Northport, Washington

Black Bear Lodge

Northport, Washington

Black Bear Lodge

Why We Like It

From Black Bear Lodge you’ll fish for wild rainbow trout that behave like steelhead—and sometimes grow to similar sizes. Swung flies work during spring and fall, making this a “steelhead-esque” game for fish that may range past 25 inches. During late spring and summer the trout are tuned in on dry flies, and myriad insect emergences provide great hatch-matching options. Green drakes are by far the standout summer hatch and bring the biggest fish to the surface.

Black Bear Lodge is located on a very scenic stretch of the Upper Columbia River, just a stone’s throw from the water with bay windows and a full wrap-around deck to take in the setting. The angling program is relaxed, with the best fishing often occurring during midday and evening hours. Sleep in. Have breakfast and coffee. Mosey to the river. Fish. Rinse and repeat!

Season

March - November

Species

Rainbow Trout

Accomodations

Four-bedroom Western lodge right on the banks of the Columbia River.

Occupancy

6

Lodge Features & Amenities

Beginner Friendly

Corporate Friendly

Couples Friendly

Family Friendly

Wi-Fi

The Black Bear Lodge Experience

This fishery flew under the radar for many years before Jack Mitchell opened Black Bear Lodge in 2010. What anglers found was an overlooked river with scads of trophy-sized rainbow trout that still carry steelhead genetics and fight just as hard. And, they found, these fish look up for dries. Suddenly, anglers were catching coastal-style ‘bows on size 8 and 10 dry flies without any of the angling competition found on Rocky Mountain rivers. And, all of this is within an easy drive of Spokane, Washington.

The fish populations are robust as ever, and Mitchell’s comfortable and authentic Western lodge is perfectly placed on a bluff overlooking the most productive reach of the mighty Columbia River. Anglers use single-hand rods to dead-drift dry flies, but the Spey game is in place here, too—during late winter, spring and fall, swung flies and streamers meet up with some mean rainbows stretching well past 20 inches long. A visit to Black Bear Lodge means very comfortable accommodations and dining, a relaxed fishing schedule, and the chance to catch the biggest rainbow of your life—possibly on a dry.

Plain and simple, you fish the Upper Columbia River to catch big, wild, and super hard-fighting rainbow trout. And, because this stretch of the Columbia is remote and relatively unknown, you will have much of the water to yourself. This massive river produces several excellent hatches—midges, blue-wing olives, Mother’s Day caddis, green drakes, and October caddis—and the fish are extremely keyed in on those emergences. Late winter and spring fishing is all about swinging nymphs, soft-hackles, and streamers with single-hand and two-hand rods, which is about as close as you can get to steelheading without fish returning from the sea. In May, the Mother’s Day caddis swarm arrives, followed by PMDs, green drakes, and terrestrials.

Anglers fish from jet boats equipped with oars and standing braces, which allow accurate casts to rising fish in large seam lines and eddies. The green drake hatch is the river’s most noted event and produces the best fishing of the year. These bugs come off in the afternoon and evening hours and bring the biggest fish out of the depths onto the flats to sip drakes off the surface. The big bug show continues in fall when October caddis and blue-wing olives litter the water and those rainbows take notice. Large caddis nymphs swung off two-hand rods can elicit some fantastic takes. Caddis dries bring big snouts up at the same time. These rainbows average about 16 to 19 inches long, but plenty of 20- to 24-inch tankers are taken on dries each summer and fall. Fish to 30 inches are possible, making this a great place to go head-hunting for the largest rainbow trout of your life.

Fishing Schedule
The program at Black Bear Lodge is a little more laid back than you might find at other locales—simply because there’s no reason to hit the water at daybreak if the bugs don’t start hatching until afternoon and the emergence lasts til 10 p.m. Basically, anglers have to pace themselves, which means leisurely mornings with extended coffee time and breakfast conversation. However, if there is good reason to hit the river early, Black Bear and its veteran guides can accommodate. Whenever you decide it’s time, a guide will pick you up in a boat at the lodge—no drive-time, no shuttle, no hassles. Then it’s a short run upstream or down to the most productive spots.

Boats and Equipment
Guides run jet boats to access all the prime water, with the longest run being 8 miles upstream to the Canadian border. Once you’ve reached a productive spot, guides switch to the oars and row these boats to quietly keep you in the best position to cover rising fish. Anglers in the front of the boat can use standing braces to remain stable in these big flows. Rods, reels, and flies are included, but feel free to bring your favorite sticks along with waders, boots, and rain gear.

Kick back and put up your heels while enjoying one of the best lodge views in the Pacific Northwest. On a full wrap-around deck you’ll watch deer, ducks, and geese and, on occasion, bears and moose passing by, all with the sounds of the massive Columbia River rolling by. The lodge offers four bedrooms, a beautiful kitchen and dining room (again with great views of the river), plus a comfortable living room complete with a flat screen TV, a tying bench, and the requisite shoulder mounts we expect from a classic Western lodge. With a limit of six guests per week, you’ll have plenty of space to take in the scene.

Cuisine
A resident chef prepares home-cooked Western-style meals that include wild and sustainable Alaska salmon, local beef, fresh fruit and vegetables, and other seasonal delicacies. Breakfast and dinner are served at the lodge while lunches are often taken on the river with a guide.

Cell/Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi is available throughout the lodge. Cell service can be hit or miss at this remote location.

River floats, birding, and hiking are available in the area. Non-anglers will have no shortage of scenic areas to explore while anglers are out on the water.

Northport is easy to reach from the West’s major population centers. Anglers can fly to Spokane, Washington, (GEG) and rent a car for the beautiful two-hour drive north, or the lodge can provide transportation to and from Spokane for parties of four or more. Want to avoid airlines altogether? Drive time from Seattle is about six hours.

2023 Pricing (all prices per person, based on double occupancy, USD, pre tax)
3 Nights/3 Days $1,935 per person
4 Nights/3 Days $2,185 per person

Included
Lodging
Three meals daily
Guided fishing
Flies and tackle
Beer and wine with dinner

Not included
Travel to and from the lodge
Fishing license
Alcohol on a guided trip
Gratuities for guides and staff
Lodging taxes
Waders, boots, layers, rain jacket

Bookings are confirmed with a 50 percent deposit, made no later than seven days after booking a trip. Balance must be received no later than 90 days prior to the first day of the trip. Notification of cancellation must be received 90 days prior to the first day of the trip in order to receive partial or full credit for an alternate date. All payments are final and nonrefundable, with the exception of a medical or family emergency, deemed reasonable at GFFI’s discretion.

Booking a trip or making a deposit represents that the client accepts all terms and conditions. GFFI’s terms are in addition to any terms and conditions of each individual lodge that GFFI represents. Please read those terms carefully—lodge terms, which may differ from GFFI’s terms, supersede any agreements between GFFI and a client.

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