larger ones caught. There is time for some wade fishing too.

The John Day River offers some of the best Smallmouth Bass fishing in the country. In 1971, approximately 75 Smallmouth Bass were introduced to the river and since then they have flourished! Bass season is at its peak from mid-June to the end of August. It is not uncommon to hook in 20 to 75 fish per rod per day. These fish average from 8-12", with larger fish in the 18-20" range. The big fish for 2004 was a monster that weighed 6.4 lbs! It is a pleasure to float on this river with no bridges for 90 miles. It winds through vast ranches and BLM land with hardly any access except by floating. The John Day River offers some of the best Smallmouth Bass fishing in the country.  Bass season is at its peak from mid-June to mid August, depending on river flows. It is not uncommon to hook in 20 to 75 fish per rod per day. These fish average from 8-12", with larger fish in the 18-20" range. It is a pleasure to float on this river with no bridges for 90 miles. It winds through vast ranches and BLM land with hardly any access except by floating.

This is the perfect river to introduce new flycasters to the sport, as the fish are typically aggressive and plentiful. Like all bass, their activity level is affected by water temperatures. The majority of the fishing is done from the boat while floating between camps. There is also time for wade fishing during the day and around camp. When the shade is on the water, it is a good time to fish with poppers and surface bugs. With high sun, flies of choice are typically muddlers, small leeches, woolly buggers and nymphs. Typically anglers spend the night before the trip in Condon, Oregon, then launch in the morning. Single day trips are an option as well for anglers limited on time or don’t want to camp. Local B&B accommodations are available.

The John Day is home to huge runs of Steelhead and Chinook Salmon. At present, the system has one of the last all-wild runs of anadromous fish east of the Cascade Mountains. Running over 500 miles, the John Day is the second longest free-flowing stream in the United States. It is protected as a “Wild and Scenic” river under Oregon Scenic Waterways Act. The country is characterized by steep basalt canyon walls, juniper, and sagebrush dotted hills, abandoned homesteads, and petroglyphs. This is one of the most culturally rich river corridors in the state. Human presence in this system spans more than 10,000 years. 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. It was the discovery of gold in 1860 that advanced pioneer settlement. The John Day River is truly the Grand Canyon of Oregon.