Fishing in the Columbia River

Fishing in the Columbia River

What You Need to Know About Fishing in the Columbia River Basin

The Columbia River is the fourth largest river in North America, flowing for an impressive 1,214 miles from British Columbia all the way to the Pacific Ocean near Astoria, Oregon. The Basin extends from Washington to Oregon and straddles state lines to offer people a chance to explore the breathtaking beauty of one of the most resource-filled rivers in America. While known for its precious metals and fertile soil, the Columbia River is a source of recreation for many Tri-Cities residents due to the abundance of fish and wildlife in the area. If you want to plan a family trip to go fishing in the Columbia River Basin, however, you will want to know a few things ahead of time.

Where to Go Fishing

If you follow the Columbia River just a bit up north from the Tri-Cities area, you’ll come upon the Hanford Ranch National Monument, which is managed as part of the Mid-Columbia River National Wildlife Refuge Complex. If your family wants to really take part in outstanding fishing, you can take about an hour-long road trip just a little further up north to visit the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge where you will find a variety of fishing opportunities for the whole family to enjoy game fish species such as rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, crappie, perch and walleye. While overnight parking, fires and even camping are prohibited, this is one of the best areas in the Columbia River Basin for Tri-Cities residents to go fishing as the opportunities to catch unique fish are endless and the lakes are open sunrise to sunset to allow for a full, fun day of fishing and family bonding.

What’s the Deal with Endorsements?

The Columbia National Wildlife Refuge notes that all persons fishing need to have a valid state license and that any angler fishing the Columbia River is restricted to one daily limit even if licensed by both states. You are also permitted to fish with either a saltwater, freshwater, or combination license. However, if you intend to fish for salmon or steelhead on the Columbia River or its tributaries, you must have a Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement on your license. As a respectful angler, you are required to comply with the laws of the state in which you are fishing, which means that if you happen to travel a bit down south and cross the border into Oregon, you won’t be able to legally fish for salmon or steelhead.

Preparing for a Family Fishing Trip

Now that you know where you’re going and what you need in regards to permits and permissions, you’ll want to ensure you pack everything you need for a fishing trip in the Columbia River Basin. Be prepared for any type of weather you might encounter on the Columbia River, which means packing enough sunscreen, rain jackets and boots for the whole family. To ensure a smooth fishing trip, you will also want to organize your gear in a way that is logical while fishing. Items like a first-aid kit, water and scissors that you might need to cut line and hooks should be easily accessible in your pack, with other items at the bottom for later.

Enjoying the Beauty of the Basin

The Columbia River Basin is a rich, diverse area of land that stretches far beyond the limits of the Tri-Cities area. Take advantage of the wildlife and scenery and plan a family fishing trip as a way to explore your local area while also teaching your children about the wonders of this stunning geographical landscape. Be sure to plan ahead and take care of any permits you might need, pack a lot of sunscreen, and enjoy the beauty of the Basin.