Portland Oregon Fall Fishing Trips – The Best Places to Be This Season

Whether you are working with one of the Oregon fishing guides or braving the local waters alone, you will find Portland a sports fishing heaven. It’s not merely about Portland’s ideal location in the Pacific Northwest, but the bountiful waters and exceptional angling opportunities that make fishing trips in Portland special. You have streams and rivers aplenty, but if you prefer more “salt” in your fishing, the saltwater fishing opportunities are present just a couple of hours ahead.

The waters are generously populated with Sturgeon (But they don’t make it too easy a game for novice anglers, so don’t worry), but it’s the Salmon that attracts most sports fisherman. Three salmon species swim these waters: the Chinook, Coho, and Chum salmon – The three C’s of salmon fishing in Portland, Oregon.

If you aren’t one of the thousands of anglers who visit these waters every year, then you might be missing out on great angling opportunities. When the season starts, you might want to contact some Portland Oregon fishing guides and book a trip.

Columbia River Salmon Fishing

Columbia River is, undoubtedly, the crown jewel of Portland’s fishing empire and the chief attraction for most anglers. It’s still one of the longest rivers that see significant Salmon runs. It used to be one of the top salmon-producing river systems in the world. In 1938, about 3.2 million fish entered Columbia, which is the largest recorded number. In prehistoric times, it’s estimated that Salmon and Steelhead runs used to number somewhere between 10 and 16 million.

While its former glory was somewhat lost up until a few years ago, conservation efforts are being made (and are paying off) for increasing the salmon population in the river. The numbers are not quite there yet, but hopefully, they will be.

The river is also rich with other fish like Bass, Shad, Steelhead, Walleye, and Catfish, so you can have your pick. The best source of information regarding the local hot spots, and “where” to fish for “which” fish, will be your Columbia River fishing guides. They might take to the starting point, Buoy ten (the mouth of the Columbia), which is also known (a bit morbidly) as the graveyard of the Pacific. The prime fishing area stretches all the way to Central Washington. The salmon run in this region is still one of the most sizable ones in the world.

Your Portland Oregon fishing guides will take you to different locations based on what you want to fish and when you are fishing. For example:

1. If the season is just starting, your guided fishing might start from the mouth of the Lewis (If you want to catch Salmon), or Portland (for Sturgeon).

2. Apart from Salmon and Sturgeon, you might bag a lot of Walleye if you take a trip from Astoria to Dallas Dam.

3. The Columbia River Interstate Bridge is also an ideal location to fish for spring Chinook and fall Salmon.

Sandy-River:  A Place to Polish Your Bobber-Dogging Technique

If your primary target is the Steelhead, and you also want to experiment with the Bobber-Dogging technique, then Sandy-River might be just the place for you. You can pick up the trail reverse (from the hatchery), or start at the mouth. Either way, you will be able to find great catches. Fishing is a bit different for different water levels. When the river is running high, many anglers prefer motor boating, but for low levels, drift boats and rafts let you truly enjoy the sport.

Sandy-River is preferred over many other places for winter steelhead, but you can fish here all-year-round. Some good bank access points would be Dabney, Dodge, Lewis and Clark, and Oxbow parks. You can also try and hit Sandy-River hatchery. The weekends can get a little crowded (and fish a little sparse), so plan your trip accordingly.

Clackamas River – Fall Chinook Salmon’s Native Waters

If you are fishing between May and July, you will hit the peak population of Summer Steelhead and Spring Chinook. September might be good for Coho and Fall Chinook, and February to April are the months you want to go to Clackamas for Winter Steelhead. There are many decent fishing access points, and perhaps the most amazing Coho fishery in the region.

Willamette River – The Largest Tributary Of Columbia In Portland

Sturgeon and Coho Salmon, that’s what you should go for if you are fishing in the Willamette, a major tributary of Columbia River in the region. The river is also rich in other trout, including Rainbow, Walleye, Largemouth, and American Shad. Most anglers prefer to begin their trips from the mouth (for monster Sturgeon and Salmon) and end at the Willamette Falls. If you are looking for a different game, like Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, or Shad, your Oregon fishing guides might take you upriver.

The river offers a wealth of fish and some pretty decent concentrations, but the best part about Willamette is its ease of accessibility. Whether you are into bank fishing or prefer to run your boat for the trip, the river offers rich opportunities and several desirable access points. If you don’t have a “feel of the area,” we would recommend going for a few guided fishing trips first, before striking out on your own.


You can plan a wide variety of bountiful and adventurous fishing trips in and near Portland, Oregon, almost all year round. But some seasons are simply more generous than the others. If you know the rivers and the best spots, you can plan for something adventurous or quiet, challenging, or easy.

But if you don’t, you might get discouraged learning the course. So we would highly recommend that you do your research about the seasonal trends, local fishing runs, access points, and what works best on which fish. And if you want to wrap this all up in a few fishing trips and first-hand experiences, choose from one of the Portland Oregon fishing guides.

2 Thoughts to “Portland Oregon Fall Fishing Trips – The Best Places to Be This Season”

  1. Best Times to fish for salmon on the Columbia River

    […] When it comes to fishing the in the Pacific Northwest these are the absolute best times to fish for salmon on the Columbia river. When you decide what time is best for you give Buddy Dupell of Columbia River Fishing Adventures a call. Buddy is one of the few full time fishing guides that provide year round fishing trips and is considered by many to be one of the best fishing guides to offer Guided Fishing Trips in Oregon. […]

  2. […] All of which are well know salmon and steelhead hotspots. It’s defiantly not unusual to see Portland Fishing Guides intercepting these on the Willamette as they migrate up […]

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