Willamette Valley/Metro – Portland area anglers are also seeing improving catches as of Thursday. The water was on the drop however, but slated to rise again by Friday. That could stymie catches. Both anchor anglers and hover trollers working flashers and herring were doing well around Hayden Island and in the gorge. The season is slated to run through Sunday, but catch rates through the weekend will dictate further opportunity. We’re teetering near the quota however. I know, that seemed to go quick for as slow as it’s been this year, but when is the last time you were fishing on April 21st? Pretty cool, huh?
Willamette flows are currently rising but will level off. Spring Chinook fishing has been fair for the most part with trollers hoping the bulk of the run is yet to come. At this time of year, they’re probably right! Trolling herring has been most effective, from Cedar Oaks through the Multnomah Channel.
Trout fishing has been fair to good on the McKenzie River with more bugs on the wing which gets fish excited so they hit better which makes anglers giddy. This is a good time to fish the Mack.
Counts at Willamette Falls indicate summer steelhead upstream in low double digits and even an couple of spring Chinook but that’s not enough to feed upstream tributaries such as the Santiams.
Winter steelheading has been slow to fair on the Clackamas River although there should be some summer steelhead to catch here as well. It’s going to be a nice weekend to try it!
Our man on the Sandy River, pro fishing guide Jeff Stoeger (O2B Fishing) tells us that spring Chinook heading up the Columbia should make themselves known in the Sandy. If water conditions remain good, steelheading is certainly an option.
Northwest – Spring Chinook anglers working the lower Columbia have found favorable results on open days. Both trollers and anchor anglers have an unprecedented opportunity to fish the peak migration on the lower Columbia, only because turbid water conditions have kept catch rates from being explosive. The Portland to Longview stretch was productive again on the Thursday opener, but another rise in river levels could put fish back off again too. There’s no doubt however, there are plenty of fish present.
Southwest – This coming weekend, April 22nd & 23rd, is ‘bonus’ Free Fishing Weekend, during which no licenses or harvest cards are required to fish, clam, crab or shrimp. (You do know you need a shellfish permit to dig sand shrimp, right? Not this weekend!) Have fun and enjoy the bounty.
Ocean crabbers are taking only two or three Dungeness per pot but as storms ease off, crabbing will continue to improve in bays and estuaries, getting better and better. Then they molt.
When we say the Alsea is a popular fishery, you can count on it but no reason to take our word for it. Travel there yourself for Free Fishing Weekend. We hear there are some getting caught, although you may find mostly down-runners in the catch.
How about a never-ending place where we can catch large, tasty fish? That’d be surf fishing for barred and pinkfin (also called red-tail) surf perch. Limits are generous at 15 fish and not uncommon.
This week, author, publisher and prolific blogger, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reports on trout, of course. Free Fishing Weekend calls for some of the heaviest and most wide-spread trout plantings of the year. Heley tells us where and how.
Speaking of spring Chinook (as we are a lot this week), the lower Rogue is a world-famous fishery which hasn’t produced much this season due to crummy water conditions far too often thanks to frequent storms. This weekend looks somewhat better with the middle and upper Rogue providing winter steelhead prospects. Good ol’ Pete, though, tells us where Chinook are being caught regularly on the Umpqua.
Following a five-year study of spring Chinook in the Rogue River system to make a reasonably good estimate of the number of fish that will return. This is a first for the Rogue. God bless technology!
Don’t count on ice fishing anytime soon at Diamond Lake as the ice is melting quickly this week and is far from safe. Trout fishing usually improves following ice-out.
Eastern – Redsides are responding to various patterns on the Deschutes. The Salmonfly Hatch is a much-anticipated event on the Deschutes and is due to begin in May.
Trout fishing has been a little up and down on the Metolius River this week, but it has been quite good when it’s ‘up’ and hatches are ongoing.
Trollers have been doing well at Detroit Lake, popular due that it’s closer to the metro area than many other lakes offering similar fishing.
Despite the fact that there are no spring Chinook within many miles of the river, The Snake opens for springer fishing on Saturday, April 23rd.
The ODFW reversed it decision to mess with kokanee limits at Wickiup, so the Reservoir will open on April 22nd, as planned, with no change in regulations. Big limits, go get ‘em.
SW Washington – For mid-April, catches of spring Chinook on the Cowlitz are not impressive. Steelhead catches are waning as well. There is still a lot of season to go, and water conditions have been less than ideal, and biologists remain hopeful a robust return is in order.
Passage at Bonneville is ramping up, but effort and catch isn’t quite yet matching at Wind and Drano Lake. That could change in the coming weeks however.
Other district tributaries are producing expectedly poorly. That’s not likely to change anytime soon either.
Recent SW Washington razor clam digs have been rescinded due to rising levels of toxins. Check out the press release here.