Best Fishing In Oregon – 10 Best Spots To Fish On The West Coast!

Oregon is an amazing spot for fly-fishers and ice fishers alike! A awesome destination for your next angling experience and home to some of the best waterways in the United States of America. This pacific northwest is one of the most diverse states in the USA from both a geographical and fishing perspective!  Lakes, streams, and rivers are abundant in Oregon and offer many unique and fun fishing options.

The best time for ice fishing in this iconic US state is in January / February when winter is in full force and  ice thickness on most lakes surpasses 10 inches.  If you prefer fishing in warmth and sunshine then spring through fall also offer tons of options for the avid angler. 

In this article, we will tell you why Oregon is a fantastic choice for your next fishing trip, and try to give you some great locations to visit where your experience will be enjoyable and the fish plentiful!  Oregon has such an amazing diversity of lakes, culture, and fishing spots that it is almost impossible to not enjoy your trip here.

Picture of man fishing in Missouri

Since Oregon has such a wide range of natural features, you can Hunt, Fish, and try to catch SHellfish all in one state!  You can either get these licenses individually or bundle them together to save money based on what you will be going for!

You can only have one rod / line by law, unless you purchase a license to use a second one, and fishers under 12 are exempt from this bylaw.

There are also various limitations on how many fish and shellfish you can catch which can be found on the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations website.

1. Diamond Lake

Bighorn Lake Wyoming
Bighorn Lake Wyoming

Diamond  lake has a very diverse set of aquatic inhabitants and it’s forest views are a feast for the eyes.  The lake is stocked with Rainbow trout and they feast all summer long on the diverse insect population found around the lake. 

The Diamond lake located near the center of the state, and is named after John Diamond who first hiked the mountain and saw the lake below him.  The peak on top of the mountain is also named after him (Diamond Peak)

Diamond Lake Fishing Tips

  • January to February are best (no big revelation here) for ice fishing in order to allow the ice to thicken
  • Late April to May after the winter snow has melted and run off is the best time to catch Rainbow Trout
  • An Attractor or a moving boat will help attract fish, using a little bit of bait will help even more!

Types of Fish in Diamond Lake

Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Striped Bass, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout

2. John Day River

Flaming Gorge Wyoming
Flaming Gorge Wyoming

The John Day River is surrounded by scenic mountains and forests as it traverses through Strawberry and Blue Mountains. The John Day river is the second longest free flowing river in the continental United States.  It is also a unique river in that it is also protected by two acts, the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and the Oregon Scenic Waterways Act – meaning its natural beauty and charm will be forever preserved.

This great river is host to one of the few remaining wild fish runs in the North West USA, where Steelhead and Chinook Salmon come back to spawn and create the next generation of fish.

John Day River Fishing Tips

  • Fishing is allowed all year round in the John Day River, try to go when there is light or no rainfall to ensure the water conditions are best 
  • One of only three undammed rivers in the entire United States of America, flows can be all over the place so don’t over think when to go other than avoiding massive rainfall days
  • Surface flies should allow to to have some serious success with the Smallmouth Bass as they are abundant in the river

Types of Fish in John Day River

Chinook Salmon, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Red Band Trout

3. McKenzie River

Glendo Reservoir Wyoming
Glendo Reservoir Wyoming

A magnificent tributary of the Willamette River in western Oregon is the McKenzie River which becomes part of Eugene and flows to the west in the Willamette Valley. There are many cities near the embankment of McKenzie River throughout its course, some of which are Springfield, Eugene, Albany, Redmond and many more.

McKenzie river has a beautiful waterfall trail to see many unique waterfalls, has naturally fed hot spring pools, and the area is 96 percent forested land so you know you will be surrounded by nature in all its glory.

Fly fishing as with many rivers is the most popular fishing activity, and you may even see some white water rafters cruising down the river past you!

McKenzie River Fishing Tips

  • Usually, the environment for most of the year in the areas of McKenzie River is characterized by dry, cold air flowing towards the south from the high arctic in winter. But during summer months this spell of dry cold air is broken down periodically with warm air conditions coming from the pacific. 
  • This humongous river encompasses an area of 1300 sq. ft. and gives off many tributaries in the form of streams and lakes, so you will have ample opportunities to find your own little fishing paradise!

Types of Fish in McKenzie River

There are many natural fish in this river available for anglers, and over the years new fish have also been introduced to the system.  Here are some of the most common fish you will find: Wild Trout, Hatchery trout, Spring Chinook, Sturgeon, Sculpin, Whitefish, Lamprey, Summer Steelhead

4. Deschutes River

Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park

The Deschutes River is a major tributary of the Columbia river and supplies most of the drier southern areas of Oregon. It is located in central Oregon, descending from mountains. The major source of this river is the little Lava lake. The closest cities to this river are Redmond, Sunriver, and Bend, all of which have distinct cultural sites to visit.

Yellowstone National Park Fishing Tips

  • Rivers will be your best bet for fly fishing.  The rivers are naturally insect rich so whether you are new to fly fishing or a seasoned veteran the odds are in your favor!
  • You can fish unlimited non-native species of fish from Yellowstone, as the park works to un-do damage done by previous fish stocking operations
  • Crank Baits are the most often used fishing technique in Yellowstone National Park
  • You can purchase either a Yearly, Week long, or Three day weekend pass for your fishing trip

Types of Fish in Yellowstone National Park

This is by no means an all inclusive list, but these are a few of the more abundant fish you will find in the park – Brook trout, Brown Trout, lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, Lake Chub

5. Jackson Hole

Jackson Hole Wyoming
Jackson Hole Wyoming

Mood for fishing in the shadow of several world class mountains? Jackson’s Hole, as called by mountain men, is the answer. It is a valley situated between the Teton Mountain Range and the Gros Ventre Range in Wyoming. It is home to glacier fed rivers and streams, covering an area of 55 miles Jackson hole has become a very popular tourist attraction anglers, hikers, and winter sports lovers! 

