Author Archives: Jack High

About Jack High

The Go Northwest! blog is a companion Internet resource to the Go Northwest! Internet travel guide. The blog is a location-based ongoing commentary about points of interest in the Pacific Northwest.

Killgore Adventures Fishing Trips – The Video

By Jack High

Well . . . we got it done! And just in time for the 2014 fishing season.

The “we” is me and my staff at Go Northwest!. The “it” is the fishing video for Killgore Adventures. You can watch it on now on YouTube (be sure to catch the outtakes at the end):

Here are a few things you might want to know.

Killgore Adventures is a jet boat tour and fishing business out of White Bird, Idaho. The company and its guides operate on the Snake and Salmon Rivers which parallel one another for a number of miles and offer great fishing and great scenery in North Central Idaho.

Both rivers run free in rough and rugged deep canyons offering magnificent scenery, exciting rapids and plenty of wildlife including bear, deer, big horn rams and bald eagles. A great portion of the Snake River in particular runs through the heart of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.

On many outings one might catch different species of fish on the same day on one or both of the two magnificent rivers. I made two trips with the outfitter, once in October and once in January to shoot still and video images for their project.

In October, we used two boats. One, the American Eagle, skippered by Homer Brown, chief fishing guide. The second, the Horn Star was skippered by Kurt Killgore, who usually is driving either the Horn Star or the Happy Hour on Jet Boat Tours. But on this day Kurt turned to fishing since the outfitter had booked several clients and decided to run two boats. Happy Hour is a 36-passenger boat primarily used for tours and for transporting rafters and their gear.

The first day out we headed up the Snake River in Hells Canyon aboard the fast Horn Star from Pittsburg Landing, to fish the wild river section for white sturgeon, rainbow trout, and bass.

Kurt Killgore

Kurt Killgore

Our trip ran through Class 3, 4, and 5 whitewater rapids on our way to and from the fishing holes, and as Kurt says, “Everybody gets a heck of a boat ride out of it, and makes for a big adventure for everyone in the boat.”

The second day I rode with Homer Brown and we ran some 30 miles north of Pittsburg Landing to where the Salmon pours into the Snake. Kurt explains, “We start off fishing down at the confluence of the Snake and Salmon rivers because that’s where the most fish are. But once we get that big dose of fish that come up the Salmon River, we’ll be fishing right out of our motel and campground, so our trips are launching just 100 yards away from where you’ll stay, which makes it really convenient for our customers.

And, indeed, I interviewed one of their clients who fished right off their beach on the Salmon and reported that he had caught several salmon from that spot during the past couple of days.

Kurt points out that “One of the big perks for our clients is they can stay right at our place on the Salmon River.” Clients can tent camp, or stay in their RV Park, or take one of their motel units, all of which are no more than an easy walk from the beach.

Homer Brown

Homer Brown,

Homer, like Kurt, also notes that “When you come on a fishing trip with Killgore Adventures, it’s not just a fishing trip. We’re going to see a lot of wildlife, we’re going to get to catch some nice fish, and it’s a great way to spend a day with your family.”

Their fishing trips generally start at 8’o’clock in the morning and finish around 5’o’clock in the afternoon. “We have lunch for you on the boat, we have drinks on the boat, and it makes a really nice day”, says Homer. “We make sure you have everything you need. We have all the gear, all the tackle, everything you need to go fishing. If you want to bring your gear, you can. Sometimes we have people who have their favorite rod or their favorite lure, and that’s fine. Bring it. We’ll put it together for you and make sure you get to use it and have a good time.”

On that particular day of shooting the video, a fourteen-year-old girl on the “Horn Star” caught her first steelhead ever (you can see her in the video). She enjoyed a really great experience in a beautiful setting on the Lower Salmon River and she got to reel in a really amazing fish.

Toward late afternoon a young woman also on the “Horn Star” caught a large sturgeon and those of us on the other boat enjoyed watching her wrestle it to shore and pose for a photo. (You also can see that scene in the video.)

Catching a White Sturgeon with Killgore Adventures

Rachel Elizabeth assisted by Kurt Killgore lands her first White Sturgeon.

