Best Fishing Spots in Oregon

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Oregon’s diverse landscapes provide an abundance of fishing opportunities that cater to anglers of all skill levels. With its pristine rivers, expansive lakes, and a rugged coastline, you’ll find a variety of species from bass and kokanee to the sought-after salmon and trout. Whether you prefer fly fishing, bait casting, or trolling, the state’s waterways offer a bountiful and satisfying experience. The John Day and Snake Rivers in Northeast Oregon are prime spots for smallmouth bass, especially in the spring and summer. If trout is your target, Wallowa Lake is renowned for its kokanee and rainbow trout populations, as well as the coveted lake trout (Mackinaw). For those looking to fish closer to an urban area, an array of locations within 60 minutes of Portland provide quick access to a relaxing day on the water.



Rogue River

Your Oregon fishing adventure wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the Rogue River, a gem in Southern Oregon well-known for its abundant salmon, steelhead, and trout populations. What makes the Rogue River special is its accessibility to both novice and experienced anglers coupled with the variety of fishing experiences available throughout the river’s extensive 215-mile stretch.

Key Fishing Spots:

  • Graves Creek: Ideal for a peaceful fly fishing experience.
  • Gold Hill: Offers opportunities for a more adventurous outing.
  • Rogue River Canyon: A serene spot with rich steelhead fishing.

Types of Fish:

  • Salmon: Including Chinook and Coho varieties.
  • Steelhead: Sought after for their challenging fight.
  • Trout: With both hatchery rainbows and wild varieties.

In summer, the Cascades provide easy angling for hatchery rainbows, which allows you to enjoy a laid-back fishing trip. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a challenge, the lower river section offers a unique run of “half-pounders,” a term fondly used to describe young steelhead.

Fishing Tips:

  • Visit local tackle shops like Rogue Valley Anglers for up-to-date information.
  • Check Fish counts at Huntley Park and the Rogue’s fish stocking report.

Deschutes River

When you’re exploring Oregon’s fishing paradises, the Deschutes River stands out for its sterling reputation, particularly among fly fishing enthusiasts. Spanning central Oregon, this river offers you a diverse angling experience with opportunities to catch large wild rainbows and impressive summer steelhead.

Prime Locations

  • Upper Deschutes: Ideal for dry fly fishing with beautiful landscapes and wildlife.
  • Lower Deschutes: Famous for high-quality trout and steelhead fishing, attracting anglers from all over.

Fish Species to Expect

  • Rainbow Trout
  • Steelhead (summer and winter runs)
  • Chinook Salmon (in certain sections)

Fishing Techniques

  • Fly Fishing: Considered the most effective method, especially for trout.
  • Spin Casting: A viable option for those who prefer traditional rod and reel.

Best Times to Fish

  • Rainbow Trout: Year-round with peaks in spring and fall.
  • Steelhead: July to November for summer runs; December to March for winter runs.

Your successful fishing trip on the Deschutes River requires local knowledge, so consider engaging with guide services for the best experience.

Crane Prairie Reservoir

Crane Prairie Reservoir is a prime destination for anglers in Oregon. You can find this artificial lake along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, nestled in the Deschutes National Forest. Its crystal-clear waters are home to a variety of game fish, set against the backdrop of South Sister and Mount Bachelor.

Fishing Opportunities:

  • Rainbow Trout: Often referred to as “Cranebows,” these trout can weigh between 4-5 pounds, with some reaching up to ten pounds.
  • Kokanee Salmon: For kokanee, utilize downriggers or lead-core lines combined with lures or bait.

Table of Fishing Seasons:

SeasonTemperatureFish Activity
Late Spring~70°FMore Active
Early Fall~70°FMore Active

Best Practices:

  • Visit from late spring to early fall for the best experiences.
  • The waters warm up and fish become more active during these months.
  • When targeting kokanee salmon, it’s recommended to use specialized gear such as downriggers.

Remember, Crane Prairie is large and relatively shallow, with the deepest parts being the four river channels. This mixture of depth and shallows offers a unique habitat for fish and may require different fishing tactics.

Willamette River

The Willamette River is a prime fishing destination in Oregon, offering a variety of species to target. Salmon and steelhead are popular catches, especially for those with a bit more experience. The lower river is also known for the occasional starry flounder, an exciting find for any angler.

When you’re pursuing walleye, focus on river bends, along edges, and in weedy areas. They tend to prefer deeper waters, so aim for depths between 10 to 30 feet during daylight.

