Thanks to its beautiful pristine rivers and almost 350 miles of coastline, Oregon boasts a wide range of fishing opportunities, regardless of which fishing season you choose to fish in. However, not all fishing seasons in Oregon present the same catch opportunities, so it’s essential to carefully plan your Oregon fishing trip if you’re looking to maximize your fishing opportunities.

Thanks to both fresh and saltwater fishing opportunities, you can fish almost year-round in Oregon, regardless of what season it is. In the following article, we’ll cover which species are biting, when the best season to fish in Oregon is, and much more. If you’re planning a destination fishing trip to Oregon, this is one Oregon fishing season guide you can’t afford not to read!

In the following Oregon Fishing Season guide, we’ll cover:

If you love fishing, you’ll love this article, Fishing in Cold Weather: Tips and Techniques for Winter Anglers, to learn about the best ways to maximize your winter and cold weather fishing opportunities!

When it comes to finding the best fishing spots in Oregon, including secret locations and local hot spots, you’ll need a little help. If you want to land fish on your Oregon fishing trip, you’ll need the premium Fishing Forecasting App, Fishbox App. Thanks to the Fishbox App, you’ll know the perfect time to go fishing in Oregon and when you’re better off staying home and cleaning out your tackle box or boat.

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Expert Opinion on Oregon Fishing Seasons

Pierce Latta

16 years fishing experience

“While the fishing licenses might be a little pricier than in other states around the country, the extra cost can be well worth it. Oregon provides its anglers with both a remarkable fresh and saltwater fishery that is sought after across the globe. When I think of Oregon, it strikes me as the same freshwater fishery as any other state out West like Montana or Wyoming except for the fact that it has a teeming coastline to go with it providing anglers with even more opportunities to find the bite. At the very start of the article, we are given an amazing chart regarding fish bites based on different points in the year. This can be extremely helpful if used correctly and you can bet that I will be consulting this chart when I go to Oregon this summer. So, for example, since I am going to Oregon this upcoming July, based on this chart, I should focus my efforts on species like Coho Salmon, Sockeye Salmon, and Rainbow Trout on the freshwater side of things and Ocean Salmon, Halibut, Rockfish, Lingcod, and Tuna on the saltwater side. Now this chart does not tell me exactly what to do and it certainly doesn’t guarantee that I’m going to catch fish at all, but it does give me a good baseline on where to start my search. I can further boost my chances of success by utilizing the Fishbox App which takes research from various metrics and relates them to the bite of the fish. Furthermore, I loved how the article went further into depth on how and where to focus your efforts for certain species depending on the seasons. Furthermore, the article even breaks down some of the runs of specific species in Oregon. These runs, especially with regards to Salmon, should be taken advantage of as they can provide tons of action and fresh fish to anglers willing to get outside and put some work in. As someone who has fished a Salmon run in another state, I can assure you that you will have a blast. I can vividly remember there being so many Salmon in the water that you could run a spinner through the water and snag one on just about every cast. Now this is not always the case, but take note of these runs and try to fish them if you can. Having read this article and seen more of what Oregon has to offer, I am even more stoked that I have the opportunity to go there this summer. Quite honestly, I forgot that Oregon even had a coastline, so the fact that Oregon presents both an amazing salt and freshwater fishery is a huge pro for the state as a whole for anglers. Again, like I always say when I am writing these things, please take care of the water and environment wherever you go. We of all people should know best that our waters must be protected. This being said, buy the licenses and abide by the rules and regulations in place to keep our waters teeming. Thanks for reading and tight lines!”

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Understanding Oregon’s Fishing Regulations

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is responsible for protecting and preserving the fish and wildlife of the state of Oregon to ensure that future generations of hunters and anglers have the same fantastic opportunities to enjoy the great opportunities this beautiful and bountiful state offers.

They offer a variety of fishing licenses, with a basic resident license starting at $44.00 and a non-resident license starting at $110.50. In conjunction with the essential fishing licenses, there are also additional license fees for extra rods and specific fishing locations, such as the Columbia River Basin Endorsement or a tag if you plan on fishing for Salmon, Steelhead, Sturgeon, or Halibut.

Oregon offers a variety of fresh and saltwater fishing opportunities year-round, but before you drop a line in the water, visit the ODFW Fishing Website to ensure you can fish for your target species. It’s in seasons, and you have all the correct licenses and tags.

