Willamette Valley/Metro – With the Willamette now fully seeded with spring Chinook, all reaches of the river from Oregon City to St. Helens are producing spring Chinook. Catches aren’t explosive, but are fairly consistent for the nearly ideal water conditions the fleet is currently enjoying. Oregon City, at least for most of the day, has been slow, but apparently, better towards evening. Water temperatures have been fluctuating, which hasn’t been good for success rates.
Herring remains the bait of choice for harbor and Multnomah Channel trollers, while eggs and sand shrimp are the ticket in the Oregon City area. Hardware is starting to become more effective in the warming water too. Peak season is upon us.
The Willamette Salmon Quest is just a week away, and the Association of Northwest Steelheaders is sponsoring the event in their initiative of bringing back 100,000 Willamette River spring Chinook each and every year. The event has pro guides volunteering their day for guests to participate in the fishery, do a self-guided entry, or come to the dinner at Camp Withycombe, all happening on May 12th. Valuable prizes for big fish and most fish will be given away. Visit www.nwsteelheaders.org for more info.
Shad are likely to start to show any day in the Willamette system. The season’s first shad often come in early May, but action will improve when the water temperatures increase. Fish sunny days for these scrappers.
As we near the end of the first week of May, peak passage at Bonneville Dam has historically peaked. Current counts over Bonneville eclipsed well over 1,000 fish per day last weekend so expect a consistent march of fish that should give us an idea just how big the run is this year. Wind River and Drano Lake catches will bump significantly this week given the number of fish now migrating upstream.
The Sandy River continues to yield fair steelhead catches and an occasional spring Chinook. May will be a better month.
The Clackamas is likely to improve for summer steelhead and spring Chinook as well, but catches will likely remain challenging for the next few weeks.
From Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920), of O2BFISHN Guide Service
This week has been a good week depending on who you talk too. There is some good summer steelhead action thru out the entire river. Oxbow park area has shown a lot of the action.
This coming week will be a challenge for the weather forecast is for the temps to climb to 80 degrees with the freezing level climbing to 8500ft and the snow melt will start rapidly. The water temp has been around 46 degrees and will lower slightly before it climbs with snow melt.
If you plan to fish jigs stick with the 1/16 and 1/8 jigs in multi-color feathers and use a fixed bobber.
Northwest Oregon – Spring Chinook are being reported from the Tillamook area, most likely from the ocean just outside of the mouth. Salmon will make a stronger showing in the coming weeks. Work the upper bay on large tide swings, and the lower estuary on low tide exchanges. The ocean adjacent to Tillamook Bay is open as well, but be mindful that only fin-clipped hatchery fish may be taken in the control zone this time of year.
Steelhead season is largely over on the north coast systems, winter fish are largely spawning right now. There may be a few late season winter fish still coming in, but summer steelhead will start to show on the Wilson and Nestucca systems. The Trask River should start yielding spring Chinook with more regularity in the coming weeks.
Halibut north of Cape Falcon opens today, while the south of Falcon fishery opens on May 10th. Charter boats may still have a few open spots, but call right away.
Seas look friendly for the foreseeable future so rockfish and lingcod should fall this weekend. Crabbing remains challenging coast wide.
Central and Eastern Oregon – No update this week.
Southwest – From ODF&W
2018 Pacific Halibut
Columbia River Subarea (Leadbetter Point, WA to Cape Falcon, OR)
All-depth season: opens May 3, every Thursday, Friday, and Sunday until quota attained, or September 30. Saturdays are closed.
Nearshore season: opens May 7, every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday until quota attained, or September 30.
Central Coast Subarea (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain)
Spring all-depth season: Fixed dates are May 10-12, May 24-26. June 7-9, and June 21-23. Available back-up dates, if quota remaining, July 5-7 and July 19-21.
Summer all-depth season: Opens August 3-4, then every other Friday and Saturday until quota attained or October 31.
Nearshore season: Opens Jun 1, 7 days per week until quota attained, or October 31
Southern Oregon Subarea: opens May 1, 7 days per week until quota attained, or October 31.
Weather this last couple of weeks has prevented most anglers from fishing for bottomfish. Reports from the last week prior to the series of systems moving through indicated that the lingcod bite had slowed somewhat, but many anglers were still able to get their limits. Rockfish fishing had been a lot more hit and miss with anglers spending more time to catch close to their limit. Reminder that as of Sunday, April 1, the bottomfish fishery is restricted to inside of the 30 fathom regulatory line.
The longleader gear fishery outside of the 40 fathom regulatory line has been authorized to continue in April through September. Recent catches from the offshore longleader trips often consist of a nice grade of yellowtail, widow and canary rockfishes. Reminder that the Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area is closed to all bottomfish trips, including longleader trips.
Sport salmon fishing for Chinook in ocean waters from Cape Falcon (just North of Nehalem Bay) to Humbug Mt. (just South of Port Orford) is open for two salmon per day (all salmon except coho). Minumum sizes are 24-inches for Chinook and 20-inches for steelhead.
Anglers are also reminded that within the 15 fathom depth contour off Tillamook Bay (Twin Rocks to Pyramid Rock) that all Chinook Salmon must have a healed fin clip. Salmon fishing has been very slow to date.
The South Umpqua and Cow Creek are closed to all fishing May 1-22 in order to protect migrating fish.
During the shoulder season between winter steelhead and spring Chinook fishing, turn your attention to trout and warmwater fishing in area lakes and reservoirs.
Hyatt Lake and Howard Prairie Reservoir both were stocked with 7,500 legal-size trout last week.
With the onset of warmer temperatures, look for bass, perch and other warmwater fishing to pick up.
The Smith River is one of the few places in Oregon to find striped bass. Patient and persistent anglers can look for the bite to pick up as spring progresses.
SW Washington – From WDF&W
Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Br downstream: 261 bank rods kept 5 adult spring Chinook and 3 steelhead and released 1 steelhead. 61 boat rods kept 4 adult spring Chinook. Above the I-5 Br: 95 bank rods kept 9 adult spring Chinook and 6 steelhead and released 1 steelhead. 32 boat rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook.
Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 717 winter-run steelhead, 100 spring Chinook adults, and eight summer-run steelhead during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released ten winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released 61 winter-run steelhead into the Cispus River near Yellow Jacket Creek. Tacoma Power also released 27 winter-run steelhead and 10 spring Chinook adults into Lake Scanewa near Randle. They released 29 spring Chinook at Franklin Bridge in Packwood River
Flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 5,160 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, April 30. Water visibility is nine feet and the water temperature is 46.8 degrees F.
Kalama River – 36 bank anglers kept 2 adult spring Chinook and released 4 steelhead. 72 boat anglers kept 15 adult spring Chinook and released 10 steelhead.
Mainstem Lewis River – 37 bank rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook. 23 boat rods kept 3 adult spring Chinook.
North Fork Lewis River – 50 bank rods kept 2 adult spring Chinook. 58 boat rods kept 9 adult spring Chinook and released 5 steelhead.
Wind River – 11 bank rods had no catch. 41 boat rods kept 4 adult spring Chinook and released 1.
Drano Lake – 17 bank rods had no catch. 189 boat rods kept 30 adult spring Chinook and released 2.
Klickitat River – 7 bank rods had no catch.