Winchester Bay and the tidewater reaches of the lower Umpqua River comprise Oregon’s top coastal sturgeon fishery and one of the best areas for striped bass, particularly near the mouth of the Smith River, which enters the Umpqua just east of Reedsport. The best action for the Umpqua’s spring chinook tends to be inland, below Scottsburg. Fall chinook enter the bay July–September.
Other notable fisheries here are the huge runs of shad, which peak May–June, and smallmouth bass offer action upstream from Reedsport. Crabbing and clamming are also popular and productive pastimes in Winchester Bay and the lower reaches of the river. Every year August 1–mid-September, tagged crabs are released into the water in and around Winchester Bay, one of them worth a cash prize of $5,000 to whomever catches it.
Fishing charter services operating in the area include: Salmon Harbor (541/271-2010, www.salmonharborcharterfishing.com); Strike Zone Charters (541/271-9706 or 800/230-5350, www.strikezonecharters.com); and River’s End Guide Service (541/271-3125, www.umpquafishing.com).
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel