Not many adventures compare to a river trip in the fall. The solitude and mild weather is seldom matched by the other seasons. Waking up by the river, you find the mornings crisp and clean. Indulging in an afternoon hike with a friend and his dog, you find the sun has lost its intense summer burn and given way to a lazy autumn warmth. Resting on a convenient basalt bench you seat yourselves with a backdrop of cheat grass slopes and instinctively speak in church whispers scarcely more audible than the gentle murmur of the river below. You close your eyes and come within one deep breath of ultimate peace. But then you hear a chuckle from the rimrock above. Then another to your left and your right and you realize they're not just laughing; those devils are laughing at you. There's only one clear thing to do: grab your guns and dog and start chasing. That's right, it's chukar season and there's no better place in the world to be than the rugged river canyons of eastern Oregon and western Idaho.
Originating in the mountainous regions of countries from Turkey to Mongolia, the chukar partridge (Alectoris chukar) was first brought to the United States from India in 1893 (Christensen, 1970). In 1931 the first of major attempts at establishment for recreational hunting were made by the states of Washington and New Mexico. In 1933 Idaho introduced its first chukars with Oregon following suit in 1951. Having evolved to survive the harsh, arid lands of the East, chukars felt right at home in the rimrock country of eastern Oregon and western Idaho where they now thrive and are found in excellent numbers. The introduction of chukars was a true success in the sense that not only do chukars fill a previously unoccupied niche in their adopted ranges, but they provide an exciting and rewarding hunt for gunners hearty enough to chase them.
In Oregon hunting season runs from the 1st Saturday in October until January 31st. In Idaho chukar can be pursued from the 3rd Saturday in September until the end of January. Both these seasons offer ample opportunities for you to couple your hunt with excellent fishing on either of the rivers we guide. Although a catchy moniker, sometimes we hesitate to simply label these trips as "Cast and Blasts." At the end of the day, we strive for our trips to be so much more than that. The rivers we guide on, the Grande Ronde and Snake River through Hells Canyon, are filled with natural beauty in the form of their striking canyons and their diverse flora and fauna. Additionally, they are deeply ingrained with Native American and American frontier history. We want every one of our guests to leave their trip having learned or seen something new and with a greater appreciation for this truly unique part of the West. On top of that, our guides absolutely love being on the river in the fall and they want to share with you the solitude and slower pace of life inherently brought by the changing seasons. From the boat launch on, in their capable hands (and in their dogs' capable paws) you will be expertly rowed through whitewater and boulder gardens on the river, artfully led to picturesque points and flushes in the hills, and graciously catered to mouth-watering dinners in camp. And the best part? These are multi-day trips, so each morning they'll cook you a hot and hearty breakfast and then you get to do it all again.
Christensen, G. C. 1970. The chukar partridge: Its introduction, life history, and management. Biological Bulletin No. 4, Nevada Department of Fish and Game
Our multi-day guided trips include all necessary equipment/gear EXCEPT guns and ammunition. You will need to bring your own shotgun with a case. A waterproof case is recommended, but we can accommodate soft cases by storing your gun in a dry box. That being said, there is always moisture involved in a river trip(surprising, right?) and chukar hunting often requires hiking over rough, uneven terrain, so you should keep in mind that if your shotgun looks like this, then you might not want to bring it down the river unless you're okay with the possibility of it picking up a few dings/scratches/rust spots.
For combination hunting and angling trips, we will supply a variety of tackle to allow you to fish for everything from bass to sturgeon. We specialize in fly fishing and our guides will bring a variety of Echo and Winston rods for you to try.
Our camp gear includes top of the line cots, heavy duty sleeping pads, warm sleeping bags, and spacious tents. You will be provided with a comfy camp chair and we'll set up our wall tent to provide a sheltered communal space in the event of any inclement weather. You will also be provided with dry bags to keep all of your belongings safe and dry as we travel down the river.
You are welcome to bring your own camp gear, fishing tackle, and dogs. If you plan on bringing dogs we recommend that you bring appropriate PFD's for them and you will need to pack food, collar's and any other necessary accesories.
*All hunters and fisherman must have required state hunting licenses, tags, and stamps. For guests joining us on the Grande Ronde, licenses can be purchased at the Minam Store.
Launch Dates and Minimum Group Sizes
Dates for running trips on these rivers are customizable for groups of 4 or more. Groups of less than four people may be able to join an existing trip, so don't hesitate to give us a call to disucss your options.