The Pacific Northwest is renowned for its massive runs of Chinook (King) salmon, Coho (Silver) salmon and Sockeye salmon. Spring Chinook salmon make their way from the Pacific Ocean and up through the Columbia River to Bonneville Dam and beyond in the months of February through mid-June. The Columbia River Spring Chinook is considered the biggest prize of the Northwest. Much like the Columbia River summer steelhead, they do not spawn for up to eight months, therefore these salmon have a very high fat content which makes them ultra sought after.
Summer Chinook make their way through the Columbia River during June and July. Locals call these fish “June Hogs” because of their common size of 30 to 45 pounds! Summer Chinook is my favorite fishery due to our high catch rates of high quality salmon! Sturgeon fishing for keeper and over-sized fish often overlaps with salmon fishing in the Columbia, so a variety of opportunities are available.
August is the month when fall Kings and Coho Salmon start entering the Columbia River from the Pacific Ocean, making “Buoy 10” one of the hottest fisheries anywhere! Fall Kings and Coho will travel up the Columbia River for a solid month providing awesome action for these 15 to 55 pound, fresh fall Chinook! We fish for the Fall Kings and Coho in the Lewis River and Cowlitz River from September through December with great success! August through December is the most popular time of the year to fish so book your dates in advance since the best dates fill fast.
Once the Fall Chinook have entered the river from the Pacific Ocean, we start catching them in good numbers in the Woodland Washington area. During September and October we can keep two chinook native or hatchery in the Columbia! This fishery is the new Buoy 10 with bigger bag limits! This is one the best times of the year to go.
After Fall Chinook and Coho Salmon slow down on the Columbia it’s time to hit the tributaries. We will target Coho and King Salmon in the smaller rivers until nearly Christmas before switching gears to Winter Steelhead. Tributary fishing is much more hands on and a blast to the folks that like to be more “pro active” while fishing.