Fishing in Oregon for Salmon and Steelhead

Whether deep sea fishing, standing on the shore, or navigating your own boat, fishing in Oregon can be one of the most exciting adventures anywhere. Salmon and steelhead fishing are the most common targets for anglers and the runs have become stronger in recent years so there is a longer fishing season with bigger limits. Currently you can simply purchase a license rather than having to enter a lottery with hopes of getting to fish.

To many people seeing a fillet of steelhead looks about the same as a fillet of Salmon, and steelhead is possibly the second most popular for fishing in Oregon. Fortunately for anglers, steelhead runs in the winter, providing nearly year around opportunities for great fishing. The North Fork Nehalem River is one of the better areas for early season, which begins in late November and continues through January.

There are many hatchery planted steelhead along the Oregon coast and it is interesting that some of the steelhead hatchery fish wander up the wrong rivers to locations that did not have any planting. The Nehalem, Wilson, and Nestucca rivers are some of the best with runs that start in mid November and continue until early April. Wild steelhead is also common, though with significant limitations.

Updated Oregon fishing conditions can be found by contacting the local ODFW in Tillamook at 503-842-2741. Recordings of updates for the North Fork Nehalem are at 503-368-5670. As with many outdoor access points, there is now a fee for using public launches. Perhaps some day there will be a annual “anywhere” pass.

Fishing and crabbing in Oregon are one of the biggest attractions for outdoor enthusiasts. For more passive nature experiences, walks on the beach, nature trails and shopping opportunities are plentiful. For a nice drive down the Oregon coast, north to south tends to be the best route.

The purpose for driving north to south on the oregon coast is that the viewing areas are mostly on the west side of the road. If you travel the other direction, then you would be crossing traffic frequently to reach a view point and then again to return to the north direction. Southbound will be easier and more enjoyable.

Fall Chinook salmon typically have a season starting in early August and ending in late November. Spring Chinook salmon can be fished from mid-May through July. While Steelhead and Sturgeon may often have open fishing all year, winter seems to be the abundant runs, though late summer steelhead can often occur in great quantities. Before planning your fishing trip, be clear on exact dates by checking the latest updates from the Oregon fish and wild life department.

Fishing in Oregon can be an exciting and bonding for friends and family, yet it is best to understand the temperament of young children before beginning a fishing trip. A crying child can ruin the trip for the entire family and it may be best to leave some of the kids at home with a sitter. If heading out for deep sea fishing, everyone should take a dose of Dramamine.

An avid outdoorsman for all of his life, Hector Fieshmann has been fishing on the Oregon coast for over thirty years. Oregon fishing is always a time to commune with nature and sometimes provides a great meal. Be sure to read Hector’s current Oregon fishing report to stay on top of the latest conditions.