Oregon’s Trask River Springers Hitting Stride

By Big Dave Manners | 05/27/2013

While our springer season on the Oregon Coast started out a little slow due to lack of rain and low/clear water levels salmon are now being caught in Tillamook Bay and the coastal streams. Thanks to a blast of rain last week, more and more springers are moving into our systems.

A few weeks ago hot weather, super low water conditions and a late run of salmon didn’t provide much excitement around here. Last year, I was catching springers in late April, but it didn’t turn on till mid May this year. Fortunately, the last week they’ve been steadily coming in and we are now getting them in Tillamook Bay; the tidewaters and in the river. They are spread throughout the system now.


We have a strong fall salmon run, but springers are the most sought after Chinook in North America. It’s the best eating salmon there is, but it can be the most challenging of any salmon you’ll ever catch. I’ve been guiding full time for 15 years and literally have caught thousands of salmon, but to this day every springer I get in the net makes my knees shake. I still get excited with every fish because they are the toughest Chinook to catch.

None of the rivers in this area get a lot of springers, but the Trask gets the most. Keep in mind, this is nothing like fall salmon around here. We don’t have those numbers and springers tend to go on and off the bite quicker than our fall Chinook. You can be in one hole one day and catch five fish and get nothing in the same hole the next day. They are unpredictable. They move very fast. They can be in Tillamook Bay and the next day in the hatchery.


I fish springers on the Trask from early May through mid June, sometimes longer. It’ll go at least through June 15. These Trask fish are much different than a Columbia and Willamette fish. Our fish are larger. Everything you catch from now through mid June is going to be chrome, bright footballs. They are the most sought after fish on the planet.


Most people in the bay are trolling cut plug herring. In the upper bay (Memaloose), the most popular thing to do is to troll spinners, however. The tidewaters have also been producing some spring Chinook salmon. Tactics vary from throwing spinners, back bouncing and bobber and jig. The most popular is definitely bobber and eggs with sand shrimp. I find that I go to a smaller leader when bobber fishing and a smaller bait than what I would use for Fall Chinook.


Fishing Tidewater:

The best bite is on the outgoing, but any tide change will produce. There’s more tactics you can use for springers than fall Chinook. Meanwhile, my No. 1 thing to do right now is back bounce and bobber fish with eggs and sand shrimp. On all the eggs I fish, I’ve been using a 24-hour soak in natural FireBrine and then curing them in red BorX O Fire. Not many people probably do this, but during the Fire Brine soak I’ve been throwing a little bit of FireCure and BorX O Fire in it, too. Having good bait is a must.


To learn more about Big Dave’s Trask River springer trips please visit bigdavesfishing.com