Review: Fishing Mount Hood Country

By Scott Richmond

At over 11,000 feet in elevation, Mount Hood dominates northern Oregon's skyline from every compass direction. This ancient stratovolcano is the highest point in the state and the fourth highest in the Cascade Range. Stand on any viewpoint within a hundred miles, and--given a clear day--you can see it.

Further, the million-plus people in the Portland metro area can drive to the mountain in about an hour

Yet how many anglers know much about the fishing around Mount Hood? When I examined this book, I was struck by how little I had explored the fisheries it describes. I drive over the mountain's south shoulder on my way to the Deschutes. I regularly fish the Clackamas and Sandy rivers for steelhead, and I've hit a few of the lakes. But as the authors--Gary Lewis and Robert Campbell--state, "On the shoulders of the mountain, and in its shadow, there are more rivers to walk and miles of lakeshore than one angler could prospect in one lifetime."

They are right. There's a lot of fishing in my own backyard, and this book inspires me to rectify my sparse knowledge.

What You'll Find

Fishing Mount Hood Country is not an exhaustive guide to everything that's offered in the region. As the authors say, "We do not cover all of the lakes and streams of the Mount Hood National Forest, rather we highlight some and let you seek out your own gems."

Lewis and Campbell cover thirteen streams and twenty-one stillwaters. In addition, there is a chapter for the lakes of the High Rocks Wilderness and chapter on creeks in the Columbia gorge.

For each venue, you'll find a general description of what to expect, fishing and tackle tips, directions, and a list of resources. Some of the chapters are relatively long, such as for the Deschutes, Clackamas, and Sandy rivers. Others are as short as two pages. And most are in between. The book is amply illustrated with color photos (but not many maps). The cover photo, by the way, is by Westflyer Dave Kilhefner.

Fishing Mount Hood Country also has short chapters on Navigating to a Remote Lake (basically, a mini-GPS course), Reading a Trout Stream, basic rigging, Fly and Bubble, Catch and Release, and Fly Fishing Gear and Strategy.

As you might gather from the above list, this is not exclusively a fly fishing book. It is, however, "fly-friendly" and useful to fly anglers.

The Bottom Line

There's a lot of good fishing in Mount Hood Country, and this book should get you started on your personal journey of discovery.

Fishing Mount Hood Country, by Gary Lewis and Robert Campbell. 128 pages in an 9 x 12 inch softbound color format. $24.95. Available in fly shops and online at and other websites.

Scott Richmond is Westfly's creator and Executive Director. He is the author of eight books on Oregon fly fishing, including Fishing Oregon's Deschutes River (second edition).