Departing the plane I was greeted at the gate by this character wearing a cowboy hat, high-heeled cowboy boots and tight fitting jeans that were held up with a pair of brightly colored suspenders.


Herb in a familiar location trolling down the river. 


I’ve been reading Salmon Trout Steelheader since its inception. Hell, at my age it seems I’ve read just about every other outdoor magazine since their inception as well. I’ve also been an outdoor writer, outdoor magazine publisher and even a cross-Canada television fishing host for more than 50-plus years. When it comes to STS, I have to say it’s one of the best. It’s more than informative when it comes to how to catch them, where to catch them and the tackle to use to catch them. Of particular interest to me are those tributes to the pioneers of the tackle industry, marine industry and even more the guiding industry. My one concern is we almost always pay tribute to these boys after they’ve moved on to that big fishing hole up in the sky. There’s no doubt it’s a great gesture to remember their importance to our favorite sport. I just think it’s even better to recognize them while they are still walking, still talking and still catching fish. Trust me, I don’t know one guide, one rod builder or one boat builder that wouldn’t want a little recognition in the before, instead of when he’s in the hereafter.





Now, like I’ve already noted, I’ve been around this fishing game more years than I like to admit. I’ve more than likely shared a boat on the rivers, lakes or the Pacific with more than 300 hundred guides. When scouting out suitable fishing water I always have made a point of checking out the guide I’m fishing with as well.


The author first met up with Herb Good and Buzzy Ramsey almost 50 years ago.


About 40 years ago I made my first trip west on an invitation from Phil Jensen the president of Luhr Jensen and Sons. Departing the plane I was greeted at the gate by this character wearing a cowboy hat, high-heeled cowboy boots and tight fitting jeans that were held up with a pair of brightly colored suspenders. First look at the guy and I thought I was going to a rodeo and not a fishing trip. When I say “character,” I mean character. From the time he turned the key and we started heading through Portland this guy talked and talked and talked. Now this wasn’t cowboy talk about cows, corrals and roping. He was a nonstop encyclopedia on the local history of the city, the states of Washington and Oregon, fishing, techniques, tackle and the salmon and trout. We hit Interstate 84 and he was still talking. He asked if I wanted to stop at Bonneville Dam and visit the fishway and viewing station and he was still talking. He was even talking in the parking lot at Bonneville, at the fish ladder and down in the underground viewing station. To be dead honest, I loved ever darn minute of my first introduction to a guy by the name of Herb Good.





A few hours later on the banks of the Hood River I had my first opportunity to drop a line in the water with both Herb and Buzz Ramsey. That was back in the day when aggressive steelhead stocking programs were underway. The fish were everywhere and biting consistently. As we fished, Buzz talked tackle and Herb shared his opinion as well, along with more tales of the river, the fish and even Mount Hood, which overshadowed us in the background.





I spent the next four days with Ramsey and Good drifting rivers like the Kilchis and the Wilson. It was all Hot-Shoting in those days. Again, Herb educated me real quick about the importance of tuning the little long-nosed plug, spacing the distance between tip of the rod and the Hot Shot, the importance of fighting these high flying trout and even more history lessons on the rivers and their surroundings. To be honest, I was having just as much fun listening to what he was talking about as I was catching fish.


Toronto Star outdoor writer John Power meets Herb Good for the first time and bags a 22-pound Kilchis River steelhead.


As I’ve already said, I’ve known Herb Good for 40 years. I’ve fished with him on most of the fabled streams in Oregon, Washington and Alaska’s Kenai. Over the years he’s never changed. He can navigate a stream, find the fish, is more than hospitable and again, he definitely is a storyteller.

Over the years I’ve fished with my share of guides. Real, legitimate guides in my opinion are professionals. Most newcomers to the game enter the profession with high expectations and fail. It’s not all about just sunny days and catching fish. The real guides have all faced tough bites, tough elements and tests of their perseverance. Honestly, the majority entering the game fail. Real guides everywhere have earned their reputations and paid their dues to succeed.






A young Herb Good spent a tour of Vietnam from 1966 to 67. On his return he decided to utilize his passion for fishing and the abundant fish stocks running up the Columbia to start a guide business based out of Hood River. When I first met him, Herb was already making a name for himself and building up his client base. Over the years he refined his presentation, which actually just came naturally to him. He also was recognized by another group of legendary members of the fishing tackle industry. Phil Jensen Jr. mentioned to me on a number of occasions that Good was earning a well-deserved reputation amongst fishermen not only for his fish-ing skill, but what he referred to as his “personality.” While not officially on the payroll, he soon became one of the real legends of Luhr Jensen. He became an adviser on what lures caught fish, how the baits could be improved and what he personally believed should actually be designed and promoted.


Not a bit of jealousy when the author pulled up with an 84-pound Kenai king at Herb Good’s tent camp on the river.


When Gary Loomis first introduced his famous line of G. Loomis graphite rods he turned to Good for his opinion. When new models first came out of the oven kiln, Herb did a little bit of pre-testing before they went to market. A few months ago when Gary and I were discussing Herb Good, Loomis did nothing but praise his longtime friend. Not only for his fishing prowess, but just as importantly for his personality. He continually used the word “charisma”…. Then adding. “There is no doubt about it, Herb Good is and always was, one hell of west coast fish guide, and one hell of an interesting character.




He may be retired now, but he’s still fishing the rivers every day either in the jet boat, drift boat or casting the banks. He’s always free with his advice and also the storytelling. He’s one hell of a guide and a buddy.






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I have always love STS from the first time I picked up the magazine. I’m very sorry that I can no longer get it in paper form, that I prescribed to start with. I don’t have the time to be on the computer to read all the articles. When I had them in paper form, I could read the magazine when I was in my truck wait for my clients to be done with their appointments, or when I could get away camping. I would really like to have the paper magazine again. If that cannot be possible then I will not be renewing my prescription after this one is ended. Please give an option for paper as I said I love STS and don’t want to stop.


this is informative and fun to read.

tom zbytek

Over 30 years ago, I became part of Phil Jensen’s “Luhr Jensen Company” when I licensed the Crippled Herring to Phil. That was in 1989. Part of that relationship was the bonus of Herb Good’s special friendship. In 2005, Phil was retiring and sold his company to Rapala in Minnesota. I have been a lure designer now for over 40 years and wish that all of those years could have been exclusively with Phil’s company and Phil’s sidekick, Herb Good!

Capt. Pete Rosko

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