Fish, not just in Oregon, is not a limitless resource and strict adherence to catch regulations ensures that future generations of anglers will have the same great fishing opportunities we enjoy today. Licensing and tag fees go back into the conversation and preservation of both fish species and waterways across the state of Oregon.

Oregon Freshwater Fishing Seasons Calendar 

SpeciesJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Chinook SalmonFairFairGoodGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatFairFair
Coho SalmonPoorPoorPoorPoorPoorPoorGreatGreatGreatGreatGoodPoor
Sockeye SalmonPoorPoorPoorPoorPoorGoodGreatGreatGoodPoorPoorPoor
Rainbow TroutGreatGreatGoodGoodGoodGoodGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreat
Cutthroat TroutPoorPoorPoorGoodGreatGreatGoodPoorPoorGreatGreatGood
SturgeonGreatGreatGreatGoodGoodGoodGoodGoodGoodGreatGreatGreat
BassPoorPoorPoorGreatGreatGoodGoodGoodGreatGreatGoodPoor
WalleyeGoodGoodGreatGreatGoodGoodGoodGoodGreatGreatGoodGood

Oregon Saltwater Fishing Seasons Calendar 

SpeciesJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Ocean SalmonClosedClosedClosedClosedGoodGreatGreatGreatGreatGoodClosedClosed
HalibutClosedClosedClosedClosedGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatClosedClosed
RockfishGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreat
LingcodGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreatGreat
TunaPoorPoorPoorPoorPoorGoodGreatGreatGreatPoorPoorPoor

While most fish in Oregon will bite all year round, each species will have peak months and seasons. In the Oregon saltwater fishing season calendar and freshwater fishing season calendar above, we’ve highlighted the best and worst times to target some of Oregon’s most popular fish species.

Most angling in Oregon occurs between Spring and Fall, with the fishing season typically reaching a peak in Summer. A summer fishing trip to Oregon will also give you the best opportunity to secure some nice weather, particularly if you plan on heading offshore to target saltwater gamefish such as Tuna.

Read also: Alaska Fishing Seasons: Your Comprehensive Guide

Spring Fishing Season in Oregon

Spring fishing in Oregon typically marks the start of the official fishing seasons for most anglers hitting the water.

March Fishing in Oregon

Steelhead fishing in Oregon is hitting its peak in March, and these aggressive fish can be found in rivers all across the state. If you’re skilled enough to hook one, be ready for an aggressive and adrenaline-fueled fight, especially on light tackle. It’s the end of their run, so opportunities to catch them will drop off after March.

Trout season is almost upon us, and while many of the streams and rivers are still closed for Trout anglers, the lakes are being stocked full of fresh fish for the year.

Rivers such as the Willamette, Umpqua, and Rogue are great locations to target early-season Chinook Salmon but be sure to check the regulations for heading out.

The saltwater fishing bite is solid in March, but unpredictable weather conditions often make planning any trips a bit of a challenge for most anglers, especially when heading offshore.

April Fishing in Oregon

Your opportunities to catch a Steelhead are dwindling away in April. While there are still a few chances to land one of these monsters, the action is definitely not what it was. However, as the Steelhead action dwindles, the Trout action starts to heat up! Lakes across the state are stocked, and Detroit Lake is a popular location for trout anglers.

Salmon can be found in the rivers, but not all streams and rivers are open, so check the regulations before you fish. However, be sure to check out the Willamette, Umpqua, and Rogue rivers.

And don’t forget that Bass season kicks off in April in Oregon, with Bass feeding aggressively before their spawn. The Dalles Pool offers the opportunity to land some decent Bass and also some big Walleye.

May Fishing in Oregon

If you prefer saltwater angling, you’ll be happy to know that May means the saltwater action is finally starting to fire up. Halibut fishing typically opens in May, and if you’re chasing Halibut, you might also run into some ocean Salmon.

Trout fishing is still great, but May means that many of the rivers and streams are about to open. To add a little mix to your bag, you may also have the opportunity to target some native Redside Trout or Spring Chinook.

And who could forget the hot Bass bite, with both Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass biting well across the state.

Summer Fishing Opportunities

June Fishing in Oregon

The stormy weather should have settled down a lot in June, making those offshore trips much easier to plan and execute. There’s plenty of offshore fishing action to be had, especially for Ling Cod, Halibut, Rockfish, and Ocean Salmon.

