Fly fishing in Oregon offers an idyllic experience for anglers. There are miles of untouched natural scenery, thriving fisheries and plentiful opportunities to cast a line in the lakes, rivers, and streams throughout the state and along the coast.
While trout fishing is a big draw to Oregon, you can also seek out bass, steelhead and other species while experiencing the state’s diverse landscape at the same time. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife offers fly-fishing workshops throughout the year that enable you to borrow the gear and learn important techniques through hands-on learning with a professional before you set out on your own.
Before you pack your suitcase and fly rod be sure to obtain a valid Oregon fishing license and review these tips to help make your day on the water a success.
1. Where is the Best Fly Fishing in Oregon?
This is a common question from anglers heading to a destination like Oregon with so many fly-fishing opportunities. Your decisions about where to enjoy fly-fishing in Oregon will depend on the kinds of species you want to catch and the outdoor experiences you prefer.
There are diverse ecosystems throughout the state, from high mountain streams and lakes to arid desert and tidal rivers. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife divides the state into nine geographic fishing zones so that is a great place to start your research.
2. Species and Time of Year
Many of the rivers in Oregon are open to trout fishing year-round. Rainbow/redband trout are available to catch in many rivers every month of the year. Hundreds of lakes throughout the state are stocked from the early spring through mid-summer.
Fly fishing for bass is popular in the summer months, and steelhead from late summer to late winter. You can visit some of the fly-fishing shops in Oregon for current information about what hatches are going on and find out local fishing tips.
3. Best Fly-Fishing Lakes in Oregon
There are thousands of lakes to choose from but some of the best fly-fishing lakes in Oregon are ones that are restricted to fly fishing only.
Davis Lake in central Oregon is rich with insects and has a reputation for its large rainbow trout and largemouth bass population. Trillium Lake, on the slopes of Mt. Hood, has stocked rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout to go along with pristine mountain views. Gold Lake in the Willamette National Forest is stocked with rainbow trout and has a healthy population of non-native brook trout.
These lakes do not allow motorized boats, making the fly-fishing experience more serene. Anglers that want to sprinkle in a bit more adventure can hike to hundreds of remote high mountain lakes in the Cascade Mountain that are stocked with rainbow, cutthroat, and brook trout.
4. Best Fly-Fishing Rivers in Oregon
Some of the best fly-fishing rivers in Oregon are the Lower Deschutes River, Crooked River, Metolius River, and Fall River. These rivers are part of the Deschutes River Basin and offer a variety of angling opportunities.
The Lower Deschutes is world renowned for steelhead fishing and redband trout, especially during the salmon fly hatch that occurs around late spring and early summer. The Crooked River, just upstream, offers rugged canyon landscape and plenty of trout and whitefish with many public access points.
The Metolius River is idyllic. It is spring fed with cold and clear water and beautiful natural scenery. The Fall River that runs through the forest has a large population of non-native brown trout and native redband. During the summer, the John Day River provides some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the west. In most of the coastal rivers, anglers can target coastal cutthroat trout throughout the summer.
5. Know the Regulations
Oregon has several regulations in place to help stop the spread of aquatic invasive species. Boat inspection stations operate all along Oregon’s points of entry and aquatic invasive species permits are required for non-resident boaters.
When you are fishing at locations like the Deschutes and John Day River and other Wild and Scenic areas, be sure to check if boater passes are required. Knowing the fishing regulations in Oregon as you plan your angling adventure is important.