Coastal fishing is a relaxing way to enjoy the cool offshore breezes, and even escape a bit of the fog or wind that sometimes envelope the coastline. It’s also a great way to spend a relaxing day outdoors with the family. Don’t know a rod from a reel? The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has you covered with a series of Family Fishing Events from spring to fall, each featuring hands-on instruction along with loaner gear and bait. Click here for a full schedule.

Even if you’re a novice, don’t be afraid to strike out on your own. Freshwater fishing is fairly low-key, which means you can get started with minimal equipment and fuss. Dozens of dune lakes sprinkled along the Oregon Coast are stocked with plump rainbow trout, as well as homegrown largemouth bass, yellow perch, crappie and brown bullhead. You might even reel in the occasional salmon. Note that fishing licenses are required for anglers 14 and older;  apply online.

Here are a few tried-and-true favorite central Coast fishing spots to cast your line:

  • Cleawox Lake is an 82-acre lake located within Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park just south of Florence. A new fishing dock was recently installed, and there is good bank fishing around much of the lake.
  • Olalla Reservoir, near Toledo, is often rewarding as it’s stocked regularly with rainbow trout. Excess hatchery steelhead are sometimes released here too, so you never know what you might reel in. Fish from the bank or from your own boat.
  • Big Creek Reservoir is another popular and productive spot just outside of Newport.
  • Alder, Buck and Dune lakes, three small lakes just north of Oregon Dune National Recreation Area, are swimming with stocked trout. Bank access and many nearby attractions and activities make them a great family destination. Why not stay the night and fry up your catch? A campground/day use area between Alder and Dune lakes has amenities and lake access. At more than 3,000 acres,
  • Siltcoos Lake near Florence is the largest coastal lake in the state. Rent everything from rods and life jackets to paddle boats and motorized fishing boats at boat ramps and resorts around the lake. Largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill and rainbow trout are all there for the taking.

Find family fishing tips and techniques, along with guides for fishing spots along the Oregon Coast in the DFW’s Easy Angling Guide.

Photo of Cleawox Lake by Larry Andreasen