Coos Bay

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Fishing in Coos Bay

Coos Bay offers anglers an astounding variety of possibilities. This port town in southwest Oregon boasts some of the best saltwater fishing in the state, but what you might not expect is a handful a freshwater opportunities that also top the charts. Coos Bay doesn’t have a reputation like Portland or Astoria, but it certainly has the prospects to compete with both. From Largemouth Bass to some of Oregon’s best Crabbing and Clamming, this place has it all—along with plenty of Coos Bay fishing charters to help you make the most of it.

Coos Bay Fishing Spots

Coos Bay

This is Oregon’s largest bay, and it comes with some special opportunities. You can expect excellent bottom fishing year-round, in addition to outstanding Chinook Salmon fishing in fall. Halibut season typically runs from May to September, adding to the list of delectable catches in these waters. In late summer, charter boats in Charleston catch Albacore Tuna offshore. This town at the entrance of Coos Bay also offers consistently good Crabbing all year, as well as access to some productive bottom fishing grounds several miles offshore.

Even if you don’t manage to board a boat here, you can take advantage of excellent fishing opportunities in Coos Bay. Local flats produce some of the best Clamming in Oregon throughout most of the year. Casting lines from numerous jetties around the bay will bring you Lingcod, Surfperch, and Rockfish. Anglers also land the occasional Striped Bass while surf fishing on the north and south shorelines outside the bay’s entrance.

Coquille River

The freshwater angler will find a whole other world of opportunities in the streams and rivers surrounding Coos Bay. Coquille River is one of the most productive fishing spots in the area, featuring strong winter Steelhead and fall Chinook runs in addition to spring Chinook, wild Coho Salmon, and some Striped Bass.

A small number of Chinook swim through in late spring, but the fall run beginning in August marks the true start of Salmon season here. Around the same time of year, sea-run Cutthroat Trout enter the river. Winter Steelhead appear in late November and peak around January and February. Fishing for wild Steelhead is strictly catch and release, but you can keep a few hatchery fish with clipped fins.

Small Streams

A number of small streams near Coos Bay offer decent winter Steelheading opportunities with less fishing pressure. These include the Lower Tenmile Creek just below the Tenmile Lakes, Floras Creek, Brush Creek, Euchre Creek, Hunter Creek, Pistol River, and Winchuck River.

Empire Lakes

The Empire Lakes in Coos Bay produce excellent Rainbow Trout fishing from October through spring. In fall, you can expect a good fight from 14-inch “pounder” Rainbows in these waters. The lakes also host a modest number of Sunfish, Yellow Perch, Bullhead Catfish, and Largemouth Bass. Bass fishing tends to be best here from fall through early spring.

Tenmile Lake

If you’re one for Bass fishing, don’t overlook Tenmile Lake just 17 miles north of Coos Bay. This is Oregon’s premier Largemouth Bass fishing destination, featuring year-round angling opportunities and a series of tournaments in spring and summer. You’ll also find Crappie, Sunfish, Yellow Perch, Catfish, Stocked Rainbows, and native Cutthroat Trout here. Coho Salmon show up in late fall before heading toward major tributaries.

Coos Bay Fishing Styles


Anglers typically catch Salmon in Coos Bay by trolling. You’re likely to troll cut-plug Herring near the entrance of the bay, whereas spinners prove more effective in the midbay zones. It’s also common to troll for Albacore Tuna when they are in season. Locals troll rubber-skirted and feathered jigs to catch this fish instead of live bait.

Bottom Fishing

Bottom fishing in the bay and ocean produces Lingcod, Rockfish, Halibut, and more. Typical baits include Herring, Octopus, and jigs.

Surf Fishing

You can catch a variety of fish while casting lines from jetties and the shoreline surrounding Coos Bay. Clam necks, Sand Shrimp, and Herring pieces entice Surfperch, Lingcod, and more. Light tackle and fly fishing are both effective.

Freshwater Fishing

Fly anglers will find no shortage of opportunities while fishing for winter Steelhead in the Coquille River and local streams. You can catch fish in the Empire and Tenmile Lakes using a baited hook or small crappie jig tipped with nightcrawler, mealworm, or other natural bait. Fishing the bait under a small bobber will result in more visual excitement and reduces the chances of snagging your line.

Need to Know

Anglers in your group age 12 and older must purchase an Oregon fishing license, whether you plan on fishing alone or with one of many Coos Bay fishing charters.

Many local species have size and bag limits, so make sure you’re familiar with local regulations if you plan on keeping your catch. The season and catch limits for Halibut are published in March each year, but you can usually expect to fish for this species between May and September. Regulations for ocean Salmon and Steelhead are set in April. Sturgeon fishing in southwest Oregon is strictly catch and release.

Coos Bay
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Coos Bay Fishing Seasons

You can expect a fair amount of rain at the start of the year, with average temperature ranging from 40-53°F. Rainfall drives local Crabs into hiding, but it draws Sturgeon out into the Bay.

February offers good fishing for winter Steelhead, along with decent Crabbing and Clamming. The Tenmile Lake Bass Club hosts their first tournament of the year in February.

Clamming is excellent at this time of year. If the weather allows, surf fishing or bottom fishing for Lingcod is also productive. Bass fishing continues to stay strong in the local lakes.

Anglers tend to lose interest in Dungeness Crab at this time of year, when their shells are soft and their table value decreases. On the other hand, Clamming has never been better.

You might catch some spring Chinook while fishing the Coquille River in late spring. Halibut season usually opens in May, giving anglers plenty of reasons to gear up for some serious bottom fishing offshore.

With very little rain in the forecast and temperatures as high as 64°F, June is a great time to try your luck offshore for Lingcod and Halibut. Surf fishing will bring you Surfperch and much more.

In July, you can experience some of the best weather Coos Bay has to offer, with nothing but sunny days in sight. Many charters are heading offshore for Tuna and bottom fish.

August offers some of the greatest variety here in Coos Bay. Fall Chinook are entering the bay, while Albacore Tuna continue to give anglers a run for their money offshore.

You can expect excellent freshwater fishing in fall. Chinook, sea-run Cutthroat, and winter Steelhead are swimming in the streams. Meanwhile, the Empire Lakes offer some of their best Trout and Bass fishing.

You can continue fishing for Bass and big Rainbow Trout in the Empire Lakes during October. Salmon fishing is still strong, and Dungeness Crab is making a comeback.

Winter Steelhead will keep fly fishermen busy in the river, while bottom fish continue to offer great action in the bay. Now’s your chance to witness the last Tenmile Lake Bass Tournament of the year.

Salmon season may be over, but you can revel in excellent lake fishing all winter. Those who aren’t put off by steady rainfall can catch Crab, Lingcod, and more in the bay.

Coos Bay Fishing Calendar

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Top Targeted Species in Coos Bay

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)