Living Center Oregon

Sustainable Living Center Oregon

Fishing the Siletz River

The Siletz River is a rarity in the northern half of the coast because it has a wild run of spring Chinook salmon. These fish tend to be caught from June to summer, overlapping with the Siletz River’s more extensive summer steelhead fishery.

This Salmon was caught in front of the Siletz River Rental Location, and we had fresh Salmon for dinner.

When is the best time to catch Salmon?

Small numbers of fall Chinook salmon enter the Siletz River from the last week of August, rapidly increasing numbers through September. 

The number of returning fish increased during the last half of September, peaking in October before declining in November. Small numbers of Chinook also return in December and January.  

The best fishing for newly arriving fall Chinook salmon occurs in the lower bay during the incoming tide of the major tidal exchange of spring tides or neap tides, especially when the incoming tide coincides with sunrise or sunset.  The next most productive fishing period occurs at sunrise or sunset during the incoming tide of the minor tidal cycle.

As with most Oregon coast chinook salmon fisheries, the catch on the Siletz is best in September and October, with most fish landed in the tidewater areas. Siletz Bay proper, west of Highway 101, between the Taft end of Lincoln City and Siletz Rentals.  This is a well keep secret.

Salmon Fishing Boats… One (1), Three (3) or Six-Eight (6-8) person boats with electric motors

  • Single Kayak $50
  • Tandem Kayak $90
  • for 4 hours

2 – 3 people with electric motor @ $150 for 4 hours.

Fishing-Cat 6-8 people with Electric Motor $250 for 4 hours

Other Options & Rental Rates …

Kayak Touring … Click Here

Wildlife Photogenic Paradise … Click Here 

Family\Group Touring …. Click Here

Crab &  Fishing Package … Click Here

Crabbing … Click Here

Free Online Crab Clinic … Click Here

Dock Crabbing …. Click Here

Steelhead fishing in the Siletz River allows anglers to fish for steelhead year-round. The Siletz has summer and winter steelhead native runs and summer and winter steelhead hatchery programs. Anglers are reminded that only hatchery fish can be retained.

Winter steelhead begins arriving in late November with a peak in January-March. The winter steelhead hatchery program in the Siletz Basin utilizes a wild broodstock and can provide excellent fishing throughout the season. This program has a target release of 50,000 steelhead smolts each spring from the Palmer Creek acclimation facility across from Moonshine Park.

Drift boat fishing can be very productive during peak season, but many river sections can be busy during favorable flow conditions. Popular techniques from a drift boat include side drifting, pulling plugs, or drifting a bobber and jig.

The Siletz River also has a native summer steelhead run, the only one in the Oregon Coast Range.

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 provided with night crawlers. Fish from shore in the estuary’s upper tidal reach casting spinners or fishing on the bottom of the deeper holes with night crawlers or crawfish tails.

Redtail surfperch, pile perch, walleye surfperch, silver surfperch, and striped seaperch 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 upper basin areas adjacent to eelgrass beds and along the track that drains Millport Slough up to the Siletz Bay Natural Wildlife Refuge entrance.

White sturgeon enter Siletz Bay in small numbers sporadically throughout the year. The catch rate for keeper-size fish averages less than 15 per year, with a high count of 52 fish. 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 interests local anglers only.

Chinook Salmon go past the Siletz Rental Location; they will stay in the “holes” until the water level rises, so they can go upstream and find a new “hole” to wait for the subsequent rise in water level until they finally get to their breeding home.



We do not sell fishing licenses or bait.  This is where to buy a fishing license – Bi-Mart — 1030 SE Oar Ave • 541-614-1020.  It is behind the factory stores on Hwy 101 in Lincoln City.


Siletz Bay is one of Oregon’s most famous bays to fish for Chinook salmon. The Siletz River has both a spring and fall run of Chinook salmon, but the fall run generates all the excitement, as demonstrated by the congested boat traffic in the above photograph.  The Siletz Rental Location is on the right side of the river under the bridge.

