The granite peaks of Oregon’s Blue and Wallowa Mountains form the backdrop for many of this zone’s glacier-carved lakes and crystalline streams. Bull trout thrive in this zone’s cold, clear rivers, which also sustain whitefish and rainbow trout, and welcome returning runs of hatchery-reared steelhead. Chinook salmon travel over 300 miles up the Columbia to spawn in rivers such as the Imnaha and Wallowa. Warmwater fisheries are few, but the John Day River offers world-class fishing for smallmouth bass.
Always check the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for exceptions to these rules. In-season regulation changes for the NE Zone can be found here.
Lakes and ponds: Five fish per day, 8-inch minimum size, open all year
Rivers and streams: Two fish per day, 8-inch minimum size, open May 22-Oct. 31
Seasons and limits vary – see the current regulation updates.
Generally, three hatchery fish per day, open Sept. 1 to April 15. HOWEVER, bag limits and season may vary from year to year depending on the anticipated run size. Always check for in-season regulation updates before fishing.
Fishing in the Northeast Zone
Salmon returning to this zone to spawn can travel up to 550 miles and navigate eight dams to reach their home stream. Spring Chinook begin to arrive at the Umatilla River in April and fishing will continue through June. The Imnaha and Wallowa rivers' seasons are dependent on the projected run sizes and seasons are usually announced between May and July.
The summer steelhead season opens on Sept. 1 and generally peaks in October or November. Summer steelhead remain in the rivers until March or April, and there’s often quality steelhead fishing through the winter and into early spring, depending on weather and water conditions.
Trout stocking in ponds, lakes and reservoirs begins in April and continues through June, when warm water and aquatic weed growth begins to slow the fishing. By July effort begins to shift toward larger or higher elevations lakes where waters stay cooler. In late May, rivers and streams open for native rainbow trout.
There are good opportunities for bass, crappie and channel catfish in many parts of this zone. The John Day and Columbia rivers have world-class smallmouth bass fisheries, and bass fishing usually starts heating up in May once water temperatures reach 50 degrees.
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