The Snake River, John Day River, and the Grande Ronde River all offer some amazing Steelhead fishing, and there’s also Chinook Salmon to be caught on the Columbia River.

The Walleye action is hot as these aggressive fish come off their May spawning run with a big appetite, and the Bass action is still intense as fish leave deeper water to hunt baitfish in the shallows.

July Fishing in Oregon

July is considered by many anglers to be the peak fishing season in Oregon. Greater numbers of Salmon are making their way along the Pacific Coastline, and one local hotspot, the ‘Rock Pile,’ offers particularly good action. Later in July, the Tuna action in Oregon will really begin to heat up.

And the warmer days don’t stop the non-stop freshwater fishing action either, with Steelhead and Salmon favorites in July. As the hot days hit their peak temperatures, Bass will begin to favor deep water during the day, so unless you’re fishing early or late, you’ll need a boat of some sort to target them in deep holes.

August Fishing in Oregon

If you can only travel to Oregon once for a fishing trip, then the best month to do it would undeniably be August. Even though Oregon offers year-round fishing, it’s hard to beat the fishing action in August.

In August, Oregon’s famous Buoy 10 opens, offering anglers their best chance of catching Chinook Salmon and Coho. If you can’t make it to Buoy 10, then head up the Columbia River and try your luck at catching some big Steelhead.

The offshore fishing bite is hot, with the waters around Oregon teaming with Albacore Tuna and those delicious, mouth-watering Halibut.

Fall Fishing Season: Prime Time for Anglers

September Fishing in Oregon

If you’re chasing Chinook or Coho, then you’ll still find plenty of hot action throughout September in Oregon. Offshore action includes the end of the Albacore Tuna season, but it also means that Dungeness Crab could be on the table!

On the lakes and rivers, the Steelhead will be making the runs further upriver, and as the water cools in September, the Trout action also starts to improve.

And we can’t forget the Bass action. As the temperatures start to cool, Bass will begin hunting the shallows again, lurking around mid-depth ledges and structures.

October Fishing in Oregon

While you can catch Sturgeon year-round in Oregon’s rivers, October is the best month by far to target these monsters. The Columbia River is your best chance of landing one.

Coho and Chinook Salmon will start entering the smaller river systems, and Tillamook Bay is one of the best places to catch a Chinook in October.

Trout fishing is terrific in October, and some Trout fishing hotspots are the Henry Hagg Lake, Sprague River, and Williamson River. Most streams and rivers close for Trout at the end of October, so it’s probably your last chance to land one.

November Fishing in Oregon

The saltwater fishing in November mainly focuses on Rockfish, with the Tuna having migrated away. While inshore fishing isn’t bad, you’ll need to expect more rain and wind getting in the way of any planned fishing trips.

If you still have the urge to catch Trout, then most of Oregon’s Lakes still offer some great opportunities, even if the rivers and streams are closed. If you check out the Oregon Trout Stocking Schedule, you’ll be able to find the fish!

The peak season for most Salmon fishing is done, but there’s still some good fishing if you have the time to commit to smaller rivers.

Winter Fishing: Braving the Cold

December Fishing in Oregon

The fishing is starting to close down for the year, with most of the weather during the cooler winter month of December shutting down a lot of fishing activities. If you can find a break in the weather, LingCod and Rockfish are on the menu for saltwater angling.

On the other hand, there’s a variety of freshwater angling opportunities during Winter. The winter Steelhead season is kicking off, with the Willamette River, Clackamas River, and Coos River your best chance of landing a big fish.

Sturgeon fishing in the Winter is an option, but it’s essential to check the regulations for where you plan on fishing carefully before you decide to keep one of these fish, as many waters are catch-and-release only.

Read also: Maximize Your Catch: Guide to the Best Freshwater Fishing Baits

January Fishing in Oregon

Winter is now in full swing across Oregon. What does this mean for saltwater anglers? There are not a lot of fishing opportunities, and if you take a chance between the storms and rough water, be sure to pay close attention to the weather reports, as conditions can change quickly.

If you prefer something a little safer in Winter, then there’s a variety of freshwater river fishing opportunities across the state. Steelhead can be found in the Coos River, Coquille River, Clackamas River, and Alsea River, and Trout can be found in most of the lakes across Oregon.

February Fishing in Oregon

February fishing in Oregon is a lot like January, and it is very weather-dependent. If you manage to get out on the ocean, bottom fishing will allow you to head home with a decent feed of fish.