Historically, small numbers of fall Chinook salmon enter the Siletz River from the last week of August through the middle of September. The number of returning fish increased during the last half of September, peaking in October. The catch rate averaged approximately 1500 fish per year and is dominated by a high percentage of 5-year-old fish followed by 4, 6, and 3-year-old fish.

sept 16

According to the tide tables and daylight, this graph shows the best time in September to catch Chinooks would be starting on Sept 15.  Of course, this can change depending on the fall rains.

The newly arriving fall Chinook salmon occurs in the lower bay during the incoming tide of the major tidal when the incoming tide coincides with sunrise or sunset.

The next most productive fishing period occurs at sunrise or sunset during the incoming tide of the minor tidal exchange in the daily tidal cycle.

Daybreak is that magical time of day when Chinook salmon bite the best. Be sure to have the bait in the one-half water hour before sunrise. Fishing is most productive from ½ hour before dawn to midmorning and from late afternoon until ½ hour after sunset.

The main channel runs northwest from the Highway 101 Bridge towards the sand spit, turning north, paralleling the sand spit to the bar.  Early in the run, concentrate fishing in the lower bay trolling a plug-cut herring with the incoming tide from the entrance at the bar along the channel, paralleling the sand spit to the Hwy 101 bridge. Troll or back bounce with the outgoing tide from the Highway 101 bridge to the sand spit with a plug-cut herring. Stay well clear of the entrance to the bar and the lower bay during the outgoing tide.

During the peak of the run, most anglers concentrate on fishing in the lower tidal reach of the river channel above the Highway 101 Bridge, where the Siletz Moorage is located. To Sunset Landing. Troll a plug cut herring, spinner bait combinations, rainbow-colored spinners, or silver colored bait wrapped Flatfish lures with a chartreuse head with the incoming tide.

The competition for the more productive holes and travel lanes is intense. To avoid the congestion, most anglers anchor on the up current side of the more productive spots and fish with a plug-cut herring, bait wrapped Flatfish lures, spinner bait combinations, spinners, or wobblers.

Back bounce, or back troll with the outgoing tide from Sunset Landing downstream to the Highway 101 Bridge fishing with bait wrapped Flatfish lures, spinner bait combinations, spinners, or wobblers.

Fish upstream from Windy Bend drifting with the tide or anchoring above the deeper holes during the last half of the outgoing tide through low, slack tide fishing with a bobber using a walnut-sized gob of salmon eggs and sand shrimp. Accent the salmon eggs and sand shrimp with a small length of pink, red, chartreuse, or orange yarn.

Most fall chinooks are caught in the lower part of the river, suggests ODFW fish biologist Derek Wilson.

There are three (3) convenient  launch points on the lower part of the river:

  1. Fishing-Cat Rental Location at the north end of Hwy 101 bridge
  2. Ichwhit (Bear) Park, which 6 miles upriver
  3. Stome Park, which is 16 miles upriver

Watch the River Levels


Watch the river gauge closely to determine where and when to fish.

River Below 4 feet

When the river runs low, the fish congregate in holes waiting for the rain to raise the river level.  See the holes (marked in red) on the above map.  If the river level is below 4 feet, or even a bit higher, stick to trolling or bait and bobber fishing tidewater.

River Above 4 feet

When the river is above 4 feet, you have options.  Most river anglers consider the river to be in perfect shape when it is close to 5.5 feet and decent up to 7 feet. Plunking with bait is better in higher water, peaking at 7 or 7.5 feet or a little higher and worthwhile to about 8.5 feet.

For the hardcore Chinook Salmon enthusiast who has his own boat, motor, fishing poles, and bait, we do not offer very few services

For a family or group that has their own fishing equipment and wants to share his fishing passion with his family or group, we offer the Fishing-Cat.

Siletz Bay Catamaran (Fishing-Cat)


A Fishing-Cat consists of two Canoes or Kayaks.

two cano2

Our superstructure converts two kayaks or two canoes into one catamaran. The structural integrity of this system has been proven on expeditions worldwide.

