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Early Fall Chinook Salmon Fishing
on the Coquille, Coos & Umpqua Rivers
August 15 through
November 1
$400 for two people, $175 for each additional person
Boat used:
24' North River
with canopy
sweet.jpg (128404 bytes)

Videos: Early fall salmon fishing on the Umpqua River: #1 (2011, 15mb), #2 (2006, 22mb), #3 (31mb), #4 (57mb),


The Chinook fishing on the Coquille River begins in late July. The Coquille River has an early run of Chinook and a few of these fish will stay in the lower tidal areas through July and mid August. The river has a tidal reach of forty-four miles. If there is an early warm-up in the river from lack of late spring rain, these early fish will stay in the ocean tidal mix till they have the urge to migrate upstream to spawn in late August and early September.  The run can be pictured as on a bell curve. It continues to improve with larger numbers of fish through August and reaching its peak around the third week of September. Large numbers of Chinook are usually harvested through the third week of October. By the middle of November the river is unfishable due to heavy river runoff. The Coquille River has four main forks, the South Fork, the North Fork, the East Fork, and the Middle Fork. With this available spawning habitat the ODFW estimates the adult run at 15,000 on a good year.

There are three main zones that are fished for these fall Chinook. The first is the lower tidal zone. This is the area that I fish predominantly. In this area the fish are on the day's tide or are in the process of acclimating from the ocean to the fresh river water. The method of fishing is trolling with cut plug herring. At high tide the salmon are on an increased bite activity due to the cooling of the water temperature from the incoming ocean tide. The fish are most active at high slack tide.

The next is the mid river zone. This area is from Riverton to above the town of Coquille. This area usually has large numbers of fish stacking up from the beginning of September and stays good till the river goes out of shape in early November. The predominate method of fishing here is troll fishing with spinners or kwickfish. The water is usually fresh and the fish are a few days from the ocean and don't bite herring as well as in the lower river.

The third is the upper tidal zone. This area is around the Arago boat ramp to above Myrtle Point. These fish are staging for the first rain and are easy targets for bobber and egg fishing. Most of these fish will show spawning colors and will have to be sorted for quality if harvested.

phone 541-347-3280 cell 541-740-4986

Copyright © 2011 Rick Howard. Created September 1999, Stan Sweet.