We'd heard about the Upper Columbia River rainbows—that they were big and loved to show you your backing.
So when guide Justin Hotchkiss of Far North Charters and Art and Nina Grobben of Lazy Daze Retreats invited us up for fishing and a stay at a lovely log cabin, we jumped on the offer.
The great Columbia River around the Canadian/US Border is the biggest trout river I've ever fished, hands down. That seems a predictable declaration when you consider that my world atlas lists the Columbia among the longest rivers on the Earth at 1,214 miles.
Plenty of those miles lie above the Canadian border.
It's simply a monster.
It's home to some pretty monstrous trout as well.
There are much bigger fish, eight, ten, even 13-pounders.
I can hardly imagine...I even caught a 17-inch cutthroat and a 15-inch brook trout.
Our guide was Justin Hotchkiss, the owner of Far North Charters, an amiable and patient pro who knows his water and how to make it give up its beauties. His boat is almost as imposing as its water—20 stable feet of welded aluminum carrying a 225-horse outboard, and a smaller outboard as a back-up.
It raced up and down the river so fast that #24 midges stung our exposed necks.
They also stung Buck's nose. Buck is Justin's big black German shorthaired pointer who likes to ride around on the boat all day, especially
on the fore deck at full throttle to feel the air rip wildly around his muzzle. That is, until the smarting midges drive him back to lie down
under a gunnel.
Buck was fascinated by every fish we hooked or landed, and every morsel we ate.
It was grand trip.