Oregon has great coastlines and varying topography that offers differing fishing environments. It’s a state of mountain ranges, valleys, dense forests, desert areas, and at the same time is a state full of salmon, trout, walleye, sturgeon, halibut, and bass. Oregon is a fantastic opportunity to experience diverse fishing environments. With its moderate climate it is a year round location, even boasting winter runs for some species of fish.
Though there are many game fish that swim in Oregon’s waterways its premier fish is the salmon. Many people believe Oregon’s salmon runs are only second to those in Alaska. Varieties of salmon found in Oregon include the coho, chinook, chum, and Kokanee salmon. The world record of Kokanee came from Wallowa Lake in Oregon.
Elk River or Coos Bay may provide you the perfect escape to fish for salmon. For larger salmon the Chetco River can yield fifty plus pound salmon. In the fall try Tillamook Bay or the Chetco River. The Deschutes River is excellent for a salmon fly fishing experience. Hosamer Lake is also a good place to fly fish for Kokanee (note that Hosamer Lake is meant solely for fly fishing). Or you can travel to the Buoy Ten fishery for excellent chinook and coho salmon.
One of the best salmon rivers is also the state’s most popular all around river; the Columbia. Spanning hundreds of miles through the state of Oregon, the Columbia River is a premier fishing location for chinook and coho salmon, as well as for exquisite sturgeon weighing hundreds of pounds, and trophy steelhead. The Columbia River Gorge is a breathtakingly scenic location worth dreaming of angling in.
Though natural populations thrive throughout the state, Oregon has state run hatcheries and does implement stocking. Salmon of the chinook and coho varieties are the primary stocking fish, along with many types of trout. In fact over seven million trout are released into Oregon via stocking. Rainbow, brook, and cutthroat trout are most often raised in fisheries, along with steelhead. Such fish are plentiful in the wild, too, like the Deschutes River for some great trout fishing as well as splendid steelhead fishing, all in a scenic canyon.
Trout are popular, beaten only by salmon in Oregon. Salmon Creek provides the best of both worlds – letting you fish for salmon and trout at once. Steelhead are the most popular of Oregon’s trout. For fishing almost year round the Trask, Sandy, Nestucca and north fork of the Umpqua River, can be counted on for steelhead. Generally speaking, the entire Umpqua River is great for steelhead as well, though it is known to be a challenge for fly fishermen.
Coastal fishing in Oregon is some of the west coast’s finest. If you want to go head to head with large sturgeon then Oregon is the place for you! Fancy pitting yourself against a shark? Oregon has that too. With so many salmon and steelhead heading into the inland waters there are many occasions for deep water fishermen to catch them as they return to spawn. Be warned, there are additional ocean salmon and halibut laws that ought be noted, in addition to usual creel limits, etc.
Pacific halibut are one of the best saltwater species to be found in Oregon. Plentiful within the state’s coastal waters, halibut in Oregon are sizable fish. On average they are roughly fifteen pounds, but can reach a hundred. Summer success is reported off of Cape Falcon. However, due to quota restrictions on catches, many people prefer traveling below Humbug Mountain during summer and fall.
Residents and nonresidents age fourteen or older may opt for an annual, youth annual, or one, two, three, and four day fishing license. Nonresidents can also apply for a week long angling license. An annual senior citizen license is available for all residents of the state seventy or older that have resided in Oregon for at least five consecutive years. If you are older than fourteen you will need a license unless it is a free fishing day or weekend.
Whenever you head out fishing to a new place, it's always best to speak to local anglers. Use fishing forums to ask questions and learn about the most accurate and up to date conditions.