Drift Boat Trips

Barnett's Guide Service drift boat trips begin with a meeting near the river to discuss the game plan for the day.  Then we will head out to our launch destination and begin your fishing adventure aboard our 17' x 60" Willie drift boat setup for comfort with captains chairs and heating for those cold mornings.  Below you will find descriptions of the rivers we drift and the fish we pursue, along the current river level and flow information.

Kilchis River
The Kilchis River is a very small stream that rises quickly and is the first to come back into shape. It has a small run of hatchery steelhead along with a large return of native steelhead. Chum salmon return in large numbers also, with a two week season for catch and release only in November. It also has a late run of chinook salmon which I target in December. The upper portion of the boatable water is very scenic and eventually winds down through the lush farmlands of the kilchis valley before entering Tillamook Bay one mile north of Tillamook. The Kilchis River runs a beautiful aqua marine color which is unique for this area


Nestucca River
The Nestucca River boasts some of the finest native winter steelheading on the west coast with estimated returns of over ten thousand native fish each year. Combine this with a hatchery return average of eleven to fifteen hundred fish from December to mid January and the native and broodstock returns the Nestucca offers a five month winter steelhead season. The opportunity for double digit hookups are very real during the peak of the native run from mid February through late march when the water conditions are right. With the average fish weighing eight to twelve pounds and fish in the twenty pound class often caught in the months of February, March and April making it truly a world class fishery. Spring chinook run from late may through July and are some of the hardest fighting salmon you will ever catch with the average weighing about twenty pounds. Summer steelhead arrive in June and run through September with fish weighing six to ten pounds. Fall chinook run September through December. These fish will weigh from twenty to forty pounds. The Nestucca has about fifteen miles of boatable water not counting tidewater. It varies from technical water to a calm river winding through the pasture land of the Nestucca Valley before entering the ocean at Pacific City.


South Santiam River
The South Santiam River originates high in the Cascade Mountains and in controlled by Foster Dam in Sweethome, Oregon. This river has a federal hatchery located at Foster Dam that raises spring chinook and summer steelhead with great returns of both. It also boasts a small run of native winter steelhead with fish reaching twenty pounds. The class of the river is its spring chinook although not as large as their coastal counterparts they make up for it in their eating quality and numbers with the summers running a close second as these are Skamania River stock and are well known for their acrobatic displays when hooked. These fish run from April through September with fish up to twelve pounds.



Trask River
The Trask River is a medium sized stream that only has about 8 miles of boatable water and doesn't receive as much pressure as some of the other local rivers in the area.  This river is a sleeper river for hatchery steelhead as it doesn't receive a planting but the Wilson and Kilchis fish are raised at the Gold Creek Hatchery including the broodstock steelhead. The river dumps into Tillamook Bay close to the Wilson and a lot of these fish return to the hatchery where they were raised on the Trask. September brings a return of fin clipped coho salmon which is the only river in the immediate area with them. October the fall chinook start and run through November. The Trask also has a good return of hatchery spring chinook which are raised at Gold Creek also.



Wilson River
The Wilson is a very popular river due west from Portland.  The upper boat able portion of this river has some of the most beautiful scenery to be found this is also where you encounter some of the technical water It has returns of all of the salmon and steelhead so there is fish of some type in it year round with a broodstock program for the steelhead to go along with the hatchery fish.  It stretches the take fishery almost year round.  It also flows through the town of Tillamook with lots to do after the fishing is done.

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