The Sandy River

The Sandy begins on the slopes of Mount Hood, and flows fifty-odd miles north and west to its confluence with the Columbia. It's a river of stunning beauty in its upper reaches, especially when you consider that it's lets than one hour from downtown Portland. The Sandy River gorge is home to one of the last remaining low elevation old-growth Douglas fir forests in the Pacific Northwest—some trees are over 500 years old. Waterfalls dot the river – deer and elk might be spotted at the water's edge. In the morning mist, the greens of firs and mosses lend the Sandy the aura of an elfin paradise. The Sandy boasts both winter and summer runs of steelhead, which makes fish available all year long. Winter run hatchery fish begin arriving in the Sandy in good numbers in December, with numbers reaching their peak in late January. Wild winter fish runs peak in late February and March. Most fish are two-salt, though three- and four-salt fish are encountered – these fish can reach over 20 pounds. While fish are present in the system year-round, most of the fly fishing occurs from December through June (water level and clarity permitting).

Standard Sandy River trips are by driftboat, and include flies, use of spey rods (if needed) and lunch. The daily fee is $450 for one or two anglers.

Walk and wade trips on the Sandy are also available. The fee is $200 for four hour sessions, and $50/hour after that. (Maximum four anglers.)