When crossing rough or open stretches of water, our Catamaran offers incredible stability: the rig is virtually ‘untippable’ and gives fishermen an excellent platform to fish.

It is the best way for a group or family to have the experience of getting the big Chinook Salmon.

Our Fishing-Cats opens new horizons and adds new dimensions to the exciting world of Salmon Fishing for any family or group.

Family\Group Chinook Salmon Fishing

canoe 22

A Stable Platform for the Whole Family

Some folks don’t have the coordination to keep a canoe steady in the water. Some families have small children that can’t paddle for themselves. And still, others may be perfectly capable of paddling a regular canoe, but they want to enjoy the crabbing venture with friends.

Our Catamaran is efficient at keeping paddlers of different strengths from separating — don’t worry about leaving weaker paddlers behind in your wake.

Waring … Hypothermia

Hypothermia is a physical condition that occurs when the body’s core temperature falls below an average 98.6° F (37° C) to 95° F (35° C) or more relaxed. Think of hypothermia as the opposite of heat stroke. Cold water dangerously accelerates the onset and progression of hypothermia since body heat can be lost 25 times faster in cold water than in cold air. Hypothermia affects the body’s core – the brain, heart, lungs, and other vital organs. Even mild hypothermia diminishes a victim’s physical and mental abilities, thus increasing the risk of accidents. Severe hypothermia may result in unconsciousness and possibly death. About 600 people in the U.S. die of hypothermia each year.

The temperature of the Siletz River and Siletz Bay 

Min °F53.553.352.450
Max °F56.557.956.654.4

Time before Hypothermia

Water Temp Time
50–60°1 – 2 hours1 – 6 hours

The Siletz River and Bay water are cold.  It is important to be in a stable Chinook Salmon Platform


Stable to get in or out …. Easy Loading

Rent a Fishing-Cats

The Reservation office (541-765-2109) will are open until Dec 31, 2018, but the Launching facility will be CLOSED unless we have reservations.  No walk-ins are available.

For the Best Experience Please Call 541-765-2109 or   Click Here to Make Reservations

 There is No cost or obligation to make a Reservation

Click Here to Make Reservations

Fishing-Cats have the following advantages:

  • Much more stable than a regular canoe
  • Totally safe for family with small children or group, cannot be overturned
  • Stable even in rough weather
  • Rental Location is 100 ft from the entrance to the main Chinook Salmon  Area
  • Provides a stable platform to handle the fish.
  • Less Cost than Renting a Motor Boat
  • No Motor to mess with
  • People not fond of canoeing now have a stable hybrid option

Rentals include water-craft, paddles, life jacket, invasive species permit and parking for one vehicle.

Warning:  During the summer, the area of Siletz River nearest the mouth of the bay often has unpredictable high winds and waves.

Wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) is mandatory.

Four (4) Hours Drift Downriver Option – Ichwhit (Bear) Park


Ichwhit (Bear) Park is located on the Siletz River approximately river mile 6.7 (within tidal influence.)  Facilities include a new boat ramp, boarding floats, vault toilet, parking for boat trailers and passenger vehicles.

Six (6) Hours Drift Downriver Option – Strome Park at 16 miles

strome 2

Strome Park boasting a new boat launch expanded parking area, and new concrete vault restrooms, this park is more popular than ever with boaters familiar with the Siletz River. Covering 2.6 acres, and located about river mile 16, Strome landing provides access to exceptional fishing for Chinook as well as Steelhead when in season.

 There is No cost or obligation to make a Reservation

Click Here to Check Availability … Click Here to Make Reservations

Reservation Office Hours …. 10 am – 9 pm … Everyday … 541-765-2109 

Launch Site only open for reservations –  82 Siletz Hwy

  • Lincoln City, OR   97267
  • 541-765-2109

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This entry was posted on June 25, 2021 by .