As far as the weather conditions of Jackson Hole are concerned, Winters are cold and snowy. It is an amazing ski destination, with the Jackson Hole mountain resort, Snow King mountain resort, and Grand Targhee resort all within a short drive of each other.  It is usually because of the mountain region that allows cold breezes. The mercury level gets as low as 5°F in January. Summers are generally warm and mild with average temperature measured to be around 80°F in July. 

Because of the mountain ranges and longer winters, Ice fishing is a very popular activity in the Jackson hole area. It is also known as a hotspot for ice fishing and a fishing paradise for anglers. Anglers love fishing here because of the extreme winters that offer ice fishing with all types of trout. 

Jackson Hole Fishing Tips

  • Lake Taneycomo is known around the globe for its Trout. Rainbow and Brown Trout can be caught on spinning tackle and micro jigs. These jigs range from 1/100 to 1/8 ounce in weight.
  • Ice fishing starts in mid January as the lakes being to freeze over and become safe to travel on
  • Fly fishing is best attempted in mid March to April before the spring runoff hits, and if you miss that window then head down after June when the runoff slows down and the rivers are crystal clear

Types of Fish in Jackson Hole

Brown Trout, Brook Trout, Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout

6. Grant Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park
Grand Teton National Park

Next on our list is another famous American National Park- Grand Teton National Park. Situated in northwestern Wyoming, this park offers a massive variety of different flora and fauna. Located a mere 10 miles south of Yellowstone National Park, don’t forego a trip here thinking it’s not worth it after visiting Yellowstone!. Grand Teton has made it to the bucket list of tourists for camping, hiking, fishing, recreation and mountaineering for good reason! 

Before you book your trip to Grand Teton, make sure you have an idea of the weather conditions there. Summers are warm and pleasant. July is the hottest month of the year with the temperature reaching around 80°F. Winters are cold and chilly due to the parks elevation and the wind that can rip off the mountain tops. January is said to be the coldest month of the year where mercury gets to as low as 14°F. For our money Mid May to late September are the best times of the year for fishing and other activities.

Fly and Ice fishing both are famous here. Grand Teton has many different lakes, some of the most popular being Jenny Lake, Jackson Lake, and Phelps Lake where anglers from worldwide flock to for trout fishing.

Grand Teton Fishing Tips

  • Fishing in Grand Teton National Park offers an all-round fishing year, making this location feast for the sore eyes. 
  • If we take the fishing techniques under consideration, artificial flies and lures are mostly used by anglers.
  • You can fish, catch, and take home a decent amount of fish – 6 trout per day in lakes and 3 trout per day in streams!
  • In Rivers and Streams you can only use artificial flies and lures – No live bait!
  • On Lakes in general you can use a few different types of dead, non-game fish as bait, check out the Grand Teton website for all the details! 

Types of Fish in Grand Teton National Park

Rainbow Trout, Mountain Whitefish, Arctic Grayling, Cutthroat Trout, Brown Trout

7. Firehole River

FIrehole River Wyoming

Getting its primary inflows from Madison River, Firehole River is another great fishing option in northwestern Wyoming. This river shares its connection with the Missouri River System. National Park Service has allotted this lake for fly fishing, and spring is the best time of the year to visit here. 

As far as the water in the Firehole River is concerned, the temperature can get and stay as high as 30 degrees, creating a unique ecosystem.  This is due to geothermal features from Yellowstone that feed the river.  The warm waters create many diverse insect hatcheries, which is why fly fishing is so popular as insects are abundant in the river! 

Fly Fishing is performed in the Firehole River more than any other type of fishing. Anglers love coming here in May to fish their favourites.

Firehole River Fishing Tips

  • For Firehole River (as with many fishing locations) the best time to fish is Spring and Fall. You can pack relatively light and have a great fishing adventure!
  • Crank Baits and Spinners are the best methods to lure fish in. Most Anglers suggest that it is better to fish from the shore 
  • Near the bottom of Firehole river, it disappears into a canyon that can offer some truly unique and beautiful fishing opportunities at the bottom!
  • Rainbow and Brown trout are catch and release only!  Up to five brook trout can be harvested per day
  • During summertime fishing may be shut down due to high water temperatures

Types of Fish in Firehole River

Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout

Cities To Stay In During Your Wyoming Fishing Trip

Casper, Wyoming

Located in the county of Natrona and the second-largest city in Wyoming, Casper Oregon is sometimes called the “The Oil City” due to the oil reserves it sits upon. It is situated in east-central Wyoming and the north end of North Platte River. Casper has many fantastic fishing spots, golf courses, baseball diamond, and hosts many concerts throughout the year. 

Ice fishermen congregate in Casper in the winter to head to the various lakes that surround the city.  Hotels are abundant in the town and you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a room.

Pinedale, Wyoming

Pinedale Oregon is a western town very famous among adventurous travellers. It is about 61 miles south of Jackson Hole and offers all types of recreational and fun activities. Pinedale is literally at the foot of all the amazing National Parks in Wyoming such as Shoshone, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone, making it the perfect gateway to your adventures!

Wrapping up the Best Fishing in Wyoming

We hope our article will help you narrow down where to head in Wyoming for your next trip.  It is a huge state and home to some of the most amazing national parks in the United States.  Whether you are fly fishing in June on a unique river that is piping hot from natural geysers, or ice fishing on top of a mountain lake in January, there is something in Wyoming for everyone!  Let us know below if you have a specific fishing spot in Wyoming you’d like us to add to the list!