fishing seasons


Where is the best place to fish in the Pacific Northwest? The rivers and streams in Washington and Oregon are all full of world-class fish. Steelhead Trout, Chinook Salmon, Coho, and river monsters like the Sturgeon are just a few of the many species we will have an opportunity to fish. From the Majestic Columbia River to its many tributaries, these northwest waters offer anglers some of the world’s best fishing adventures.


Spring fishing trips with Reel Deal Fishing Adventures give anglers many ways to aim. Spring Chinook are some of the best-eating salmon in the world. These fish have a long journey ahead of them, as some go as far upriver as Idaho. To prepare for their trip, these Salmon gorge to build up their fat content since they won’t eat once they enter the freshwater. It is this extra fat that makes these Salmon so great to eat.

Another fish that we aim for in the Spring is Sturgeon. Some days we will hunt for Sturgeon and Salmon fish on the same day. As the water temperatures warm, Sturgeon will migrate out of the Willamette River and into the Columbia River’s cooler water. Sturgeon’s primary food sources in the Columbia River are Smelt, Clams, Anchovies, and Lampreys. Outdoor enthusiasts know that spring is an excellent time for a fishing trip in the Pacific Northwest.


The summer offers the most diverse fishing opportunities of all four seasons. Often we can target multiple species in a single day, which always makes for a fun trip. Summer Steelhead in the Lewis and Columbia Rivers make for a great fight and excellent table fare. When summer Chinook is open season, I often target areas to catch both Salmon and steelhead in the same spot.

During the summer, the ocean is the first location to open for Salmon fishing as these fish are staging near the Columbia River’s mouth and getting ready to make their journey to the spawning grounds. These fish are gorging themselves on baitfish at this time so catching them is pretty easy when you find the schools. Reaching limits on Salmon from the ocean is not uncommon when the conditions allow us to get out there.

While seeking out Salmon during these summer months, it is also the absolute best time to target Sturgeon. Although they are catch and release during this time, The challenge of pulling one of these monsters in is the most action-packed fishery I have to offer. Don’t let these prehistoric fish fool you for being docile; they put up a more brutal fight than anything else on the Columbia River. These fish average 4-6 feet in length and are not uncommon to come in at over 8 feet. Fishing in shallow water in the Columbia estuary is something every fisherman or fisherwoman should experience. These fish become airborne more times than not which makes for a genuinely fantastic fishing experience.


When the Columbia River opens in August, this begins our Fall Salmon Season. I start fishing for them as soon as they enter the mouth of the river near Astoria in the famous Buoy 10 fishery. As the run begins to migrate up the river, I follow. My next stop is the Cowlitz River’s mouth near Longview Washington, then the mouth of the Lewis near Woodland Washington. These areas start seeing good numbers of fish the last week of August and will stay productive through October.

In the last week of September, I put my jet pump on my boat and transition into the Lewis River. This fishery is my favorite of the year. The run peaks in October but continues to produce fresh salmon through Thanksgiving. Coho Salmon also run in the Lewis River. When water flows are up, the Coho fishing can be incredible here.


If your willing to brave the elements of winter in the Pacific Northwest, the reward for being a true outdoor enthusiast is an opportunity for some great fishing. Using the powerboat, we head out on the Lewis to target Winter Chinook in December and Winter Steelhead from December through March.

For my favorite fishing experience during the winter, we use the pontoon boat. This experience is as hands-on as it gets. The rod never leaves your hands because you are constantly casting. I fish in some very remote areas where it is more common to see a herd of elk or deer cross the river than to see another fisherman. I often prefer using the Pontoon boat on many of the rivers in SW Washington. I can’t say there is a much better feeling than being the first boat down a dropping river and it coming into shape more and more as the day goes on.

Each year we get a keeper sturgeon season on the Columbia River above Bonneville Dam. It opens on New years day and stays open until the quota is met. This can be a cold day on the river; however, it is one of few opportunities to keep a sturgeon. Action tends to be quite good here as long as the wind in the Columbia River Gorge cooperates.