GPS Coordinates: 48°54’47.93″N 117°48’15.58″W
Trip Questionnaire: Once you have arranged your travel details, please click on the link below. This will take you an electronic questionnaire form that we ask you to complete and submit to The Fly Shop. Please be sure to click the “Submit” button at the end of the form. The information provided will help us — and the outfitter best coordinate your trip. THANK YOU!
Trip Questionnaire Click HERE
Getting to Black Bear Lodge
Black Bear Lodge is located just downstream of the little town of Northport Washington which is about a two and a half hour drive from Spokane(Airport Code GEG) and a six and a half hour drive from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). GEG hosts 7 major airlines and 19 direct flights arriving daily so there are a number of options to get you there. Once at the airport, you can rent a car and drive to the lodge.
Address: 4254 Northport Flat Creek Road, Northport Washington
The small town of Northport is hard to get lost in. When you arrive in Northport there will be one gas station. Approximately 1/4 miles past the gas station will be a bridge spanning the Columbia. After you cross that bridge there will be an immediate hard left turn which doubles back along the river. Take that hard turn left onto Northport – Flat Creek Road (Paved road) and travel approximately 1.70 miles to the location – The lodge is literally riverside and next to the county road; you can’t miss it.
A majority of guests prefer to rent a car and make the drive to and from the lodge on their own. It’s nice have a vehicle for mobility.
Normal check-in is any time after 6:00 p.m. and check-out time is always right after breakfast, although special accommodations can be arranged for when needed and requested. During Hatch season (June 15-July15) Anglers typically check in earlier in the day and fish the Afternoon/Evening.
Trout Tackle & Equipment
Black Bear Lodge provides all flies/leaders and tippet. They can provide you with Rods and reels with some notice. We encourage you to bring your own rod/reel set up and some of your favorite fly patterns. If you choose to use their rods and by chance the rod is broken there will be a $100 charge for repair/shipping fees.
Multi-piece 5 and 6 weight fly rods will cover most of the fishing situations you’ll encounter. 9.5-10’ rods for Nymphing and a 9’ for fishing dries. If you enjoy streamer fishing, we recommend bringing a nice light weight, fast-action 7 weight. We strongly recommend a multi-piece travel rod (3, 4 or 5 piece). Rods you might consider are:
- Scott Fly Rods • R.L. Winston Fly Rods • The Fly Shop Signature Fly Rods
Double Handed Rods/Switch Rods:
Spey rods can be an advantage and lots of fun in the spring and fall on the Upper Columbia. Bring rods in the 4-7 weight class, 11 to 14 feet in length. The Fly Shop’s Signature Series Spey Rods, Echo Trout Spey Rods, Winston Spey Rods, and Sage Spey Rods are perfect.
Good quality, lightweight fly reels, with simple disk drags or pawl drags, are the best choice. Reels should be filled with fresh 20 pound backing. Reel models to consider might include:
- The Fly Shop Signature Reels • Galvan Reels • Ross Reels
Floating lines matched to your rods are best for Nymphing and Dry fly fishing. If you have a type III sink tip for a 6-7 weight, be sure to bring it along especially for the spring and fall months.
- Scientific Anglers and Rio Freshwater Fly Lines
Spey/switch lines/heads-Match your spey/switch rods with an AirFlo Compact Skagit (or Rio equivalents) with interchangeable tips (RIO MOW tips). Tips needed ; 10-12 ft sections of T-8, T-10 and T-14 / Also Poly Leaders in; Floating, Intermediate, 3 IPS*, 5 IPS and 7IPS. designations *IPS – Inches Per Second
Leaders & Tippet:
Keep it simple on leaders; 7.5’ leaders tapered to 2X and 3X (throw in a couple of 7.5’ 0X leaders for throwing big bugs). Two to three of each leader size should be plenty. Bring fresh tippet in sizes 2X, 3X and 0X. Scientific Anglers, Rio, and Seaguar make some of the best tippet and leader material available.
For Spey rods, Poly Leaders in; Floating, Intermediate, 3 IPS*, 5 IPS and 7IPS. designations *IPS – Inches Per Second
Guides will provide fly patterns and this is included in the cost of your trip, but you might bring some of your favorite trout flies as outlined below. If you do bring your own patterns, make sure they are tied on 1x or 2x strong hooks.
