Columbia River Fishing
The best guided fishing trip in the Northwest
Discover the Columbia River
The mighty, majestic Columbia River is famous for its world-class salmon fishing and for its incredible natural beauty.
There are a number of different fishing zones on the Columbia, each offering a particular way to experience this river and all it has to offer. Our expert guide, Rob Bignall, has fished the Columbia for years and offers charter fishing trips for all the major salmon and sturgeon fishing seasons. This page helps you get to know the Columbia River so that you can be prepared for a great fishing experience.
Salmon Fishing: Buoy 10 to Bonneville Dam
The Columbia River fishery begins at Buoy 10, a channel marker at the mouth of the river. Head upriver, and you’ll pass Astoria, Scapoose, and then Portland before reaching Bonneville Dam near the Cascade Locks.
There’s a lot to love about the Columbia River fishery, starting with the world-class fishing experience. The Columbia River is known for its world-class salmon fishing, but it is also home to equally impressive sturgeon fishing opportunities.
In addition, the Columbia River and the Columbia River Gorge is lined with green forests and rugged cliffsides, with snowcapped mountains not far in the distance. While you’re fishing, there will be plenty of opportunity to take in the beauty of the surrounding area.
These waters are famous for the Chinook salmon, which returns from the oceans to spawn in three major waves, or runs: spring, summer, and fall. The fish of each run are characterized by differences in size and disposition, but all are large, powerful fighters on the line.
Summer also brings the silver salmon also known as the Coho salmon; Coho salmon are smaller than the Chinook but plucky and aggressive on the line.
Open Ocean Fishing Beyond the Mouth of the Columbia
Depending on the salmon run, season, and estimated fish counts, fishing the mouth of the Columbia River in the open ocean can be a rewarding experience. Salmon often school just beyond the mouth of the river as they wait for water conditions to reach optimal for their run up the Columbia. During such times, we tend to launch from the Hammond Marina, which is our most-Westerly boat launch near Fort Stevens, making the run over the Columbia bar a shorter hop to reach our fishing zone in the open ocean.
Buoy 10 Salmon Fishing
One of the most famous fishing spots on the Columbia River is Buoy 10. Buoy 10 is the buoy that marks the mouth of the Columbia River and is a great spot for Chinook and Coho salmon fishing, as the fish enter the river fresh from the ocean.
We fish Buoy 10 just before and after the tide changes, with the slack tide often yielding the best results. With a soft outgoing tide, the fish tend to turn their noses upstream and our tactic is to troll downstream to present the bait in front of more fish.
Astoria Salmon Fishing is Abundant
Astoria, Oregon is one of our favorite launching points for salmon fishing on the Columbia River. With reasonable proximity to Buoy 10, as well as short runs across the river under the Astoria-Megler Bridge, Astoria makes a great base of operations for multi-day fishing trips. The eastern-most boundary of this zone is an imaginary line that runs from Rocky Point on the Washington side of the river, to Tongue Point on the Oregon side.
The town of Astoria is well worth visiting while you’re there, too. The Astoria Column is a scenic lookout from which you may view the entire area, and commemorates a variety of early events in Oregon’s history. Astoria also has no shortage of excellent restaurants and hotels. Experience the rugged beauty of the river, and then retire to an evening with a fine meal, hotel, and all the comforts of civilization.
Warren and Scapoose Fishing Opportunities
East of Astoria, upriver, is the city of Scappoose and the unincorporated community of Warren. There are excellent launch sites here, and you’ll be surrounded by wilderness that is conveniently located just 30 minutes from Portland, Oregon.
We tend to fish Scapoose Bay when we’re on the hunt for sturgeon, which like the shallow, muddy waters of the bay. Sturgeon fishing is best during the summer and Fall, when sturgeon feed on the abundant resources of the Columbia River. Known for putting up a great fight, sturgeon can also make for great eating, and often are more than four feet in length.
Call us to schedule your sturgeon fishing charter and enjoy the convenience of nearby Portland during your trip.