The Nehalem River is one of the most productive river systems in Oregon. It supports strong runs of Chinook, Coho Salmon and Steelhead. In fact, the Nehalem has the only run of wild summer Chinook Salmon found between British Columbia and Mexico.
The main stream of the river (South Fork) is designated as a “wild fish only” river and as such, it has no hatchery or stocking program. The North Fork supports a state run hatchery that stocks both Coho and Steelhead as well as producing trout for stocking local lakes and ponds.
Good fishing is available almost on a year round basis. During January-April, both forks of the river hold good numbers of Steelhead. Sturgeon are available in the lower river during the winter and spring months. The first Chinook begin to show up in June and remain available through November. Abundant Coho start their spawning migration with the first rains in September and are caught through November. Sea Run Cutthroat Trout provide good fly fishing opportunities in the July-October months.
Most of the fishing in the lower Nehalem River and Nehalem Bay is done from small boats and there are good launch facilities in downtown Wheeler as well as at the county launch on Highway101 just north of Wheeler and at Nehalem Bay state park.
Boats can be rented at the Wheeler Marina. Jim, the owner, sells fishing licenses, bait and can provide updated information on local fishing. Trailering your own boat, rent from Pat and Tracie at Wheeler on the Bay and moor your boat at their dock, steps from your room.