John Day River Fishing Trips

The John day is primarily known for it’s excellent steelhead fishing as well as small mouth bass. There are species of coho and chinook that populate the river as well but these are generally catch and release fisheries.

Spring Chinook Fishing Trips

The John Day Riverr spring Chinook salmon run contributes to the largest entirely wild fishery in the mid and upper Columbia River Basin. This is a catch and release fishery as wild chinook may not be retained on the Johna Day River.

Fall Salmon Fishing Trips

The John Day also hosts a small run of fall chinook and conservation efforts are underway to bring the run back. At this time retention is not allowed in addition to non fin clipped steelehad.

Guided Walleye Fishing Trips

The mouth of the John Day is one of the lesser known Walleye fishin hot spots. While most anglers are fishing up near the dam. The mouth of the john Day is a staging place for hungry walleye looking to ambush some easy prey. Trolling quik fish or rapalas in yellow and black are among the best methods for catchng these tasty fish and well worth the efrforet to target them.

John Day River Steelhead Fishing

The river experiences a healthy summer steelhead run (which actually make it up here in the fall and winter). While you must release the majority of these fish back into the wild, you can retain fin-clipped hatchery strays.

Below the fork at Kimberly, the river is open all year long. Seasonal access is also available in a number of forks and the upper mainstem. For specific sites, consult the rules.

The South Fork, south of Dayville, and the Middle Fork, northeast of Long Creek, both of which have fly fishing-only restrictions above Highway 395 to Highway 7 (closed above), are two rivers that go up into the forests and offer good trout fishing.


Smallmouth Bass Fishing

Bass fishing on the John Day is renowned, and Grant County’s mainstem and North Fork of the river are where you may catch these tough fish.

The highest boat launch frequently used to fish downstream into Wheeler County, toward Spray, Service Creek, and beyond is near the town of Kimberly.

The North Fork, which meets the mainstem around Kimberly, offers good smallmouth bank fishing with reasonable access at least as far as Monument.

Check out our articles about the spring and summer fisheries here for information on smallmouth fishing on the entire John Day River.

The river is also among the top smallmouth bass fishing spots in Central and Eastern Oregon on our list.