Willamette Valley – The lower Columbia fall Chinook fishery is well underway. Catches from Bonneville to Longview are impressive on days and although there is an occasional blip on the passage at Bonneville Dam, strong catches will continue for the next 2 weeks. Peak passage at Bonneville is commonly the first week of September so the next few days should produce good catches. Trollers are taking the bulk of the fish but veteran wobbler plunkers are taking their fair share as well. This will be the week to fish!
The few fish crossing at Willamette Falls are not worth noting at this time. Water temperatures remain in the mid-70s, making it ideal for warmwater fishing. Bass are biting well.
Clackamas anglers have endured low water through summer steelhead season and what there was of a springer season here. With a coho run starting up sometime later this month, it is hoped that upcoming rain showers in the weather forecasts will improve the odds.
Pro fishing guide, Jeff Stoeger of O2BFISHN Guide Service (503-704-7920) reports that anglers noted a slowing in hookups this week. There are plenty of fish yet to come, though, and with rain in the future, optimism is high.
While the waters of the McKenzie were effected by hot weather as were all waterways in Oregon, but not so much that fishing was negatively impacted. The McKenzie is expected to remain fishable.
Despite the peak of salmon and steelhead fishing starting to decline, it still worth the trip to the North or South Santiam rivers where jigs are most popular.
Northwest Oregon – With catch rates rather pathetic for most of the Buoy 10 fishery, state fish managers extended the season through September 14th for the retention of any Chinook. Coho started to show in better numbers earlier this week but limits are still far from the rule. Tides this weekend are such that an early morning start would be foolish. Target the last hour of outgoing tide through the first hour of outgoing after high slack for best results. Anglers do have better options upriver however, coho will likely start to dominate the catch in Astoria for the next several weeks.
Anglers are starting to report good catches of fall Chinook in north Oregon Coast estuaries. Tillamook and Nehalem are producing fairly with some good days interspersed. There are a few hatchery coho falling to trolled herring and spinners as well.
Upper Tillamook Bay as well as the ocean are producing fish and this is only the beginning of the season. Softer tides next week should make for productive fishing in the lower reaches of the Nestucca, Nehalem, Tillamook, Siletz, Salmon and Alsea estuaries and rivers.
Bay and ocean crabbing should be good too but you’ll still have to count on some soft shells in the mix.
Albacore tuna action is starting to heat back up again. Trolled gear becomes less effective this time of year so you’ll have to start looking for jumpers and casting iron or dropping live bait overboard. The tuna coming in now are certainly sizeable.
Another round of all depth halibut opens tomorrow (Friday) but seas look a bit rough until Saturday. There isn’t much nearshore halibut quota left so prepare yourselves for a closure in the near future.
Rain and cooler water temperatures may spur some summer steelhead in the Wilson and Nestucca to respond. River levels aren’t expected to rise much but it won’t take much after such a long, dry period to stimulate activity. Sea-run cutthroat trout fishing should improve as well.
Central & South Coast Reports – Bottom fishing out of central Oregon ports has been mostly great although it showed a little slowing mid-week. Crabbing has remained good.
Author of several fishing books, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reports, “The halibut update through August 21st is as follows: Subarea — All-Depth and Nearshore—are both closed for the remainder of 2016 as the he entire subarea quota has been caught.
“As for Central Oregon Coast Subarea – The next summer all-depth opener will be Friday (Sept. 3rd) and Saturday (Sept. 4th).”
Tuna fishing has improved along with ocean conditions. It’s still a very long trip for albacore but far easier without high winds.
Bottom fishing is excellent out of Gold Beach when boats can safely launch. Trolling for Chinook in Rogue Bay has been quite good lately. The lower Rogue, where water temperatures remain high, has been slow. It’s somewhat better in the middle river and still worthwhile on the upper Rogue.
South coast halibut may be taken any day of the week from any depth. This fishery, south of Humbug Mountain, is the target of Brookings anglers but catches have been slow.
Trout fishing has slowed at Diamond Lake but some big ones have been caught regardless.
Central & Eastern – Trout fishing remains good and is expected to improve on the lower Deschutes. Hopefully, the worst of the eastside scorchers has passed.
Although the actual calendar change to fall is weeks away, change is evident on streams and rivers. On the Metolius, for instance, summer hatches are beginning to transition to fall.
Kokanee fishing is good at Paulina Lake where jigging has been the better option.
In addition to kokanee which are being caught in fair to good number, East Lake also offers some good trout fishing, particularly for fly anglers.
Green Peter has been producing fair catches of kokanee but they remain smaller than in other popular kokes destinations.
SW Washington – Steelhead action on the Cowlitz has slowed but Chinook action is picking up. Anglers on this district mainstay will start to switch focus to Chinook and later, coho, but steelhead will remain an option for several more weeks.
Drano Lake anglers are starting to find better success for Chinook. Steelhead numbers are dwindling but so is the interest.
Anglers should start to see better opportunity on many Columbia tributaries as Chinook nose into cooler water, becoming susceptible to baits and lures. Check regulations for what rivers remain open and their respective bag limits.