Salmon Fishing Near Gresham, Oregon

Salmon Fishing Near Gresham, Oregon

Gresham, Oregon, located in the shadow of the Cascade Range, is a pivotal area for salmon fishing, with the Columbia and Sandy Rivers providing fertile grounds for various salmon species. This essay embarks on a detailed exploration of salmon fishing near Gresham, covering the effective techniques, optimal seasons, and notable locales for angling.

Salmon Species and Seasonal Timing

The region's rivers are frequented by several salmon species, notably Chinook (King) and Coho (Silver), with distinct seasonal migrations:

  • Chinook Salmon: Known for their size and strength, Chinook have spring and fall runs. The spring run (March to June) is smaller but yields larger, fattier fish. The fall run (August to October) is more abundant, attracting a multitude of anglers.
  • Coho Salmon: These energetic fighters arrive later, with runs peaking in late fall (September to November), offering exciting fishing experiences as the weather cools.

Prime Fishing Spots Near Gresham

  • The Columbia River: As one of North America's largest river systems, it offers extensive opportunities for salmon fishing. Spots like Rooster Rock State Park and the mouth of the Sandy River are prime locations for both boat and bank fishing.
  • The Sandy River: Particularly from Oxbow Park to Dabney State Recreation Area, this river provides excellent habitats for salmon, especially Coho in the fall, and is accessible for both fly fishing and conventional angling.

Fishing Techniques for Salmon

  • Trolling: In the Columbia River, trolling with flashers and bait or lures is a prevalent method, especially effective for Chinook during their migratory runs.
  • Fly Fishing: On the Sandy River, fly anglers can find success targeting salmon with large, brightly colored flies, especially during the less crowded fall Coho run.
  • Drift Fishing: Both rivers are suited for drift fishing, where anglers cast upstream and allow their bait or lure to drift down naturally, appealing to the salmon's predatory instincts.
  • Plunking: A popular technique on the Columbia, plunking involves casting baited lines into the river and waiting for salmon to bite, particularly effective in high-traffic migration paths.

Seasonal Considerations and Strategies

  • Spring and Early Summer: Targeting spring Chinook in the Columbia River can yield substantial catches. Techniques like trolling with herring or anchovies near river mouths and channels are effective.
  • Late Summer and Fall: As Coho and fall Chinook runs peak, anglers can switch to more aggressive tactics, such as using brighter lures and baits to attract the more active fish.
  • Winter: While salmon fishing slows down, late-run Coho can still be found in the Sandy River, offering a quieter yet rewarding fishing experience.

Conservation and Regulation

Responsible fishing practices are crucial for maintaining sustainable salmon populations. Adherence to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s regulations on bag limits, season dates, and gear restrictions is necessary to ensure the health of salmon stocks. Catch and release, especially for wild salmon, is encouraged to preserve the species for future generations.


Salmon fishing near Gresham, Oregon, encapsulates the essence of Pacific Northwest angling, offering a blend of challenging and rewarding experiences set against a backdrop of stunning natural beauty. With the right techniques, timing, and respect for the environment, anglers can partake in this storied tradition, pursuing the mighty salmon in the region's bountiful rivers. This pursuit not only connects fishermen with the rich aquatic life of the area but also instills a deeper appreciation for the delicate balance of its ecosystems.

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