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5 Best Columbia River Fishing Reports (For Salmon and Steelhead)

5 Best Columbia River Fishing Reports (For Salmon and Steelhead)

Fishing reports are a precious source of information, especially for anglers who live far away from the water they want to target.

This is especially true for large river systems such as the Columbia River.

True, the Columbia has five major salmon runs, and several steelhead runs per year, and there are countless numbers of fish swimming upstream.

But let’s face it, if you’re fishing the river on the wrong day, the conditions simply aren’t great, or if sudden regulatory changes are being made, your fishing trip can quickly turn into a complete disaster!

Unless, of course, you’ve consulted an up-to-date Columbia River fishing report, that is!

And that’s where this helpful little article comes in.

I’ve spent many hours going through all the available online fishing reports for the Columbia River so that you can get all the information you need for your next salmon or steelhead adventure!

It wasn’t easy! Because, to my great surprise, there weren’t that many really informative and updated reports out there.

Nonetheless, I found five excellent sources that include super helpful and detailed information, saving you valuable time and helping you prepare for your next fishing trip.

Let’s check them out right now, shall we?

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Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

a salmon angler on the Columbia River with a big chinook
Courtesy of Lace Baumgartner

The WDFW’s Columbia River fishing report is undoubtedly one of the best sources out there!

They publish very detailed reports for both the mainstem and all of the Columbia’s main tribs every week and year-round, making it a great source of information.

The WDFW’s fishing reports include the following:

  • Up-to-date fishing regulations and emergency changes (very valuable info!)
  • number and catches of bank anglers
  • number of boats and rods and the total number of catches
  • boat and bank catches also include the number of kept and released fish

Furthermore, they have a report archive dating back to 2019, which is great for comparing catches year-to-year. 

This can make finding patterns and catch periods easier, helping you plan your trip!

The fact that the department also quickly publishes any type of regulatory changes (including closed sections, daily limits, minimum lengths, or catch and release fishing only) is precious if you ask me. 

They really try to cover as much as possible in every report!

Rating: 5/5 rods

PLEASE NOTE: As of Sept. 2, 2022, angling for, and retention of, all salmonids is prohibited from Buoy 10 upstream to Bonneville Dam. Retention of Chinook and coho is allowed from Bonneville Dam upstream to Hwy 395 Bridge.

The Columbian

The Outdoors section of The Columbian publishes surprisingly detailed fishing reports of the Columbia River.

Both salmon and steelhead catches are reported weekly, and all (open) sections of the mainstem Columbia River are covered.

The reports include the following:

  • number and catches of bank anglers
  • number of boats and rods and the total number of catches
  • boat catches also include the number of kept fish

The Columbian’s weekly fishing reports also cover a few of the Columbia River’s tributaries (most notably the Cowlitz River).

All in all, a decent fishing report! 

Rating: 4/5 rods

a group of clients fishing with a salmon charter on the Columbia River
Courtesy of

Fishing Booker doesn’t have the most detailed fishing reports, but they had the clever idea to have the local guides post updates and catch reports from their latest trips with their customers.

That information is, of course, highly valuable, as it comes directly from the source and is written by actual anglers that fish the river daily or weekly.

It must be said, though, that the reports are generally relatively short and aren’t published regularly.

However, they do tend to increase during peak seasons, and if you want fresh information directly from the river, Fishing Booker’s guide reports are worth checking out.

You can also contact the local guides if you want more detailed reports or information, which is a great plus.

You can even book them for a tour if you want to!

Rating: 4/5 rods

This is another source that publishes fishing reports directly from charters and guides.

Additionally, Washington Fish Reports also publishes the latest news from the Oregon and Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife.

The reports are pretty short and not very detailed, but they contain helpful information and images of catches and fishing spots.

You can also get in touch with the guides who publish their reports on the site.

I’ve talked to several of them myself. They are all very friendly and willing to give you tips!

Rating: 3/5 rods

RELATED READING: Most Reliable Fishing Reports for the Cowlitz River (for Steelhead and Salmon)

Northwest Fishing Facebook Group

a fly fisherman on the Columbia River holding a huge fall king salmon
Courtesy of Christiaan Ricci

This last fishing report isn’t published by a state department or fishing charter but by anglers like you and me!

Getting tips and advice from local and out-of-state anglers who know the river very well and/or have recently visited it can be very beneficial and enriching.

That’s precisely why I have chosen to include the Northwest Fishing Facebook group in this list of the 5 best Columbia River fishing reports.

You may not find regular fishing reports there, but you can be sure to discover actual catch reports, experiences, thoughts, and perhaps even a new fishing buddy!

I have seen plenty of super helpful and relevant posts about fishing the Columbia River on the group (after all, it has over 50k members).

And if you don’t find the information you’re after, you can always ask! The group is pretty active and friendly.

Rating: 3.5/5 rods

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