For trout enthusiasts, the Middle Fork from Pengra to Jasper or Clearwater provides a serene environment with a chance of catching salmon or steelhead. The “Town Run” area, from Island Park in Springfield to Alton Baker Park in Eugene, is another spot to consider for a variety of fish.

Below are key areas for fishing along the Willamette River:

  • Oregon City and West Linn: Access points below the Willamette Falls for a chance at flounder or bass.
  • Lane County: Middle Fork Willamette for trout, and occasional larger fish.
  • Walleye Hotspots: Look for bends and weedy patches in deeper water sections for walleye.

Remember to check the ODFW Weekly Fishing Report for current conditions and regulations.

Umpqua River

The Umpqua River in Southwestern Oregon is a premier destination for anglers seeking a variety of fish. Whether you’re after Chinook salmon, steelhead, or coho salmon, the Umpqua River system offers something for every season.

Key Species:

  • Spring and fall runs of Chinook salmon
  • Summer and winter runs of steelhead
  • Fall coho salmon (find fin-clipped options particularly in the bay area)

In the mainstem and its two significant forks, you’ll discover diverse river fishing experiences. Consider the Umpqua River’s bay at Reedsport and Gardiner for fall Chinook, where fishing peaks from July through September. Here, the river is also known for its production of sturgeon, striped bass, perch, and an abundance of crabs and softshell clams.

For steelhead enthusiasts, the Coos River system, feeding into Oregon’s largest coastal estuary at Coos Bay, promises rewarding winter steelhead fishing opportunities. Focus your efforts on the South Coos River and the Millicoma River for a better chance of hooking fin-clipped hatchery steelhead.

When planning your trip, be sure to check seasonal closures to ensure access. For instance, parts of the North Umpqua River may close to protect fish populations during specific periods. Due diligence in reviewing local regulations will ensure a productive and responsible fishing experience.

Recommended Seasons:

  • Chinook salmon: July – September (fall run), Spring run varies
  • Steelhead: Winter & Summer runs (dates vary by area)
  • Coho salmon: Fall

Lastly, accommodations like The Windmill Inn and Comfort Inn provide convenient lodging options for anglers visiting the Umpqua River region. Enjoy your fishing adventure in one of Oregon’s most celebrated fishing hotspots.

Diamond Lake

Located in the Umpqua National Forest, Diamond Lake presents one of Oregon’s finest trout fishing experiences. At an elevation of 5,190 feet, the lake spans 2,824 acres. With a 10-mph speed limit for boats, the lake ensures a peaceful fishing environment.

Open Year-Round: You can fish at Diamond Lake throughout the year, including ice fishing during the winter months, provided that the ice is thick enough to ensure safety.

Trout Fishing Opportunities:

  • Stocking: The lake is regularly stocked with trout, ensuring abundant fishing opportunities.
  • Record Size: The lake is known for producing large-sized trout, making it a thrilling spot for anglers looking to catch impressive specimens.

Facilities:

  • Boat Ramps: There are 5 public boat ramps around the lake, giving you convenient access to the water.
  • Fish Cleaning Stations: With 3 fish cleaning stations, you can easily prepare your catch.

Regulations:

  • Motors are allowed on the lake, adhering to the speed limit.
  • Safety Reminder: Always verify ice conditions before embarking on ice fishing to ensure your safety.

Fishing Tips: For a successful outing, consider using various bait such as nightcrawlers, artificial lures, or dough baits. A valid Oregon fishing license is required, and it’s important to stay updated with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) regulations for any seasonal changes.

Trillium Lake

When searching for an idyllic fishing spot in Oregon, your attention should turn to Trillium Lake. Located at the base of Mount Hood, this scenic lake offers a tranquil fishing experience with the added bonus of stunning mountain views.

Elevation: The lake is situated at 3,600 feet, which impacts the fishing season due to snow conditions in the area.

Size and Depth: Spanning over 60 acres, with depths reaching up to 20 feet near the dam, Trillium Lake provides ample space for anglers.

Fishing Season:

  • Spring: Watch for a slower start given the lingering snow but expect hungry holdover trout, including brook trout.
  • Early Summer: Marks the optimal time to fish as the weather warms up and fish become more active.

Facilities:

  • Campground Availability: Nearly 60 camp spots are available, with single, double, and some RV options.
  • Amenities: You’ll find vault toilets and drinking water, ensuring basic comforts while you focus on your catch.

Fees:

  • Overnight camping fees range from $22 to $86, dependent on site selection.

