Some things are synonymous with the fall. The days get shorter, the nights get cooler and the leaves start changing colors before floating softly to the ground. But in Tillamook County there’s one fall tradition that’s as consistent as the change in weather. The salmon are coming!
Chinook, Coho and Chum Salmon start pouring into Tillamook Bay yearning to make their pilgrimage up one of the five major rivers that feed the bay. When they do, the fishing in Tillamook Bay and on the Wilson, Trask, Kilchis, Tillamook and Miami Rivers can be some of the best on earth.
Tillamook salmon runs are 100 percent dictated by the amount of rainfall the river and the headwaters receive. The fishermen trolling the Tillamook Bay jaws area and the other famous areas like the Ghost Hole and Memaloose will be traditionally using plug cut herring and large spinners until the heavy rains come. Once that happens the mass of fish will move up the rivers in route to the little tributaries they were born in years prior. This is when the fishing can really get good. That many salmon choked into such small streams make it extremely easy to get lures or baits in front of willing biters. Large clusters of cured salmon roe fished under bobbers and larger banana shapes plugs wrapped with chunks of baitfish are the weapons of choice for targeting these migrating fish.
If you’re in Tillamook County admiring the colors of the leaves and the crisp nip in the air, know that either by bank or by boat, you could also be enjoying a gorgeous salmon on the end of your line.
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