top of page

The Angle: Are the Summer Steelhead Back?

By Lucas Holmgren

The Angle: Are the Summer Steelhead Back?

Driving over the I5 bridge between Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon, during certain times of the year you’re likely to see boats, and lots of them. Freight, recreational and fishing vessels will navigate the large Lower Columbia River as it moves from the Pacific Coast inland and on up into its headwaters in Canada. For the fishermen below Bonneville Dam, the tide affects the fishing and water height all the way past Washougal, into the Columbia Gorge.
Due to the multitude of tributary rivers feeding into the Columbia, a diverse range of Salmon & Steelhead species makes for year-round migration in and out of the river. Summer time is popular for all sorts of water-sports, but bank anglers and boat anglers try their luck any time the season is open. This year, due to much improved returning Adult Summer Steelhead numbers, the season is like years past, instead of closures and reduced limits. Chinook Salmon fishing has been productive and steady, while Sockeye Salmon are a relatively new and popular fishery. This trend continues into the fall, when Chinook & Coho arrive in large numbers.
The multi-fish opportunity of this massive river that borders Oregon and Washington draws some of the largest numbers of anglers of any place in the world. Although certain areas may feel like bumper-boats, there is always a place on the Columbia to get away from the crowds and still find fish.
Salmon and Steelhead are usually steadily on the move in the tidewater of the Columbia. Although they may spread out, there are certain “travel lanes” that will produce fish, and certain areas they avoid completely. Popular spots may produce Salmon, but crafty anglers continue to find or rediscover spots that haven’t been fished at all.
Even when Salmon are in abundance, that doesn’t mean they are easy for everyone to catch. Resources like “Salmon Trout Steelheader” and “Addicted Fishing” provide an incredible amount of information that thousands of anglers have used to learn from scratch. However, for those who haven’t fished before - time on the water with an experienced angler friend will give a major leg up. Columbia River fishing is excellent and looks like it will continue to be throughout the rest of the summer!

bottom of page