Fishing the John Day River, Oregon



Fishing on the John Day is spectacular.  Whether you choose a self-guided fishing trip or a trip with one of our professional guides you will enjoy yourself.

The John Day River is home to small mouth bass, steelhead and catfish.  For more information on fish and conditions, please click on one of the links at the bottom of this page.



Fishing With The Experts

Are you looking to have fun and relax? Do you really want to catch fish? If so we recommend you allow us to plan all the details of your trip. You’ll just need to show up and allow our professional guides to make sure you get what you’re seeking!  Our guides have years of experience on this river- fishing and playing!

Click here for more information on Guided Fishing Trips

Self-Guided Fishing Trips

Kellie Frech’s Service Creek is here to help you have a successful trip. We offer:

  • a NEW River Lodge on the John Day (please specify)

  • River shuttle service

  • Delicious food at our restaurant- order a sack lunch!

  • Convenience Store- stock up on goodies, grab ice

  • New! River Outfitters Store

Other Information 

We carry a full line of fishing tackle in our convenience store.  Please note that Service Creek does not sell fishing licenses.  We recommend that you come equipped with one.  You can get licensing here: Go to ODFW site

The best time to fish for small fish (smallmouth bass) on the John Day depends on the experience that you are looking for. If you are one that thinks size matters and you’re not concerned in the least about quantity you will want to be pounding the water from late March into early May. As the river first begins to warm in the spring the larger fish become active while the smaller fish remain dormant. Although trophy fish are caught throughout the summer,  a vast majority of these fish are taken during this early spring season (April and May).

As the summer progresses and the water warms the bass will grow more and more aggressive. If it is a quantity fishery you are looking for look no farther. Many people think when they hear of people having a hundred fish day on the John Day that this is a fluke, when in fact it is actually quite common. As the water warms above the 60 degree mark all of the fish will become very active, this generally begins about mid may and continues all the way through the end of October, with the best months being July, August, and September.


Smallmouth Bass | Steelhead | Catfish | John Day River