By Robert Deen
If I could own only one book about fishing in Oregon, it would be Madelynne Diness Sheehan’s Fishing in Oregon – The Complete Oregon Fishing Guide.
This venerable favorite was first published in 1984 and is now in its 11th edition. “Fishing in Oregon” is not designed for fun reading, it’s a reference book. Unless you are extremely short of reading material, you probably won’t read it cover to cover. But if you want to know where the fish are, in any part of Oregon, then this is a resource you can pick up and put to use immediately. If you live in or near Oregon, plan to travel through the state, or have a vacation planned; this can be an invaluable resource.
Why this book? Generally, a book will hit the 15, 20, maybe 30 top lakes and rivers in a state. Sheehan’s book covers more than 1,300 lakes, streams, bays and ponds. If there’s a wet spot in Oregon, this book covers it.
The book is organized in eight chapters corresponding to the eight zones of the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations. Waters are listed alphabetically within each chapter (an index to all waters is also provided). Chapter introductions describe the varieties of fishing available in the zone and outstanding characteristics, climate, road and trail conditions, and availability of visitor facilities. The author also shares her choice of the best fishing available for each zone, and within each chapter the best waters are flagged with a fish icon beside their names.
Here’s an example. I was looking for a small pond to take my grandson fishing in the vicinity of The Dalles. I was unfamiliar with the area. Tourist information focused on fishing the Columbia and Deschute rivers, but that wasn’t what I needed. By scanning through the Central Zone chapter I found Taylor Lake, a small pond just outside of town. The book offered directions on how to get there, what kind of fish were available and at what time of year, and details down to which side of the lake was best for bank fishing, and the fact that float-tubing was popular. It even suggested that Taylor Lake might be the best spot to try for a state record Redear, with the sunfish running up to two pounds. Perfect for my grandson.
Additional features I appreciated: an appendix of places to fish particularly suited for youngsters, and a list of fishing opportunities for the disabled.
The information in this 400-page book, which includes more than 100 maps, is well worth the $24.93 price (Amazon). It says something that every one of the 26 reviews on Amazon received a five star rating.
Author Sheehan is an attorney in Scappoose, Oregon, who serves as legal counsel to the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association.
If I could make one suggestion for improvement, Fishing in Oregon – The Complete Oregon Fishing Guide has no one map showing the entire state of Oregon. Just for general orientation purposes, that would be helpful. But all in all, if you fish in Oregon – or plan to – this is a great reference book to have on the shelf.