Siletz Bay is one of Oregon’s most popular bays to fish for Chinook salmon. The Siletz River has both a Spring and Fall run of Chinook salmon, but it is the Fall run that generates all the excitement! Keep reading for information on all the types of fish you can catch in the river and bay.
Chinook salmon return to Siletz Bay during the spring and in the fall. The master of the salmon demanded tribute from Indians before they could pass Medicine Rocks according to the Siletz Indian legend. Medicine Rocks consists of three rocks, on two of which the heads of persons may be recognized. On the left side of the master of the salmon stands his wife, both of them easily recognized; on his right side is their dead child.* Honor the legend by leaving something and the salmon will return forever.
Coho salmon return to Siletz Bay during the last half of October and run through November. Troll in the lower bay from the sand spit near the bar trolling plug cut herring, hoochies or streamer flies with the incoming tide to the Highway 101 bridge. Troll these baits behind a diver or wire spreader or diver in the upper half of the water column. Troll in lower tidal reach in the river channel from the Highway 101 Bridge to Sunset Landing with plug cut herring, pink, rainbow or chartreuse colored spinners. Remember coho salmon prefer bait trolled near the surface at speeds between 3 and 5 knots.
Cutthroat trout return to Siletz Bay from the middle of July through August. Early in the run fish from the Cannery Hole seaward to the Siletz Spit during the incoming tide trolling Doc Shelton spinners rigged with night crawlers. After the first week of August fish the entire length of the upper reach of tidewater trolling Doc Shelton spinners, rigged with night crawlers. Fish from the shore in the upper tidal reach of the estuary casting spinners or by fishing on the bottom of the deeper holes with night crawlers or craw-fish tails.
Pile-perch, Red-tail surf-perch, Walleye surf-perch, Silver surf-perch and Striped sea-perch enter the bay in late spring. The fishing ranges from fair to excellent through fall depending on the tides and the weather conditions. The best fishing occurs during June and July in the lower bay along the main channel paralleling the sand spit upstream to the pilings at the Cannery Hole. Fish in the areas of the upper bay that are adjacent to eelgrass beds and along the channel that drains Millport Slough up to the entrance of the Siletz Bay Natural Wildlife Refuge.
White sturgeon enter Siletz Bay in small numbers sporadically throughout the year. The catch rate for keeper size fish averages less than 15 fish per year with the high count of 52 fish landed. The best fishing occurs in the lower tidal reach of the river channel above the Highway 101 Bridge from December through March. The best time to fish for sturgeon is two hours before low tide. Mud and sand shrimp are the most productive bait. The sturgeon fishery is a small one that is of interest to local anglers only.
Bank Fishing At one time the fishing for salmon from the north shore of the entrance to Siletz Bay was so popular it was hard to find a spot from which to fish. Fishing for salmon and perch is excellent from the north shore at the entrance of Siletz Bay. Bank fishing along Highway 229 for Chinook salmon is excellent on the lower river immediately upstream from the Siletz Moorage. Spinners or salmon eggs are the most productive bait used by anglers. Fishing with herring can be productive but the crabs steal most of the bait. Pullouts along the highway with heavily used trails leading down to the river usually disclose the location of the more productive fishing holes along the river. The best fishing occurs at daybreak and on the tide change. Fish for perch from the north shore of the bay at the entrance at the community of Taft or under the Highway 101 Bridge over Millport Slough or the Siletz River.
Spoiler Alert One of the best holes is located approximately 100 hundred yards upstream from a single–wide silver mobile home that is across the river from the highway. Another productive location is the Movie House Hole. The movie house was originally used as a set in the movie, “Sometimes a Great Notion”, starring Henry Fonda and Richard Jaeckel. The hole at the head of tidewater located at Cedar Creek is one of the most productive on the river.