Kurt and Homer explain that the sturgeon you catch in Hells Canyon and on the Salmon River are white sturgeon. They see them in excess of 8-feet quite often and sometimes see them in excess of 10 feet. Homer points out that “A 10-foot fish on a fish chart is about 500 lbs. These fish are really big, they fight really hard, they jump and they scream a lot of line off”, he says. “So they’re not just like a bottom-dwelling, lazy fish. When you set the hook on one, and when you’ve got one pulling, it’s a pretty amazing experience.”

Homer says, “Our trip is pretty consistent all the time, we make sure we get you up there, see some game, see some cool stuff, catch some fish, have you a good lunch on the beach, and just kind of have that good camaraderie of having people around and having good conversations. It’s not just hardcore fishing when you go with us. It’s a really pleasant time.”

In winding up the interview and photo shoot, Kurt offered one more thought, “One of the best parts about fishing with us is we’re local, we live right here between Hells Canyon and the Salmon River. We’re not from anywhere else. We were born and raised here and we’ve fished here our whole lives. We’ve got this awesome scenery,” he adds, “and the fishing is awesome, I mean it’s second to none really.” And he summarized his enjoyment of his trips with, “It’s pretty hard to have a bad day in Hells Canyon.”

Fishing Near Shorty Canyon

Fishing near Shorty Canyon on the Salmon RiverHere at our first stop to fish we are about 500 feet north of Shorty Canyon on the west bank of the Salmon River at an elevation of about 1300 feet in North Central Idaho. The temperature is still in the low 30s at a little after 11:00 AM, but we have a bright sun and a cloudless sky and the day is bound to warm up.

Shorty Canyon is approximately four miles north of the beach at the headquarters of Killgore Adventures in White Bird where we began our trip nearly an hour ago. Canyon walls at this spot climb to elevations exceeding 4400 feet on both sides of the river. They are mostly terraced and interlaced with steep gullies, sheer cliffs, scattered trees and shrubs. The landscape is pretty brown this time of year with occasional spots of reddish bushes, green moss and a rare sprout of green grass in protected areas.

The Snake River is about 10 miles to the west. The two rivers flow north side by side for many miles until they are joined when the Salmon River flows into the Snake a few miles south of Lewiston. In some places the two rivers are as close as five miles apart. At other places they are separated by as much as 20 miles.

A series of ridges separate the two rivers, some climbing to more than 4,600 feet in elevation. Topographic maps show a few roads meandering among the canyons, saddles and ridge tops that would be fun to explore on another outing.

The three other members of our party are fishing while I’m shooting stills and video of them for a video project. They are hoping to catch steelhead and I’m hoping they succeed.

For more on Hells Canyon, the Snake and Salmon rivers please visit our web site starting at our North Central Idaho page.

The Salmon River at White Bird, Idaho

Salmon River at White Bird, Idaho.In White Bird, Idaho looking across the Salmon River on a beautiful January 21st with the temperature at 24 degrees. We are about to board a jet boat for a video shoot highlighting the fishing trips offered by Killgore Adventures.

This shot was taken from the beach at the Killgore Adventures headquarters. The beach is just a few yards from the outfitter’s office, motel and RV Park.

Killgore Adventures operates Jet Boat tours and also fishing trips during most months of the year on either or both the Snake River in Hells Canyon and/or the Salmon River. These two great rivers run almost parallel for several miles in north central Idaho and then come together a few miles south of Lewiston, Idaho at the confluence where the Salmon empties into the Snake.

Jet Boat tours typically are run from the Spring through the Fall seasons. Several tours are offered. The most populer is a six-hour tour on the Snake River in Hells Canyon that begins at Pittsburg Landing and runs upstream to the Hells Canyon Dam and visitor center and back. A hearty lunch is included and plenty of drinks are available for thirsty clients including water, soft drinks and sport drinks.

Highlights of the tour include stopping at historical ranches, running the several class IV and V rapids, seeing a variety of wildlife and stopping to wade or swim at beautiful sandy beaches. The outfitter also offers a loop tour of both the Snake River and the Salmon River.

Fishing trips are run on both rivers and the catch could be steelhead, salmon, bass, trout and even the huge sturgeon.

Today, the focus is on fishing. As soon as the boat arrives we will head downstream and stop at several favored fishing holes to catch steelhead.

For more about White Bird, jet boat tours and north central Idaho, please go to our Go Northwest! web site and visit our White Bird page or our page for jet boat tours.

