Photography: Nick Carman

C&I takes you on a tour of fishing excursions in the West.

When plotting a fishing trip, take into account the Five S rule: size, strength, solitude, scenery, and story. Translation: You want a fish large enough to pose with, a fighter caught in a secluded place drenched in natural splendor. If you can’t weave a good fish tale out of all that over dinner, you probably need a new line. These excursions cover those bases and more, from horseback riding and wildlife-watching to chefs perfectly preparing your catch fresh from the water.

John Day River, Oregon

Illustration: Jonathan Fehr

At 281 miles, the John Day is one of the longest undammed rivers in the contiguous United States. It also supports the largest remaining wild run of steelhead trout in the Columbia Basin. Its smallmouth bass fishery has been called the country’s best west of the Mississippi — 75-fish-per-rod days aren’t uncommon. Cabins are scattered along the remote high-desert corridor, but the best way to take it in is by day- or tent-trip (with a riverbank fresh bass cook-up) out of tiny Condon, the heart of Oregon’s fly-fishing community. Guided trips and tent camping from $395 per day per person. 503.819.4035,

Bear Camp, British Columbia, Canada

A short flight from Vancouver, the Chilko River isn’t well-known, but insiders revere it among North America’s finest dry fly-fisheries. Crystal clear, the river’s feisty wild rainbows range from 14 to 30 inches. With one of B.C.’s largest sockeye runs, you can also catch king salmon in late summer. On Chilko Lake, remote Bear Camp does tent glamping on elevated decks where, during salmon runs, you’re practically assured of seeing grizzlies wander about while you sip cocktails. Luxury tent packages from $1,995, double occupancy, four nights. 888.639.1114,

Alaska’s Boardwalk Lodge, Southeast Alaska

Near Ketchikan, one of Alaska’s elite fishing lodges does it all — fly-, freshwater, and saltwater fishing for everything from massive king salmon and halibut to steelhead and Dolly Varden. With this type of unrivaled action, glacier tours and haute cuisine are rendered mere distractions — almost. “Preparing guests’ catch of the day is a huge part of what we do. It’s a big reason many of our guests are repeat visitors,” says owner Brad Steuart. Packages from $5,000 per person, three nights, two days. 800.764.3918,


Smoked Planked Trout

Fried Green Tomatoes With Smoked Montana Trout

Pan-Seared Utah Trout

Almond-Crusted Speckled Trout With Brown Butter

From the October 2017 Taste of the West issue.


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