Chinook fishing really takes off in several coastal systems this month, particularly in bays. You may also find fish in some lower rivers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bass and Panfish
Smallmouth bass start to move back into shallower water at Hagg Lake as the water cools.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Albacore fishing should be very good for most of the month, although you may have to travel well offshore to find schools.
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.
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