Best Fishing in July | Oregon

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Northwest Zone

Steelhead

Summer steelhead numbers should still be very good, and the bite should be good for at least early July before the rivers fall and get a bit warm, which makes these fish less likely to strike.

Expect plenty of fish to be in the upper reaches by now, particularly in the Siletz and Nestucca rivers.

Trout

Tidewater areas should have searun cutthroat trout, which can be caught on flies and lures such as spinners.

Lake and pond stocking is pretty much on hold, but early in the month there may still be an opportunity to pick up a few survivors in cooler waters. Soon many of the zone’s smaller and shallower lakes will be inhospitable for trout.

Salmon

Spring Chinook fishing is tailing off fast, with surviving fish holding a fair bit of color, but this is still an OK option in the Trask and Nestucca rivers and Three Rivers.

Bass and Panfish

Warmwater fish are in their element and all should be biting. Look for largemouth bass to aggressively attack topwater lures in low-light conditions.

Southwest Zone

Salmon

The Rogue and Umpqua estuaries will see their first significant numbers of fall Chinook landed this month, although it should get better in the next two months.

Springers will still be available in both river systems below hatcheries on the upper Rogue River and North Umpqua River.

Steelhead

Fair to good numbers of summer steelhead will be in the North Umpqua and upper Rogue rivers, depending on the run size.

Trout

Stocking continues in the Rogue River system above Lost Creek Lake. High mountain lakes are starting to be more accessible and fishing should be good as retreating snow improves access. 

Trout fishing at Diamond Lake usually starts the month red hot, and we’re not only talking about the July 4 fireworks.

Searun cutthroat will begin to make a showing in tidewater areas.

Bass and Panfish

Catch and release 100 bass per day in the Umpqua River.

Willamette Zone

Trout

Stocking slows down in some waters, but there are still plenty of fish being dumped into lakes in the Clackamas, Santiam River and McKenzie River drainages where the water stays cool. 

Detroit Reservoir and North Fork Reservoir are top summertime picks for still waters.

The McKenzie River, upper North Santiam River and several other streams also continue to be stocked.

Higher-elevation lakes can be very good this month, with access opening up as snow retreats to the peaks.

Steelhead

Summer runs should be going full-blast in the zone’s best rivers, both near Portland and in the Willamette Valley, which are still cool due to high Cascades snowmelt.

Look for the Clackamas, South Santiam, McKenzie and Middle Fork Willamette to produce the most fireworks.

And the mainstem Willamette right in Eugene has a nice little hatchery run that halts in the city.

Salmon

Spring Chinook fishing is winding down in the mainstem Willamette and in some streams, but July actually can be the most productive month in tributaries above Willamette Falls.

The fish stay in pretty good eating condition into mid-summer or so.

The Sandy and Clackamas rivers could be a fair option.

Check with ODFW for open areas and concentrate on deeper holes closer to hatchery deadlines, where these fish wait out the summer.

Bass and Panfish

Smallmouth bass tend to prefer deeper water, especially when there is sunlight on the water. Look for them among deeper rocks along the dam and a bit farther off the shoreline at Hagg Lake.

Kokanee

Green Peter Reservoir’s abundant kokanee should be really biting by now. The schools move deeper during the summer, so the first order of business is finding their holding level.

Central Zone

Trout

Within easy reach of Bend, Fall River, Devils Lake and Three Creek Lake are typically stocked and are pleasant summer fisheries.

Both South and North Twin Lakes and Walton Lake also are strong options.

Steelhead

The lower Deschutes River, particularly near the mouth at the Columbia, starts to build into a good fishery as this month goes on.

In strong run years, it’ll be rocking for steelhead during the coming months. But in recent weak run years, ODFW has established seasonal no-fishing sanctuaries that sometimes this month might take effect in the very lowest reach of the Deschutes (and out into the Columbia).

Kokanee

These fish will often spread out more by mid-summer, giving trollers an advantage over jiggers. See Oregon’s Best Kokanee Fishing.

