Our Story

Skookum Outfitters is owned and operated by Nate Turner, who brings decades of experience and a lifelong passion for fishing to his trips and classes.

Nate was born in Butte, Montana, but not long after he was born, his parents moved to Oregon and eventually settled in a home on the banks of Lake Creek in a small community called Camp Sherman. It was there that Nate discovered fly fishing at the young age of 10. A neighbor got him started with casting and showed him the ‘Fisherman’s Knot.’  One of his closest childhood friends taught him to how to tie a few trout flies and later, Nate’s dad would give him a tying vise and materials as a Christmas gift. From there, warmer months were spent losing flies, tying flies and getting into trouble on the Metolius with buddies, BMX bikes and fly rods. In time, the bike was replaced with an old Ford pick-up truck and Nate started exploring Central Oregon and the Deschutes River Basin- from its origin at Little Lava Lake in the Cascade Mountains to its terminus, over 250 miles downstream at the Columbia River near The Dalles.

Nate graduated from Sisters High School in 1997 and a few years later he got a job as a sales clerk at a local fly shop that booked guided trips on the Lower Deschutes River. When he wasn’t mowing the yard in front of the shop, selling tackle, repairing rental waders or sending broken rods in for repairs, he soaked up as much knowledge as he could.  On any given day he’d encounter anglers who were gearing up for trips to nearby rivers and lakes, as well as to far-flung international destinations he’d never heard of. Shop guides would come and go, leaving stories and fishing reports behind. There were always books to read, different fly materials to try and new gear to learn about.  The sales rep for a popular rod manufacturer put a two-handed rod in his hands for the first time and Nate- already an avid steelheader- became obsessed with the spey cast. New rods, reels and lines were added to his quiver. Bigger, brighter flies were coming off the vise. Road trips got longer and soon he found himself camping on rivers in winter snow and spring rain.  Nate’s passion for fly fishing- particularly the pursuit of steelhead on the fly- was starting to take on the appearance of an unhealthy addiction. Non-fishing friends and family seldom heard from him. The little budget he had was drained for gas, cheap beer and fishing gear. Sadly, the fly shop that once felt like home now seemed like a prison cell. To solve this dilemma, Nate took a leap of faith- he bought an old Koffler drift boat, quit the fly shop and took a job near Warm Springs to be a guide. It seemed like a good idea at the time…

That was almost 20 years ago.  Since then, Nate has fished all over the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as Western Canada and Belize. He now resides in The Dalles, Oregon with his wife, kids and an old dog. When he’s not guiding, Nate’s fishing. He still guides out of the same old Koffler driftboat.

Skookum Outfitters is owned and operated by Nate Turner, who brings decades of experience and a lifelong passion for fishing to his trips and classes.

Nate was born in Butte, Montana, but not long after he was born, his parents moved to Oregon and eventually settled in a home on the banks of Lake Creek in a small community called Camp Sherman. It was there that Nate discovered fly fishing at the young age of 10. A neighbor got him started with casting and showed him the ‘Fisherman’s Knot.’  One of his closest childhood friends taught him to how to tie a few trout flies and later, Nate’s dad would give him a tying vise and materials as a Christmas gift. From there, warmer months were spent losing flies, tying flies and getting into trouble on the Metolius with buddies, BMX bikes and fly rods. In time, the bike was replaced with an old Ford pick-up truck and Nate started exploring Central Oregon and the Deschutes River Basin- from its origin at Little Lava Lake in the Cascade Mountains to its terminus, over 250 miles downstream at the Columbia River near The Dalles.

Nate graduated from Sisters High School in 1997 and a few years later he got a job as a sales clerk at a local fly shop that booked guided trips on the Lower Deschutes River. When he wasn’t mowing the yard in front of the shop, selling tackle, repairing rental waders or sending broken rods in for repairs, he soaked up as much knowledge as he could.  On any given day he’d encounter anglers who were gearing up for trips to nearby rivers and lakes, as well as to far-flung international destinations he’d never heard of. Shop guides would come and go, leaving stories and fishing reports behind. There were always books to read, different fly materials to try and new gear to learn about.  The sales rep for a popular rod manufacturer put a two-handed rod in his hands for the first time and Nate- already an avid steelheader- became obsessed with the spey cast. New rods, reels and lines were added to his quiver. Bigger, brighter flies were coming off the vise. Road trips got longer and soon he found himself camping on rivers in winter snow and spring rain.  Nate’s passion for fly fishing- particularly the pursuit of steelhead on the fly- was starting to take on the appearance of an unhealthy addiction. Non-fishing friends and family seldom heard from him. The little budget he had was drained for gas, cheap beer and fishing gear. Nate took a leap of faith- he bought an old Koffler drift boat, quit the fly shop and took a job near Warm Springs to be a guide. It seemed like a good idea at the time…

That was almost 20 years ago.  Since then, Nate has fished all over the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as Western Canada and Belize. He now resides in The Dalles, Oregon with his wife, kids and an old dog. When he’s not guiding, Nate’s fishing. He still guides out of the same old Koffler driftboat.