Among Oregon anglers, Tillamook County is known for its steelhead and salmon. Motorists along U.S. 101 can tell the fall chinook run has arrived when fishing boats cluster outside the Tillamook Bay entrance at Garibaldi.
As the season wears on, the fish—affectionately called “hogs” because they sometimes weigh in at more than 50 pounds—make their way inland up the five coastal rivers—the Trask, Wilson, Tillamook, Kilchis, and Miami—that flow into Tillamook Bay.
At their peak, the runs create such competition for favorite holes that the process of sparring for them is jocularly referred to as “combat fishing,” as fishing boats anchor up gunwale to gunwale to form a fish-stopping palisade called a “hogline.” Smokehouses and gas stations dot the outer reaches of the bay to cater to this fall influx.
The Guide Shop Inc. (12140 Wilson River Hwy., Tillamook, 503/842-3474, www.guideshop.com) can arrange for a full day of fishing for chinook and silver salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, or trout; rates are about $150 per person for one to four anglers.
Nearby Garibaldi is home base for several charter operations.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel