Fishing On The Oregon And California Coasts

fishingSouthern Oregon and northern California fishing is fabulous throughout the year! Four full seasons keep the anglers busy.

While the Rogue River is the most famous, there are several other rivers that offer excellent fishing for salmon including the Chetco, Coos, Coquille, Elk, Tenmile, Eel, Umpqua, Smith and Klamath. There are expert professional fishing guides, with all supplies and licenses, to help even the novice pick a river and find their catch. Prefer a heated 21-foot powerboat or an open drift boat with heater?

While the rivers get the most attention, there are several charter ocean fishing opportunities out of the many ports along the coast that offer tuna and halibut fishing; dungeness crabbing, or whale watching.

Winter Fishing

Rogue River fishing
Fishing on the Rogue River

This is the time of the year that winter fishing kicks into high gear with the steelhead season getting ready to pick up. Steelhead fishing season is considered to be December through March, with February to be the peak season. Steelhead are considered to be the hardest fighting freshwater fish in North America and they are plentiful on the Oregon Coast. This area boasts of some of the best steelhead fishing rivers including the Rogue, Chetco, Coos, Coquille, Elk,Tenmile, Eel, and Umpqua Rivers.

Salmon Fishing

catching a fishDecember through March, typically has days of sunshine and mild weather although rain is common. Steelhead fishing hits its peak in February. Steelhead range in size from 4 to 20 pounds. Information.

March-June: Spring chinook (springers) salmon range in size from 10 to 40+ pounds. These springers leave the Pacific and come into the river system in search of their spawning grounds. Come and catch one and find out why they are known for their mouth-watering flavor.

July-December: Troll the rivers and bays for Chinook salmon and enjoy a challenging fight. The Chinook range from 10 to over 35 pounds with one recently topping 70 pounds. Summer steelhead also abound and provide additional excitement for anglers.

September-December: Catch coho (silver) salmon or the challenging summer steelhead. Silvers range in size from 5 to 15 pounds and steelies from 3/4 pound to 2 pounds.

Ocean Fishing

A great day fishing!

If you would prefer to ocean fish, tuna fishing is excellent from July through October. Be certain to call in advance and reserve an Pacific Ocean charter. There are ocean charters available in every town with a port along the coast.


Crabbing in Bandon
Crabbing off the Bandon Docks

The Oregon limit is 12 Dungeness crab per person and an inexpensive license is required. While crabs can be caught year around, the best time September through early winter. Many will take their chance and crab off of one of the many piers. Yet experts know that crabbing is best when done from an ocean vessel (crabbing in the ocean is closed for Dungeness crab from October 16 to November 30 – opening date varies each year and each region). The best pier crabbing can be found in Crescent City, Bandon and Coos Bay.

For information on shellfish visit The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.


During the fall, the Chetco River has runs of salmon that produce fish averaging 20-25 pounds but it is not uncommon to hook into a 45-50 pounder. The latter part of December signals the beginning of the winter steelhead run, which continues until late March. Fishing in the Chetco River among the fragrant Myrtlewood trees adds to the enjoyment of the day.
Charter boats are also available in Harbor for Pacific Ocean deep sea fishing and Dungeness crabbing.

Gold Beach – Port Orford

There are seven rivers with fighting steelhead within a five-minute to one-hour drive. This includes the Rogue River along with the Sixes, Elk, Pistol, Chetco, Winchuck and Smith Rivers.


Deep sea charters, fishing in the Coquille River, visit a local lake or toss a line from the surf – plenty of fishing opportunities abound in and around Bandon.
Favorite activities include river fishing, crabbing, or deep sea fishing. The Coquille River flows along Bandon and out to the ocean. The river has a short season for harvesting wild coho salmon. Both wild and hatchery Chinook salmon are also caught.

Coos Bay – Charleston


The Oregon Bay Area features freshwater fishing at Lakeside (Tenmile Lake) and Riley Ranch (Butterfield Lake); saltwater fishing and clamming in Coos Bay; and surf fishing along the coast on Bastendorff Beach or off the dunes to the north.

Reedsport – Winchester Bay

Eel Lake, and Tenmile Lake have excellent freshwater fishing while the Oregon Dunes offer excellent access to the Pacific for fishing and dungeness crabbing. There are ocean fishing charters available in Winchester Bay and Reedsport. Eel Lake is located on the grounds of William M. Tugman State Park. Tenmile Lake is located next to the town of Lakeside.

Crescent City, CA

Fish at the 900-foot pier that juts out into the harbor. Perch, halibut, and flounder are the common catch, but the real attraction of the pier is Dungeness crabbing. The Klamath River is located a short distance south and is the second largest river in California and offers Salmon and Steelhead fishing. To the north is Smith River, which has its own salmon run and is not to be overlooked.

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