Columbia River Fishing Locations
THE COLUMBIA RIVER
The Northwest’s greatest River
Seasons: All Year
Location: Empties into the Pacific Ocean between Washington and Oregon, originates from the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada for 1,243 miles of river. See a map of our beautiful Northwest fishing locations.
The Columbia River is the 4th largest river in the United States. I concentrate on the first 100 miles, from the mouth of the Columbia River to Bonneville Dam. I also fish above the dam, from Bonneville to the John Day Dam. We target white sturgeon throughout all of the water we fish on the Columbia River. While we catch and release giant sturgeon primarily on the upper sections of the Columbia River that we fish, we can catch then anywhere, anytime. Our keeper sturgeon fishing is concentrated out of Astoria, Oregon, near the famed Buoy 10 waters of the lower Columbia River.
Mouth of the Columbia River
Seasons: August – September
Location: The lower Columbia River is one of the West’s best fisheries for Chinook salmon and silver salmon. Here, in the waters separating Washington and Oregon is what locals refer to as Buoy 10. The Buoy 10 waters are big, stretching 16 miles upstream from the red buoy number 10 at the mouth of the Columbia River, to Rocky Point on Washington’s north shore and Tongue Point on Oregon’s south shore of the river. Salmon fishing at Buoy 10 typically runs from all of August, into September. See a map of our beautiful Northwest fishing locations.
Buoy 10 is a competitive salmon fishery, for both Chinook and coho salmon. Here, tide swings can be big, strong and fast, and having a quality boat, the best electronics, and top gear, ensures safety and consistently catching salmon. See our gear!
When trolling for silver salmon I often move with the incoming tide as these salmon travel off the bottom, thus are easier to access than Chinook salmon on an incoming tide. On the outgoing tides I like to focus on fishing with the current for Chinook. On the outgoing tides at Buoy 10, that’s about the only time you can get your terminal gear to the bottom of those 45-foot deep holes, where the Chinook salmon are laying.
The holes I fish salmon in throughout Buoy 10 carry a wide range of depth. This is where I depend on quality electronics to safely navigate, locate salmon, and fish holes that are anywhere from eight- to 45-feet deep. The key to catching salmon here is finding both salmon and baitfish, and I do just that with my advanced electronics.
When fishing Buoy 10 with me, be prepared to start the day early. Regardless of the tides, the best bite is typically within the first two hours of daylight. During the high slack tides I often fish above the Astoria-Megler Bridge, and on the low slack tide I often fished below the bridge; this is when and where our best bites came. Afternoon fishing for both Chinook and coho salmon can be very good at Buoy 10, but high winds and rough waters often limit when, and if, we can go.
Trolling is the go-to method for coho fishing and Chinook salmon fishing at Buoy 10. Coho salmon are schooling fish, and travel fast together in the Columbia River. This means I may move to find salmon, fishing the south channel, the north side of the river, and select places in between. While the north and south channels of the lower Columbia are where most salmon are caught, later in the season, as the water temperature cools, we’ll catch salmon in shallower water throughout the lower Columbia. I like trolling herring and sardines for salmon at Buoy 10, along with a selection of spinners.
Number One Steelhead Producer
Seasons: April to June, August to January
Location: Joins the Columbia River between Longview and Kelso, originates south of Mt. Rainier for roughly 105 miles of river. See a map of our beautiful Northwest fishing locations.
Favorite for Steelhead, Kings & Silvers
Seasons: March to July, September to January
Location: Joins the Columbia River south of Woodland and across from St. Helens Oregon, originates on the west flank of Mt. Adams for 95 miles of river. See a map of our beautiful Northwest fishing locations.
A tributary of the Columbia River, it forms the boundary between Cowlitz County, to the north, and Clark County, to the south. We fish the Lewis river in its entirety.
Mid-May is Prime Time for Springers
Seasons: APR to Mid-JUN, AUG to SEP
Location: Joins the Columbia River near Carson, originates south of Mt. Adams and Mt. Saint Helens for 30 miles of river
The Wind River is a tributary of the Columbia River, we concentrate on the mouth of the river.