A dozen great rivers pour out of the Coast Range Mountains into tidal bays that welcome runs of salmon and steelhead. Bays are the year-round home to marine perch, rock fish, crabs and clams, while other species come and go with the seasons and tides.
A handful of ponds dot the forested slopes, and there are dozens of dune lakes— many stocked with rainbow trout,
and some harboring largemouth bass, perch, crappie and brown bullhead.
Lakes and ponds: five fish per day
Rivers and streams: two fish per day, open May 22-Oct. 31
Two adult salmon/steelhead per day (in aggregate), seasons vary – see regulations for the waterbody you’d like to fish
In May/June start thinking spring Chinook in rivers and basins from Tillamook south to the Siletz. By August attention turns to fall Chinook and coho. There is a rare opportunity to fish for chum salmon (catch-and-release only) on the Kilchis and Miami rivers beginning in mid-September.
These ocean-going rainbow trout are divided into two runs: winter and summer. For those that prefer frost bite to sunburn, winter steelhead begin entering area rivers and streams from November and December (depending on the timing of the fall rains) and runs can continue through April.
Summer steelhead returns begin in early April to early June in the Nestucca, Siletz, Trask and Wilson rivers. Summer fish will continue to arrive through late summer and early fall, sometimes overlapping with winter returning fish.
Cutthroat trout live in these coastal rivers and streams. Although resident fish may be small, they are feisty and fun to catch. Fishing these cool, shaded waters also can provide a welcome respite from the summer heat. In late summer, look for sea-run cutthroat to migrate from the estuaries back to freshwater to spawn. These can be large, hard-fighting fish.
Dozens of lakes and ponds throughout the zone are stocked with rainbow trout from February through May and, for some, again in October.