Best Fishing in September | Oregon

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Northwest Zone

Salmon

Chinook fishing really takes off in several coastal systems this month, particularly in bays. You may also find fish in some lower rivers.

The two super stars in this zone this month should be the Alsea and Siuslaw bays. The NehalemSiletz and Yaquina can be fair to good.

Another spot you might try is the Salmon River Bay and lower river. It’s a small system but combines both wild and hatchery runs for a good early catch.

Tillamook Bay’s famed fall Chinook fishery also gets going in September with decent catches, although Tillamook saves its best for October.

Trout

As searun cutthroat trout fishing continues in estuaries and rivers, the stocking trucks often make a last run to cooling north coast lakes in late September.

Lakes often on the schedule are Cape Meares, Coffenbury, Lost, Sunset and Town.

Steelhead

After a downturn in August, summer steelhead catches usually show a moderate spike as the water cools in September, especially if there is a decent rain.

Look for the best fishing in the higher upriver areas where fishing is allowed on the Nestucca and Siletz rivers. The Wilson has a much smaller run but great access in its high reaches.

Southwest Zone

Salmon

The Umpqua, Coos and Coquille bays usually cut wide open this month for Chinook salmon, with the best catches of the year.

You’ll also find fin-clipped coho in Winchester Bay (Umpqua) and there may be limited seasons for wild coho harvest in several bays.

The Rogue Bay starts to taper off as September goes along, and the larger number of fish may be caught this month are likely being hooked in the river above Grave Creek.

Trout

Higher elevation waters will begin to cool, setting off some great fishing at Diamond Lake and elsewhere. Plus, the first frost likely will put a halt to the mosquito onslaught.

The Rogue River above Lost Creek Lake will get its final dose of stocked trout for the Labor Day holiday weekend, but some of these fish will be available into mid-fall for those willing to work at it.

Lost Creek Lake and Fish Lake are likely to be stocked later in the month.

Steelhead

Summer steelhead fishing should be fair to good in the upper Rogue and North Umpqua rivers.

Bass and Panfish

Smallmouth bass in the Umpqua River start to school up during this month but will still strike willingly when you locate groups of fish.

Willamette Zone

Trout

Henry Hagg LakeNorth Fork Reservoir and Mount Hood Pond are good September fisheries for north valley residents, particularly right after a hatchery plant.

Same is true for Detroit Reservoir east of Salem, Foster Reservoir near Sweet Home, Dexter Reservoir near Eugene and Hills Creek Reservoir near Oakridge.

Salmon

Coho and Chinook salmon arrive in the valley. Look for the best coho catches in the Sandy River, Clackamas River and, with a decent rain, in Eagle Creek (Clackamas system).

Coho fisheries are building in several valley rivers such as the Santiam River forks but are modest in catch rates.

Fall Chinook are a minor fishery at best in the Clackamas and Sandy rivers.

Steelhead

Fair to good actions remains for the smaller number of anglers still chasing summer-runs in the Willamette Valley and close to Portland.

Bass and Panfish

Smallmouth bass start to move back into shallower water at Hagg Lake as the water cools.

Central Zone

Steelhead

Summer steelheading can be phenomenal when there are strong runs returning to the lower Deschutes River, especially in the first half of the month. Watch for rules that may limit where you can fish near the mouth.

Angling will continue to be quite good into next month in the lower river, while the numbers are starting to make fishing worthwhile in late September around Maupin.

Salmon

If fall Chinook fishing is allowed on the Deschutes (it typically is), the first fishable numbers should arrive this month below Sherar’s Falls. Next month is likely to be better.

Trout

Fishing picks up again as the water cools and fish naturally try to fatten up before winter. Look for some of the largest rainbow, brook and brown trout of the year.

Southeast Zone

Trout

The Williamson River will still have some big redband rainbows around, and some of them likely will move up into Spring Creek this month and next.

The Sprague River, which joins the lower Williamson near Chiloquin and not far upriver from Upper Klamath Lake, also could have some big trout about now.

While we’re in the area, the Wood River fishes pretty well all season for brown trout, and a grasshopper pattern in the late summer seems like a fine idea. Also at this time of year, there will be some nice redband trout in the stream making their spawning run up from Agency and Upper Klamath lakes.

Check ODFW’s stocking schedule linked at the bottom of this article to see if Chickahominy Reservoir will be stocked later this month, as it cools.

Burns Pond may get a final batch of hatchery fish as well.

Northeast Zone

Steelhead

The first summer steelhead will start arriving in the lower Grande Ronde River and Imnaha River in the later part of September, with far better catches due next month.

Trout

Native rainbow trout are perking up and biting again in September after a summer lull. The Grande Ronde, Wallowa and Imnaha rivers are among the great options in this corner of the state.

Also, now is a fine time to head into the depths of Oregon’s wilderness for some excellent catch-and-release fishing for native bull trout in the Imnaha River.

Kokanee anglers and the summer crowds are fading at Wallowa Lake, but its rainbow trout fishing continues to produce, especially with the arrival of cooler weather.

Snake River Zone

Bass and Panfish

This is a nice month to fish in the Snake River and its reservoirs, including Brownlee. The outside temperatures get more bearable as the month goes on, but you can still pile up the channel catfish.

In good years, crappie will be large and plentiful, although they may be schooling deeper than you found them back in the spring. 

Smallmouth bass (and some largemough) fishing is usually reliable.

Columbia River Zone

Salmon

Chinook fishing likely will be closed for much (maybe all) of September in the Buoy 10 area below Tongue Point, but September fall Chinook catches are likely to be at their high points from the lower river clear up into the Bonneville Pool above the dam.

Fishing for fin-clipped coho can be phenomenal in the Buoy 10 area for several weeks into September.

A modest number of fin-clipped coho also are in the mix upriver, with the best catches off the mouths of rivers with good coho runs, such as the Cowlitz and Sandy.

Steelhead

Summer steelhead are still around, but catches are modest in the lower river.

The big river’s better summer steelheading this month is available above The Dalles Dam to the stateline as cooler water prompts these fish to continue their migrations.

Marine Zone

Salmon

Some years the ocean fisheries are closed by now, although big run years may open up the options and could offer some good fishing out of Oregon ports.

When most of the ocean is closed, you still may be able to fish in a smaller (“bubble”) area off the mouth of Tillamook Bay, where fish are gathering for their runs into the bay and its rivers.

Tuna

Albacore fishing should be very good for most of the month, although you may have to travel well offshore to find schools.

Shellfish

Dungeness crabbing success is approaching its ideal time of the year. September is one of the best months to hit an Oregon bay. Most crabs are in good condition, and the summer molt graduated a whole new class of legal-sized crabs.

North of Tillamook Head, Clatsop County beaches are closed to razor clamming through Sept. 30 before reopening next month.

For more information, try the following main pages:

Return to Oregon Fishing Calendar
Find the best Oregon fishing by regional zones
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Oregon Resources

ODFW trout stocking schedule
ODFW weekly recreation report and regulation updates
ODFW annual fishing regulations
National Weather Service forecasts