What are the Best Times and Seasons to Fish in Portland?


Portland, nestled in the picturesque state of Oregon, is renowned for its natural beauty and thriving fishing scene. With its close proximity to rivers, lakes, and the Pacific Ocean, Portland offers a diverse range of fishing opportunities. However, to make the most of your fishing excursions, it’s essential to understand the best times and seasons to cast your line. In this article, we will delve into the optimal fishing periods in Portland and provide insights into the different seasons and their respective angling prospects.


What are the Best Times and Seasons to Fish in Portland?

If you go shore fishing in north Cornwall you can now hire a lifejacket for  the measly sum of £5 a day — Henry Gilbey



As winter transitions into spring, Portland’s fishing season begins to bloom. Spring marks the awakening of aquatic life, making it an ideal time for angling enthusiasts. One of the primary attractions during this season is the spring Chinook salmon run. From March to May, these prized fish make their way up the rivers, presenting an exciting opportunity for anglers. Local hotspots such as the Willamette River and the Columbia River provide excellent fishing conditions for salmon, making spring a thrilling time to test your angling skills.



Portland’s summers are synonymous with abundant fishing opportunities, thanks to the city’s close proximity to the Pacific Ocean. During this season, anglers can venture into the open waters to target various species, including halibut, rockfish, lingcod, and salmon. The summer months of June through August offer prime conditions for offshore fishing adventures. Charter boats and fishing excursions are readily available to take enthusiasts to productive fishing grounds. Additionally, lakes and rivers within a short distance of the city provide ample chances to catch trout, bass, and panfish.



Fall brings a delightful transition for fishing enthusiasts in Portland. As the temperature cools, the rivers begin to fill with migrating fish, attracting anglers from far and wide. One of the highlights of the fall season is the coho salmon run. From September to November, the rivers and estuaries witness a surge of these acrobatic fish, providing thrilling opportunities for anglers. The Tillamook Bay, Nestucca River, and the Clackamas River are popular spots to target salmon during the fall season. Additionally, this period offers excellent conditions for steelhead fishing, adding to the allure of autumn angling.



2020 Oregon Winter Steelhead | Water Time Outfitters

While winter in Portland may be chilly, it doesn’t deter avid anglers. The colder months present unique fishing prospects, especially for those willing to brave the weather. Winter steelhead fishing is a popular pursuit from December to February. Rivers such as the Sandy River and the Clackamas River draw anglers seeking the challenge of catching these spirited fish. Additionally, lakes within close proximity to the city, such as Hagg Lake and Henry Hagg Lake, provide ice fishing opportunities for trout and other species.


What Time Should You Fish?

Fishing in Portland, A Beginner's Guide to Enjoying the Best Angling in the  Pacific Northwest | Oscar | NewsBreak Original

The best times to go fishing in Portland can vary depending on the specific species you’re targeting and the fishing location. However, there are some general guidelines that can help you maximize your chances of success:

  1. Early Morning and Late Evening: In general, the early morning hours around sunrise and the late evening hours around sunset tend to be productive times for fishing. During these times, fish are often more active and feeding near the surface.
  2. Tidal Movements: Pay attention to the tide charts if you’re planning to fish in the ocean or estuaries. Many fish species, such as salmon and sturgeon, are influenced by the movement of tides. Fishing during incoming or outgoing tides can increase your chances of success.
  3. Seasonal Patterns: Different seasons bring different fishing opportunities. As mentioned in the previous article, spring and fall are known for salmon runs, while summer offers a wide range of species both in the ocean and freshwater. Winter is a popular time for steelhead fishing.
  4. Weather Conditions: Keep an eye on the weather forecast before your fishing trip. Stable weather conditions with moderate temperatures and low wind can be ideal for fishing. Fish are generally more active when the weather is comfortable.
  5. Moon Phases: While not a definitive factor, some anglers believe that certain moon phases, such as the new moon or full moon, can affect fish activity. Experiment with different moon phases to see if it makes a difference in your fishing success.
  6. Local Knowledge: Engaging with local anglers, fishing guides, and bait shops can provide valuable insights into the best times to fish in specific locations. They can offer up-to-date information about fish behavior, recent catches, and tips for the area.

Camping Near Portland | The Official Guide to Portland

Remember to always check fishing regulations, obtain the necessary licenses, and practice ethical fishing practices to preserve the fish populations and the environment. Fishing is not an exact science, and conditions can vary, so it’s essential to remain flexible and adaptable to increase your chances of a successful fishing outing.


General Tips to Follow

  1. Tides and Moon Phases: Pay attention to tides and moon phases, as they can significantly influence fish behavior and feeding patterns. Consult tide charts and lunar calendars to optimize your chances of success.
  2. Local Knowledge: Engage with local fishing communities, bait shops, and guides to gather up-to-date information on fishing conditions, regulations, and recommended spots.
  3. Licensing and Regulations: Ensure you have the appropriate fishing license and are familiar with the local fishing regulations to stay compliant and help conserve fish populations.


Wrapping It Up

Fishing Near Portland | The Official Guide to Portland

Portland, Oregon, offers a wealth of fishing opportunities year-round, with each season presenting its own unique prospects. From the exhilarating salmon runs in spring and fall to the abundance of species during the summer and the challenges of winter angling, Portland is a paradise for fishing enthusiasts. By understanding the best times and seasons for fishing in this region and following the general tips, you can enhance your angling experiences and make the most of your time on the water.

We hope our article answered your question, what are the best times and seasons to fish in Portland? Now that you know the answer, the next step is to book a fishing charter on your preferred date to increase your chances of reeling in a catch! Contact us now to learn more about our services.

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