A Quick Guide on Salmon Fishing in the Portland Area

Salmon is one of the common and popular species in the Portland area. That’s right, Portland is an amazing city filled with numerous tourist attractions and fishing opportunities! That’s why it’s worth salmon fishing in the Portland area to bring home delicious fish.

But the question is – How do you catch salmon in the first place? This article will share information on salmon fishing in the Portland area to help you out.


A Quick Guide on Salmon Fishing in the Portland Area

Salmon fishing in the Portland area has an interesting history. It isn’t just a popular leisure activity, but a significant contributor to the area. In fact, Oregon’s salmon fishing industry generates up to $700 million yearly, providing thousands of jobs for Oregon residents alone!

There are many things to consider when it comes to salmon fishing in the Portland area. Here are frequently asked questions and what to look into:

Salmon Fishing in the Portland Area 

When is Salmon Fishing Season?

Salmon fishing season in the Portland area would usually run from April to November. There are various distinct seasons throughout the months, with summer at its height by the end of July. There are abundant sports fishing opportunities for anglers the entire year, with salmon fishing in the Portland area being plentiful as the fish would swim upriver from the Pacific Ocean during spawning season further up the Columbia River.

Salmon Fishing in the Portland Area 

Salmon Fishing Rules and Regulations

There are general recreational salmon fishing rules and regulations, which include size and bag limits and where anglers are permitted to fish. That means there are certain spots you cannot fish in and you can only have a limited number of salmon in possession, and those caught salmon must be a specific size. If not, then you will need to release them.

Moreover, anglers must carry a valid Combined Angling Tag every time they are fishing. They can purchase one tag per year only, and they will be limited in how many fish they can harvest. If you have a fishing charter or guide with you, they are familiar with such regulations and catch limits so you won’t have to worry about breaking rules as you will be informed.

Anglers over 18 years old need a combined angling tag. This is required by law for those who want to catch not only upriver resident species like salmon, but summer steelhead trout, halibut, sturgeon, and the like. Those under 12 years old won’t need a license, while older anglers can qualify for a Pioneer or Senior license. If you are not from the Portland area, you can acquire a non-resident license for short-term stays and fishing excursions.

Salmon Fishing in the Portland Area

Popular Areas to Catch Salmon

The Portland area is vast, with the Columbia River fishery being a good-sized location for salmon fishing.

The first place to head to is Buoy 10, the beginning point of the Columbia River. This area is anchored at the mouth of Astoria. It’s a significant area as salmon would wait for the tides to change before heading to the river. Meaning, that this is where they congregate.

The Columbia River would also extend up the river through the Portland zone, going as far as Bonneville Dam. That’s where the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife keeps Bonneville Hatchery, the department’s largest hatchery facility.

All the regions are quite popular and can provide an outstanding salmon fishing experience. You can start with the Portland zone your first time, then explore other locations later on.

Salmon Fishing in the Portland Area 

Types of Salmon Caught

There are various salmon species you can catch around the Portland area.

If you plan to go in spring, you can encounter Chinook’s salmon spring run. These are also known as king salmon, a fish that would fight hard and taste amazing. While relatively small compared to the species standard, weighing 8-12 pounds, they make up for it with their taste. You can find them from spring to fall, with summer bringing in larger Chinook, weighing about 25 pounds on average.

You can also catch Coho salmon, which are smaller cousins of Chinook. These fish would weigh about 4-8 pounds, depending on if it’s wild or from the hatchery. They are also called silver salmon and are a fall-run species. While small, these fish are aggressive and are far more abundant than Chinook. The only downfall is that they scare easily, so you must be wary!

Salmon Fishing in the Portland Area

Quick Tips on Catching Salmon

You can catch salmon anywhere in the river, though there are certain spots better than others. For instance (and as mentioned), you can go to Buoy 10 near the mouth of the Columbia River, which is considered a world-class fishery, especially when it comes to salmon. If you want to go to other places, your fishing guide will know the exact spots salmon are biting, as it will depend on the weather and water conditions of the day.

That is why it’s beneficial to hire a guide or join a fishing charter, as you can tap their local knowledge and experience they offer during the trip. Moreover, they also provide the boat and fishing gear necessary to catch salmon. You’ll just need to have your fishing license, tags, some food, and drinks, along with your clothes and personal items!


Wrapping It Up

Who knew that Portland had many fishing opportunities, especially for salmon? When you’re going salmon fishing in the Portland area, you’ll need to plan so you can get more chances of catching fish.

Fishing charters in the Portland area will help you find and catch your target species thanks to the local and experienced captain and crew. Not only can you spend time fishing on their boat and being taken to the best spots, but you can also rent their gear and learn new techniques. If you haven’t booked a fishing charter yet, now’s the time to do; contact us now!


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