Best Baits for Oregon Fishing

November 28, 2021

Some of Oregon’s bodies of water allow the use of bait while others are restricted to artificial flies and lures. A knowledgeable Oregon Fishing guide can advise you on the right baits and lures to help hook the fish you want to catch. “While many anglers swear by their favorite lures, for the same fish in the same water at the same time of year, bait fishing can produces higher catch rates,” says Buddy Dupell, an experienced guide with Columbia River Fishing Adventures. Here are some of the “baits of choice” for catching the most sought-after fish in Oregon’s rivers.

For SALMON: One of the best baits for catching salmon in Oregon Rivers (or virtually anywhere else) is salmon roe. In the Pacific Northwest, generally, herring, anchovies and sardines are excellent salmon baits. However, when fishing for salmon farther up Oregon rivers, sand shrimp and salmon eggs are the ideal bait.

For CHINOOK (KING SALMON): Once Chinook enter their spawning rivers, they go on an eating frenzy. The number one bait choice for these salmon is cured roe, but fishermen also use a wide variety of lures and plugs to catch these huge fish. Kings are attracted to certain colors, especially green and red. When trolling for Chinook in a river from a boat, many anglers get good results trolling spinners or back trolling plugs.

For STURGEON: The best sturgeon baits are anchovies, herring, smelt, sand shrimp and shad. In the Portland area, popular baits are sand shrimp, smelt and herring. Sturgeon in some areas can be aggressive biters, but can be tough to catch without using fresh bait. To catch big sturgeon below the Bonneville and the Dalles dams, whole shad is the best bait.

For STEELHEAD: In the winter and early spring, to keep free-floating eggs away from predators, steelhead will instinctively pick the eggs up in their mouths on their way to spawning locations. Therefore, roe or eggs cured with sugar and krill is ideal bait for catching these fish. In the winter, steelhead are very light biters and hold bait in their mouths for just a short time. Adding cured roe or sand shrimp to lures and plugs can increase the time they spend in their mouths. A very effective alternative to fishing roe is fishing beads. Beads mimic salmon eggs and is much cleaner. For best results apply scent to your beads, like garlic and anise, salmon egg or shrimp.

Take advantage of Buddy’s tips for using the right baits, lures, rigs, the best fishing locations at the right times of the year, the right water depth, area, etc. Give Buddy a call at (503) 490-3099 to book an exciting fishing adventure.

Book Your Trip Today