Oregon Fishing Guides

Bob Rees
(503) 812-9036

The Guide Forge


Year-round Oregon Salmon Fishing

Oregon Spring Chinook

Salmon run in Oregon's streams 12 months out of the year, making Oregon salmon fishing the best venu in the lower 48
Click to enlarge Salmon run in Oregon's streams 12 months out of the year, making Oregon salmon fishing the best venu in the lower 48
    Oregon opportunity abounds! Like no other place on earth, anglers that fish Oregon waters have unprecedented opportunity to pursue salmon and steelhead in the state’s vast freshwater river systems. This diverse state offers desert steelhead and rainforest salmon; both offering unique venues for pursuing what most consider North America’s finest gamefish.

Although anglers can pursue salmon or steelhead 365 days a year, there are certainly peak periods of time when one has the best chance at catching fresh-run salmon or steelhead. Of course these times are most popular with our regular clientele so “new recruits” are encouraged to book well in advance to secure the best dates. It is not unheard of however, to get high quality opportunities with last minute reservations.

Anglers can choose from a vast network of rivers to pursue their quarry but the Oregon Coast and Willamette Valley often offer the best chance at the highest quality fish. From salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and sea bass to tuna, ling cod and halibut, you can count on quality opportunities from February through December and even the weeks between. Whether by driftboat floating down a majestic coastal stream or by sled from the estuary to the sea, TGF guides have the ability to put you where the fish are under almost any circumstance.

Oregon Salmon Fishing for Ocean Feeders

Oregon salmon fishing for feeder chinook and coho which are gorging themselves for the coming winter.
Click to enlarge Oregon salmon fishing for feeder chinook and coho which are gorging themselves for the coming winter.
    Salmon is KING in Oregon! While Oregon offers a variety of species to pursue, the chinook and coho salmon rule the roost for most anglers in Oregon. Chinook in particular, the largest of all pacific salmon, return to Oregon’s rivers almost every month of the year. Some still believe Alaska is the place to go for salmon but rebounding numbers in Oregon has provided anglers with unprecedented opportunity in recent years. For example, the Columbia River saw returns to the mouth well over 600,000 chinook adults in 2012. Some years, this number is closer to 1 million chinook salmon! Although the Columbia receives the highest returns for the region, other nearby rivers receive great returns as well. Tillamook Bay for example has 5 major river systems draining into its estuary with all of these rivers seeing good returns of spring and fall chinook salmon, coho and steelhead. Chum salmon and cutthroat trout are also available.

Through the decades, guides and anglers have perfected the best techniques in pursuit of these magnificent salmon. Many of the most productive techniques have been developed here in Oregon and adapted in other parts of the United States. Due to the nature of the history of Oregon’s developing fisheries, guides have had to innovate and cooperate in order to get-the-job done for our customers. Some of these decade-old secrets remain secrets, bringing success to those that can perfect them.

One of the best aspects of fishing Oregon waters is that you don’t have to be a professional angler to reap the rewards of our waters. Not only do burgeoning populations swell success rates but your guide has put in an insurmountable amount of time learning how to successfully pursue them. It’s our job to get you into fish and there is a reason why we’re still in the business.

Oregon Salmon Fishing at Buoy 10

Oregon salmon fishing the Buoy 10 fishery is unparalled. Feisty chrome brigh kings are the norm.
Click to enlarge Oregon salmon fishing the Buoy 10 fishery is unparalled. Feisty chrome brigh kings are the norm.
    If you’re new to salmon fishing in Oregon, you likely don’t care how you catch your quarry but fishing opportunity in Oregon doesn’t just draw the novice. As we mentioned, an array of techniques have been developed here and even the savvy salmon angler can find his niche technique in Oregon’s numerous waterways.

Depending on the time of year, you may find yourself fishing light line, lead and spinning gear, sidedrifting a southern Oregon coastal system in pursuit of fall chinook or steelhead. March and April often brings about the first interest for salmon, the delightful spring chinook on the mighty Columbia or Willamette Rivers where in most years, returns in the hundreds of thousands provide opportunity found nowhere else in the country. The deeper and swifter the river, the most weight we have to use to pursue our salmon but by May, many salmon ascend both inland and coastal waterways where we target them using little if any lead. The thought of an exploding 28-pound spring chinook taken on a plug in 4 feet of water just a few miles from the ocean is enough to keep any fisherman awake at night. You’ve likely never experienced anything like it. For the remainder of the year, we pursue our salmon with fairly light lead and bait or spinners, enabling anglers to feel the raw power of the Pacific’s most prolific and powerful salmon, the chinook.

Tillamook Hogs

Oregon salmon fishing for 60 or 70 pound fall run Tillamook hogs.
Click to enlarge Oregon salmon fishing for 60 or 70 pound fall run Tillamook hogs.
    There’s a reason why the nickname for chinook is the “King”. The biggest and baddest of the 5 Pacific salmon species, the bite alone from a 20 to 40 pound chinook is earth shattering, depending on the technique you’re using. Seasoned guides can tell the difference between a chinook bite from other species. These fish bite fiercely as their comparative weight to other species can attest to. That doesn’t mean one can over-look the excitement while pursuing other species such as the coho. These silver bullets are hard to beat for table fare and often frustrate anglers to no end with their cartwheeling acrobatics and head-thrashing stunts that often throw the hook. These fish can be pursued in both salt and fresh water systems and in some years, with great rewards. Salmon fishing for coho can begin as early as June and last well into October on many systems. These fish will tip the scales to 20 pounds on some years.

There’s a reason our industry and our nation have spent so much time, energy and resources protecting and enhancing the chinook and coho runs; they’re worth it. These iconic fish largely built the Pacific Northwest and still play a critical role as a food and sport fish. Once you’ve pursued these species, you’ll understand why many-a-family vacation has been invested in the successful harvest of these magnificent fish.

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