Fish for Smallmouth Bass on

Oregon's John Day River

Enjoy the high desert landscape and meandering water along Oregon's longest free-flowing river.

Looking for a unique experience that combines high volume fishing with gorgeous high desert landscape and camping in a wilderness setting? This is the trip for you.

Your trip can be reserved for three, four or five days. Boat configuration is two adult guests and a guide per boat. For trips with children, and we can fit a child in the boat as well for a total of three guests and a guide. Catches of 30-50 smallmouth bass per day are common depending on your casting skills. The record is 139 fish by 1 PM set by J.W. Morton, from Louisiana.

One to one and a half pound fish are average size fish, but five to six pound fish are available. We will send you a list of proven lures, flies, spinner baits, jigs, plastics, and plugs. Fly fisherman have had very good results, so don't forget your fly rods. Catch and release practices are emphasized to continue a high population of fish.

This trip operates on the traditional territory of the ancestral lands of the Tenino, Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, and the Numu (Northern Paiute).

Your John Day River wilderness adventure begins when we meet you at the Redmond/Bend, Oregon airport baggage area. We will then drive about two hours to the launch site. It's a beautiful drive, so you may want your camera available. We will make a stop to pick up fishing licenses (we can purchase them ahead of your arrival to insure more time on the river), alcoholic beverages, if desired, and last minute personal items.

Though driftboats are available, rafts and catarafts are the boats of choice due to their many advantages. Rafts offer you more floor space, increased stability, and added freedom of movement. Our unique frames have comfortable bass seats in the front and rear of the boat. This places you high off the water for easier and more precise casting.Greater vision of the water helps you to locate those lunkers. The rotating bass seats allow you to pivot 360 degrees so that you may easily fish either side of the boat and still be very comfortable. Fishing from rafts also extends our season into the low water periods when fish are concentrated and more aggressive.

We make every effort to make your outdoor experience in the Central Oregon wilderness a comfortable one. All camping gear is provided. Four person tents are used, two guests per tent so that you will have plenty of room. Single tents are available for a small additional fee. You will sleep like a baby on our durable self-inflating mattresses, and cots are also available. Camp chairs are provided for relaxing on shore while you discuss the beautiful scenery, wildlife, fish, and of course the big one that got away. Solar showers are provided for a relaxing warm shower at the end of the day. All camp gear is set up and taken down for you by our cheerful crew. For your privacy and comfort we provide a custom tent for hot showers and the camp toilet.

Food is prepared by our camp cook while you hike or just sit and enjoy the scenery. Bacon-wrapped filets, Dutch-oven lasagna, BBQ country style ribs, and raspberry hazelnut meringue will give you the energy to fight the many bass you will be catching each day. You will be served three meals a day plus snacks. We can accommodate most allergies and dietary restrictions, although the purchase of specialty food items my require a small additional fee.



3-5 days


Starting at $1,800/person plus 3% public lands use fee


Age 3+


John Day River near Mitchell, OR.

Nearest airport is Bend/Redmond (RDM)


Camping in tents along the river shore. All equipment provided.


Mellow: Class I-II rapids

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Smallmouth bass John Day River Arrowhead Adventures
rafting the john day river bass fishing arrowhead river adventures


  • All fishing rods, fly fishing rods and terminal tackle.

  • Patient, experienced, entertaining guides that are fun to fish with.

  • Complete instruction in all types of fishing methods including fly fishing instruction.

  • Non-alcoholic beverages i.e. water, diet drinks, juice, sodas and gatorade.

  • Dry bags provided for transporting your personal items and keeping them dry.

  • Satellite phones for any emergency calls.

  • Transportation from and to the Redmond/Bend Airport (if needed).

  • Three delicious meals a day.

  • Camping gear, tents, cots or mattresses, solar showers, etc.

  • Comfortable rafts and catarafts with custom frames and bass seats. 

  • The most smallmouth bass you will ever have access to (4000+ per mile).

  • Pre-trip hotel accommodation (post-trip hotel not included).


  • Personal clothes, toiletries, and pillow.

  • Fishing license.

  • Alcoholic beverages.

  • Tips for guides.

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