|Parachute Adams, Purple Haze, Missing Link, Film Critic|
|PT flashback, Jigged Psycho prince, Hares Ears soft hackle,
Hun/Partridge Pupa-Tan/olive, CDC Prince, Frenchie
|Green Drake||#14-16||Parachute Drake, Mercer foam dun green drake, Mercers Missing Link green drake, Victory Drake|
|Caddis||#12-16||Missing Link, X-caddis-Peacock, Tan|
|#4-8||Bow river Bugger-(Black, Natural), Pats Stones (Black, Orange-Black)|
|CFO Ant – Pink, Chubby Chernobyl-(Pink, Orange and Purple)|
Recommended Clothing and Equipment
The weather in Northeast Washington is constantly changing. One afternoon it may be 90° (+) and sunny, down right hot; then only a few hours later it may be windy and hailing. June and July are more stable months and typically high pressure, sunny and hot. You are typically dressing light and wearing sun protective clothing and trying to stay cool. Early and late season, especially into October, brings more unpredictable and cooler weather, so you should always plan for any possible weather. Clothing strategies should be based on the “layering system.” By using the “layering system,” anglers can adapt to whatever Mother Nature dishes out. The whole idea behind layering is to trap heated air (generated by your body and stored between the different layers of insulation), thus keeping you warm.
Here is the formula preferred by the staff at The Fly Shop®:
1… Base Layer: Start off with a synthetic fabric next to your skin. This often is a pair of thermal underwear (tops and bottoms) and they usually come in three weights: light, mid and expedition. According to your individual metabolism, pick what is best for you. Synthetic (non-cotton) materials retain little moisture and “wick” moisture away from your skin. This is very important when you are walking in waders or when outside temperatures heat up.
2… Thermal Layer: Your second layer of insulation should match the weather and conditions you are going to be fishing in. Lightweight insulation for cool weather, midweight for colder conditions and heavyweight for really frigid days. Fleece is an outstanding choice here in either tops and bottoms or overalls. Merino Wool is also a good choice as it stays warm when damp, though dries very slowly.
3… Outer Shell (Rain Jacket & Waders): Your final layer should be a breathable rain jacket and waders.
- 1 set light or mid weight – Patagonia, Simms, and others (tops and bottoms)
- 1 set heavyweight – Patagonia, Simms, and others (tops and bottoms)
- 1 layering jacket – A lighter weight jacket that can fit under your wading jacket or that can be used by itself
High quality Gore-Tex® type products are the best. Your rain jacket should be 100% waterproof and breathable. Rain jackets must be seam sealed, multi-layered, of QUALITY construction and from a recognized outdoor clothing company. Jackets specifically designed for fly fishermen are the best.
Most of the Fishing on the upper Columbia is out of the boat, but there is opportunity to wade.
Stocking foot, breathable waders are the only way to go. Neoprene waders are antiquated, do not permit moisture to escape, are heavy and cumbersome and only appropriate for sedentary fishing (float tubing) where insulation is the only concern. “Breathable” waders have totally revolutionized wading equipment. You will experience little or no moisture build-up inside the waders, even after a long hike; they wear like iron, and are comfortable to be in all day. Lastly, “Breathable” waders take up a fraction of the space neoprene waders take-up when packed in your duffel bag. All waders should be worn with synthetic fiber under-wader wear for maximum comfort, minimum moisture retention, and warmth. For safety we strongly recommend wearing a wading belt at all times.
- Patagonia Waders • Skwala Waders • Simms Waders
On the hot summer days of June and July wet wading can be a great choice. This does not mean leave your waders at home, but a pair of wading socks and quick dry shorts is all the extra things you need and you will have the option to wet wade.
Anglers should bring enough socks to alternate on a daily basis. For a week’s fishing trip, three pairs should be fine. Do not wear the same socks every day, but alternate, leaving one pair to dry and air while wearing the other set. Wool, polypro or a combination of both are the best choices in sock material. Try on your socks with your waders and wading boots before you leave for your trip to ensure that you have plenty of room to move your toes. Being unable to move your toes and cramping of your feet in your wading boots are the biggest reasons for numb toes and cold feet. We’ve experienced great success with the disposable air-activated heating pads available at many outdoor stores. Removal from the cellophane wrapper activates them and they then simply stick to the outside of socks for hours of cozy warmth.
- 3 pair of Wading Socks.
Felt soled wading boots are highly recommended as they offer superior ankle support and are exceptional for hiking to and from waters. There are no restrictions for using felt wading boots in Washington at this time. Simms, Patagonia and Korkers make some good models to consider. Korkers are nice because you can change out felt soles for rubber, or studs depending on each situation. Make sure if you are bringing felt wading boots, they are clean and dry to prevent the spread of invasive species. No Studs Please!
- Simms Wading Boots • Korkers Wading Boots • Patagonia Wading Boots
Wool or Polypropylene Gloves:
For Early and late season, fingerless gloves are great for cold and or rainy days. Neoprene gloves are fine, but retain a lot of water when wet. We have had the best success with synthetic or wool gloves.
