Travel Oregon launched a successful tourism campaign called The Seven Wonders of Oregon.
It not only makes us want to fill up the gas tank, it got us to thinking: What are the best nearby fishing spots for people lucky enough to be planning a visit to any or all of those seven wonder-filled destinations?
What follows is a quick run-down of the very best fishing spots near each of Oregon’s wonders. We also provide a bunch of links that will take you to more detailed information about fishing in each of these areas.
Fishing Near Mt. Hood
Come downhill from the snow zone on Oregon’s tallest mountain peak to find a load of great fishing spots. Here are a few favorites:
Mount Hood National Forest lakes
There are a lot of these, but it’s hard to go wrong with Lost Lake and Laurance Lake on the north or Trillium, Clear or Timothy Lake to the south. All are stocked with rainbow trout and some have other species.
The famed lower Deschutes River (below Lake Simtustus) is one of America’s premier trout streams, beloved by fly anglers for its great insect hatches and wild redside rainbow trout.
It’s also a very good summer steelhead river and can be excellent for spring and fall Chinook salmon.
Maupin is a good place to start.
The Deschutes also is rated among Oregon’s Best Fly Fishing rivers.
Overview article: Deschutes River Fishing.
Clackamas and Sandy rivers
These popular fishing rivers start near Mt. Hood and flow into the metropolitan area.
The biggest river of the American West has some of the biggest fish, including Chinook salmon, summer steelhead and the biggest of all: white sturgeon that can reach over 10 feet.
Find lots more fishing in this area on our Oregon county map and in our articles covering more waters in the Central, Willamette and Mid-Columbia areas. Those articles will link you to additional resources.
Fishing Near the Oregon Coast
There is way, way too much great fishing along 363 miles of this state’s beautiful and water-filled coastline to squeeze into this small space, so we’ll simply point you to some resources elsewhere on this website to narrow your search.
The coast is particularly well-loved for its salmon and steelhead fisheries such as the famous Rogue and Umpqua rivers and Tillamook Bay, among many others, and there also are tremendous opportunities for trout, bass and panfish, sturgeon and bushels of shellfish.
If you know where you’ll be visiting, the easiest way to find great fishing and shellfishing in a given area is by clicking close to your destination on our Oregon fishing county map. Links within those county articles will narrow your search.
Planning to fish offshore for salmon, halibut, albacore tuna, lingcod or rockfish? Start with our run-down of Oregon’s best recreational ocean fishing ports.
Fishing Near the Columbia River Gorge
The small streams that leap from the cliffs in spectacular waterfalls aren’t always great fishing streams (though there are some fish in many), but the gorge region is filled with many great fisheries within an easy drive.
Here are a few of the best if you plan to plunge into fishing:
The gorge has all of the major freshwater species found in the Oregon section of this giant river.
The Bonneville and The Dalles pools also have very good salmon and steelhead fishing, especially near the mouths of major tributary streams.
Catch shad below the dams and in the old locks at Cascade Locks.
Catch and release sturgeon fishing is good below Bonneville Dam and there are times you can keep and eat them in the pools above the dams.
Deschutes River (lower)
The lowest reaches of this famous stream, near where it joins the Columbia River east of The Dalles, offers one of Oregon’s best summer steelhead fisheries, especially in August and September.
Salmon and trout also are caught here, though not as in good numbers as they are upstream, closer to Maupin.
This insanely picturesque spot (but too popular to be lost) is on the northwest side of Mt. Hood, uphill from Hood River, and offers reliably good fishing for stocked rainbow trout, plus the occasional lunker brown trout and maybe a brook trout or kokanee.
You’ll find it and other nearby spots among our Best Fishing Lakes and Reservoirs in Central Oregon (north of Bend).
More: Lost Lake Fishing
This year-round fishing river at the west end of the gorge, near Troutdale and Gresham, has good (and sometimes excellent) fishing for spring Chinook, summer steelhead, fall coho salmon and winter steelhead.
The area’s namesake river has fair runs of steelhead nearly year-round, in less-crowded conditions than other rivers, plus a fair chance at a spring Chinook salmon.
Throw in a bit of mountain trout fishing in its glacial waters.
Fishing Near the Painted Hills
This calendar-ready photo op is located in lightly populated Wheeler County and is part of the sprawling John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in this wide open region.
