Best Fishing in Oregon
Siletz River Chinook Salmon Fishing
Photo courtesy of Willamette Valley Outfitters
The Siletz River and Bay, back in the seasons of 2005 and 2006, produced a very good 3,000 or more fall chinook salmon. At this writing, in the middle of the 2011 fall season, it appears the catch is swinging upward after several years of catches at or below 1,000 in this river near the popular tourist destination of Lincoln City, known more for kites and casinos.
As with most Oregon coast chinook salmon fisheries, the catch on the Siletz is best in September and October, with most fish landed in the tidewater areas. Siletz Bay proper, west of Highway 101 between the Taft end of Lincoln City and Salishan Resort, is not as popularly fished as many other bays on the Oregon Coast. Instead, boaters will find access to good fishing on the lower tidewater near Kernville just inland from the main coastal highway. Additional launches not far upstream from there along Highway 229. Trollers will often pull herring or spinners through the wider sections, while bait and bobber fishing is popular in the narrower upper tidewater.
Good numbers of fall chinook will enter the free-flowing river (near Strom Park) when rains give the Siletz a good lift, often in October. The best river angling will be in the lower areas
In the river, most fall chinook are caught below Siletz, where bank access is somewhat limited due to private property. Try the handful of public shore access points from Mill Park downriver. Boaters should focus their attention on the lowest drifts, such as Ojalla (near the first steel bridge driving upriver) to Morgan Park, suggests ODFW fish biologist Derek Wilson.
Best River Levels
Watch the river gauge closely to determine where and when to fish. The tidewater section often is best when the river is running low, because fish congregate here waiting for rain to raise the river level. If the river level has been sitting below 4 feet, or even a bit higher, stick to trolling or bait and bobber fishing tidewater. When the river is above 4 feet, the river is an option. Most river anglers consider the river to be in perfect shape when it is close to 5.5 feet and decent up to 7 feet. Plunking with bait is better in higher water, peaking at 7 or 7.5 feet or a little higher and worthwhile to about 8.5 feet.
Note: The Siletz River also has very good fishing for summer and winter steelhead that overlaps the chinook run.
For current regulations, consult the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s annual regulations booklet or website.