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Lance Fisher Fishing Guide- Salmon, Steelhead and Sturgeon

Astoria, Oregon- Fishing Guides and Charters

a nice limit from astoria with buoy 10 in the background

Lance Fisher Fishing- Astoria, Oregon
422 Gateway Avenue, Suite #220
Astoria, Oregon 97103
503.488.5988

Welcome to Astoria!

Astoria is one of the great fishing towns in the world and why wouldn’t it be? Astoria sits on the south shore of the Columbia River, 10 miles from the Columbia River Entrance where it joins the Pacific Ocean. The estuary environment as it joins the Pacific is an amazing ecosystem and rendezvous area for many species of sport fish, bait fish, crab and wildlife. For me as a fishing guide and charter operator, the fishing opportunities are amazing and I’m always excited to share such a special place with my customers.

Fishing Calendar
January- Winter Steelhead on the Necanicum and Nehalem Rivers
February- Winter Steelhead on the South Fork of the Nehalem
March- Winter Steelhead on the South Fork of the Nehalem, Columbia River Spring Chinook
April- Columbia River Spring Chinook
May- Columbia River Sturgeon
June- Columbia River Sturgeon, Columbia River Summer Chinook
July- Columbia River Sturgeon, Columbia River Summer Chinook, Astoria Ocean Salmon
August- Astoria Ocean Salmon, Buoy 10 Columbia River Salmon
September- Buoy 10 Columbia River Salmon
October- Buoy 10 Columbia River Salmon
November- Winter Steelhead on the Necanicum and NF of the Nehalem
December- Winter Steelhead on the Necanicum and NF of the Nehalem

Popular Guided Astoria Fishing Charters: Buoy 10 Salmon Fishing, Astoria Ocean fishing charters, Astoria Sturgeon, Columbia River Spring Chinook, North Coast Steelhead

Guided Buoy 10 Salmon Fishing Charters
Buoy 10 may be the biggest fishery on the continent. Approximately 30,000 Salmon are harvest during this fishery that spans from August 1. into October. Run sizes vary by the year, but typically over a million Salmon (Coho and Chinook) enter the river during this time period in three distinct runs. Guided fishing charters are very popular during this time and it’s important to book early in order to have the greatest selection of open dates.

Buoy 10 Chinook Salmon begin arriving in early August and will remain, depending on the tides, into the middle of September. The Coho A run arrives around the third week of August and will remain on good years until the third week of September. About this time a B run of Coho Salmon will make their way into the Columbia River and that run, when numbers are good will last until the middle of October.

Astoria Ocean Fishing Charters
Before the Columbia River see it’s big push of Salmon, the Pacific Ocean in front of the Columbia River has long been producing Salmon. Fishing gets going about the 1st of July and remains an option through August. The fish we catch in the ocean are an incredible quality fish that we often times eat as sashimi at home.

Coho/Silvers can be found just about anywhere in the ocean, but regularly we will find them from the Green Line south to Tillamook Head. This section of ocean is teeming with anchovies and the NW winds tend to push all the bait into this makeshift cove that is created by Tillamook Head. Coho tend to work the upper 30 feet of the water column and as a result are very easy for us to target. Coho are super agressive and you will regularly see full size coho chasing down baits right at the surface!

While we can catch Chinooks anywhere in the Pacific Ocean in front of the Columbia River, the area to the North gets a lot of our attention. From the light house at Cape Disappointment north to Long Beach, we will find Chinook feeding off the surf lines. This can be super unique fishing as we often catch these fish in 20 feet of water. These fish are feeding and are great biters. Every year is different, but there are years that we never leave this area as the fishing can be so exceptional.

A nice limit of Coho and Chinook while fishing the ocean near buoy 10 at Astoria

Astoria- Columbia River Sturgeon Fishing
One of the most unique, powerful and fun to fish for species you will find- the Columbia River Sturgeon in Astoria are an amazing fish. Sturgeon in the Astoria area are different than their bretheren elsewhere as most are migratory ocean fish. Astoria area sturgeon come into the Columbia River chasing the billions of anchovies that find themselves in the Columbia River Estuary.

A limit of keeper sturgeon from the Columbia River around Astoria.

Tides- Why do they matter?
Tides are a big deal for all bodies of water where there is tidal influence and Buoy 10 is no different. Most Chinook Salmon guides and charter captains prefer smaller tidal exchanges. The exchange being the difference between high and low tide sub 6 feet is about right for a good long Chinook bite. We can limit out on the bigger swings, but the window in the exchange to get those fish is smaller. For whatever reason, the Coho or Silver Salmon fishing is better on the bigger tides. My guess is that Coho simply like a faster moving bait and that is the result of the bigger tides where our speed over ground can reach 5 mph.

For sturgeon fishing, moving water is the key. The more the water moves, more the fish get moved around. While moving water is preferred, shear numbers of sturgeon make them easier to catch than ever and even small exchanges produce in the Astoria area.

Do you moor your boat or move your launch loations?
This is a question that I’m regularly asked and the answer is both! While there are times when I like to keep my boat in one place, there are other times where I might pull the boat out and launch it from a different location in the Astoria area.

Why? Mostly because there are times when I’m considering the end of the day more than the beginning of the day. It means that I’m looking to be closer to the ramp in the afternoon and that might mean running a little further in the morning. I know that the tide will have me fishing in a completely different location by days end. The winds can come up in the afternoon and because of this, I’d rather be closer to the dock than need to travel a long distance through the chop. Here are the locations in which I meet my customers:

Astoria: East End Mooring Basin- Pay for parking

Warrenton: Boat Launch at the marina- Licenses available, pay for parking

Hammond Boat Basin- Pay for parking

Fishing Licenses
Everyone who fishes must have a fishing license, tag and Columbia Basin Endorsement. This can be obtained with an annual license or with a day license. You must specify that you want the Columbia Basin Endorsement with your purchase. Childrens licenses are free, but they still must have one along with their tags and CBE. Washington licenses, tags and CBE’s are good even when launching out of Astoria when fishing the Columbia River. You must have your Washington Ocean endorsement in the event that we will fish the ocean. Oregon license holders don’t need such an endorsement. Be sure to have your license purchased before your trip.

Some of the locations that we launch at do not have a place to buy your license. If you’d prefer to purchase online, you can visit the ODFW site and print your license, tag and CBE at the time of purchase.

a really nice Chinook from the lower Columbia River near Astoria. This guy is happy!

What should you wear when fishing in Astoria?
Astoria has it’s own unique weather environment. The combination of the warm waters of the Columbia River and the cooler waters of the Pacific Ocean can make for some pretty weird weather. While it may be a beautiful 75 degree day, it could be 57 and drizzle. You wouldn’t have any indication of such by where you may be staying in Portland, or further south on the coast. Furthermore, there are times when we will take on spray as we are traveling. This occurs with an afternoon NW wind and at times there’s no way around it.

It’s a REALLY good idea to have rain gear on board. I fish in shorts and a t shirt and always have a sweatshirt for the morning. I simply put my rain gear over my shorts and t shirt and am able to quickly slip it off should it decide to get nice. There is plenty of storage room in my boat so bringing a bag with your layers is no problem.

Are you flying? Here are some suggestions on getting your fish home when flying with the airlines.

Should you have any additional questions, feel free to contact me at astoriafishing@lancefisherfishing.com or call 503.488.5988. I’m here to help and make your trip to Astoria as seamless and enjoyable as possible.