In May, as the sun makes itself more at home across Oregon, it’s the time of year to head outdoors for on-the-water adventures.

If there’s a more exciting fishing moment than hooking and fighting a chrome bright chinook salmon fresh from the sea, I surely don’t know what it could be. That’s especially true on Tillamook Bay where an early morning May flood tides brings a rush of spring chinook – fresh from the ocean – in a rush up the estuary where anglers wait – with baited lines. The fish are special and what many call Oregon’s ‘premier’ salmon. The salmon are prized for their high oil content and rich, buttery taste.

On a recent Saturday morning, over 400 volunteers showed huge heart and commitment to help Oregon’s all volunteer fish hatchery called “Whiskey Creek.” Located in southern Tillamook County and hugging the shoreline at Netarts Bay, the Whiskey Creek Salmon Hatchery raises more than a quarter million Spring and Fall Chinook salmon each year.

The Tillamook Anglers Association has owned and managed the hatchery since the late 1980’s. Memberships and donations keep the operation afloat while the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife supplies the fish.

Whiskey Creek Hatchery is two miles from one of Oregon’s finest parklands: Cape Lookout State Park, where there is always something new to do. You may enjoy a beachside stroll or an overnight campout in a yurt or take a hike to the end of Cape Lookout where – this time of year – the gray whale migration north to the Bering Sea is at its peak.

Whiskey Creek Hatchery is on Netarts Bay. Drive to Tillamook and follow the signs to Cape Lookout State Park. The hatchery is two miles north of the park. More information is available from Jerry Dove at 503-812-1572.

about author Grant McOmie

Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.


In this Grant’s Getaway

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These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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  1. Dylan Olson says…

    I will like to help you with the hatchery. And the address and a phone number. thanks

    Written on June 23rd, 2013 / Flag this Comment
  2. Jerry Dove says…

    Fin clipping this year is, as always on the second Saturday of April,April 11th.2015. For more info email or call 503-812-1572

    Written on March 7th, 2015 / Flag this Comment
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