Enthusiastic anglers target three salmon runs in the Columbia and Willamette Rivers each year, but the Spring Chinook Salmon run is hands-down the most desirable salmon fishing opportunity, anywhere, anytime. The Columbia, the Pacific Northwest’s largest and most famous river, offers hundreds of miles of the best river sport fishing in the world, so it’s no wonder that Spring Chinook fishing on the Columbia has become a huge event for anglers everywhere.
Although there is always good fishing in Oregon, the spring season means even better conditions for the fish, and consequently, better fishing conditions for anglers. As fish become more active in warmer water in March, salmon and other species begin making the trip from the Pacific Ocean to their original Oregon river homes to lay their eggs. Columbia River Spring Chinook are the most prized spring salmon due to their exceptional taste and much higher “good fat” content than any other salmon, including the Columbia’s fall-caught Chinook.
Spring Chinook fishing typically begins the first week of April. The duration of their run depends on the temperature of the water, so in warmer years the Spring Chinook run can last until June. However, it is more common for salmon runs to last for only weeks and end in May.
Guided fishing trips in Oregon offer access to the most desirable salmon fishing locations on the Columbia and Willamette rivers. “April to May is prime-time fishing, with Spring Chinook flooding into the Columbia River, and anglers aiming for these difficult to catch, but spectacular fish,” 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.”
There is good Spring Chinook fishing near Portland, Oregon, too. The Willamette River is a major tributary of the Columbia River, and when the two rivers meet in the Portland area, the two largest Spring Chinook salmon runs merge. The Clackamas River and Sandy River tributaries also have good Spring Chinook fishing.
Note: A Columbia River Basin endorsement, in addition to the usual license and harvest tag, is required for salmon, steelhead and sturgeon fishing in Oregon rivers that are part of the Columbia River system.
If you have questions about fishing on the Columbia River, or in Oregon, we welcome your call at (503) 490-3099, or email to [email protected]. Columbia River Fishing Adventures offers world-class guided fishing trips for Salmon, Steelhead, Sturgeon, and Walleye.