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Winchester Bay Fishing

A limit of winchester bay salmon being held by happy customers of guide, lance fisher

Located on the Central Oregon Coast, Winchester Bay is one of the top Salmon fisheries in the West. Of course it doesn’t hurt that Winchester Bay is the mouth of one of the best Salmon and Steelhead fishing rivers on the continent, the Umpqua River. Winchester Bay is one of the first areas to see near shore Salmon and activity in the river itself. Fishing starts in July and remains good into September.

a chrome bright winchester bay salmon caught at the mouth of the umpqua river

The area that we launch our trips from is known as Salmon Harbor and resides just a mile or so from the mouth of the Umpqua River where it dumps into the Pacific. Salmon Harbor is very well equipped to provide everyone with a great time. The area offers a great boat ramp and numerous docks to tie up to. I have a specific dock that I meet my customers at and provide a Google Map so that it’s easy for everyone to find at the time of booking. When we return from fishing, numerous fish cleaning tables allow me to make sure all your fish in perfectly filleted so that all you need to do is put it away when you return home. Salmon Harbor also provides fishermen visiting Winchester Bay a tackle shop and store with fishing licenses, plenty of restaurants, a hotel and lots of RV spaces. The whole area revolves around fishermen and really allows my customers to relax once they’ve arrived.

a load of salmon at Salmon Harbor caught outside the mouth of the umpquat at Winchester Bay

Starting the beginning of July, Chinook Salmon and Coho frequent the areas around Winchester Bay. Many of these fish are on their way to rivers South of Winchester Bay, but it seems traveling lanes are close to shore. Most of the time Salmon can be found in less the 300 feet of water, which really isn’t very far off shore. The central coast gains depth quickly so 300 feet is only about 5 miles off shore. The ocean is rich in feed and water temperatures are nice and comfortable. Action is known to be hot and heavy in the salt with aggressive fish hammering fresh bait.

Can you say, “doubles” and “triples”? Yes, it’s common place.

Fish on! Winchester Bay Salmon fishing outside the Umpqua RiverI use a variety of tactics in the ocean depending on the conditions. Delta Divers followed by fresh herring, hoochies or even spoons are very effective when the sun is not on the water. These fish are very hot and love to pursue offerings that are trolled very fast. As a result of the speed that we troll, the bites are ferocious.

When the sun hits the water, the fish tend to go deeper for cover. To provide us with maximum flexibility I carry Canon Digi-troll down riggers on board and am able to quickly move the down riggers into position, put away the diver rods and pull out a 10′-6″ G. Loomis 1265 to use with the Canon down riggers. With the down riggers we’re able to fish down to 150 feet and are often able to find action when the rest of the fleet struggles to catch fish at shallower fishing depths.

A nice salmon being held up at the mouth of winchester bay

These two options allow us to fish with maximum flexibility and it really makes a difference when we show up to the dock.

Around the last week of July, big Chinook begin making their way into the Umpqua. Our tactics change slightly as we get into the river, but the results are very similar. Chinook and Coho tend to slow down a bit as they enter the river and as a result, it’s best to slow down our presentation as well. Long, soft, G. Loomis herring rods allow fish to come up and eat baits very nicely, not allowing the fish to feel the rigidity of the rod itself. The bites can take up to 30 seconds, but will eventually take the rod down. I’m not sure that there’s much better than fighting big fresh fish, fresh out of the ocean.

Umpqua fall chinook are known for their size, but the quantity of fish leaves few dull moments. This is a world-class fishery by every definition.


If you’ll need accommodations for your fishing trip, check out the Winchester Bay Inn. It’s a short walk to where we meet. There are also many restaurants within walking distance of the hotel. Simply park your car at the Winchester Bay Inn and you’re set for your stay.

winchester bay inn

Looking for things to do on your visit to the Central Oregon Coast, Winchester Bay is famous for it’s sand dunes. There are plenty of ATV rentals available if you’re looking to spend a couple days in the area.

winchester bay atv activity is high

Interested in fishing Winchester Bay, contact us or give us a call.