History of the 62nd Depoe Bay Salmon Bake

image of Depoe Bay salmon bake

For over 60 years Depoe Bay has hosted the Depoe Bay Salmon Bake. Filled with culture, rich heritage, and delicious salmon, this festival is a “must see” during your vacation. Learn more about the history of this fun festival and why you should make it a part of your trip to the Oregon Coast.

 

History

In the 1930’s this small coastal community held fish bakes/fish fries as an annual tradition. In 1934 Depoe Bay established another event, the fish derby. Over the years the traditions of the fish fry and fish derby were brought together in another event, that we now call the Salmon Bake.

In 1940, an event called the “Indian Summer and Homecoming” was held for the Indians of the Northwest at what is now Boiler Bay State Park. This event drew in 300 Indians, where they performed war dances, feather dances, and many other specialty acts. Considered a huge success, the town made plans for next year’s festivities.

The official Depoe Bay Salmon Bake began in 1956 with the local Chamber of Commerce sponsoring the first annual “Indian Style Salmon Bake.” The initial event drew in about 600 people with today’s event drawing in over 1,000 people. They baked the salmon based on the traditions of Salishan Family of Coastal Native American tribes who used small green saplings to hold the salmon together as the fish roasted over a fire pit. The fish cooked for about four hours over a 20-foot log fire. The same is done today on a much bigger and faster scale.

 

How it’s made

The salmon is baked using stakes made of alder wood. Months before the event even takes place, volunteers head to the woods to cut 350 six-foot steaks of alder wood. Before sunrise, on the morning of the event, an 80-foot line of fire is lit with thousands of pounds of salmon fillets placed on alder stakes and held together by cedar strips.

Each salmon is cooked about 20 minutes on each side before it is served as an 8-ounce steak.

Visitors can tour the fire line and the “fish-off” stations, where volunteers box up the salmon to be sent across the creek to the dining area at Depoe Bay City Park.

This is a flavor, unlike anything you will taste in a restaurant. Patrons can enjoy the smoked salmon with a side of coleslaw, garlic bread, and a drink.

 

Activities

Throughout the festival, visitors will hear Native American music and watch performances by native tribal dancers. There will also be a raffle with a thousand dollars’ worth of exciting prizes including whale-watching excursions, restaurants, fishing charters, and more.

Admission to the Indian-Style Salmon Bake is free but meal tickets must be purchased. Due to limited availability, meal tickets are suggested to be purchased ahead of time.

For further information regarding the Depoe Bay Salmon Bake please contact the Depoe Bay Chamber of Commerce, at 541-765-2889 or by email at DepoeBayChamber@gmail.com.

 

Where to stay

image of Spouting Horn Room at Channel House
Spouting Horn Room at Channel House

The Depoe Bay Salmon Bake takes place at the Depoe Bay City Park, which is a short 10-minute walk from the Channel House. Enjoy luxurious accommodations nestled on the Oregon Coast with suites and rooms with a view and in walking distance to many activities in Depoe Bay.

Check our availability today and book your stay with us for the Depoe Bay Salmon Bake!

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