Tillamook Bay

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Fishing in Tillamook Bay

If you’re looking for a place to land your next Salmon or White Sturgeon trophy, Tillamook Bay fishing will be a revelation. With some of the best Salmon runs in Oregon and solid angling action throughout the year, Tillamook Bay is a must-visit destination.

What to Catch

Tillamook Bay is the meeting point of five rivers – Trask River, Tillamook River, Miami River, Wilson River, and Kilchis River – so it’s hardly a surprise that fishing here is superb. Here’s what you can expect at the end of your line.


Chinook (King) Salmon are the most prized catches, especially because you can land some real lunkers that weigh 30 pounds or more. The fall Salmon run on the bay is legendary, and from late August up until Thanksgiving, these feisty fish are all anyone talks about. If you prefer fishing in warmer weather, make the most out of the spring Chinook run in May and June.
Coho Salmon are equally popular, especially because you can only target them in September and October. Chum Salmon are also in the cards in November, but they’re always limited to catch and release.

White Sturgeon

The bay is also known for its year-round White Sturgeon fishery, which peaks in February and March. During this time, massive Sturgeon are on the prowl in the bay, so all you need to do is choose the right setup and wait for this ancient monster to gulp it down. Local anglers swear by sand shrimp.

Crabs and Clams

If you’re visiting Tillamook Bay with the family and you’re looking for a memorable outing, crabbing and/or clamming is the way to go. You can go crabbing all year, but summer months are the most productive. Dungeness Crab is the star of the show, which you catch by setting up crab pots early in the morning. Come back to get them later in the day, and you’ll probably find a good haul that can easily turn into a delicious meal.
Clamming will be a bit more of a workout because you’ll look for a variety of clams on muddy, sandy, and rocky bottom. You’ll use specialized clamming rakes to find hidden razor, cockle, butter, and soft-shell clams. This is a lot of fun for all ages, and who doesn’t want tasty clams for dinner?

What Trip to Choose

One of the best things about Tillamook Bay fishing is that you can be a novice or a pro, seven or 77 years old, and you’ll enjoy your time on the water to the fullest. Whether you’re heading out from Garibaldi, Tillamook, or Bay City, there are many charter captains who know the bay like the back of their hand.
Usually, there are shared and private trips on offer, as well as specialized expeditions that target one species, usually Salmon. Kids will have a lot of fun on shorter four-hour excursions, especially if you book a fishing/crabbing combo. Dedicated fishermen should book full day adventures that will grant them more time on the water and better chances of landing something brag-worthy.
Don’t forget to buy your fishing license (and a shellfish license if going crabbing/clamming) and pack plenty of food and drinks to keep your energy up. 
Want to see what one of the best Oregon fisheries has in store for you? Then head out to Tillamook Bay and have your rods at the ready! 
Tillamook Bay
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Tillamook Bay Fishing Seasons

If you’d like to stay in the shallow waters, go crabbing and you’ll have a blast, not to mention great results. Sturgeon fishing is very good this time of year, and Lingcod are coming to the bay to spawn.

February is one of the best months to chase Sturgeon, so if you’re ready for the fight of your life, this is your chance. Lingcod fishing is good, as well as clamming.

You can hook large Lingcod around rocky structures in March, and this is the last call to get them before they go back to the ocean. Sturgeon fishing is still on, and clamming is very productive now.

The spring Salmon run is approaching, which means that by the end of the month, you can expect the first Chinook bite. It’s peak clamming season, and you can still find a Sturgeon here and there.

King Salmon are abundant in the bay in May, and it’s a great time to get your fishing groove on. The Halibut season is officially open, and if you’d like to do something different, clamming is still an option.

King Salmon are all the craze in June, and this is a good opportunity to catch a couple of big ones before the run is over at the end of the month. Halibut fishing is excellent this time of year.

Whether it’s Trout, Halibut, clams, or crab, in July, there’s plenty to do in Tillamook Bay. You can hook Salmon close to the mouths of the rivers, and Lingcod in deeper waters.

Come August, everybody on Tillamook Bay is getting ready for the fall Chinook run. Trout and Halibut are there for the taking, and you can also go clamming and cool off in the water while looking for your prey.

Chinook, the King, is in the house! Whether you’re looking for your next record or just filling your cooler, this is your time! Wild Coho Salmon are in the cards from mid-September.

This is one of the most productive months on Tillamook Bay! The Chinook action is superb, Dungeness Crab are abundant, and Coho will linger in the bay waters until late October.

Colder weather means that Sturgeon is slowly coming back to the bay. Chinook Salmon are still biting as they make  their way to the spawning grounds. In November, you can also catch Chum Salmon, but you must release it.

The temperatures are dropping, but you can still find solid fishing on Tillamook Bay. December is all about premier Sturgeon fishing, and you can go crabbing and clamming for a change of scenery.

Tillamook Bay Fishing Calendar

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Top Targeted Species in Tillamook Bay

Salmon (Chinook)

Salmon (Chinook)