The spring season means great conditions in Portland for salmon, and for anglers, too. As the river water gets warmer in March, salmon start their trip from the Pacific Ocean to their native Oregon river homes to lay their eggs.  Columbia River Spring Chinook are the most desired because of their exceptional taste and higher “good fat” content than any other salmon.

Of the three salmon runs in the Portland area’s Columbia and Willamette Rivers, the Spring Chinook Salmon run offers the most desirable salmon fishing in the world. The Columbia River, especially, provides hundreds of miles of the best river sport fishing anywhere, and Spring Chinook fishing on the Columbia is a huge event for Columbia River Fishing Guides.

Spring Chinook spawn farther upstream than other salmon, and begin migrating from late summer to early fall. Their spawning grounds include the headwaters of the Willamette River, the Columbia River, the Clackamas River and the Sandy River.

The Willamette River is a major tributary of the Columbia River; when the two rivers meet near Portland, the two largest Spring Chinook salmon runs merge. The Clackamas River and Sandy River tributaries also have very good Spring Chinook fishing.

Fishing for Spring Chinook begins around the fourth week in March first week of April. The time-frame of the run depends on the water’s temperature, so in cooler  years a Spring Chinook run can last through June. But, more commonly, their run lasts only weeks and ends in late May.

Guided fishing trips in Oregon offer access to the most desirable salmon fishing locations on the Columbia and Willamette rivers from Portland. “April to May is the prime time to fish, with Spring Chinook flooding into the Columbia River.  Chinook are a spectacular fish, and since they can be difficult to catch, hauling one in feels unbelievably good, and becomes a favorite life-long memory,” says Buddy Dupell, owner and guide of Columbia River Fishing Adventures.

“Each spring we look forward to getting back on the Columbia to fish for Chinook Springers.  Once our clients experience the excitement of fishing for Spring Chinook, they can’t wait to come back next year to do it again.”

Portland-based Columbia River Guided Fishing offers world-class guided fishing trips year-round from Portland – for salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and walleye.


  1. […] the run starts in March, the peak fishing season for Spring Chinook on the Columbia, Willamette and Clackamas Rivers near Portland is April and May. Once the season […]

  2. […] the following recreational fisheries and took the following actions: Mainstem Columbia River Spring Chinook Recreational Fisheries        • Adoptedthefollowingfisheries: Dates: Area: Downstream of Bonneville Dam Friday […]

  3. […] the following recreational fisheries and took the following actions: Mainstem Columbia River Spring Chinook Recreational Fisheries        • Adopted the following fisheries: Dates: Area: Downstream of Bonneville Dam Friday […]

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