The largest lake on the central Oregon coast is also one of the region’s best fishing lakes, especially for warmwater fish including largemouth bass.
It also is one of the few lakes in Oregon where you can keep a wild coho salmon in season.
Siltcoos Lake is a sprawling 3,164 acres located between Florence and Reedsport in the wonderful dune country of the central coastline.
Siltcoos is one of the most celebrated largemouth bass fisheries in Oregon and is among those mentioned in our article, Best Largemouth Bass Fishing in Western Oregon.
You’ll find tons of good bass cover all over the lake here, including fallen trees, drop-offs, points, islands and numerous coves and several longer creek arms.
There also are some docks, especially where there are a fair number of private homes along the banks on the west and north sides of the lake, many clustered around the communities of Dunes City and North Beach.
Bass will often move up into the shallower water during the spring, when they spawn just off shore, and they can be aggressive then. They will stage a bit more off shore at other times.
Crappie also like to hang out around structure and may be found in shallower water during the spring. Sunken trees and pilings are good places to start.
Also, the lake is known to have good populations of less-pursued species including yellow perch, sunfish and bullhead catfish.
Trout are not the primary quarry for anglers here, but the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife does stock a modest number of rainbow trout here.
Look for those plantings to take place in late winter or early spring (March and April are good times to check the stocking schedule linked below).
Also, ODFW’s trout plantings here often are their larger “trophy” trout grown to a larger size before release.
Native cutthroat trout also live in the lake and its tributary streams and may be kept as part of your daily trout limit.
The coho salmon fishery here opens in October and runs through December. Fishing for these fish is usually not productive until significant rainfall draws in these large fish, which most often happens in November.
There are a modest number of coho caught and kept here, but it’s a fairly unique opportunity. Boaters catch most of the adult coho, often by trolling wobbling lures in the creek channels the salmon use to return to their home streams.
What you can’t keep here are the young coho salmon that rear in the lake, which some anglers might mistake for either trout or for kokanee, the latter being a landlocked sockeye salmon not found here but are elsewhere in Oregon. Know your trout and salmon!
Where to Fish at Siltcoos Lake
A good place to start is at Westlake County Park on the more developed west side of the lake, just a few blocks off Highway 101. Ada Park is on the less-developed east side.
Because bank access is somewhat limited, both by private property and thick brush, a boat is really useful at Siltcoos. Others types of boating also are popular here, so getting on the water early can be beneficial.
The lake is just over 10 minutes south of Florence and only 15 or so miles north of Reedsport, on the boundary of Lane and Douglas counties. The area is full of coastal lakes with a wide variety of angling opportunities, including Cleawox Lake, Woahink Lake and others.
Fishing in Siltcoos Lagoon
It would be useful to note that there also is a tiny water body known as Siltcoos Lagoon, which is a former loop of Siltcoos River that drains the big lake into the Pacific Ocean. It is located west of Siltcoos Lake and west of Highway 101, on the road to Siltcoos Beach.
Siltcoos Lagoon only has a modest warmwater fishery (reportedly a few bass and crappie), but it has seasonally good trout fishing because ODFW stocks the lagoon from February into May most years.
The state can plant a total of a couple thousand trout here, in fairly small batches. Find the stocking schedule for this waterway in the links below.
Siltcoos Lagoon has a nice fishing dock and there is camping here and nearby.