Spring Fishing in the West Coast

By Andy Whitcomb

May 10, 2023

The West Coast is a massive fishery with tremendous opportunities in both freshwater and saltwater. The first step in preparing to fish the west coast in spring is to conduct some online research regarding your target species. Here’s why.

The West Coast states, California, Oregon, and Washington, offer some outstanding fishing opportunities for everything from salmon to catfish. Spring fishing on the West Coast, both saltwater and freshwater, is greatly anticipated due to the warming water, changing fish activity, and increased feeding.


Due to the wide range of fishing possibilities in this region, the first step is to spend some time looking up specific information on a state’s fishing website. Not only will you find fishing license options, but there will be important regulations, both marine and freshwater, that frequently change and can be very specific, such as even addressing spring fishing gear. For example, if you want to know the season of a saltwater fish such as halibut when spring fishing in Oregon, be aware that although the season starts early May, it will close once a harvest quota is achieved. The depth and thus location for halibut fishing also is dictated by these rules when spring fishing in Oregon.


If spring fishing in Washington, not only are there halibut offshore but there is a chance to catch other bottom fish that may be overlooked such as lingcod and rockfish. By searching online, you can locate valuable information such as creel reports, where one can gauge the fishing activity and learn detailed facts about what fish are being caught, when, where, how many, and even the number of anglers.


Spring fishing techniques often reflect a change in fish feeding activity and a willingness to chase lures. Spring fishing lures generally can be worked faster than in cold water, however many spring fishing tips may include a slower presentation such as with soft plastics because the fish are actively seeking prey, rather than just resting in their more sluggish winter state. Be ready to pivot techniques and presentations.


It is important to do your homework and research online for the specific type of fish you want to catch along the West Coast. For example, some fish harvest seasons are opening in the spring, but others are closing. Plus, there are regulations on size restrictions, daily limits, and tackle restrictions. Even if you practice catch and release, there are areas where fishing is closed to protect spawning activity. Although there is a great amount of information to sort through regarding spring fishing on the West Coast, the tremendous opportunities in this vast fishery will make it worthwhile.

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer (http://www.justkeepreeling.com/) and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to takemefishing.org since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.