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North Coast Drift Boat Season Kickoff

Netting a fall salmon out of a drift boat on a Northern Oregon Coast river

After a year in the sled, I love shifting gears and getting into the drift boat. It’s quiet, beautiful, and often times for me, some of the best fishing of the year. Like many of you, I’ve been watching this first real rain system of the year with great interest.

We really never know how things are going to shake out with the first system. Will it be enough for some prolonged fishing, or just enough to empty the bay and bleed fish into less than ideal river conditions? At this point I can say there is going to be some decent fishing happening early next week. The question is, how long will it last?

river level graph for the wilson river

I’ve seen years where we keep getting just enough rain to stay in the drift boats for weeks at a time. With no more than a quarter of an inch of rain after the rivers are in shape, the party can continue. Over a quarter, and a river could go out, but sometimes only for a few hours. It can be really fickle!

When I was first guiding, I used to sit with Gary Hilton and Crazy Ernie on the deck of The Guide Shop and wait for the minute that the Wilson would fish. The anticipation of chrome bright Chinook steam rolling up the river on a collision course with my eggs, was this recurring daydream. We’d sip coffee, fiddle with our drift boats and talk about the past as a substitute for the moment. Those were great times for me and I still get that same feeling during rain events like this one.

Let us know if you’d like to get out. We have a variety of options for both boats and the rivers we fish in Tillamook County.

Thanks and tight lines,