Fly Fishing Trips in the Mt. Hood National Forest

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This is a wild rainbow trout from Timothy Lake in the Mt. Hood National Forest.A wild rainbow trout from Timothy Lake in the Mt. Hood National Forest.

The Mt. Hood National Forest was established July 1, 1908 and manages 1,071,466 acres of public land under the multiple use act. According to their official website: "Located twenty miles east of the city of Portland, Oregon and the northern Willamette River valley, the Mt. Hood National Forest extends south from the strikingly beautiful Columbia River Gorge across more than sixty miles of forested mountains, lakes and streams to Olallie Scenic Area, a high lake basin under the slopes of Mt. Jefferson." Much of the land is temperate mountain rain forest. Within this vast acreage is a network of lakes and streams comprising four main watersheds: the Sandy, Clackamas, Hood and White rivers.

The Fly Fishing Shop has been granted permission to do a limited amount of guided fly fishing trips in the Mt. Hood National Forest in both the Sandy and Clackamas watersheds. Within these two river systems, we have pretty much been given free rein and free range, but the amount of trips we can do is limited. This is a very new and unique program for us. Here is our perspective:

Nearly twenty years ago the trout fishery in our local streams went from a hatchery based program to a wild fish program. This was a controversial move. We went through a fishing drought. Now the local fishery has to some degree, repaired itself.

We are in the fly fishing tourist business. Trout are a recyclable, sustainable commodity. But, wild places and wild fish are sustainable only within certain amounts of pressure. We believe that wild fish are extremely valuable to our community. It is to our advantage to study and learn, while impacting as little as possible.

Mark Bachmann doing aquatic entomology research in the Salmon River in the Mt. Hood National Forest.Mark Bachmann doing aquatic entomology research on the Salmon River, which flows from the glaciers on Mt. Hood in the Mt. Hood National Forest.

We also believe the quickest path to success in fly fishing for trout is "matching the hatch." This means we will be using flies that match what trout are feeding on in their natural environment. That involves studying the aquatic trout food organisms which live within our watersheds. In order to do our job the best, we propose to lead small, nature-oriented fly fishing study groups that entail catching fish as well as learning as much as possible about our wild fish and the habitat that sustains them. We aim to gather information about the health of our wild fishery and keep records on what we find, working in harmony with local agency biologists. Fishing regulations do not allow the harvesting of wild fish.

Three stonefly nymphs that are common to trout streams in the Mt. Hood National Forest.Stonefly nymphs are a common food supply for wild trout in streams on the Mt. Hood National Forest.

This is the gist of an email sent to us, and the return message:

My wife and I will be visiting the area this summer. On July 18, we're hoping to do a four or five hour guided hiking trip. (No boats due to my wife's sea sickness, unfortunately.) She's very interested in seeing if we can catch some of our dinners for the week. Could you please let me know a) how to make a reservation for that kind of an outing and b) whether we can rent gear through you for that sort of a trip, since we will be traveling a bit from out of town and won't be able to carry too much with us? We will be staying in the Brightwood area, so anywhere around there that is a pretty spot and might give us some dinner is good with us. We're hikers, so we're good with however long the walk-in is.
Thanks very much,

Dear S.G.,
Our specialty is hiking trips that are strictly catch and release, barbless hook, fly fishing trips. We kill nothing, and impact as little as possible. Within those bounds, we would like to take you fishing and show you our beautiful mountain streams and wild trout. We provide adventures into a world seldom seen by outsiders. Our programs are evolving and are custom made to fit individual groups, conforming to individuals' physical conditions and fly fishing skill sets. If you are still interested, we would love to begin laying out a program for you.
Thank you for your interest,

Hiking trips are $60 per hour, 4-hour minimum ($240), by appointment only.

The best trips are one client per guide; this fits the stream size best. However, a second angler can be added at no extra charge. Rental rods and waders are available. Your personal tackle can be shipped to us UPS.

These unique fishing opportunities will likely book quickly. First come, first served.

Contact us at:, or 1-800-266-3971 to book your trip now.

This wild native rainbow trout was caught with a dry fly on Still Creek in the Mt. Hood National Forest.
All trout in streams and rivers in the Mt. Hood National Forest are wild, and are regulated for catch and release fishing with artificial flies and lures only. No bait fishing is allowed in flowing water.

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