Some of the best fishing within a reasonable drive includes the following.
John Day River
This stream is renowned, especially for its tremendous smallmouth bass fishing, and that fishery is excellent in the river sections closest to this landmark.
The John Day also has a good run of mostly wild steelhead and some of its forks have excellent trout fishing at higher elevations.
This is a really pretty lake in the mountains of the Ochoco National Forest to the south in Crook County. It’s fairly small but well-stocked with rainbow trout and fishing holds up even during the hot months.
More: Walton Lake Fishing.
Straight north, but a bit of a drive, the Columbia River’s mid-section offers world-class fishing for smallmouth bass and walleye, and some decent fishing for other species including several runs of salmon plus summer steelhead.
More: Columbia River Fishing.
More: Explore more fishing opportunities in Wheeler County and its neighboring counties of north-central Oregon by clicking destinations on this map.
Fishing Near Smith Rock
Though the actual rock, a natural high-rise of stone in northeastern Deschutes County, is more popular with climbers and hikers, visitors packing a fishing rod will have some great opportunities nearby.
This canyon-dwelling stream is well-known among anglers for its tremendous population of native redside rainbow trout, which readily strike flies and other offerings.
The best fishery is in the consistent flows of the lower river downstream from Prineville Reservoir, which includes the stretch through Smith Rock State Park, although some of the best fishing is closer to the dam.
The Crooked River stands with the Deschutes and Metolius rivers, also within reach of Smith Rock, among the Best Fishing Rivers in Central Oregon.
More: Crooked River Fishing.
This large reservoir outside the city of Prineville is a must-visit destination if you want to catch smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, crappie and bullhead catfish in Central Oregon. It also has pretty good rainbow trout fishing in its cooler water areas.
Nearby Ochoco Reservoir offers similar opportunities.
Central Oregon’s most famous river is most popular in the 100 miles below Lake Simtustus, where the trout fishing is fantastic and summer steelhead fishing can be good.
The biggest attraction for Deschutes River fly anglers is the spring salmonfly hatch.
The river above Lake Billy Chinook is less celebrated but offers some good trout angling for rainbow and brown trout.
This is a star among Oregon’s Best Fly Fishing Rivers.
Lake Billy Chinook
This massive reservoir in a dramatic canyon setting collects water from the Deschutes, Metolius and Crooked rivers, all famous in their own right.
Fishing for kokanee (land-locked sockeye salmon) and big native bull trout are favorite pursuits here, though other fish are present.
More: Lake Billy Chinook Fishing.
More: The above waters are a mere sampling of some of Central Oregon’s great fishing waters. If you’re willing to drive a little farther, check out the best fishing lakes south of Bend. And explore the entire region through our Oregon counties fishing map.
Fishing Near the Wallowas
Northeast Oregon’s alpine jewel is absolutely studded with excellent fishing. Below are just a few of the great spots you’ll find nearby.
This deep lake near Joseph is the area’s most popular fishing destination. And why not? It already has produced the world’s largest kokanee, and its lake trout (mackinaw) have come close to breaking the Oregon state record.
On top of that, it’s one of Oregon’s best rainbow trout fisheries.
A nice summer trout fishery along with some of Oregon’s best catch rates for steelhead, which are present in good numbers from late fall through the season’s closure in the spring.
Grande Ronde River
Watch for special fisheries for spring Chinook in late spring to early summer, but this is more likely in Lookingglass Creek than the main river.
Summer brings smallmouth bass to the lower reaches near the Snake River.
Upstream, trout and whitefish predominate, including one of the state’s best catch-and-release fishing for native bull trout.
More: Fishing the Imnaha River
Snake River (and reservoirs)
Summer steelhead don’t arrive here until late fall but can be caught in good numbers through winter.
Eagle Cap Wilderness lakes
You’ll have to do a bit of trail research, but a number of lakes in the high country offer excellent summer angling for trout.
Fishing Near Crater Lake
America’s deepest lake isn’t America’s best fishing lake, but examples of the latter are just a short cast away. So are some very good rivers.
The mountainous areas around Oregon’s only national park are chock full of trophy-sized trout, hard-fighting salmon and steelhead, voracious largemouth bass and plentiful kokanee, just to name some of the more popular species.
Rather than do a run-down of those spots here, please click over to a stand-alone article on this subject, Best Fishing Near Crater Lake National Park.