Wenaha River, OR
Cast for huge salmon and steelhead
One of the few drawbacks to high-country wilderness: The fish are often small, having spent months beneath ice. But the Wenaha is a tributary of the Grande Ronde, which is a tributary of the Snake, which feeds into the Columbia, which means the steelhead and salmon average 8 to 12 pounds. The Troy Trail accesses the Wenaha at the Grande Ronde confluence. Walk upstream through ponderosa and lodgepole pine in the 177,465-acre Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness and choose from many enticing spots along a 20-mile stretch. Drop flies below the surface for steelhead, swinging them downstream. You can often spot fish from basalt outcroppings overlooking the river. Just beware of a healthy rattler population.
No luck? No worries. Head to Terminal Gravity Brewing in nearby Enterprise for pecan-encrusted salmon and an Extra Special Golden.
From Elgin, several Forest Service roads lead to the town of Troy (watch for signs spray-painted on trees).