The Columbia River drains an area the size of France and winds through the Northwest for over 1200 miles. Perched near the mouth of this mighty river is the town of Astoria which was initially settled as a fur trading outpost in 1811 – 200 years ago. 500 lb. sturgeon make their home under the waves of Astoria while millions of salmon speed by on their way to somewhere else. Despite the Columbia’s notorious bar, often known as the graveyard of ships, Astoria is a popular port for everything from mega-freighters and ocean liners to commercial fishing boats and recreational boats.
If you’ve got the boat and experience to handle this kind of boating, you’ll find 4 boat ramps in the area including 2 in Astoria and 1 each in nearby Hammond and Warrenton. You might try your luck trolling for Salmon at the popular Buoy 10 location just in from the mouth of the river. You’ll want to make sure you’re prepared, because the river is both spectacular and unforgiving. Be sure you’re fully equipped with life jackets and any other safety gear required for your boat size and class. The Columbia and its surrounding waters are one of the most active areas for the Coast Guard in the country.
If the chance to catch a monster sturgeon is more to your taste, then check out Tongue Point and a variety of other productive sturgeon holes where white and green sturgeon can be caught. In either case, consider going with one of the many excellent guides who ply these waters is a great way to learn the water and techniques that will be very productive.
While you are in Astoria, be sure to visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum, eat some of the freshest seafood you’ll find anywhere (unless you catch it yourself) and tour this gem on the Oregon coast. If you’re a history buff, check out the various Lewis & Clark sites nearby as they wintered over here in 1805 and 1806 before heading back east. Astoria is also having a number of Bicentennial events commemorating their 200 years of history. For more recent history visit Ft. Stevens State Park and tour the WWII Gun batteries. This is one of the few place in mainland USA that was attacked by the Japanese when a long range Japanese submarine exchanged fire with the Ft. Stevens artillery placed to protect the mouth of the Columbia.”
If you find yourself in need of gear, SavvyBoater.com offers the full line of Ironwood Pacific Products, popular with salmon and sturgeon anglers alike. The EasyTroller Trolling plate gets you down to the perfect trolling speed. The Anchor Lift and Anchor Lift Pro make it easy to pull long anchor lines need in the Columbia, or allow you to cut loose from you anchor in an instant if you lock into a big fish and have to follow. The HelmsMate Outboard Extension Handles are a popular solution for anglers using a gas kicker motor for trolling.