Oregon Fisheries Update
April 29th – May 5th, 2005
Sturgeon fishing in the Columbia has picked up significantly. The best action is taking place in the Columbia River Gorge. Pro guide Dan Ponciano (360-607-8511) reports that the fish are of quality size as well. Smelt is the preferred bait and Dan is cutting baits in half matching them with squid or shrimp to stretch those smelt a long way.
Sturgeon fishing in the estuary near Astoria continues to be a challenge. Water temperatures are likely the cause for the slow bite in that area. The lower river below Wauna power lines closes to catch and keep fishing on May 1st through May 13th. It then re-opens on May 14th but the minimum size for retention goes to 45 inches.
Spring chinook fishing on the Columbia remains closed for both sport and commercial fishermen. Although Bonneville counts are much improved in recent weeks, we have a long way to go in dam passage before additional opportunity can be looked at again. It likely won't happen prior to the opener of summer Chinook on June 16th.
Also opening on the North Oregon Coast is offshore halibut! May 1st marks the date when anglers may pursue halibut from Cape Falcon to Leadbetter Point in Washington. The opener is always good but the best spots are well guarded secrets amongst fishermen.
Razor clamming has closed along most coastal beaches due to a rise in toxin levels. The clamming had been good and there is no indication when the closure may be lifted.
On the North Oregon Coast, locals in the Tillamook district anxiously await fishable numbers of spring Chinook in their watersheds. A few Chinook have been taken in the lower and upper bay as well as the Wilson, Trask and Nestucca Rivers. The weekend tide series will be better for Bottomfishing than salmon fishing however.
Sturgeon fishing on Tillamook Bay continues to be productive as well. Crab are fairly prevalent in the south and middle channels so be prepared to go through a fair amount of bait. Anglers can also target sturgeon in the upper reaches of Tillamook Bay to avoid more crab interaction.
Crabbing on Tillamook Bay was great earlier in the week but has since slowed.
Offshore bottom fishing has been good when the ocean lays down. Surf perch are available from the beaches but watch for sneaker waves.
Umpqua anglers are catching springers but low, clear water has turned off the fishing at the Rogue River.
Counts at Willamette Falls are increasing dramatically every day with improved water temperatures and water clarity. Can decent spring chinook fishing be far behind?
The Clackamas has been slow but is expected to show improvement with fish on the move in the lower Willamette. The Sandy River is very slow and a poor bet for this weekend. The North Santiam is not worth the trip at this time.
Smallmouth bass fishing is heating up in the Valley with recent catches (and great photos) coming from the upper Willamette River. Smallies have also been caught at Hagg Lake.
Odell and Lake Billy Chinook kokanee are hitting jigs. Lake Merwin in Washington State has been reliably producing limits of kokes.
Trout were stocked this week at Cullaby, Lost and Sunset, Henry Hagg, Salmonberry and Leaburg Lakes, Haldeman, E. E. Wilson, Junction City and Trojan Ponds, Detroit, Foster Silver Creek and Smith Reservoirs, Timothy Meadows, and the lower McKenzie River, Clear Lake, Burns Pond and Krumbo Reservoir.
Reader Emails this week address secret lures, surprising pictures, a creative sea lion solution, South coastal rivers and on-site details from Meldrum Bar and the Blacktop.
The Newberg Chapter of the Association of NW Steelheaders present
A spring Chinook Salmon Derby with prizes awarded for the largest, by weight (hatchery fish only) $100.00 first prize, $75.00 second prize and $50.00 third prize! When: May 7th, 2005. All fish must be caught above the Willamette Falls on the day of the derby. Only the first 50 registrants can participate. Call Mike Osborne at Mike's Rod and Reel Repair (503) 538-7093 Free BBQ with hot dogs and soda pop following the event
Full length subscribers will note a significant section on Washington fishing this week. The Guide's Forecast- Washington edition is coming to fruition as requested by our numerous readers and pro guide Kevin Newell (360-430-2521) is doing a bang-up job of making it happen. Enjoy the fruits of his labor and for our free version subscribers, here is a re-cap of the Washington report:
On the mainstem, pro guide Kevin Newell (360-430-2521) reports that sturgeon action is picking up with increasing water temperatures. There may also be additional sport opportunity on the mainstem after the 2 states meet to discuss a run size update. Dam counts are finally encouraging.
Upriver, on the Wind River, Pro Guide Bob Barthlow (509-952-9694) reports action has picked up with the recent fish counts at Bonneville. The near-shore trough doesn't seem to be producing like the buoy line and artificials are out-producing herring for bait.
Pro Guide Erik Brigham (360-513-2331) reports there are more anglers than fish on the Lewis River. It seems like fishing should really begin to pick up there and there are rumors circulating that boat anglers could be shut off on a small section of the river unless fish counts begin to jump.
On the Lewis River Reservoir at Merwin Dam, the Kokanee fishing is very good right now. Limits are coming to most anglers once they find where the fish are holding. The Kokanee have been averaging around 14-15 inches with a few in the 16-17 inch range. They are very deep bodied and full of fight! Apparently the winter was very good to these fish!
The Kalama has a good mix of spring Chinook and summer steelhead right now. Some of the steelhead are running large so anglers may wish to bump up their line size to a minimum of 12 pound test. This is a great time to fish on the Kalama!
Crowds seem to be a bit more tame on the Cowlitz River as reported by Pro Guide Brad Shride (206) 463-9230. Brad reports that there are fish present but it is not wide open fishing. Backtrolling herring and jet diver is still a good option but more recently, salmon seem to be more receptive to backtrolled plugs.
Confusing restrictions on the Puget Sound and Neah Bay sportfisheries but ling cod and shrimp seasons open on May 1st. Pay close attention to the regulations and know before you go.
Spring Chinook are starting to arrive on the Olympic Peninsula. The Sol Duc is an early favorite although anglers should know the river well or hire a local fishing guide.
The Snake and Grande Ronde Rivers are beginning to warm and snow melt is coming with it. The fishing has slowed just a little but as the water levels and temperatures stabilize, the fishing should pick back up again. Bass are becoming a good option however. Sturgeon fishing on the Snake is also fair to good.
The Yakima Rivers continues to be a great option for river rainbow trout. Fly anglers are tossing nymphs in the cooler mornings and then switching over to caddis and Baetis patterns as the insects begin to emerge during the day.
April 30 is the Washington State lowland lakes trout opener and up to 300,000 anglers will likely cast their way to success on this popular day. The choices are numerous!
Please join us for our second annual Bounty on the Bay fundraiser to support salmon restoration efforts in the Tillamook area. Last years event was a smashing success and we think the fishing will be even better this year! We will start off the event with a seminar by pro guide Bob Rees on how to catch Tillamook Chinook using herring trolling techniques. Follow this with a great tournament and win yourself some great prizes for biggest and most spring Chinook landed on the bay that day!
The biggest catch of the day is the opportunity to fish with NW legend Buzz Ramsey! The current high bid of $225 holds this seat but hopefully you will drive the price up- all in the name of salmon recovery!
Go to www.tbnep.org
to register or call the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership at (503) 322-2222 for any questions. You won't want to miss this event!