The Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving are Free Fishing Days in Oregon. That means you can fish, crab or clam for free – no license, tag or endorsement required. Some restrictions apply, as in all current closures, bag limits and other regulations still apply. If you’re looking for a place to take the family, we’ve got 101 suggestions. And if you live near Portland, Bend, Medford, Roseburg, Lane County or on the south coast, there are lots of nearby options.
Best bets for Free Fishing Days:
There are still some late season Chinook available in the Wilson, Trask and Nestucca rivers.
The first winter steelhead of the season are now in the North Fork Nehalem and Necanicum rivers and the Lower Columbia tributaries.
Steelhead anglers might also find an early fish in the Alsea, Siletz and Siuslaw rivers.
Coho fishing continues to be good in Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes.
Anglers are starting to get serious about winter steelhead on the Coos and Coquille.
Just in time for Free Fishing Days, both Expo and Reinhardt ponds will be stocked this week with some trophy trout this week.
Fish Lake has been fishing well (as it should given its name). Both the resort and boat ramp will open again for this weekend.
There are still lots of coho in the upper Rogue River.
There should be good trout fishing for holdover fish stocked earlier this season. Some familiar names include Cooper Creek Reservoir, Diamond Lake, Hemlock Lake, Lake of the Woods and several north coast lakes. Check the zone reports for more options.
Fresh fall Chinook are still arriving in several south coast rivers including the Chetco, Elk, Flora/New River, Pistol, Winchuck and Hunter Creek.
several locations in the Willamette Valley will be stocked with trout this week. These include Junction City Pond, Timber Linn Lake, Walling Pond, Waverly Lake, Hills Creek Reservoir and Alton Baker Canoe Canal.
After a few days for drier weather, look for crabbing to pick up in the bays and estuaries.
Winter whale watching
Gray whales will soon be making their migration south from Alaska to Mexico. The peak time to see these interesting animals along the Oregon coast is during the winter holidays. Many state parks make good spots for whale watching. More information about gray whales is available at orwhalewatch.org/
Report your 2020 hunt
It's not too early
If all that’s left of your 2021 hunt are the memories, there’s still one last thing to do. You need to report your hunt and why wait until the last minute? You can report online or with an ODFW license agent. ODFW offices remain closed to walk-in traffic.