Willamette Valley/Metro – Still now “first” spring Chinook of the year, but if it’s going to fall this week, it’ll have to be upstream of the mouth of the Willamette since it’s going to be running quite brown for some time. It could be weeks before we see the first one hit the deck.
With the Willamette cresting from recent rains, boaters are urged to use extra caution as they play the only lower river game in town: sturgeon fishing.
This is a common pattern with Willamette Valley rivers which have risen dramatically due to the January 18th rain storm and will be out of shape over the coming weekend.
The Santiam system is high but dropping. The problem here is that insufficient numbers of fish have entered the upper river to populate all the tributaries. Don’t fish where the fish aren’t.
Clackamas waters swelled with the passing storm on Wednesday this week but are dropping as this is being written. These are good conditions in which to target steelhead.
Our man on the Sandy, pro fishing guide Jeff Stoeger (http://guideoregon.com/) is optimistic about fishing for winter steelhead on the Sandy despite recent meteorological setbacks.
Northwest – Steelheaders on the north coast have been either plagued by very cold temperatures, hazardous driving conditions, and now high water to squash their angling efforts. For the most part, there were prolonged periods of sub-par fishing before the current warming trend, not to mention the lull between early season returns and later returning broodstock fish, but anglers should expect some better results when rivers come off of their expected peak from mid-week.
Smaller streams that traditionally see the early season returns may have a few late season stragglers, and there may even be a few fresh fish coming in. For the most part however, anglers will want to turn their focus to the Wilson and Nestucca systems, where both a fair wild and late-season hatchery return is likely to come through.
With the recent weather change, the ocean fishing and crabbing is now off the table. During the cold snap, when east winds knocked down the westerly swell, bottomfishing for lingcod and crabbing was good.
Softening tides over the weekend show promise for bay crabbers. With the commercial fleet in full fledged however, one can’t expect easy limits.
Southwest – As of January 16th, 2017, with the final area accessible, the entire Oregon coast is now open for crabbing, ocean and bays.
Offshore bottom fishing has continued excellent with the only downside trying to find the opportunity when ocean conditions and winds allow for sage crossing.
Crossing the bar is the most dangerous part of an ocean trip. Learn how to do so properly and safely. That will be one of the seminars at the Saltwater Sportsman’s Show on February 15th and 26th at the Fairground in Salem.
Author, publisher and prolific blogger, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reminds us that ling cod move into shallow water along rocks and jetties around this time of year which can make for exceptional fishing and larger fish.
Heley also points out interesting scientific evidence that El Niño combined with the climate change and global warming may be responsible (at least in part) for increased problems with domoic acid effecting shellfish.
The latest storm gave the a good whacking when it came through, from which it has not and will not recover for several days. The further upstream one travels, the clear the water will be and there are certainly decent numbers of winter steelhead in the Rogue at this time of year. Plunkers will have the first shot at the lower river as soon as it starts to clear.
There has been quite a great deal of pressure by ice fishers at Diamond Lake. Even on weekday there have been scores of fishing sites.
Eastern – We have been encouraging readers to temporarily suspend the thought that the is a place to fish for steelhead, instead, thinking of it only as a trout habitat. Then go, enjoy above-average trout fishing.
Weather has hampered efforts on many a south side stream with a trek through snow nearly inevitable. That said, those who have made it to the Metolius have fish limited water with fair success.
Since Blue-Winged-Olives hatch in inclement weather and can be found popping up during rain showers, when the weather dries (and in some locations, seasonally) they are absent. So it has been on Fall River plus the snow trek but at least fishing is fair for those who make it.
SW Washington – District fishing opportunities are abysmal. Effort and catch are low on the Cowlitz, but that should change later this season.
Like Oregon streams, what few early season returning adults are in the systems, are either spawning or out of reach.
The big news in the district is the stocking of rainbow trout in Klineline Pond and Battleground lake on January 10th. There should be ample numbers remaining and with a warming trend finally here, should be quite willing to bite.