For the best chance at a successful outing, aim to visit during spring to early summer when the trout are most responsive. With its natural beauty and fishing potential, Trillium Lake is a must-visit for any angler looking for a memorable experience in Oregon’s great outdoors.

Wallowa Lake

Within the Eagle Cap Wilderness of Northeastern Oregon, Wallowa Lake boasts some of the state’s premier fishing spots, offering you a serene and productive angling experience. At 4,336 feet elevation, it presents an ideal habitat for various fish species throughout the year.

Fish Species:

  • Rainbow Trout: Available year-round, these fish are a prime target for anglers.
  • Kokanee: Small sockeye salmon that can be quite abundant.
  • Lake Trout (Mackinaw): Non-native but well-adapted, with some growing close to 40 pounds.

Fishing Conditions:

  • Best Time to Fish: Summer for higher activity, winter for hardier spirits.
  • Temperature Ranges: Summer: 40-80°F, Winter: 20-45°F.

When planning your trip, consider these factors to maximize your experience:

  • Weather: Mild climate but prepare for temperature shifts.
  • Stocking Reports: The lake is routinely stocked with trout, check recent reports for updates.

Wallowa Lake’s unique glacial formation shapes the landscape, creating a natural haven for fish and a picturesque environment for you. With its diverse fish population and consistent stocking, it is a must-visit destination for any angler looking for a rewarding fishing expedition in Oregon.

Lost Creek Lake

Lost Creek Lake is a prime fishing destination you’ll find nestled in Southwest Oregon, approximately 30 miles northeast of Medford on Crater Lake Highway 62. It’s a substantial body of water, covering nearly 3,500 acres when full, providing anglers with a variety of fishing experiences throughout the year. The lake is within easy driving distance from cities like Medford, Ashland, and Grants Pass, making it a convenient getaway for a day of fishing or an extended outdoor adventure.

When you visit Lost Creek Lake, you’re presented with the opportunity to catch an array of fish species. Whether you prefer shore fishing or taking a boat out, this lake caters to both.

Fish Species & Techniques:

  • Trout: Stocked with rainbow and brown trout, the clear, deep waters are ideal for trolling.
  • Bass: For smallmouth and largemouth bass, consider fishing around the submerged structures.
  • Other Species: You can also find perch, bluegill, and catfish.

For amenities, you have access to the Lost Creek Marina and the Joseph H. Stewart State Park Day Use Area. The state park provides bank access, boat ramps, picnic areas, and camping facilities, enhancing your overall fishing experience.

The reservoir at Lost Creek Lake was created by the William L. Jess Dam, constructed in 1977 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers primarily for flood control. This dam and the lake it has created also contribute to the successful multi-purpose Rogue River Basin Project.

Here is a brief overview of what you’ll find:

  • Depth: Average of 136 feet, with maximum depths of 325 feet near the dam.
  • Access: Good bank access and excellent boating options.
  • Amenities: State park, marina, boat ramps, picnic areas, and camping facilities.

Remember, the fishing experience at Lost Creek Lake can change throughout the year, so it’s wise to check recent reports or contact local fishing authorities for the latest information before your trip.

Coos Bay

In the heart of Oregon’s coastal fishing scene, Coos Bay offers you a rich and diverse angling experience. The bay’s waters, fed by the Millicoma and Coos rivers, harbor an abundance of aquatic life, providing a bountiful environment for both novice and seasoned anglers.

Freshwater Fishing

At the Millicoma Interpretive Center, accessible through East Fork Road, a children’s-only pond is periodically stocked with hatchery trout. It is an ideal spot for young anglers to try their hand at fishing. Remember to call 541-267-2557 to check gate accessibility before your visit.

Saltwater Species

For an engaging saltwater outing, there’s a range of species to target:

  • Largemouth Bass: Bass are a common catch among fishermen.
  • Rainbow Trout: Also frequently caught in the area.
  • Chinook Salmon: Seasonal runs make for exciting fishing opportunities.

Using the Fishbrain app, you can get local fishing regulations and insights into which lures are currently effective.

Access Points

A notable location is Dora’s Place Boat Ramp, accessed by taking Coos River Hwy 241 east out of Coos Bay. Located upriver from Chandler Bridge, it’s a spot where salmon and shad can be found.

Coastal Opportunities

For jetty or pier fishing, explore the numerous pullouts along the Cape Arago Highway. Rigging a jig paired with sand shrimp can yield favorable results.

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