The vast Columbia River, mountain streams, wilderness lakes, reservoirs, ponds and rivers make for world class fishing in the Columbia River Gorge. Depending on what kind of fishing you’re after, virtually all water in the Gorge and surrounding area have fish of some sort. Chinook is the largest of all the salmon, reaching weights to over 50 pounds, which is why it is also commonly known as “King” salmon. Steelhead differ from salmon due to the fact they do not spawn and die. They are actually an ocean trout which can be caught in both the Columbia River and tributaries. White sturgeon fishing is available year round both from shore and boats on the mainstem Columbia River. Sturgeon are somewhat of a prehistoric creature and can get to an enormous size of up to 12 feet. Numerous ponds and lakes are home to smallmouth and largemouth bass along with rainbow trout. The Columbia River is also known for some of the best walleye fisheries.

No matter what kind of fishing you are doing in the Columbia River Gorge, it can be a rewarding experience, but don’t miss the boat to catch the royal fish of them all — the KING salmon!

Six fish, two men and one boat makes for a great day of fishing at Drano Lake in the Gorge

Where to Fish & What to Catch


Washougal River: Salmon, whitefish & trout
Little White Salmon River: Salmon, steelhead
Upper Little White Salmon: Rainbow & brook trout
Wind River: Spring Chinook salmon, summer steelhead
Klickitat River: Summer steelhead, trout, spring & fall Chinook
Spearfish Lake: Rainbow trout
Horsethief Lake: Rainbow trout, bass, crappie
Swift Creek Reservoir: Rainbow & bull trout
Goose Lake: Brook & brown trout
Drano Lake: Chinook salmon, steelhead


Clackamas River: Spring & fall Chinook, steelhead, trout
Sandy River: Summer & winter steelhead
Salmon River: Steelhead, rainbow & cutthroat trout
Lost Lake: Brown, rainbow & brook trout, kokanee
Laurance Lake: Rainbow, bull & cutthroat trout
Benson Lake: Trout
Lower Deschutes River: Rainbow & brown trout, spring Chinook, steelhead
Hood River: Trout, steelhead, spring & fall Chinook
Spearfish Lake (east of The Dalles bridge): Rainbow trout
John Day River: Smallmouth bass, steelhead

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife —
Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife —

For more details about boat ramps, please click on the map below.

Map of boat ramps in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon and Washington