by Kyle Jones, August 02, 2017
Starting August 1st, and continuing until the end of the month, we turn our attention to the mouth of the Columbia River near Astoria. Oregon. This is the famed Buoy 10 fishery! There is nothing quite like the pull of a 20+ pound Chinook ripping line out on a hell bent run back to the Pacific Ocean. To say that these fish are fresh is an understatement! The fish you hook up with most likely just came into the river from the big pond on the last incoming tide. This is an exciting fishery that is on many people’s bucket list, and is one of our most favorite fisheries of the entire year. Bring the family out for a vacation on the coast, while you sneak out for some of the finest salmon fishing in the world.
This is without a doubt the most publicized fishery in the Northwest, and arguably the single most anticipated fishery of the year. When you spend an August day chasing fresh Upriver Bright Fall Chinook, and Coho at the mouth of the Columbia River there is no doubt you are in a special place. The buzz and feeling you get just being in this historic area makes a trip worth it. Day trips to the Oregon side of the river take you to historic Astoria where there is a wealth of interesting activities and things to do. A visit to the Columbia River Maritime Museum is a must see. So too is the famous Astoria Column, restored in 2016 for it's 90th Anniversary. On the Washington side of the river is the fishing town of Ilwaco. Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and State Park, the Ilwaco Boardwalk, and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center await your exploration after a day of hot fishing.
We start our day of fishing out of the East Mooring Basin in Astoria, Oregon. From here we set out on the river to the best location for the days particular tides. This is a dynamic fishery as we are always changing locations to put you on the best locations for the specific periods of the tides. This is also a troll oriented fishery and we love to fish bait. Fresh herring and anchovies pulled behind a flasher is our number one rig.
Fishing Buoy 10 is all about being in the right place at the right time with the right tide. Your fishing will either be successful or very frustrating depending on the moves you make during the different points of the tide. The typical strategy for the day is to start closer to the ocean and the actual Buoy 10 at low tide and ride the incoming tide back upriver finishing upstream of the Astoria/Megler bridge at high tide.
Fishing the Buoy 10 line at low tide is an amazing sight in itself. Boats of all sizes and types line up facing into the tide as it travels in from the ocean. From 35 foot charter boats to 16 foot private boats, it's not unusual to be ten feet away from another boat as a natural "hog line" develops with everyone pointing into the tide. When it's "fish on" it can be crazy! As the tide weakens the river current takes over and boats begin to travel in the opposite direction.
An article on fishing Buoy 10 would not be complete without a strong word of caution for boaters. Conditions can change very rapidly here and create some very dangerous conditions, and without fail there always seems to be a few boats lost every year. The combination of a strong outgoing tide and a big west wind can make the river downright spooky. The calm lake like water you started the day on can become a very dangerous monster in only a few minutes if you are not paying attention. Always keep in mind how far, and what direction your port is, and always pay attention to the conditions. Those conditions include keeping a watchful eye on others as well. It's a crowded fishery at times so be mindful of those around you, both to avoid collisions and also to be of assistance if your fellow anglers run into trouble. If you've never fished Buoy 10 before it's not a bad idea to go out with a charter or guide to see what the fishery is all about first.
Stay safe and happy fishing!
Kyle Jones is a guide that fishes up and down the Columbia River. He fishes Buoy 10 every year. You can get more information at his web site, Kyle Jones Sportfishing