Chris O’Donnell was born and raised in Hillsboro, Oregon. Just “over the hill” from the winter steelhead rivers of the north Oregon coast, Chris learned to fish at a young age. Chris’ family has been rafting and fly fishing the Lower Deschutes River since the 1980’s. Chris landed his first guiding job at age 18, and moved to Bend to guide the Lower Deschutes. In 2006 Chris started his own guiding business, and developed the framework of River Runner Outfitters. Chris currently splits his year living in Maupin, Oregon during the summer and fall, and on the north Oregon coast during winter steelhead season. Chris is on the pro staff of Beulah Fly Rods and Hatch Premium Fly Fishing Reels. The inspiration behind naming River Runner Outfitters came from Chris’ first fishing rod, a Fenwick River Runner.
Nick Rowell was born and raised in Dallas, Oregon near the Siletz River. Growing up so close to a steelhead river affected the course of Nick's life. While guiding Alaska's Kanektok River during the summers, Nick graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in fisheries and wildlife. Nick's guiding experience includes Alaska's Iliamna region, Kanektok River, and Oregon's Clackamas, North Santiam, north coast, and Lower Deschutes Rivers. Nick lives near Portland, Oregon, central to Oregon's best steelhead rivers. Nick is a pro ambassador for Pro Tube System and designs flies for Montana Fly Company. With a strong background in spey casting and anadromous fish, Nick is one of the most well rounded, laid back, yet technical fly fishing guides you will find.
Nate Koenigsknecht spent his youth in the Midwest chasing all manner of game fish, but was drawn to Oregon to pursue the native steelhead of the Pacific Northwest. For the past ten years Nate has dedicated his life to steelhead, salmon and trout angling with a fly. While Nate is proficient with a single handed rod, his obvious talent lies in the various styles of spey casting. Nate is a talented angler with a positive attitude and infectious enthusiasm. Nate is on the CF Burkheimer Pro Staff and is a casting instructor for Burkheimer Spey Schools. When Nate isn't guiding or giving casting presentations, he enjoys bow hunting for blacktail deer, gardening, hunting for mushrooms in the Oregon Coast Range, and British Columbia steelhead missions.
Ben Hedberg is a seasoned outdoorsman, skilled boatman, and passionate fly fisherman... what every serious angler wants in a guide. Ben grew up in Minnesota, moved to Oregon in 1988, and made himself at home on the Deschutes River. Ben graduated from Oregon State University in 2001, with a degree in environmental sciences. Ben brings to the table a warm personality, and a thoughtful and methodical approach to fly fishing. If there are trout or steelhead around, he will find them and figure out how to catch them. Ben is a patient instructor and guides at a deliberate pace. When Ben is not guiding or fishing, he can be found with a camera, observing the details of nature. Ben is also an avid sports fan, and enjoys bird hunting with his German Shorthair, River.
Cairn O'Donnell was born in Yreka, California, but spent most of her youth in Bend, Oregon. Growing up in a fishing and hunting family, Cairn is at home in the outdoors. Cairn left Bend after high school, graduated from the University of Phoenix with degrees in business management and marketing, and entered the corporate world in downtown Portland, Oregon. Cairn has an outgoing personality, and brings to the table a rare combination of outdoor and social experience. Cairn's responsibilities at River Runner Outfitters include book keeping, food preperation, and trip planning services. Outside of "work" and fishing Cairn enjoys music, wine, hiking, skiing, traveling, and entertaining her three dogs.
"Thanks for putting together a wonderful Trip. It should be very obvious we had a blast. To say the amenities were exceptional would be an understatement. Your website materials lead one to believe the trip will be well catered, but give no indication to the high level of service, food, and accommodations."
Phil Gardner, Martinsville VA
"I have fished with some very good guides over the years and I can honestly say that Chris and his crew are the hardest working group I've ever had the pleasure of fishing with. Every aspect of my trips with River Runner Outfitters has been first class. They provide excellent food, comfortable camps and expert guiding on some of the most beautiful water in the country."
Dave Hess, Bethlehem PA
"Usual great job by Nick. Truly nobody I'd rather have handling a drift boat in tough conditions. Easy going and fun to be with-and did I mention Fishy as all get out."
Lou Ofstein, Sioux Falls SD
"One of the few benefits of getting older is the opportunity to reflect back on a long fishing career and appreciate the memories of great trips with a handful of serious and passionate fishing guides that have touched our lives. In reality, only a small percentage of these guides make a true difference. Chris O'Donnell is one of those people. I was fortunate to have met him many years ago. Together we have fished nearly every version of fly fishing possible from single to multiple day trips, sight fishing and stalking to just drifting and observing nature. His meals along the river rival any five-star restaurant. Chris has one goal------to make each trip count for his guests, whether they are seasoned professionals or first timers. His teaching style, patience, attention to every micro detail is un-matched. I've often told friends if they don't rank a Chris O'Donnell trip as one of their best ever, I'll pay the fee!!.......No one fishes with him only once...........this is the ultimate compliment a guide can pursue. Chris, all I can say is, THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES and our group looks forward to growing older with you along the river!!"
Tim Becker, Tigard OR
"Chris took me from having no clue to actually swinging flies and hooking awesome wild steelhead! Chris is a great teacher and wonderful guide in a very tough game."
Tim Soderquist, Denver CO
"Over the past few years I have had many trips with River Runner Outfitters. Both on the Deschutes and in the winter on the Oregon coast. Chris and his crew consistently go beyond everyone's expectations with their hard work and attention to detail. You can always count on being put on fish, eating like kings and being treated like family. If you're into catching steelhead you owe it to yourself to hook up with River Runner Outfitters."
Mike Stevenson, Del Mar CA
"Chris, I can't thank you enough for the great days on the river you have provided over the years. From single days on the Sandy when I just needed to get out for a bit to the multi-day camp on the Deschutes, I am always impressed with the quality of the experience and left wanting more. Delicious food and great conversation are an added bonus to an already amazing guided experience. Plus, you taught me to how to spey cast! You helped put me on a path full of many good memories and hopefully many more to come. Thanks and we'll be fishing together again soon!"
Ryan Lafrenz, San Francisco CA
"Chris, thank you and Nick for three great days on the coast! You guys have extraordinary knowlege of the rivers, fish runs and techniques. Your attention to detail, Nick's boat skills-with a heavy eye on safety, and tremendous "fishy knowlege" are without equal. Look forward to seeing you next year."
Andy Fiore, St Louis MO