Heavy rainfall in February often leaves freshwater rivers and lakes murky and dark, making them hard to fish. However, if you can find some clear water, expect to catch Steelhead or an early-season Chinook Salmon.

Trout Season: A Highlight for Anglers

One of the most commonly caught and fished species in Oregon is Trout. 

All you need to fish for Trout in Oregon is a general fishing license. Youth anglers 12-17 require a juvenile angling license, and kids 12 and under fish for free. 

If you love fishing for Trout, you’ll be happy to know that Trout is widely distributed across Oregon and can be found in almost all fresh bodies of water, such as lakes, rivers, and streams.

Typically, Trout prefers:

  • Cool and clean water.
  • Food such as insects, minnows, and crawfish.
  • Cover and protection from predators.

You have the option of fishing for Trout in still waters such as lakes and ponds or moving waters such as rivers and streams. 

In still waters, Trout can often be found cruising the water hunting for food. However, they won’t stray too far from the cover. Look near vegetation, logs, stumps, and rocky outcrops, and in the warm Summer months, try deep pools.

In moving water, Trout are more likely to stay close to cover while they wait for their food to come to them, so look for them in deep pools, eddies in the current, and around structures such as overhanging branches, stumps, and logs.

For more information on Trout Fishing in Oregon, check out the complete ODFW guide here.

Salmon and Steelhead Runs: Iconic Oregon Fisheries

Oregon Winter Steelhead 

One of Oregon’s most stable and popular fisheries is the Steelhead fishery. Most of the fisheries across Oregon offer both a mix of wild Steelhead and hatchery Steelhead. It’s not uncommon for anglers chasing Steelhead in peak seasons to land 2-8 fish per person. 

Steelhead fishing in Oregon is largely catch and release, but some waterways offer you the opportunity of catching a fish for the cooler if it’s a hatchery fish.

March is the prime month for Steelhead in Oregon, with anywhere from mid-February to late March being the best opportunity to catch a monster, as the fish are feeding at their most aggressive during this period.

Oregon Spring Chinook

Returning Salmon won’t start returning until Fall, but they’ll be packed full of fat and delicious to eat. Fishing the Willamette River is a great option and should provide multiple fishing opportunities. Another great option is the Columbia River, with over 70% of these fish being ‘fin-clipped,’ making them eligible to take home. The last week in March through to the end of April are peak Chinook Salmon fishing months, so if you’re planning a trip, book your accommodation early and aim for these dates.

Columbia River Salmon and Ocean Salmon 

The optimistic forecast for the Columbia River Coho is around the 500,000 fish mark, with a further 500,000 Chinook at Astoria. The months from August to September are prime for Salmon, and it’ll be almost impossible not to catch one of these excellent fish. 

Oregon Fishing Seasons: Your Comprehensive Guide – Conclusion

If you’re planning a destination fishing trip to Oregon, you can’t afford not to read Oregon Fishing Seasons: Your Comprehensive Guide. It’s packed full of essential information about Oregon fishing seasons and everything you’ll need to know to target your favorite freshwater and saltwater fish species in the beautiful state of Oregon.

Before you cast a line in Oregon, be sure to visit the ODFW Fishing Website to ensure that you’re fishing during open seasons and have all the correct licenses and tags. Regardless of when you visit Oregon, there will be a fish somewhere to offer you some great fishing action.

If you only have the time or budget for one fishing trip this year, Oregon is a great state to visit, and it’s packed full of both freshwater and saltwater fishing opportunities. 

By utilizing the technology in the Fishbox App, you’ll be able to track weather conditions accurately and predict the best times to hit the water when you’re planning on going fishing in Oregon. It combines predictive fish behavior with weather, lunar, and tidal conditions to deliver optimal fishing opportunities in Oregon, regardless of whether you’re going fresh or saltwater fishing.

The Fishbox App was developed in collaboration with accurate weather data and expert fish behavioral analysis. These advanced forecasts will significantly increase your catch rate while reducing your time on the water. Take your fishing to the next level thanks to the expert advice from the Fishbox App team.

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If you have any personal fishing tips, advice, or experience from fishing in Oregon and you’d like to share some tips and tricks with other anglers, be sure to drop a comment below! We’d love to hear from you. Your tips or hotspot information could help determine the difference between a good and bad day out on the water in Oregon. But let’s be honest. Any day spent outdoors fishing for your favorite fish is a good day in our books!

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