A person on a boat holds up a Chinook salmon

5 fish to target this weekend

May 8, 2019

If you’re not jazzed about going fishing this weekend, you’d better check to make sure you’ve still got a pulse! Spring offers some of the best and most diverse fishing of the year, and there are lots of good reasons (too many to list) to hit the water this weekend.

1. Spring Chinook

Anglers are catching a fair number of spring Chinook in the Willamette River and Multnomah Channel. You can double your chances by fishing with two rods, if you have a two-rod endorsement. Chinook fishing is hitting its peak in the lower Rogue with plenty of fish upriver as well.  Elsewhere on the coast, there are fish being caught in Tillamook Bay and the Trask River, and reports of some early fish on the mainstem Umpqua.

two kokanee salmon swim side-by-side over a rocky river bottom. There are bubbles in the water from turbulence.

2. Kokanee

This can be a great time of year for kokanee. Water temperatures are getting warm enough to put them on the bite (50 degrees is the magic number) but are still cool enough to keep the fish in relatively shallow water. The best fishing this weekend will be on Detroit and Green Peter reservoirs and Odell Lake. Kokanee fishing also has been good in Wickiup Reservoir, which is a little unexpected after the severe water draw down last fall.

3. Smallmouth bass

This time of year, smallmouth bass tend to school up in shallower waters and eat heartily in preparation for spawning. Look for smallmouth near rocky shores and outcroppings and other structure. These opportunistic fish do well in a variety of lakes, ponds, reservoirs, rivers and sloughs throughout the state. You’ll find dozens of options in the zone reports

If you’re going to be in the Columbia River Gorge this weekend, take a rod with you. The miles (and miles) of rocky shoreline along the Columbia River – accessible at many state parks and other locations – offers some great early season bass fishing.  

Learn how to fish for bass

4. Crappie

These hard-fighting, good-eating panfish are some of the earliest warmwater fish to start biting in the spring. Some popular early season fisheries are on the eastside, including Willow Creek, Cold Springs, McKay and Campbell reservoirs. Westside anglers should consider Henry Hagg Lake near Portland, as well as Empire, Saunders, and Tenmile lakes, and Powers and Johnson Mill ponds in the SW Zone.

Learn for to fish for crappie

5. Trout

Trout is Oregon’s number one gamefish and there’s a trout fishing flavor for almost every angler. Each year ODFW stocks millions of trout into hundreds of ponds, lakes, reservoirs and streams throughout the state. You’ll find where the fish are going, and when, with our interactive trout stocking schedule.

Diamond Lake is the place to be this weekend for some red hot fly-fishing for trout.

Oregon also boasts several well-known rivers where anglers are reporting good fishing right now, including the McKenzie, upper Rogue, Deschutes, Crooked, Fall and Metolius.

If you’re after brown trout, the Wood River would be an excellent choice for the weekend.

Learn how to fish for trout

Surfperch (Honorable mention)

If you’re planning a weekend at the beach, take a rod with you. It’s a great time of year for surfperch fishing, and if you’re going to be at the beach anyway…. There are surfperch available all along the Oregon coast, and fishing for them is fun and easy.

Learn how to fish for surfperch

You’ll find more details and more opportunities in this week’s Recreation Report.

Explore Related Articles

How to fish

More people in Oregon fish for trout than for any other kind of fish. Anglers can experience a lifetime of...

Where to fish

Salmon, steelhead and smallmouth bass offer world-class fishing here year-round. Rainbow trout are stocked in the upper Rogue and in...

Where to fish

Oregon's Klamath and Lake counties offer outstanding warmwater fishing in the region's lakes and reservoirs, and even in the lower...