Bait Fishing from the Bank for Chinook Salmon

“Where are the fish, though? In the sea they say, in the boats we pray," said Dan, quoting a fisherman's proverb.” ― Rudyard Kipling, Captains Courageous


Nehalem Bay is a prime location for salmon fishing, especially Chinook salmon, and bank fishing can be a productive and rewarding way to catch these fish. With the right gear, bait, and techniques, you can increase your chances of catching a Chinook salmon from the bank of Nehalem Bay.

Bait Selection

When it comes to bait, fresh is best. Use fresh bait that matches the type of food Chinook salmon feed on, such as herring, anchovies, sand shrimp, or squid. If you're using bait that's been frozen, make sure it's still in good condition and hasn't been freezer burned.

Gear Selection

For bank fishing in Nehalem Bay, a medium to heavy action rod with a fast action tip is recommended. Pair the rod with a reel that has a high line capacity and a smooth drag system. A braided line with a 30-40 pound test is ideal for Chinook salmon fishing. Use a swivel to attach a leader of 20-30 pound test line, with a hook size ranging from 2/0 to 5/0 depending on the size of the bait.

Multiple Tackle Options

Using multiple hooks on a leader can increase your chances of hooking a salmon. A popular setup is a 3-way swivel with one line attached to the weight, another to the leader, and a third line with a slider and hook for a second bait. Another option is a herring rig, which consists of a lead weight, swivel, and two hooks. One hook is inserted into the herring's mouth and the other into its back.

Times of Day to Fish

Chinook salmon are most active during low light conditions, such as early morning and late evening. However, they can be caught throughout the day, especially during the incoming tide.

Tide Conditions

Tide conditions can greatly affect your chances of catching a Chinook salmon. A high tide is typically best, as it brings in fresh water and baitfish. When the tide is rising, Chinook salmon move closer to shore, making them more accessible to bank anglers.

Best Time of Year to Fish

Chinook salmon run in Nehalem Bay from late August through November. The peak of the run is typically in September and October. During this time, the fish are in their prime condition and are actively feeding before spawning. Fishing can be particularly good during the later part of September and into October when the Chinook salmon are in the bay.


With the right gear, bait, and techniques, bank fishing for Chinook salmon in Nehalem Bay can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Remember to use fresh bait, choose the right gear, and fish during the right times of day and tide conditions. Follow these tips, and you'll be well on your way to catching a Chinook salmon from the bank of Nehalem Bay.