Best fishing bets for beating the heat

Photo Credit: Courtesy of ODFW

by OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

The summer heat can make fishing tough in places. But if you’re flexible about where you fish and what you fish for, there is still plenty of opportunity:


  • Target lakes and reservoirs at higher elevations where the water stays cooler – think Fish Lake, Fourmile Lake, Timothy Lake, Harriet Lake, Lost Lake (Mt, Hood), Laurance Lake, Antelope Flat Reservoir, Anthony Lake and Grande Ronde Lake.
  • Oregon’s hike-in lakes stay cool during the summer and can offer good fishing until the snow flies. Learn more about how to find and fish these lakes.
  • Almost all coastal rivers and streams have resident populations of cutthroat trout. Fishing will be best in the upper reaches where streamside vegetation shades both the water and the angler.


  • Summer steelhead fishing is picking up on the Nestucca, Siletz and Wilson rivers. Water levels are low to use light lines and small lures, and be stealthy.
  • Anglers are catching Chinook in the Nestucca and Rogue river bays.
  • A few summer steelhead and half-pounders have arrived on the Rogue.

Bass and warmwater

  • On north and mid-coast lakes, Anglers should turn their attention from trout to warmwater fish, where the season is in full swing.
  • Smallmouth bass fishing has been excellent on the South Umpqua and Coquille rivers. 
  • Lost Creek, Lake Selmac and Lake of the Woods all have good warmwater fishing.
  • Even little Taylor Lake near The Dalles puts out some surprisingly big largemouth bass.

Ocean fishing

  • Ocean salmon fishing is open and anglers have been doing well, when ocean conditions permit.
  • This is an excellent time of year for bottomfishing.

You’ll find more “best bet” fishing opportunities listed at the top of each zone in the Recreation Report.

This week on the ODFW’s Beaver State podcast

Scott Haugen, well-known outdoor writer, talks about changes to the outdoor industry and the media that covers it. Find all episodes here.

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The start of the season is delayed due to concerns over the run size. But when anglers do hit the water in mid-August, they’ll be in the midst of what is traditionally the peak of the Chinook run.

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