Buoy 10 is a world-renowned salmon fishery that attracts anglers from all corners of the globe, eager to test their skills at the mouth of the mighty Columbia River. This time of year there is a dramatic increase in salmon numbers as they journey from the ocean to their spawning grounds, this fishery promises an unforgettable experience. While Buoy 10 is primarily known for conventional tackle fishing, success on the fly is entirely possible, and we're here to tell you how.
Early August presents its challenges, with an abundance of chinook salmon in deeper waters. However, as the summer progresses, the coho fishing becomes nothing short of phenomenal. One of the most thrilling ways to fish at Buoy 10 is wading out and casting off the beaches of Sand Island. Despite being on the Washington state side of the river, these beaches are technically in Oregon, so ensure you have the appropriate license. The incoming salmon hug the shoreline, offering fly anglers an excellent opportunity to target them up close. It's not uncommon to witness salmon chasing the fly right up to the beach, akin to Puget Sound coho fishing on steroids. Tides play a crucial role in this fishery, just as in any saltwater fishery, with Baker Bay providing a safe haven against the current. Salmon often follow the tide to optimize their journey upstream, so we recommend fishing different sections of the bay and the island depending on the tidal movement.
Another approach to fishing Buoy 10 is from a small boat or kayak, granting access to otherwise challenging-to-reach areas and allowing exploration of different river sections. Drifting along the edges of the islands in Baker Bay and casting towards the shoreline can yield exciting results. Always be mindful of the river's currents and tidal changes for your safety during your fishing expedition.
When it comes to fly selection, peach or chartreuse colored flies have proven to be effective in these waters, especially enticing coho salmon. Your presentation and retrieve speed are critical, with a go, go, go retrieve often being the preferred method. While you may not outstrip a determined salmon, unlike in the river, stopping your retrieve can make them lose interest. If you run out of room during a chase, simply recast and keep stripping.
For success at Buoy 10, a well-matched fly fishing setup is crucial. An 8wt rod provides the necessary backbone to handle the robust salmon species found here. Depending on the water depth and currents, a floating line or a sink-tip line can be handy, with the sink-tip offering versatility to cover various water depths effectively. Use a Maxima 20lb leader to withstand the salmon's powerful runs and avoid potential break-offs during the fight.
Fly fishing at Buoy 10 on the mouth of the Columbia River is undoubtedly challenging, but it offers a truly special reward for anglers seeking an adrenaline-pumping experience with magnificent Pacific salmon. Whether you choose to fish from the beaches, a small boat, or a kayak, the thrill of hooking into a chinook or coho is unmatched. So, grab your gear, embrace the challenge, and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime at Buoy 10!