Dec 3rd, 2019
Owyhee River, Oregon
Tucked away in eastern Oregon, not far from Boise, Idaho, Oregon’s finest trophy brown trout river flows discreetly through desert rim rock and sage. It is a relatively small river but its’ honey-colored browns are anything but small, averaging 16 to 20 inches with considerably larger fish present. The Owyhee has a long season and a rich progression of vibrant insect hatches. The seasonal highlights are the skwalla stonefly hatch of March and early April along with the terrestrial season occurring mid August through September. If big browns on dries are something you want to experience, this is the very best Oregon has to offer.
To experience this spectacular venue, we have teamed up with Cory Godell, owner and operator of Deschutes River Anglers. Central Oregon born and raised, Cory began fishing the rivers of the state at a young age and has now spent over two decades guiding them. A self-described “dry fly nut,” it is no wonder Cory fell in love with the Owyhee at a young age and has centered part of his outfitting calendar around this special place. The Owyhee Basecamp is a comfortable tent camp situated on a piece of private riverside property where guests will enjoy short drive times to prime fishing water, single accommodations in spacious Montana Canvas wall tents and hearty, delicious meals.
Contact Andy at 800.552.2729 for more information on the Owyhee River
Top reasons to go.
1. To fish a unique Pacific Northwest river providing consistent opportunities at trophy brown trout on dry flies.
2. To increase your skills at presenting dry flies to large, feeding fish in a small-medium sized river.
3. To shake off the trout tackle in March or April for some spectacular dry fly fishing.
4. The Owyhee is easily accessible from the Boise, Idaho airport, making travel to the river quick and seamless.
5. With over 20 years of outfitting experience and many years spent fishing this system, Cory Godell is well equipped to show you the best trout fishing the Owhyee offers.
Where is the camp?
The riverside camp is located on a privately held ranch approximately 15 river miles downstream of the Owyhee Lake Dam complex. The camp offers a quiet feel and private accommodations while still being near the best of the Owyhee trout waters.
How do I get there?
The easiest way to reach the Owyhee River is by arranging flights to/from the Boise, Idaho airport (BOI). From there, guests will rent a car and drive west approximately 1.5 hours to the camp.
When should I go?
The Owyhee is a viable option from March through October; However, the outfitter tries to condense his season on the Owyhee to the prime windows of March-early April and August-September. March and April marks the Skwalla hatch on the Owyhee, with August and September presenting great opportunities to fish big, terrestrial dry flies for hungry browns.
Where do they fish?
The best fishing on the Owyhee is in the 10 miles of river downstream of the Owyhee Dam. A Forest Service road follows the river along this stretch, where you and the guide will drive up and downstream to access prime water.
Where do we stay?
The outfitter has set up a comfortable tent camp on a piece of private riverside property. While this camp is situated along the Owyhee, it is approximately a 5 to 10 minute drive upstream to the prime trout waters of the river. This camp provides single accommodations in spacious Montana Canvas wall tents. There will be a bathroom available in camp, and often times a shower. Lake Owyhee State Park is a quick 15-20 minute drive from camp, where hot showers are always available for a few dollars.
Who is best suited for this destination?
Those who possess the mobility to wade in a medium sized river with slippery rocks and off-colored water will feel most comfortable on the Owyhee. Guests stay in a tent-camp scenario, and while it is private, well-outfitted and comfortable, it is by no means luxurious. Fly anglers of all skill-levels are welcome as the guide emphasizes education and instruction on all trips. That being said, those with some experience targeting finicky trout with dry flies will most quickly understand what is expected to fool these exceptional fish. For those travelling to the Owyhee River in March or April, “springtime” in Oregon can take on many forms. We recommend being prepared for everything from cold and wet to sunny and mild. Expect August and September to be hot in this arid environment with temperatures in the 90s and wet wading commonplace.
What are the meals like?
