Outdoor Storytellers – Jason Shultz

Thirty-five-year-old Jason Shultz spends nearly all his time on the Clearwater, Columbia or Snake rivers.

According to deckhand James Hollingshead, Shultz is “probably one of the hardest working guys you’ll ever meet, one of the hardest working guides out here. He fishes all the time, especially during steelhead season when it’s cold. And he’ll be out here sturgeon fishing when it’s 100 degrees in the canyon.”

Jason had no problem putting KXLY 4’s Dan Barth and Outdoor Storytellers cameraman Chase Ogden into some spring-run Chinook salmon. An easy task for Jason, really, considering he has owned and operated Hells Canyon Sportfishing for the last 12 years.

“It’s a great business; I love doing it,” he says. “You’re certainly not going to get rich doing it, I can promise you that, but it’s a great lifestyle; you can make a good living. We’re real happy to be involved in the outfitting business.”

The difficulty and the beauty of running a business like this is that it’s really hard to fool your customers and only by getting results will you build a successful operation.

“This type of business relies entirely off of word of mouth,” Jason says. “You can advertise all you want but when you’re taking guys from Spokane and Boise and you get a few groups that say, ‘Hey we’ve got this guy in Hells Canyon that’s just wompin’ the steelhead, you need to get your buddies down there and go,’ that’s how my business got going.”

And once it got going years ago, Jason added guides like Doug Richert to his staff.

“He’s fun to work with and pretty laid back,” Doug says. “I really don’t know what to say. It’s one of those deals where you’re at a loss for words. He’s helped me with out with everything to do with this river, the Snake and the Columbia.”