Willamette Valley/Metro – Although the first spring Chinook of the season has passed Bonneville Dam (2/11), there still hasn’t been a confirmed sport harvest of one. I don’t expect that to change this week, especially given the weather forecast and river conditions. I might even be so brave as to say it’ll be a waste of time to even try.
While waters of the lower Willamette are on the rise, it’s a gentle increase, it’s a gentle relatively gentle rise. With most debris washed out into the Columbia now, boating will be safer for anglers.
Fly fishers might give a nod to the McKenzie River where water levels will be dropping over the weekend but light showers are forecast to continue.
Once again, the North Santiam is high and rising with a prediction it’ll start to drop on Sunday. With just over 35- winter steelhead over the Falls at the latest count. We gotta say, that’s still too few to populate the Santiams.
Conditions are deteriorating on the Sandy at last look, the afternoon of Wednesday, February 15th. There are fresh winter steelhead, which will be far more cooperative when the river is dropping.
Walloped once again by rain storms, the is currently on the rise but predicted to crest late Friday, February 17th. It’s unlikely to fish well until late in the coming week.
If your river isn’t producing, the ODFW reminds anglers, “It’s not too early to be thinking about trout fishing – in fact, in several North Coast and Willamette Valley fisheries, stocking is well underway. Check out the 2017 stocking schedules for west side lakes/ponds and start planning your next fishing trip.”
Northwest – Steelheaders had a good crack at fair fishing this week, following a whopper of a rain system that took out Tillamook area streams through last weekend. Steelhead fishing may have not been as good as most had anticipated, but it was good enough for those that put in the time.
The smaller systems are done for the year: Big and Gnat Creek, Klaskanine River, Three Rivers, the North Fork Nehalem and the Necanicum, although small runs of wild fish may be present on some of these systems.
The Wilson and Nestucca are just ramping up for hatchery opportunities but another wild ride of wind and rain will likely put out the big Tillamook 3 (Trask included) until Sunday, maybe Monday. There are still some sizeable brutes coming from these systems, hatchery fish pushing 17 and 18 pounds.
The Nehalem won’t fish anytime soon but there are good numbers of wild steelhead present.
It doesn’t look like big blue will fish anytime soon either. Rough seas ahead.
Bay crabbing may be feasible over the weekend. A soft tide exchange and calming weather may produce fair catches. Estuary crabbers will have to deal with another influx of fresh water however.
Southwest – With the February 10th lifting of the crabbing closure, which shut down activity from Coos Bay’s North Jetty to Heceta Head, once again, the entire Oregon coast is open to recreational and commercial crabbing.
Author, publisher and prolific blogger, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reminds us that Saturday, Feb. 25th is the annual Expo put on by the Lower Umpqua Fly casters and will take place between 9 am and 3 pm at the Reedsport Community Center. Admission is free and 26 fly tiers are expected to demonstrate their skills.
Coos River steelheaders reported decent action on about a 50/50 split of hatchery to wild winters earlier in the week but it’ll be several days before fishing will be a possibility here.
Prior to the latest deluge which has the system doing a fast rise, catches of winter steelhead were good river-wide.
Winter steelheaders on the lower Rogue have been reporting improving success as additional fish move into the system. It’ won’t be happening this weekend as the Rogue, along with most south coast rivers, will be blown out. As it comes back into shape, the upper river will be worth a try.
The Chetco has been producing good catches of winter steelhead at times. Those ‘times’ would be between freshets, and there have been plenty of ‘em. High water will plague anglers once again this weekend.
Ice fishing remains an option at Diamond Lake where fishing is reported as fair to good.
Don’t forget, Feb. 25 & 26 there will be a Saltwater Sportsmen’s Show at the fairgrounds in Salem put on by the Oregon Coalition for Educating Anglers (OCEAN). Lots of good information about fishing for salmon, tuna, bottomfish, and halibut.
Eastern – Those with a long rod and a desire for wintertime redside trout have been fulfilling this need on the . They report their secret weapons of late has been a Stonefly Nymph.
There have been decent reports from fly fishers who have tried the Metolius this week. Hatches are occurring here during afternoons.
Trout fishing has been fair one day, slow the next on the Fall River. One thing seems to be consistent regarding slow days being those without hatches.
SW Washington – There’s still more coho showing up on the Cowlitz than steelhead. Hopefully that changes in a few weeks. It’s been grim.
Here’s the word from WDF&W on smelt:
“Commercial catches improved yesterday but still below the 150 pounds per delivery minimum goal. Lots of sea lions reported on the docks at the Port of Rainier. Stay tuned.”