Tillamook Bay is well known for its fall Chinook fishery, but what many people don’t know is that it also gets a spring Chinook run as well. Couple this with the potential for bottom fish and crab, and you can have an awesome day of guided fishing when the conditions align! The season is just getting started, and will run through the end of June. To stay in touch throughout the year, connect with us at Lance Fisher Fishing on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
When it comes to Tillamook Bay spring Chinook, quality over quantity is the name of the game. The difference in size with these fish–and the ones in the Columbia and Willamette–is substantial. Spring Chinook in the 15-20 pound class are common, with fish in the high 20s and even low 30s are not unheard of. We generally target these fish in two locations of Tillamook Bay. These fish are fresh out of the ocean, and I’ve noticed over the years that they consistently have bad attitudes. 🙂
The first location is the lower bay. This fishery is primarily fished with herring, and takes place between the jetties or sometimes even right outside in the bubble. The second location is the upper bay. This fishery is shallow water-oriented, and involves trolling bait or spinners, sometimes in as little as three feet of water. As the tide recedes, fish get trapped in the little pockets of the upper bay, giving us a great shot at putting bait right in front of their faces! While huge-number days are not common for this run, the quality makes up for it.
Then ocean conditions allow, we offer the option to turn these trips into combo trips. There are several reefs within a few miles of the mouth of Tillamook Bay that hold black bass, lingcod, and a variety of other bottom fishing species. These fish offer fast action and are great-eating, white, flaky meat. In addition to bottom fish, going in the ocean allows us to drop crab pots. After bottom fishing and crabbing if we have time, we then move back into the bay and try to pick up a bonus spring Chinook or two to round out a great day!
There is an awesome fish cleaning and crab cooking operation at the dock at Garibaldi, and they can clean your bottom fish as well as cook your crab for a small fee.
If you need lodging for your stay, we have you covered. We’ve worked with the Garibaldi House for years and even have a pre-arranged discount for our customers. The hotel is located within walking distance of food and the marina, so convenience and a nice place to stay makes this arrangement just about perfect.
Interested in spring fishing in Tillamook? Contact us on the questions and reservations page.