A wide range of trips are available that make wilderness available without sacrificing comfort

While perusing the many booths at the Central Oregon Sportsmen’s Show, I began to daydream about catching salmon and halibut in Alaska and British Columbia, horse packing into the Eagle Cap Wilderness, fishing for steelhead and salmon in Oregon’s coastal rivers and finally, relaxing at a hot springs resort near Lake Tahoe.

If I had more time and money I’d be on an endless adventure. However, unless I win the lottery I may only be able to dream about these trips. Here are a few at the top of my dream list.

Elfin Cove Resort

Elfin Cove is located in southeast Alaska just south of Glacier Bay National Park. The huge Brady Glacier is across the sound from the resort. by: SCOTT STAATS SPECIAL TO THE CENTRAL OREGONIAN - The view from Elfin Cove across to Glacier Bay National Park and the Brady Glacier.

Guests target halibut ranging from 20 pounds to over 300 pounds and Chinook salmon ranging from 20 to 60 pounds. Coho, sockeye, chum and pink salmon can also be caught. Some anglers like to go after rockfish, red snapper, black sea bass and lingcod. All fishing is done in the protected inlets, fjords and bays around the immediate area.

The resort offers six fishing boats, ranging in size from 30 feet to 36 feet that handle from four to six anglers. The crew will clean, package, freeze and box your catch for the trip home.

The newly renovated Elfin Cove Resort features four separate buildings with a total of 16 guest rooms, each with a private bathroom. Breathtaking glacier and mountain views can be experienced from practically anywhere at the resort. Bald eagles, sea lions, sea otters, killer whales and the occasional brown bear can also be seen in the area.

For more information call 888-922-3474 or go to

Steens Wilderness Adventures

If you’ve ever dreamed about a trip into Hells Canyon or the Eagle Cap Wilderness in northeastern Oregon but don’t feel up to backpacking, consider a horse pack trip with Steens Wilderness Adventures out of Joseph.

They offer deluxe 3- to 7-day pack trips into Hells Canyon in May and June, and into the Eagle Cap Wilderness in July, August and September. Activities include fishing and swimming in lakes and/or rivers, hiking, photography opportunities and wildlife viewing for deer, elk, bear, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, golden and bald eagles.

hey also offer summer drop camps in the Eagle Cap Wilderness.

For the hunters, Steens Wilderness Adventures provides drop and supplied camps (10-day hunts) and deluxe and guided camps (7-day hunts). All archery and rifle hunts are in the Imnaha, Snake River and Pine Creek units. Game hunted includes deer, elk, bear, Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain SCOTT STAATS SPECIAL TO THE CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Horse and mule packing in Hells Canyon.

For more information call 541-432-6545 or go to

Ocean Star Charters

Picture this — you’re living aboard a 72-foot boat for four or five days within the waters of Nootka Sound and Esperanza Inlet on Vancouver Island’s west coast. You’re fishing for all the salmon species as well as halibut, lingcod and even tuna later in the year.

Stationed in Tahsis on Vancouver Island, Brithish Columbia, Ocean Star Charters offers an unforgettable fishing adventure. During the charter, the MV “Ocean Star” anchors in the waters of a calm and protected bay for the entire fishing excursion. There the guests can enjoy both the safety, and comforts of a home away from home. From this anchorage, prime fishing areas are just 15 to 30 minutes away. Guests fish from one of their four smaller fleet boats.

Each day begins with fresh coffee and a continental style breakfast, followed by an early morning departure for the fishing grounds. Packed lunches are provided or you can opt to come back to the Ocean Star for a hot lunch. At the end of each day, you can relax in the spacious aft lounge area where you can enjoy the beautiful west coast scenery over drinks and a platter of fresh hors d’oeuvres. Back in the galley, you’ll find a delicious gourmet dinner waiting for you.

For more information call 604-992-7476 or go to

Big Dave’s Fishing Adventures

For a trip a little closer to home there’s Big Dave’s Fishing Adventures along the Oregon coast. Big Dave offers guided fishing trips for steelhead and salmon on the Wilson, Kilchis and Trask rivers outside of Tillamook. Fall Chinook fishing lasts from October to December and the winter steelhead fishing runs from December through March. The rest of the year he’s fishing in Alaska.

Chinook average 25 to 30 pounds with the occasional 50-pounder caught. Fishing is done from his 18-foot drift boat. Methods include pulling plugs, back bouncing eggs, bobber fishing and drift fishing. Steelhead average 8 to 13 pounds with some getting to 20 pounds or more. Big Dave says, “There is nothing quite like side drifting for steelhead with your bait drifting perfectly through the holes, just waiting for your rod to load up.”

All trips are fully guided and include a big lunch and beverages. For more information call 907-733-1334 or go to

1862 Hot Springs

How about a vacation where you do nothing but relax? With panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and close proximity to Lake Tahoe, 1862 David Walley’s Hot Springs Resort & Spa in Genoa, Nevada is a beautiful year-round destination for visitors seeking relaxation or recreation.

The resort offers five natural hot mineral springs, a pool, dry saunas, steam rooms and a newly remodeled spa. There’s also a fitness center, tennis courts, hiking and biking trails, ski runs and nearby golf courses for those who wish to do a little more than just relax.

The resort’s one- and two-bedroom suites have full kitchens, gas fireplaces, living areas with sofa beds and balconies to enjoy the sights and wildlife. With more than 1,500 bottles of wine to choose from, 1862’s wine cellar offers a nice variety in quality and price for all palates.

The hot springs have been known for their healing powers for almost 150 years. The site’s location, at the foothills of the Sierras with 360-degree views, is less than a half-hour from South Lake Tahoe and its nightlife, gambling and shopping opportunities.

For more information call toll-free 855-398-1862 or go to They have pretty incredible deals right now starting at $179 for three days and two nights.

Scott Staats is a freelance outdoor writer. His column can be read every Friday in the Central Oregonian. He can be reached at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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