Depoe Bay salmon bake history

Learn more about a very unique and cultural tradition in Depoe Bay: The annual Salmon Bake in September!

For more than 60 years, Depoe Bay has held the Annual Indian-Style Salmon Bake in the fall and it’s an event filled with culture, heritage, and of course, deliciously cooked salmon. The salmon is cooked using alder stakes, a traditional method that’s been used by coastal tribes for generations, and the event uses about 350 of these six-foot stakes! Volunteers get up before sunrise to position the stakes and light the 80-foot fire that’ll slowly roast the thousands of pounds of salmon.

Besides the food, you’ll be able to watch traditional Native American dances, listen to music, and participate, and hopefully win some prizes, in the raffle.

Though this event draws a crowd of more than 1,000 people, its beginnings were a bit more humble. It’s based on the traditions of the Salishan family of Coastal Native American tribes who used small green saplings to hold their salmon as it roasted over open fires. In October of 1940, tribes of the Northwest held an “Indian Summer and Homecoming” event at what is now Boiler Bay State Park. An estimated 300 Indians gathered at the event to perform various tribal dances, display native attire, and hold a salmon barbecue. During this time, local restaurants also held regular free fish fries – dating back to the 1930s.

The official Depoe Bay Salmon Bake began in 1956 with residents participating in a fishing derby before the event. The 1956 event had about 600 attendees and was held in Depoe Bay State Park that year and each year after until 1972 when the crowd grew too large and it was moved to Fogarty Creek State Park. Back in 1972, tickets were only $1.75 per person! It’s been held in its current location, City Park, since 1993.

If you wish to attend this year’s Salmon Bake, on September 16, you’ll want to make reservations online for your dinner tickets. Attendance is free for the other events, but you will need a meal ticket for your salmon, coleslaw, garlic bread, and beverage. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Salmon Bake is put on each year by the Depoe Bay Chamber of Commerce and proceeds support the Chamber’s events and operations.

For more information, call the Chamber at 541-765-2889 or email

Be sure to plan ahead for the Salmon Bake by reserving a luxurious suite to relax in as you wait for all for your food to settle!


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