Fly Fishing The Wilson River In Oregon
The Wilson River originates in the Coast Mountain
Range and flows for about 33 miles into Tillamook Bay.  
The Wilson River is formed from the confluence of
Devil's Lake Fork and South Fork. Like the Trask River,
it runs through the Tillamook State Forest. Fly fishing
the Wilson River varies greatly depending on the
species of fish and time of the year.

The Wilson River has both a wild steelhead and a
hatchery raised steelhead run. Chinook and Coho
Salmon are both present in the river at certain times of
the year. Native and sea-run cutthroat trout are also fish
that are very popular for fly anglers.

Hatchery steelhead return in late November. The fishing
remains good for them through January. The wild
steelhead fishing is good through March. Fly fishing the
Wilson River for either wild and hatchery steelhead can
provide a lot of fun.

Access for fly fishing the Wilson River is easy. It parallels
Oregon's Highway #6 from the headwaters of the
Oregon Coast Range to Tillamook near the confluence
of the Wilson River and the Bay.

The river is open for fin-clipped steelhead up to the
South Fork all year. The summer run fish usually show
up by May or June. Fishing is usually very good for a
couple of months but it does slow down with lower and
warmer water levels.  

When most anglers are turning their attention to fall
salmon, steelheading picks back up with rain and cooler
weather arrives in late September or October, especially
in the upper reaches.

You can fish Wilson River from a drift boat or from the
bank. It is better fished from a drift boat for most of the
species you can catch..The lower section of the river is
the most popular section for drift boats. The water is
easy to navigate and has plenty of excellent holding
water with nice pools and runs. Access is very plentiful
for both bank and boating anglers.

The upper Wilson River flows through steep, brushy
canyons but it can be accessed by those willing to do a
little hiking. Most of the upper section isn't fished. All of
the Wilson tributaries above the confluence of the South
Fork of the Wilson near Elk Creek Campground is
closed to fishing.

Be sure you check the current fishing rules and
regulations. They vary greatly depending on the species
and season of the year and are subject to change at
any time.

The season is year-round but species dependent
Steelhead fishing peaks during the Winter months.
Chinook Salmon move into the river starting in April and
last into June.
Some sea-run cutthroat trout move into the river starting
in July and last into October.
The Fall run of Chinook Salmon starts in October and
last into November. Coho Salmon also appear in

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Flies
Copyright 2016 James Marsh
Type of Stream

Steelhead (Wild and Hatchery)
Chinook Salmon
Native Cutthroat Trout
Sea-run Cutthroat Trout
Coho Salmon (catch and release)
Chum Salmon (catch and release)

Medium, 33 miles long

Middle Coastal Oregon

Nearest Towns

Year-round, species dependent


Non-Resident License
State of Oregon

National Weather Service

Fly Fishing Gear, Tackle and Flies

USGS Stream Flow Data:
Wilson Near Tillamook
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