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Fishing in Tillamook

If you’re in the mood for some of the best West Coast Salmon and Sturgeon fishing, Tillamook fishing charters will put you on the hottest bite. Tillamook Bay is one of the most productive fisheries in Oregon and beyond, and it’s a treasure trove for all the passionate Salmon chasers.
Tillamook Bay is one of the most productive estuaries in the state, and its brackish waters are the playground of a variety of game fish. Five rivers feed into the bay and mix with the waters of the Pacific Ocean. This makes Tillamook Bay not only “The Land of Many Waters,” but the land of fish abundance as well.

Top Catches

The greatest allure of Tillamook Bay is that it offers something for everyone. Superstars that steal the show are massive Chinook and Coho Salmon, White Sturgeon, and Rainbow Trout. Crabbing and clamming is another popular pastime.


Tillamook Bay fishing got its good name thanks to the outstanding spring and fall Salmon runs. Chinook, the King of all Salmon, come in trophy sizes, and anglers can’t wait for mid-September to boat their biggest King yet. These tasty “hogs” can weigh anywhere from 30 to 50 pounds, and both the quality and the quantity of the fish that will blow your mind. The fall run goes well into November, usually until Thanksgiving.
The spring Chinook run starts by the end of April, and lasts until June. Though the “springers” aren’t as bulky as fall runners, they frequently meet the 30 lb mark.

White Sturgeon

Going after White Sturgeon on Tillamook Bay is a productive and fun experience year round. Targeting the biggest game fish in Oregon will be a test of your skills and luck, and it’s crucial to have a knowledgeable guide with you, because Sturgeon like to move with the tides. In general, the best Sturgeon fishing on Tillamook Bay is in February and March, though you can land something big from mid-December to May. A lot of rain in the winter months will draw out the Sturgeon, as well as the minus tides.

Crabbing and Clamming

When you’ve had your fill of Salmon, Steelhead, and Sturgeon fishing, crabbing and clamming are another favorite activity in the Tillamook Bay area. This is one of the top-notch summer crabbing destinations, but the fall can be equally productive. If you’re heading out aboard a Tillamook fishing charter, the captain will usually set the crab pots before sunrise, then collect them on the way back to the shore. The main channel from Crab Harbor is a known hot spot to set the pots. Clamming can be equally productive, especially if you go to the upper bay to dig for soft-shell clams. The north side of Area G is known for razor clams.


Fishing Tips

  • To land your biggest Chinook Salmon yet, troll with cut herring and spinners, it will yield great results.

  • Whatever you’re targeting and wherever you are in the bay, make sure to troll as the tide is coming in, more water means more fish you can tempt with your setup.

  • Want to catch that massive White Sturgeon? Sand shrimp will do wonders, especially if you cast your line around the bank slopes and shallow troughs.

  • Crabbing is consistently good throughout the year, but it’s especially productive in the winter, particularly around the tidal flats in the bay.


Need to Know

In case you plan on hitting the waters of Tillamook Bay on your own, it’s necessary to be familiar with all the laws and regulations that protect this superb fishery.


Every Tillamook fisherman needs to have a valid Oregon Angling License. Whether you’re fishing with a captain or solo, you need to obtain the license on your own, because it’s usually not included in the trip price. 
To go clamming, you will need an Oregon Shellfish License. If you’d like a mixed bag of Salmon, Sturgeon, Halibut, and Rainbow Trout, don’t forget to buy a Combined Angling Tag.


Trips with Tillamook fishing charters are usually priced per person. You can find a half-day trip at $125 per person, while full-day trips are in the $200–$250 ballpark. Bear in mind that there’s usually a minimum person limit for the trip to take place.

Getting There

The town of Tillamook is 75 miles away from both Portland and Salem, so you can be in the bay after an hour-and-a-half drive. Garibaldi is another fishing town on the north end of the bay, and you’ll find  Bay City to the east. If you’re both an outdoor and fishing enthusiast, the Tillamook area will be a revelation. With plenty of hiking trails to explore, awe-inspiring views to admire, and first-class fishing, this part of Oregon is a diamond in the rough you’ll treasure.
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Tillamook Fishing Seasons

Sturgeon fishing in January is probably the most productive in the area. Rainbow Trout is also biting, and if you’d like to go crabbing, this is the time.

The weather is still quite moody, but Rainbow Trout are happy to gulp down your bait. Sturgeon are also very active, especially if there’s a lot of rain. Crabbing and clamming are good, too.

The spring is slowly coming in, which means that clamming is at its peak. Lingcod and Rainbow Trout are the most popular catch, not to mention colossal Sturgeon.

Finding Lingcod in the waters of Tillamook Bay will be easy and fun, and the Sturgeon bite is slowing down. The Chinook and Coho Salmon spring run is just around the corner.

Come to Tillamook Bay to get a taste of good Chinook Salmon action! The spring Salmon run is at its peak, which means you can easily reel in big 30-pounders. Clamming is also excellent in May.

The weather is gorgeous, you can smell summer in the air, and the Chinook bite is solid throughout June. Lingcod is active and voracious, as usual.

The hot summer months usually mean that the fishing action around Tillamook is slowing down, and that’s the case in July. You can still find Rainbow Trout, Lingcod, and some Chinook and Coho Salmon.

It’s still warm, but you can feel the fall Salmon run coming. You’ll find more and more Chinook and Coho Salmon in the waters of the bay, as well as Lingcod and Rainbow Trout.

The fall Salmon run is upon us and fishing is nothing short of glorious! Chinook is the superstar of the show, and they come in healthy sizes of 30+ pounds. Fish on! 

Head out to Tillamook Bay and its tributaries to chase Coho, Chinook, and other Salmon species. Crabbing is also popular now, so don’t forget to set up a few crab pots. 

This is one of the most productive months for fishing, because Salmon, Sturgeon, Rainbow Trout, Lingcod, Crabs, and Clams are all abundant and there for the taking.

Coho and Chinook Salmon are leaving, but Sturgeon is back and it’s biting back and forth. If you decide to do some crabbing and clamming in December, chances are you’ll have great success.

Tillamook Fishing Calendar

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Top Targeted Species in Tillamook

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

Salmon (Chinook)

Salmon (Chinook)



Salmon (Coho)

Salmon (Coho)