Coastal Fishing in Oregon
Fishing on Oregon’s Tillamook Coast is a year-round activity. With three bays, five major rivers (and several smaller ones), a couple of lakes and of course, the Pacific Ocean, you can fish the way you want – fly fishing (check out the video below), deep sea, dock, boat or dory.
Tillamook Bay is the largest coastal bay on Oregon’s north coast—and the second largest in the state! Salmon, steelhead, tuna and lingcod are the top four species in our waters—but there’s lots more to catch. Go out on your own or with a guide. A charter boat can show you a thing or two and get you out on the water for deep sea fishing to catch halibut, tuna, lingcod, rock fish and sea trout.
For an unforgettable experience, you can also launch from the beach in Pacific City with the dory fleet. Watch this video with Dory boat Captain Mark Lytle. This is a one-of-a-kind experience with an experienced sailor!
When to go
You should plan your fishing trip out to the Coast around what you want to catch. Here’s a brief rundown:
Fall – Fish Chinook salmon in the Wilson, Trask, Nestucca and Nehalem Rivers. In the lower and middle bay, launch or rent a boat in Garibaldi. In the fall, you’ll also catch the tail end of the coho and rockfish runs.
Winter – Winter is steelhead season in Tillamook: try out any of the county’s five rivers, all top sources for steelhead from December to April. You can also find good seasonal sturgeon fishing in the region; white sturgeon come to Tillamook Bay in February and March to feed on clams and shrimp. Sturgeon head north in the summer and fall, so winter and early spring are the times to find them here. Check out a famous spot known as the Sturgeon Hole on the Tillamook River’s tidewater (just west of Tillamook city) if you’re serious about these giant fish!
Spring – Chinooks aren’t just around in the fall, you’ll find them running in spring too (on average, they’re a little smaller than the fall fish). And beyond salmon, spring offers a beautiful bounty for the sport fisherman. Lingcod are also running through most of the spring. Catch them on the Barview Jetty or in other rocky areas near the shore. They like to hang out near rocks, so don’t cast too far out—you’ll go right over their heads.
Summer – Coho salmon run from late summer to early fall in the Tillamook region. There’s a hatchery in the Trask River, so consider a spot there if coho is your pick. Trout are also running in the late summer to fall, including steelhead and native coastal cutthroat trout. And the warm months are the time to head to Garibaldi for delicious Albacore tuna; the 2018 season will begin in July!
Make sure you have a valid Oregon Angling License before casting your line! And consider coming to the Coast for a Free Fishing Weekend, during which you won’t need a license, or even your own equipment. The Oregon Fish & Wildlife Department sponsors fishing events statewide four weekends each year and they’ll even provide the gear and instruction you need to get started.
Grab your pole and come to the Tillamook Coast. The fish are lining up to grab your bait!