Willamette Valley/Metro – With peak spring Chinook season upon us for Columbia River anglers, the few that are attempting, are walking away perplexed. Test netting indicates that fish are present, they are just unwilling to bite in the high, off-colored flows of the main stem. The fishery is slated to close on April 10th, but managers are likely to have another look on Tuesday or Wednesday, to determine if it’s safe for the sport fleet to continue their march onward. We remain thousands of fish away from attaining our quota.
Water level and flow have been falling this week but the best news of all is that it is starting to clear. It’s time to get your trolling game on.
As is the case with many area streams and rivers, the McKenzie is on the rise. With rain and snowmelt factored in, it’s difficult to be optimistic about fishing opportunities here over the coming weekend.
Both the North and South Santiam rivers have dropped to similar levels and are forecast to maintain flows and become more-or-less stable in the coming week.
Fish require water, sure, and so do anglers who would pursue and capture them, if only for a moment or as a dinner entrée. But there’s sure been a lot of water this year. Clackamas levels are on the rise but will be dropping much of the weekend.
While water is rising on the Sandy River and will continue doing so for a couple of days, our man on the Sandy River, pro fishing guide Jeff Stoeger caught a half-dozen winter steelhead over two of days fishing at the right times. We’re thankful he tells us how.
Northwest – As steelhead catches wane on the north coast, focus will shift to spring Chinook on the lower Columbia. Anglers have until Wednesday to pursue the region’s most prized salmon, and hopefully more opportunity when managers determine there’s plenty of room for more effort. Lower Columbia River beaches will remain ideal for bank anglers when fish decide it’s time to go on a bite.
Steelheaders on the north coast had a productive run with near ideal conditions for maybe the longest stretch of the season. Action started off great last weekend, and although it has slowed with the dropping flows, for savvy anglers, it’s been a nice ending to a frustrating season.
The Wilson, Trask and Nestucca have all produced fair catches this week, with both late season broodstock and wild fish available. Many of the systems are now seeing run-back adults, which should be released with care as they make their way back to the salt for hopefully another spawning run at a later date.
There was some offshore opportunity earlier this week, but another series of rough weather ahead will keep people at bay for the foreseeable future. Lingcod, sea bass and crab have all been in good condition, and in ample supply. Bay crabbing, not so much however.
Southwest – According to the agency responsible for all things shellfish, which, or course, if the Department of Agriculture, the entire Oregon coast is open for crabbing, harvesting clams in bays and the taking of mussels. Sauté the latter in butter, white wine and garlic. Let us know what’cha think!
We keep hearing about bay crabbing being poor due to too much water washing in from tributaries thanks to frequent rain storms. Even Coos Bay is poor and that’s our largest south coast bay.
Reports this week are of spring Chinook being boated on the Umpqua River which is as it should be but isn’t it a little early for photos of smallmouth? TGF investigates.
It’s been a rough week on the Rogue. Heck, it’s been a rough season for all coastal river with successive passing storms dumping megatons of water, which we need, but it’s been a lot. Fishing on the Rogue this week will be a matter of when and where with periodic breaks in the weather allowing winter steelheaders and spring Chinook hopefuls the chance to find dropping water and fish!
We also seek the proper spelling of that town on the lower Rogue. We’re hoping readers can solve a (very) minor mystery.
The first ocean caught Chinook salmon was caught this week out of Brookings. That would be the first reported ocean salmon.
Friday, March 31st, was the last day of the season on the Chetco, Elk and Sixes rivers.
Conflicting reports regarding the condition of the icy surface of Diamond Lake moved us to offer this: No fish is worth your life. We don’t recommend ice fishing here at this time, OK?
Eastern – As is the case with many rivers in Oregon, the lower Deschutes is running high and muddy. Try fishing above White River to find better water conditions.
With the water level dropping at Detroit Lake, we got word that the Mongold Boat Ramp has been opened with docks available there for boaters’ use.
Green Peter Reservoir has awakened from its winter slumber and has been producing some kokanee for trollers.
Jigging will often take kokanee at Odell Lake when nothing else works, Even the local favorite isn’t effective with the water in the mid-30s here.
Trolling for trout at Prineville Reservoir is producing a few trout but it has been slow.
SW Washington – The Cowlitz remains the top bet in the region, but serious anglers are anxious to get on the main stem Columbia through this weekend. Boats fishing shallow water have found some fish, but for getting to fish into the peak part of the season with fair numbers of fish in the system (according to test net results), it’s disappointing that the action isn’t better.
Steelhead remain a top prospect on the Cowlitz, but spring Chinook numbers are on the climb as well.
The Kalama, and to a lesser degree, the Lewis are steelhead options as well.