Spring chinook salmon, which sometimes exceed 30 pounds and are renowned as an unrivaled dining treat, offer prime fishing in Coos Bay . However, their population levels and fishing rules vary from year to year. Mid-August–November, Isthmus Slough sees a good return of fin-clipped hatchery cohos.
In saltwater, chinook and coho are usually found in good numbers within a one- to two-mile radius of the mouth of Coos Bay May–September, although the legal season varies; carefully check the regulations. Remnant striped bass are still occasionally caught in Coos Bay’s sloughs and upper tidewater, but their numbers are diminishing.
Coos Bay is also one of the premier areas for crabbing and clamming. The Charleston Fishing Pier is a productive spot for crabs, while the best clamming spots are found along the bay side of the North Spit.
Fishing charters, bay cruises, whale-watching, and the like can be arranged through a number of charter outfits based at the Charleston Boat Basin. Betty Kay Charters (541/888-9021 or 800/752-6303, www.bettykaycharters.com ) charges typical per-person prices: $62 for five hours of rock fishing; $82 for five hours of salmon fishing; $170 for 12 hours of tuna or halibut fishing; and $30 for a bay cruise, whale-watching, or eco-tour.