Columbia River Summer and Fall Salmon Seasons are HERE!

After a long awaited period of wet and cold weather this spring, we have finally broke out of those patterns and are starting the best time of the year. With large numbers of salmon predicted, this article will hopefully explain where myself and colleagues will be targeting salmon throughout the next few months. If interested in any of these trips be sure to book right away as we will be filling our boats on these limited opportunities.

COLUMBIA SUMMER CHINOOK – The lower Columbia River is set to begin fishing on June 16th which is the traditional opening day. The forecasted number this year is the second highest on record and will provide a season that goes all the way through July 31st. This is pretty extraordinary as some years we only see a couple weeks of productive fishing. These fish are generally on the larger size and are amazing for the table, comparable to spring chinook! Where we are catching these fish also means the are fresh from the ocean making them the best the river has to offer!

COLUMBIA SOCKEYE SALMON – As with Summer Chinook, the lower Columbia will open on June 16th as well. Sockeye provide a great opportunity to bring home some extra fish while we target Chinook. When the run is arriving it can provide some action packed mornings with lots of bites and hook-ups. Amazing to eat and fresh from the ocean, this is one of my personal favorites to bring home.

OCEAN SALMON – With the season opening on June 24th, it’s going to be difficult to decide where to take clients! Ocean salmon trips can provide fast action fishing with the possibility of stopping off for some ocean bottom fish as well. I’ll personally be running trips towards the end of July for the ocean as with the Columbia seasons being open and productive, it’s hard to leave my backyard with how good the fishing can be. However, I have lots of colleagues that specifically target the ocean salmon and I’d be happy to book you with them knowing you’ll have an amazing time.

BUOY 10 SALMON – The Super Bowl of Salmon fishing in the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia River Buoy 10 fishery is set to begin on August 1st. While fishing can be good on the opener, as it gets later in the month, things really start to heat up. This is one of the most popular fisheries in the country, but for a really good reason… there’s well over a million salmon predicted to return! Here’s a link to a Buoy 10 video that showcases the fishery.

COLUMBIA RIVER SALMON – Once the salmon leave the estuary, they head up into the Columbia River. This area is fantastic for Chinook as the river bottlenecks the salmon into a small channel that concentrates them even more. I catch more kings in this fishery than any other time of the year! Good weather, soft water, and excellent fishing, this time of year I consider to be the best! Another great note to make about this fishery is there’s lots of areas to find productive fishing. If there’s an unscheduled season change, there’s always another place to go! Here’s a video of some Columbia River Salmon Fishing.

SMALL RIVER SALMON FISHING – Beginning around early October, or when we see heavy rains, the salmon will make their way into the smaller spawning tributaries. This is the time of year we fish eggs, twitch jigs and float fish for salmon. If you’re into some more hands-on techniques or enjoy smaller river fishing, this time of year is suited for you.

I hope myself or one of my colleagues will be able to take you on a great salmon fishing trip this fall. Feel free to email me directly at or fill out a book a trip form on my website to be sent a list of available options that suit you. I hope you have a great summer and look forward to seeing you out on the water.



  1. edward celnicker on September 4, 2023 at 6:54 pm

    I am interested in salmon fishing on October 13th, 2023, particlularly on the Lewis or some other beautiful river that can be reached from Portland. There are three of us, two old coots and a 17 year old grandson. We all love hands-on fishing.

Leave a Comment