The Oregon coast offers some of the best fishing experiences in the United States. The variety of sport fishing available is due to unique geographic features and ideal aquatic conditions. Oregon coast fishing is perfect for the novice fisherman or the avid fishermen. Oregon’s extensive river system offers a fishing adventure to suit every type of sport fishing. Oregon’s rivers are home to various species of salmon, bass, chub, sturgeon, steelhead, and trout. Fishing Oregon coastal waters is a snap with the various fishing reports, condition reports, and fishing expeditions offered locally. Because of the variety of sport fish found in Oregon’s rivers, fishing Oregon coastal waters can be almost a yearlong pursuit.
Chinook salmon, also known as king salmon, begin the first of two runs in early spring. The best time to fish for these sport fish is between March and June. Chinooks make their first run of the year only in specific Oregon rivers. The best places to fish for Chinooks are the Rogue River and the Umpqua River. Chinook salmon usually live for three to four years in the Pacific Ocean and can grow to between twenty and forty pounds. The best place to catch a Chinook salmon is at the mouth of the river as it feeds into the ocean waters.
Chinooks make their second run of the year in the late fall months. They run roughly from September to as late as December. The fall run of the Chinooks is usually larger than the spring run. Chinooks are the largest species of salmon and one of the best fighters to challenge a fisherman. No Oregon coastal fishing expedition would be complete without snagging a Chinook.
Silver salmon, sometimes known as coho salmon, run shortly after the peak of the fall Chinook run. Silver salmon are particularly known for their stamina and fight as a sport fish. Silver salmon usually weigh between seven and eleven pounds and spend one to two years in the ocean. Silver salmon are excellent fish for fly-fishermen. They attack the lure sharply and put up an excellent fight. Silver salmon generally prefer still running water to faster currents. Silver salmon are often attracted by spoon or spinning lures as well. Silver salmon are particularly attracted to spoons, spinning lures, bait, and other forms of lures before they enter the freshwater streams or rivers. The best places to get salmon to bite are the river mouths that flow into the salt water. Check the local snagging laws to make sure the river or stream you are fishing allow for fish snagged to be kept. Some areas only allow salmon who are hooked in the mouth, indicating they charged the bait, to be caught.
There are two types of steelhead fish that run in Oregon. The first run of the year occurs around the middle of June and can last until November. The summer steelhead returns to freshwater while still immature fish. They spend the winter in the freshwater stream or river before maturing and spawning in the spring. Winter steelheads return to freshwater sometime between December and April. Winter steelheads enter freshwater already in a state of maturity and are ready to spawn immediately. Winter steelheads generally range from eight to fifteen pounds, while their smaller counterparts, the summer steelheads generally range from one to three pounds. Summer steelheads are typically more aggressive fish and are great sport fish for fly-fishermen.
Smallmouth bass inhabit many of the local rivers and lakes. The Umpqua River in particular has a large population. Stories are told locally which explain the large concentration of smallmouth bass in the Umpqua River. In 1964, the area was flooded heavily. The water rose so high that it flooded out a nearby fish hatchery, releasing hundreds of thousands of immature smallmouth bass into the swollen Umpqua River. Smallmouth bass can be identified by black stripes running along each side, and a small upper jaw. Smallmouth bass routinely grow to be twelve pounds. These bass can be found in cooler waters, either still or moving. They prefer to feed in deepe r waters. Smallmouths can be caught by fly-fishing or lure fishing and are particularly drawn to natural toned spinners and tubes.
Sturgeon on the Oregon Coast can be caught all year round. Sturgeon can run up to ten feet in length. The best months for hooking the largest white sturgeon are January and February. The best months for catching green sturgeon or smaller white sturgeon are April, May, and June. Sturgeon are particularly strong fighting fish. When fishing Oregon coastal streams, the largest sturgeon can usually be found at the mouth of the river. Sturgeon are bottom-dwelling fish, and unusually shaped flat heads. Before fishing for sturgeon, check out the state regulations for how many fish can be caught and kept.
Trout are a subspecies of salmon. Some trout live their entire lives in freshwater streams, while others return to freshwater after living in salt water for a few years. Trout are usually found in cool, clear water and are a particularly sought after fish by fly fishers. Trout adapt their coloring to blend in with their circumstances, and can be a particularly intriguing sport fish. Trout can also be caught using more traditional lures. Check the local fishing reports to see what the fish are being caught with in the stream or river you plan to fish in.
Deep Sea Fishing Oregon Coast
An alternative to stream or river fishing is deep sea Oregon coastal fishing. Along the Oregon coast fishing charters can offer new experiences to fishing adventures. Many deep-sea charters offer halibut fishing, salmon fishing, tuna fishing, and crabbing. No Oregon coast fishing vacation is complete without this extreme form of sport fishing. Halibut, in particular can be particularly challenging fish for the extreme fisherman. Halibut can weigh in at over 200 pounds and can often take hours to land. Halibut are bottom-dwelling and fish and can only be found in the deeper coastal waters.