Review: Fishing in Oregon

By Scott Richmond

Oregon anglers are fortunate: they have Fishing in Oregon: The Complete Oregon Fishing Guide. Every five years or so, a new, updated edition is released. This year, the latest--the Eleventh--was published, and it's bigger and better than ever.

The first edition of Fishing in Oregon was published in 1960 by Henning Helmstrom, who owned Foster Sporting Goods in southeast Portland. Madelynne Diness Sheehan bought the rights in 1985 and has been the author and publisher ever since. You might hear some old-timers refer to this book as "The Henning's Guide" even though Henning Helmstrom hasn't been involved for thirty years.

So all told, Fishing in Oregon has a fifty-three year history as the most authoritative and complete guide to the state's fisheries. With each edition it gets a bit thicker, more fine-tuned, and more complete. Some of our fisheries may be in decline, but Fishing in Oregon keeps improving.

What You'll Find Inside

Fisheries are organized by region, where regions correspond with the ODFW Fishing Regulations pamphlet. For each fishery you'll find directions, a description of the available species, fishing tips and advice, and seasonal expectations. In addition, many entries feature camping advice, wildlife viewing tips, and available services. Over one hundred maps are included. This edition is particularly rich in photographs.

The opening pages for each region include a list of the best places to fish in that region. Don't miss this list!

Sheehan says, "My goal is to help anglers know what to expect when they go fishing, and to make good choices about where to spend their precious time on the water. I want to share with them what I've learned about how Oregon fishing 'works.'" Westflyers are particularly fortunate because Sheehan is a fly angler. Thus many of the fisheries have a "fly-friendly" approach.

What's New

I sometimes run into Oregon anglers who rely on old editions of Fishing in Oregon. I'm sorry to tell you this, but the world keeps changing; relying on an old guide book is not a good idea--especially when the new one costs much less than a tank of gas and will last you five years.

Each edition of Fishing in Oregon is a complete update: every fishery is reevaluated, maps are revised, new maps added, road directions changed, and fisheries added.

For example, this new edition has about one hundred fisheries that have never been included before. Some are ODFW-stocked waters in backcountry that is so remote that anglers are encouraged to use a GPS to find them; Sheehan calls these "fishing geo caches."

The Eleventh Edition is 275 pages longer than the 1985 Fifth Edition. Do yourself a favor and always use the newest edition.

The Bottom Line

If you're serious about fishing in Oregon, get the latest edition of Fishing in Oregon. Then browse through the fisheries; you'll be amazed at how many new places you'll discover, and how much better your fishing experience will be.

Fishing in Oregon: The Complete Oregon Fishing Guide, by Madelynne Diness Sheehan. 400 pages in an 8.5 x 11 inch softbound black-and-white format. $29.95. Available in fishing stores, 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).