Today ODFW announced the 2020 Columbia River Summer and Fall Salmon seasons. The wheels had already been put in motion a few weeks ago, so much of this announcement confirms what we had already suspected. Nonetheless, it’s official, so here we go.
We target Columbia River Fall Salmon before they even enter the river. Fall Chinook and Coho stage in the Pacific Ocean near Astoria to bulk up and wait for the perfect time to run the river. This year the ocean opens up on June 20th and we’ll be out fishing the ocean before moving into the river with the fish.
The official start of the Columbia River Fall Salmon season takes place in Astoria, at the well-known Buoy 10 Salmon fishery. Opening day this year is August 14th, and we’ll be chasing Chinook and Coho Salmon through August 27th. After that, it becomes a Coho Salmon show for the remainder of the Buoy 10 season, which often runs through September. Combine our favorite fishery with what is usually the best weather of the year, and Astoria is the place to be for fishing, dining, and sightseeing during the Buoy 10 salmon season.
The Columbia River in the Portland area will be open for Chinook and Coho Salmon retention from August 1st through the 31st and then September 4th, 5th, and 6th. With all of the prime fishing action taking place at Buoy 10 in Astoria we probably won’t be fishing this area until after August 27th. If you’re looking for a weekend fishing trip, this might be the perfect option.
The Columbia River opens back up again for Chinook and Coho Salmon fishing again on September 23rd. The river will be open from its mouth in Astoria up to the Oregon/Washington border. This latter part of the fall salmon season typically finds us hover fishing in the stretches of river between the dams. If you’re new to hover fishing, it’s pretty incredible. Imagine bobber fishing except the boat is the bobber. That’s one big bobber! It takes a skilled fishing guide to keep the boat right where it needs to be. This area of the gorge isn’t just known for its fishing, there are some beautiful sights to see, including Multnomah Falls and all of the changing fall colors.
The Columbia River is open for Summer Steelhead retention from June 16th through July 31st. Summer steelhead combo trips can provide an action-packed day on the water. In addition to steelhead, there is also the opportunity to retain sockeye salmon that we sometimes catch on the same gear. If you want to change things up a bit, we can add some catch and release sturgeon fishing to the day. The sturgeon are navigating their way toward the Columbia River Estuary in Astoria during June and July, which can make for some epic battles.
We understand the concerns regarding coronavirus and the Columbia River Salmon seasons. Rest assured that our boats and gear will be clean as usual. Hand sanitizer and disposable gloves will be available. Whether or not masks are required will depend on local regulations as well as your own personal comfort level. Just know that if you prefer masks, we’ll have masks on. Feel free to ask us questions when you’re booking your trip or at any other time. Our number one goal is to provide you with the fishing experience that you’re looking for.