Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Oregon & Washington
Oregon Fishing Update
Willamette Valley/Metro – Although the Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show will take front and center next week, steelhead fishing on the metro rivers is heating up. It’s peak season time for the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers, and it will only get better into February.
Sandy River anglers seem to still be faring the best, with good fishing reported from Cedar Creek to Oxbow Park. Jeff Stoeger reports, “Some fish are being recycled, but sea lion predation remains a factor on this river. River levels are expected to continue to drop, making for an ideal weekend for prime time steelheading. Anglers should drop down the size of their offerings as waters drop and clear and hardware should become more effective as fish slow their migration when flows recede.”
Clackamas River steelheaders should be coming into their prime for the next 3 weeks. As predicted, Eagle Creek fish never showed as all of the systems “eggs” went into mainstem steelhead production. Anglers should see the fruits of that strategy well into March. As flows drop, migration will slow, making the lower reaches the more productive option well into next week.
Meldrum Bar plunkers should also start to see a resurgence in action. Flows remain high, but the Willamette is clearing and there may even be some spring Chinook effort at Sellwood by the weekend. Sturgeon fishing will remain good in the Portland Harbor, especially with warm temperatures in the forecast.
With warmer weather comes thoughts of spring Chinook. Reliable action is still 6 weeks away but anglers will likely show up in force at this week’s Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show.
Meet up with me in the KastKing booth (booth 277) to learn what our strategy was for a productive day on the Wilson River on Monday, and put in for the drawing for a free rod. Thirty rods will be given away over the course of the show.
Northwest – It’s full-on steelhead season for Tillamook County anglers. Following a good week of steelheading last week, action on the Wilson, Trask and Nestucca has also been productive this week. There are a mix of fresh broodstock steelhead and some spent early season fish on the Wilson, with the lower reaches producing the best catches in the dropping flows. Bobber-doggers were flogging the water hard with fairly consistent results early in the week. As flows drop and clear into the weekend, anglers will have to get more innovative to inspire fish that have been worked over fairly hard all week.
The Trask has also recently produced some quality wild fish exceeding 15 pounds. Effort is lighter here, but fish are bigger, and there are a few stray hatchery fish here too. The upper reaches are a bank angler’s dream with good public access for much of the upper watershed.
The Nestucca system is just getting underway with catches improving this week. It should be a productive month on this system for quality broodstock steelhead.
A calming ocean produces good bottomfishing catches this week, but crabbing has certainly suffered since the commercial fleet went in. It should still be worth the effort if you have fresh bait to entice the crustaceans.
Southwest – From ODF&W outdoor report:
When weather and ocean conditions have allowed anglers to get out on the ocean, fishing has been good out of most ports. For larger lingcod, try fishing closer to shore instead of offshore, as a somewhat larger average size has been reported.
In the flatfish fishery, creels typically include sanddabs, sand sole and Petrale sole. Creels from the Offshore longleader trips often consist of a nice grade of yellowtail, widow, and canary rockfishes.
The Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation area, approximately 15 miles west of Newport, is closed to bottomfish (groundfish) and halibut fishing year round.
Vessels fishing for or retaining bottomfish (including flatfish) species are required (1) to have onboard a functioning rockfish descending device, and (2) use it to descend any rockfish released when fishing outside of the 30-fathom regulatory line.
The Applegate and Illinois rivers continue to be in prime shape for winter steelhead fishing.
The middle Rogue River is in good shape and winter steelhead fishing should be good.
Conditions in the Coos and Coquille are low and clear – a good time for small presentations and a stealthy approach.
Steelhead fishing also should be good on the Umpqua.
Lost Creek Reservoir is a winter trout fishing hot spot in the Rogue Valley.
From our friend Pete Heley:
According to Bryan Gill, of “The Umpqua Angler”, fishing on “Tenmile Reef” out of Winchester Bay continues to be very, very good for lingcod of large average size with exceptional fish taken on almost every trip.
The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announce the closure of razor clamming from the south jetty of the Umpqua River, at Winchester Bay, to the south jetty of Coos Bay due to elevated levels of the marine toxin domoic acid. As a result, the recreational harvesting of razor clams is closed from Cascade Head, north of Lincoln City, to the California border.
Razor clamming remains open from the Columbia River to Cascade Head.
It’s free to fish, crab or clam on the Saturday and Sunday of President’s Day Weekend, Feb. 17-18, so take a friend!
Eastern – From our friend Tim Moran:
Prineville Reservoir – Fishing is holding up and with this warm weather it should stay good. Trout are being caught all over the lake with some in the 20 to 25-inch class. Bank fish with night crawlers or power bait. Don’t be surprised if you get the occasional bull head cat too.
Grande Ronde River – The river is loaded with fish but is too high to fish as if this writing. Look for the GRR to pop in the next few weeks if/when the water drops.
Metolius is very good. Crooked is good on small nymphs with some later afternoon midge hatches bringing fish up to the top. Fall River is interesting with how good the morning dry fly fishing is with tiny little black stones.
Longhollow Ranch (private lake access) is open and The Fly Fisher’s Place is running a $100 special for all day from 9 am to 4 pm (or a little later if you want). 30 minutes from Sisters and plenty of nice rainbows to give you a tug! Typical desert lake flies, leeches, Chironomids, scuds and water boatman. I have fished this before and it is worth the $$. The lake also has largemouth bass in them.
SW Washington – Anglers are reporting improving conditions for steelheaders on the Cowlitz and other local area rivers, after a long period of high water conditions. Catches remain a bit slow, but improving. Action should continue to get better in the coming weeks.
Cowlitz River – Creel sampling data is currently unavailable.
Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered nine coho adults, three cutthroat trout, and 14 winter-run steelhead during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released three coho adults and two winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa near Randle. They released two coho adults into the Cispus River located near Yellow Jacket Creek in Randle. Tacoma Power also released three cutthroat trout and five winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton. The Franklin Bridge release site in Packwood currently is damaged due to recent high water. Repairs are onging and the release site should be useable soon.
River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 14,200 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, February 5. Water visibility is five feet and water temperature is 44.1 degrees F.
Lower Columbia mainstem from the I-5 Br. downstream – 2 bank anglers in the Vancouver area had no catch.
Bonneville and John Day pools – No effort was found for steelhead.
Bonneville Pool – Boat anglers averaged a legal kept per every 3.6 rods. No legals were sampled from bank anglers. Through Jan. 28, almost half of the 325 fish guideline had been taken. All sturgeon must be released until further notice.
John Day Pool – Boat anglers caught a few legals. Fishing was slow from the bank. Sturgeon may be retained through Sun. Feb. 11.
Walleye and Bass
Bonneville Pool – The few boat anglers sampled averaged a handful of walleye kept per rod. No effort was observed for bass.
John Day Pool – Including fish released, boat anglers averaged just over 2 walleye per rod. No effort was observed for bass.