Houseboats on Seattle’s Lake Union


Enjoyed a beautiful day in Seattle. First stop was along the east shore of Lake Union to catch this shot looking west at houseboats, the lake and Queen Anne Hill in the background just as the float plane was taking off. Had found a small open space between ample shrubbery to get a good view. The spot is near the water’s edge on Fairview Avenue East between E. Newton Street and East Boston Street. GPS coodinates: N 47, 38.2427; W 122, 19.7696.

Sunset Approaching Seattle


Having crossed Snoqualmie Pass and still heading westbound on I-90, I have high hopes of catching one of Seattle’s spectacular sunsets from perhaps Alki Beach or Golden Gardens Park.

Seen here is but a glimps of what I’m hoping for. But I do kind of like this one and particularly the reflection off my Jeep’s hood.

The shot was taken at a sign on the left denoting the South Fork Snoqualmie River approximately half way between the Snoqualmie Pass Summit and the town of North Bend. GPS coordinates: N 47, 26.2541; W 121, 38.8913.

I-90 Construction at Snoqualmie Pass, Washington

Construction Backup at Snoqualmie Pass

Construction delays when I-90 temporarily closed for blasting.

Travelers crossing Washington State’s Snoqualmie Pass during weekdays may find a section of the highway on the east side of the pass closed due to blasting in a construction zone.

Twice I found the section closed between the hours of 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM on a Tuesday and a Thursday. Had I been 15 minutes earlier when this photo of westbound traffic was taken, I would have avoided the backup and arrived in Seattle 45 minutes earlier.

But it was a pleasant day and the backup provided a chance to stretch the legs, relax and enjoy the respite from driving. This westbound scene is about one half mile from the south end of Keechelus Lake and about four miles east of Snoqualmie Pass summit. GPS coordinates: N 47, 19.4264; W 121, 19.5852.

Travelers unfamiliar with Snoqualmie Pass might like to know that it is a popular year-round destination offering skiing, cross-country skiing and tubing in the winter, and hiking, backpacking and climbing during the summer. For more about the Pass and its many recreational opportunities, check out our web site at Snowqualmie Pass.


I-90 to Seattle

Driving westbound on I-90 toward Seattle and wondering if the darkening sky portends rain. About to cross the Cle Elum River and just ahead is the exit to Roslyn, a small town on the east side of the Cascade Mountains that served as the fictional town of Cicely, Alaska in the long-running TV series “Northern Exposure” that ran for a total of 110 episodes from 1990 to 1995 on CBS.DSC_4758

Visiting North Central Idaho

White Bird Canyon and the town of White Bird in the distance.

White Bird Canyon and the town of White Bird in the distance as seen from a pullout near the White Bird Summit Lodge.

Go Northwest! attended yesterday’s General Membership Meeting of the North Central Idaho Travel Association (NCITA) held at the Whitebird Summit Lodge and Guest Ranch, Grangeville, Idaho and came away impressed by all the many things to do and see in that area of the state. At the top of the list are the amazing opportunities for outdoor recreation including hiking, backpacking, fishing, canoeing, rafting and jet boat trips.

In additional to those activities, the area plays host to numerous festivals and events sponsored by various local groups including the several chambers of commerce representing cities and towns of the region.

And if you are looking for scenery, consider that North Central Idaho is home to several scenic byways, the deepest river gorge in the country (Hells Canyon) and the longest free-flowing river in the lower 48 (Salmon River of No Return) plus numerous wilderness areas and thousands of square miles of forests.

To learn more about the region, you also can visit our web site at and follow the links to our pages on North Central Idaho.

NCITA Meeting

Members of the North Central Idaho Travel Association listen to presentations and hold discussions about plans to promote the region to vacationers and other travelers.

Rusty Montana Car

It’s not unusual to see old dilapidated log cabins, barns, tractors and other early-day farm and ranch equipment when traveling the highways and byways of Montana. But this is the first auto we’ve seen to become a home to a young tree. Maybe you will see it too between the towns of Three Forks and Ennis when traveling toward Yellowstone National Park via US Highway 287.

Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge

Fall has arrived at the Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge in Spokane County in northeast Washington. Established in 1937, Turnbull has been successful in providing productive breeding and nesting grounds for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge is located within an area known as the “Channeled Scablands” formed by ancient volcanic activity and glacial floods that produced a number of sloughs, potholes and wetlands yielding suitable habitat for migrating and breeding waterfowl.
Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge