Your Guide: Dean Finnerty

Dean FinnertyI moved to Oregon from upstate New York when I was four years old. I can not recall a time in my life, ever, when being on, in or near the water wasn’t hugely important in my day to day existence. Its where I’m most at home. Everyday on the water it seems I get the opportunity to make more memories that I will keep for the rest of my life. On a warm late August evening, my bride and I got the rare opportunity to get out on our beloved North Umpqua to “skate up” a steelhead or two. In an hour and a half we rose five fish, one of which came to our dry fly three times before he finally ate it. I still recall the wide eyed look on my wife’s face as this fish made one incredible “head high” leap after the next, sending water spray from one side of the river to the other!. I remember my friends and I fishing nearly everyday in a small stream near my boyhood home about five minutes from the Sandy River . There we honed our skills on Sea Run Cutthroat trout and dreamed of finding the odd winter steelhead that would sometimes be found laying in the shallow tail-outs. My first salmon and steelhead were caught on the Sandy River at age 10. I began fly fishing for steelhead when I was 12 years old on the Deschutes River when Mark Bachman and Patty Barnes took me on a camping trip with their family. I began tying flies at about the same time and eventually began working in the tackle industry when I went to work for Larry Schoenborn at his Gresham , Oregon store.

Before I was even able to drive a car, I was taking customers from the store fishing on the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers . I remember them coming to my home to pick me up so I could “guide” them into their first fish! Friends of my fathers would have me row their drift boats for them on several runs on the lower Sandy near Troutdale , Oregon when I was in my early teens.

I bought my first drift boat, a 1982 Ray’s River Dory when I was 18 years old. I continued to row and work out of that boat until just a few years ago!

My beautiful bride Brenda and I have been married for 20 years and she and I are raising five great boys who all love to fish and hunt (and paintball!) My two oldest sons (Kyle and Colby) help me out with guide trips in our jet boat on coastal bays and estuaries during our fall Chinook salmon season. My youngest son, Hunter, won third place at the Oregon State Fair fly tying competition with his steelhead fly selection that he entered last year at the ripe old age of six! All of my boy’s learned to swim at our “secret Finnerty pool” on the North Umpqua ’s Steamboat Creek. All of them are fantastic fly fisherman and fly tiers. I plan on them one day taking over the family guide business when I retire and carrying on the traditions that have been established over the past 20 plus years of introducing folks and friends to some of the best fishing in the World !.

Today I spend the vast majority of my time guiding fly fisherman from all over the world on the Umpqua (North and Mainstem) the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers and various coastal streams for Steelhead, Salmon and Trout.  I'm also an avid hunter and now offer bird hunting trips during the Duck and Goose seasons offered in the Willamette Valley and along the Oregon Coast.

In an effort to offer some of the most diverse fishing opportunities in the Pacific Northwest to my clients, I offer walk-in (wade) trips, drift boat trips and jet boat trips.

I also offer conventional gear/tackle trips for Salmon, Steelhead, Sturgeon and Smallmouth and Largmeouth Bass on many of the same river systems and lakes that I fly fish.

I offer you my thirtyfive plus years of experience fishing Oregon ’s best Rivers, Steams and Bays for the finest game fish that swim! My clients routinely comment about my enthusiasm (many call me a fishing Spaz!). I offer you a safe, fun filled day on the water where you’ll have a great time, learn a new technique or two that hopefully will make you a better fisherman, boat handler or outdoorsman and I also offer you the opportunity to make memories with your family and friends that will last a lifetime and hopefully begin a friendship with me and my family that will last a lifetime.

God Bless you and yours,

Dean Finnerty and family
Cottage Grove , Oregon



My son James and I have been using guide Dean Finnerty for several years now.  We have fished for steelhead trout, rainbow trout, salmon and smallmouth bass in a variety of rivers, both fast moving and slow.  We have fished by wet wading from shore, drifting in his new drift boat, and using his jet sled.  Every time James and I have fished the boats were immaculate.  We also prefer to use our own gear, but Dean always has more than enough back-up gear.  One of the best perks we get fishing with Dean is that he ties his own flies, thus the personal touch.  Another great perk is that Dean is extremely knowledgeable in the rivers we fished, which were all completely different from each other.  Not an easy task for the guide.  Finally, not only is Dean knowledgeable, he is very friendly and courteous and down to earth.  This is very important for my son and I.  Conversation during the day is not limited to fishing and covers a great many subjects, which makes the day fun and interesting.  It should not be forgotten that Dean is a great guide and put James and I on fish.


Ken Gore, San Diego, CA. James Gore, Portland, OR.


Copyright 2005-2011. All Rights Reserved. Dean Finnerty Guides and Outfitters
Your Guide | Oregon Rivers | Fishing Schedule | Rates | Gallery | Links | Contact Us | Home