Southeast Zone

Trout

Access to Miller Lake (west of Chemult) should be open (or almost there), and if access is good the first stocking truck full of keeper rainbow trout tries to get there by the Fourth of July.

Miller Lake also is one of Oregon’s premier brown trout fisheries, and they’re going to be angry with hunger. So, too, will be the mosquitoes.

Another great spot on the east side of the southern Cascades is Fourmile Lake, uphill from Lake of the Woods, which has rainbow, brook and lake trout.

Campbell and Deadhorse lakes, both high in the Fremont National Forest, usually get pretty good plants for the mid-summer. 

Upper Klamath Lake is open all year, but in the mid- to late summer the large redband rainbows that decide to stay in this massive lake for summer tend to concentrate near springs, river mouths and Pelican Bay, all toward the north end.

But many of those Klamath redbands will swim up into tributaries, with the Williamson River leading the way for giant trout often caught on a fly. The river’s renowned hex hatch may come off in the first couple weeks of this month, if it didn’t already come and go in late June.

Another area river worth mentioning, the spring-fed Wood River, fishes well for brown trout most of the summer and might give up some redbands as well.

Bass and Panfish

The upper Owyhee River is tough to get to, but rafters can enjoy some fantastic summertime smallmouth bass fishing.

Northeast Zone

Salmon

Spring Chinook may be available in the Imnaha River in far northeastern Oregon this month, but make sure it has been opened under special regulations.

The Umatilla and Wallowa rivers and Lookingglass Creek might be more modest options, if fisheries are allowed.

Bass and Panfish

Summertime smallmouth bass angling is a riot on the John Day River, but be ready for the heat.

The lower Grande Ronde River and Imnaha River are other good bass bets deep into northeastern Oregon.

Kokanee

Some of the larger kokanee of the year are likely to be caught during the mid-summer at Wallowa Lake, which holds the world record for these landlocked sockeye salmon.

Snake River Zone

Bass and Panfish

Summertime catfish fishing, especially at night, is tough to beat on Brownlee Reservoir

Crappie success varies year to year but can be very good for much of the summer, although you’ll have to locate the holding depths.

Bass fishing should be worthwhile.

Summer temperatures can be oppressively hot, well into the 100s at its peak, without a lot of natural shade around.

Salmon

Watch for possible hatchery spring Chinook openings during strong run years. Most of Oregon’s fishing is below Hells Canyon Dam.

Columbia River Zone

Steelhead

Summer steelhead numbers are fairly near the seasonal peak for the Columbia River, with the bulk of the run above Longview up to Bonneville Dam, and numbers just starting to build above Bonneville.

Sturgeon

Anglers are still mostly focused below Longview to the estuary. Fishing for Columbia River sturgeon is catch and release unless special retention days are allowed.

Bass and Panfish

Columbia River walleye and smallmouth bass fishing is usually quite good in mid-summer.

Marine Zone

Salmon

When allowed, July often offers greatly improved angling for offshore coho salmon fishing as more fish arrive off the Oregon coastline and stage off the Columbia and other rivers. Chinook fishing also can be good.

Tuna

Late July is also when there may be enough albacore tuna being caught offshore to start warranting trips.

Halibut

On the popular central coast, there’s a small chance that all-depth Pacific halibut will be allowed a couple days this month, but it’s more likely the spring quota will be used up. There’s a summer quota starting in August.

Meanwhile, this month there are near-shore options here or all-depth fishing is more likely to be open early in the month off the mouth of the Columbia and perhaps all month on the far-southern coast.

Shellfish

Razor clamming closes from July 15 through the end of September on the beaches north of Tillamook Head (near Seaside).

Barring a closure related to naturally occurring toxins, razor clamming is open year-round farther south, where these surf clams are less densely populated than they are on those northern (Clatsop County) beaches. 

Oregon bay clamming is open.

Summer crabbing is popular, but a good number of crabs are likely to be in poor “softshell” condition due to their annual molt.

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Oregon Resources

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