Best Salmon Fishing in Oregon

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The Pacific Northwest’s iconic fish, the salmon, also is one of the favorite pursuits of Oregon’s resident and visiting anglers.

Use these links for the best salmon fishing in Oregon.

For offshore fishing for both Chinook and coho salmon:
Major Ocean Fishing Ports in Oregon

Perhaps the most prized of all is the Chinook salmon, also known as a king, and they are running somewhere in the state during every month.

However, Oregon runs are by far the largest in the fall, when fish are widespread and can top 40, 50, or (rarely) 60 pounds.

Spring is another great time to chase Chinook, when “springers” (one of the tastiest salmon found anywhere) migrate up a select number of rivers. Chinook are caught from deep in the ocean to mountain streams far inland.

Spring Chinook

south santiam river spring chinook salmon
Photo by John Elder Fishing Guide Service

Spring Chinook Salmon Fishing on the Oregon Coast
Includes Rogue, Umpqua, Trask and Nestucca Rivers
       More information:

Spring Chinook Salmon Fishing Near Portland
Includes Lower Columbia, Willamette, Clackamas and Sandy Rivers
       More information:

Spring Chinook Salmon Fishing in the Willamette Valley
Includes Santiam, McKenzie and Middle Fork Willamette Rivers

Spring Chinook Fishing in Central and Northeast Oregon
Includes Deschutes and Imnaha Rivers

Fall Chinook

elk river salmon fishing
Photo courtesy of Fishing the Rogue

Fall Chinook Salmon in Oregon’s Columbia River Basin
       More information:

Fall Chinook Salmon Fishing on Oregon’s North Coast
Includes Wilson, Trask and Nestucca Rivers and Tillamook Bay
       More information:

Also: A Guide’s Tips for Nestucca River Fall Chinook

Fall Chinook Salmon Fishing on Oregon’s Central Coast
Includes Salmon, Siletz, Alsea and Siuslaw Bays and Rivers
       More information:

Fall Chinook Salmon Fishing in Southern Oregon
Includes Rogue, Chetco and Umpqua Rivers

       More information:

Coho Salmon

salmon fishing in the columbia river
Photo courtesy of Marvin’s Guide Service

Coho salmon also run into rivers across western Oregon and up the Columbia Basin, and they are an excellent game and table fish.

Coho, also known as silvers, are beloved because they bite with almost suicidal enthusiasm in ocean and bays and give a spirited fight that often includes jumps.

They can be more frustrating in fresh water, but there still are some fine fisheries in quite a few rivers and a handful of coastal lakes.
       More information:

Other Salmon

kilchis river chum salmon
Photo courtesy of Dave Schnell

Of the other Pacific salmon species, Oregon has very limited fisheries for chum salmon on the north coast and modest runs of sockeye and pink salmon on the Columbia River.

However, Oregon has some of the world’s best fishing lakes and reservoirs for kokanee, a land-locked sockeye salmon.

More: Best Kokanee Fishing in Oregon

Also, over the years a small number of lakes have been planted with land-locked Chinook and coho salmon. Some of these reservoirs include Detroit Lake, Green Peter Reservoir and Lost Creek Lake, among others.

Oregon has discontinued a previous program of stocking Atlantic salmon in a very small number of lakes, most notably in Central Oregon’s Hosmer Lake.

Find more Best Fishing in Oregon

For month-by-month ideas of when and where salmon and other types of fishing are best, see our Oregon Fishing Calendar.

For regulation information, consult the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s annual regulations booklet or website.

Oregon Resources

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