- Simms Half-finger Gloves or Flip-mitt Gloves
Fishing Vest or Tackle/Vest Pack:
For vests, we like high quality products that offer options. Many of the best new vests can be attached to your favorite backpack, sling or pack. Choose one that has room for a rain jacket, or camera in the back. Brands we like are Patagonia, Simms and Fishpond. If you prefer a tackle pack, take a good look at Fishpond, Patagonia, or Simms.
Small Day Pack:
This can be an important article to include while packing. We like a waterproof, top-loader day pack that can hold extra gear, clothes, flies, camera, snacks, etc.
In an effort to “Kick Plastic”…We ask that you bring your own favorite water container… in turn, your guide and vessel will have a clean supply of water to fill from.
This is the land of Dry Fly Fishing. If there is one item you should bring to help yourself out, it is Dry Fly Dressing. Gink, Loon, Umpqua all make great floatants that will do the job and help the guide out when you are out of reach.
A waterproof boat “dry bag” can be extremely handy for storing extra clothes, tackle and camera equipment while on a raft. The whitewater type “dry bags” are the best.
June and July in Northeast Washington can be clear and bright with lots of sun. A good hat to keep the glare off your eyes and the sun off your face is imperative. Look for a hat that is comfortable and has a good size brim.
Line clippers, Pliers, Hemostats, & Hook File:
These are essential to any fisherman and should not be left behind.
Fly fishing is often a very visual experience. Spotting the fish is part of the excitement, and part of the challenge. Good quality polarized sunglasses are a must. Polarized sunglasses not only let you spot fish more effectively, but also protect your eyes from the intense sunlight experienced in Idaho, as well as hooks. Costa and Smith make some of the best in the industry.
Waterproof digital or splash-proof digital cameras are handy. If you are going to take your digital SLR camera, make sure you have a waterproof case for it. The best waterproof cases we have found to protect expensive camera equipment are made by Pelican Products. Don’t forget your flash unit.
You should not leave home without one. Great if you hit the water in the evening for a late hatch. Our favorite is the Loon Nocturnal Headlamp, preferring models with LED bulbs and that can be recharged.
The summer weather in Northeast Washington is generally pleasant with average temperatures ranging between the low 60’s and mid 90’s. Wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved shirts, and frequent use of sun block (SPF 30+ UVA/UVB) are highly recommended. Sun gloves will save the backs of your hands.
Although bugs are usually not too big a problem in this part of Washington especially mid-summer. But there are spots with some biting insects and mosquitos in the spring and a bottle of bug dope with active ingredient DEET is not a bad idea to include in your tackle bag.
After a long day of fishing, it’s nice to get out of your waders and slip into a comfortable pair of shoes to wear around the lodge. Crocs are a great choice and super lightweight.
There is not a lot of wading done on the upper Columbia and you do get out of the boat, the rocks are big and uneven. If you use a wading staff on your home waters, then bring it, it will come in handy.
The Upper Columbia is a very big River with a lot of water. Guests will be required to wear Inflatable PFD’s while on the boat.
Gratuities are a personal decision based on services rendered. Normally, guides are tipped daily as you may have a different guide each day. We recommend that you tip your guide on a daily basis, somewhere in the nature of $100-$150 per day, per boat/guide (usually shared between two anglers). For the lodge staff, (chefs, housekeeping, wait staff, etc.) we recommend $50 per day per person and pay them separately at the end of your stay. If you have any questions concerning gratuities, please feel free to call or ask the lodge owner for guidelines.
As soon as you have your flight schedule finalized to Washington please forward it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org , so that we can coordinate your transfer to the lodge.
Fishing Licenses: You can purchase your Washington fishing license online at Washington Fishing License
Black Bear Lodge
Jack Mitchell (509) 859-2280
The Fly Shop®
800-669-3474 • BUS. 530-222-3555
(Open 7 days a week, 7:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.)
With Black Bear Lodge located just outside of the town of Northport, Washington, you can expect modern communications, including Wi-Fi throughout the lodge and property. AT&T and Verizon cell service is reasonable around the lodge and on the river.
Black Bear lodge is a full service facility serving wonderful homecooked meals in the dining room of the Lodge. Breakfast and Dinner are served at the lodge and lunch is eaten on the river with the guides.
Beer, wine and Liquor are not included in the cost of the trip, so please purchase supplies prior to arriving.
Black Bear Lodge offers quite a few non-Angling activities that include scenic river floats, birding, hiking and even a wine tour. Let us know ahead of time that you would like to arrange a non-angling activity and we can help you with this. Some activities are not included in the package price.