Meals are hearty and freshly cooked. Breakfasts typically consist of breakfast burritos, Cory’s famous “El Chancho” (eggs over hash-browns with avocado and cheese), or other hot grab n’ go options to ensure you are on the water in a timely manner. Lunches are a delicious riverside BBQ to keep you on the water for the second half of your day. Upon arrival in camp each evening, guests can expect appetizers followed by dinner. Dinners at the camp consist of salads, vegetables, a protein and desert. Vegetarian options are also available upon request. While alcoholic beverages are not included in the package price, please feel free to bring any beer, wine or liquor of your choosing to enjoy. The outfitter will have plenty of water, sodas and other non-alcoholic beverages available.
How would you describe the general vibe and atmosphere?
The atmosphere around camp is laid-back, casual and comfortable. Anglers can expect to fish long hours and move around a lot in the guide’s vehicle up and downstream while on the river.
Is there an on-site manager, owner or point person at the lodge?
Cory Godell is the owner, head guide and operator of the Owyhee Basecamp. He will be your guide and camp host.
Is there internet or cell service?
Cell service is spotty at best at camp and along the river. I would not go into the trip expecting there to be service but it can be had via a short drive back towards civilization.
How do they fish?
The river is blessed with an incredible amount of bug life and good numbers of fish. The trout have opportunities to feed during the many hatches that occur throughout the year making it a dry fly fisherman’s paradise for matching the hatch. During the late summer the Owyhee is one of the best hopper fisheries west of the Rocky Mountains and allows for a more aggressive dry fly approach. For anglers that enjoy fishing streamers, the Owyhee is also a great place to practice your craft as brown trout are a predatory species that occasionally will turn to larger fare to satisfy their hunger, especially in low light conditions. If you encounter a picky fish who has refused multiple dry fly drifts, often times a small midge or mayfly dropper can seal the deal. All these options makes for a great place for any trout obsessed angler.
How many fish will I catch?
A double digit day is a fantastic day of angling on the Owyhee River.
What are the guides like?
Cory is an avid angler who spends his days off fly fishing and exploring himself. He is an enthusiastic instructor and a professional guide, bringing over 20 years of outfitting experience to the table. On the water he has an easy-going and fun personality, but is also seriously committed to putting his clients in best possible position for success.
Will we see other anglers?
Yes, it is likely that you will be sharing the river with other anglers due to the Owyhee’s close proximity to Boise.
Is there wade fishing?
All of the fishing on the Owyhee is done while wading. You will use the guide’s vehicle to move between spots on the river.
How far is it to the fishing grounds?
Camp is situated approximately 5-10 minutes from the section of river you will be fishing.
Does the lodge provide equipment?
Yes. Tackle and fly rods are included in the package price. Feel free to bring any of your own equipment along but Cory will have a full quiver of rods, reels, lines, leaders and tippet to use. Guests will need to bring their own waders and boots.
Does the lodge provide flies?
Yes. Cory will have a wide selection of flies on hand. However, always feel free to bring your boxes along.
What is your favorite rod for the trip?
4 – 6 weight rods in 8.5-9 feet all have their place on the Owyhee. The go-to rod on this river is a medium-fast action 9 ft 5 weight rod.
Are there other activities?
No. This is an operation that caters to guests wanting to spend their time on the water fishing.
What is the cost?
$1,250 per person for a 2.5 day/2 night package. There is maximum capacity of 4 guests at a time in camp.
Are there hidden expenses?
Fishing licenses, rental car (if flying into Boise).
What is the cancellation policy?
Fly Water Travel’s stated policy is no refunds unless a suitable replacement is found.
Does this trip combine well with other trips?
Given the remote nature of this destination in Eastern Oregon, this trip is most often done as a standalone venture but could coincide with a well planned road trip.
Are there special skills required?
The Owyhee is a fantastic venue for anglers of all skill levels.
A great buttery brown trout lays still for a close up
The scenery along this high desert river is unique and certainly pleasing.
A big boy falls for a big Morrish Hopper
The Owyhee is very approachable and not overly large which makes for a fun walk and wade fishery.
There are some large brown trout in these waters and each day offers chances at fish over 20 inches.