Spring Chinook also called "Springers", enter the Columbia River in strong numbers beginning in March. 

These spring salmon average 12-17 pounds and are considered by most anglers to be the crown jewel of the Columbia River's salmon runs.

Spring Chinook salmon are highly prized for being the best eating of all salmon. Their meat is loaded with oil and has a rich flavor.

We start our season on the Columbia in March and then move over to fishing the Willamette River or Drano Lake in mid April through May.

We don't anchor fish for Spring Chinook, we always troll. This active approach of "taking it to the fish" rather then anchoring and waiting for them to come to us, has always proven to be the most effective method for catching a lot of Springers!

We fish on the Columbia River in the Portland/Vancouver area for these fish. This section of river has better water clarity and is also a traditional holding area for these salmon. Since the salmon are holding in this area, they are willing biters!

Columbia River Spring Chinook

March & April

Columbia River Spring Chinook Fishing Guides




Spring Chinook Fishing

Willamette River Spring Chinook

Limit of Willamette River Springers

Willamette River Spring Chinook

April & May

Spring Chinook fishing season in the Willamette is from mid February until July but peak season is mid April through May and this is when we target them.

We fish the lower Willamette River in the Portland area. This section holds the fish until late May when the river's temperature rises to the mid 50's; it's at this point when the fish start to go over the falls to continue their upstream migration.

Willamette spring salmon tend to be a little larger then their Columbia River cousins. The average size for these fish is 14 to 18 pounds with fishing topping the 25 - 30 pound mark not being uncommon.

Trolling herring, prawns and spinners and utilizing some unique tricks of the trade that we have discovered, is our go-to method for putting high numbers of these salmon in the box every spring!

The Willamette Spring Chinook fishery is open seven days a week with a two hatchery Chinook limit.



Drano Lake Spring Chinook

Early to mid May

Drano Lake Spring Chinook Fishing GuideWhere is Drano Lake? This is a very common question. Drano Lake is located in Washington on Hwy 14 a little east of Stevenson, Washington.

Drano Lake isn't really a lake in the conventional sense; it's actually the mouth of the Little White Salmon River. The lake is a backwater of the Columbia River that has been created by the dike that was built to support Hwy 14.

Hwy 14 separates the lake from the Columbia River, but there is an outlet for to the Columbia and this is where the salmon enter the lake.



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EST.Total Fisherman Philosophy2000

We believe that:

  • Spending your life doing something you love is the secret to happiness.
  • Attention to detail and being absolutely driven, catches fish and creates success.
  • A focused effort catches more fish and bigger fish. Just going through the motions is for other people.
  • Spending extra time and effort toward making your day successful is important and makes a difference.
  • We believe that cutting corners on expenses and effort isn't something you do, even if nobody else will know.
  • We believe we should expect the most from every day on the water and hold ourselves to a higher standard.
  • We should give back as much and as often as we possibly can.
  • It's our job to act as stewards of the resource and as consummate professionals who know that our actions speak louder then words.

Giving 100% every day is the norm, because Buoy 10 or Estuary sturgeon or whatever season we happen to be in only comes around once a year, and in a few weeks it will be over. Let's be realistic ... every one of us has to have a last day on the water. We never know when that day will come, so we are absolutely going to make every day our best day.

We don't have gimmicks like "Fish Catch Guarantees". We won't tell you that we're catching 50 pound salmon every week, or tell you the fishing is red hot when it's not, or any of the other assorted things that guides tell prospective clients to get them on their boats. We're honest and we have integrity.

We provide high quality fishing trips at the median price for guides in the NW. We could charge more or we could charge less, but we don't want you to come fishing with us because your decision is based on price. We want you to come fishing with us because you think we run a first class operation, that we are going to treat you well, and because we catch fish.

We're not the Dollar Store of fishing guides and we certainly aren't the Four Seasons. Our pricing is middle of the road. We believe in charging enough so that we can use high quality equipment, maintain this equipment, and not have to cut corners. We also believe that charging the average price will hopefully allow you to come back more often.

We really take fishing seriously, it's our passion and we certainly want to catch fish just as much as you do; that's why we go during the best times to the best locations and spend extra time, effort, and money to make your trip the best that it can be. We want you to have a successful trip so you come back fishing with us, we also want to be successful so we maintain our reputation as top notch guides.

We take a lot of pride in our fish catching ability and we do everything in our power to put fish in the box, while at the same time having fun, and keeping you safe.

Our approach to life and to fishing isn't standard, and it would certainly be "easier" for us if we weren't worried about these things, but the easy route and the safe bet aren't what we're after. We care about you and we care about your experience on our boats.

We believe our customers, peers and fellow fishermen know that we hold this philosophy close to our hearts and that they know we are out there every day living it. We believe it's important to not let them down.

Kevin, Lacey, Chris & the whole Total Fisherman crew!

Kevin Newell & Lacey DeWeert - Team Total Fisherman