Willamette Valley/Metro – Counts at Bonneville remain depressed for Chinook and relatively speaking, depressed for steelhead as well. Neither is unexpected. Anglers are less than motivated, with the hot weather, hot water and mediocre fishing at best. Of the few summer steelhead being caught, a hatchery fish is a bit of a rare occurrence. That won’t change anytime soon, but at least if you catch a wild Chinook, you can retain it. Catches for both Chinook and steelhead were best in the gorge. It’ll be another 3 weeks before viable numbers of salmon show on the mainstem Columbia in the metro area.
The Willamette is now a bass and panfish show, that won’t change anytime soon.
The Clackamas and Sandy Rivers are an oasis for rafters and swimmers. Summer steelhead and a rare spring Chinook may bite in the upper reaches, but anglers will again be challenged this week. Early mornings offer you your best chance.
Upstream, the Santiam systems are yielding very few summer steelhead. Spring Chinook action remains fair at best, with most Chinook well colored up. The numbers are there, they are just less than motivated to bite under current water and weather conditions.
Northwest – The Buoy 10 season started off with a bang. Actually, before the August 1st opener, action for Chinook above the bridge was dynamite too. Of course before August 1, you had to look for fin-clipped only Chinook. Regulations relax on August 1st, now, we just have to get an other influx of fish. Action in the estuary dramatically dropped off in recent days, but Chinook should be pouring in within the week.
Coho action outside of the mouth of the Columbia River remains good, with the best action coming SW of the river mouth. The bite to the north, off of the Long Beach Peninsula remains only fair.
Bottomfishing off of the south jetty out of Astoria should be productive this weekend, Black sea bass make up the bulk of the catch.
The all-depth halibut season opens the next two days. Anglers that know their spots are likely to score good results. Of course when we say “all-depth,” we mean all depths, so those that were versed in the nearshore fishery also have a reasonable chance at fish.
Freshwater fishers in pursuit of summer steelhead on the Wilson or Nestucca systems have a hard row to hoe. Low, warm water and an invasion of swimmers will certainly put fish down. If you’re really into it, troll flashers and worms in tidewater for sea run cutthroat trout. August has been a historical boon for this fishery.
Chinook anglers on Nehalem Bay continue to struggle for consistent results. We’re nearing peak season here, and although action is far from fast and furious, it’s about as good as it’s going to get right now, which ain’t sayin’ much. Wheeler has been the most productive reach, but the reach in front of the city of Nehalem should also start producing results.
The South-of-Falcon fishery is closed for coho, but remains open for Chinook. Too bad Chinook appear to be non-existent. It should improve as we near the end of the month.
Ocean crabbing remains excellent… for soft-shelled Dungeness.
Southwest – From TGF’s friend Pete Heley (PeteHeley.com)
The finclipped ocean salmon season ended on July 31st with only a fraction of the 18,000 coho quota retained. Through July 23rd, 22.5 percent or 4,055 of the coho quota had been kept and those coho made up 87 percent of the retained ocean salmon catch through July 23rd. Through July 23rd, Winchester Bay, Charleston and Bandon had kept salmon averages of .42, .51 and .27 respectively.
Garibaldi continues to lead in retained chinook salmon, but those were early season chinooks and only a half dozen chinook have been added to their season total in the last two weeks. As for ocean salmon fishing, only chinook salmon of 24-inches in length or longer will be legal to keep until the nonselective ocean coho salmon season begins on September 2nd.
The Umpqua River has been offering fair fishing for chinook salmon below Reedsport, but there have been few anglers casting spinners from the bank at Winchester Bay. Crabbing in Half Moon Bay and in the ocean near the Umpqua River Bar has been very good.
A series of high tides brought a fresh batch of female red-tailed surfperch into the Umpqua River last week and quick boat limits were the rule. Last week the most unusual catch made by an Umpqua River pinkfin angler was a 30-inch zebra shark which bit a sand shrimp about two miles upriver of the Umpqua River Bar.
The fisheries in some of our local coastal waters have undergone significant changes during this highwater year. A surprising number of winter steelhead were caught out of Clear Lake in Coos County this last spring and since the south end of Clear Lake is connected to the north end of Saunders Lake, steelhead from Tenmile Creek could conceivably reach Saunders Lake.
Yellow perch have become well established in Butterfield Lake. They possibly had a helping hand from an ignorant, law breaking, but well-meaning angler, but may have also reached Butterfield by swimming south from Beale Lake during high water. In 50 years of fishing Butterfield Lake, the bass have tended to be small and thin. Dwayne’s lunker bass, which he released, was clearly a most welcome exception.
Eastern – Avid angler Tim Moran reports:
Deschutes River – With the hot weather more bass than steelhead are being taken at the mouth and the first few miles upstream. Steelhead counts at the dam are weak so if you go fish for steelhead early and then take your 5wt. and fish for trout and bass after about 9am.
Wickiup Kokanee are still available and they are right out in front of Gull Point in 30 to 40 ft. of water. I’d fish early and late for them during the hot spell and chill with a cold one at camp or in the lake in the afternoon.
This is a great time to wet wade the Crooked fiver. It is cool coming out of the bottom of Prineville Dam and the rainbows and white fish will be active.
A word of warning to anyone who is going to catch and release trout during these heat spells. Fish early in lakes and then shut it down. Once the water temps get into the 70’s on the surface trout survival goes into the tank.
Have a great weekend everyone – hope to see you on the water!
Eastern Oregon is experiencing some heat-related water problems as Brownlee Reservoir now has a toxic algae bloom.
SW Washington – From the WDF&W web site:
Cowlitz River – Above the I-5 Br: 61 bank rods kept 7 adult spring Chinook and 2 steelhead and released 1 adult and 1 jack spring Chinook. 52 boats/157 rods kept 48 steelhead and released 1 jack spring Chinook and 10 cutthroats. Below the I-5 Br – 1 boat/2 rods and 1 bank angler had no catch.
Mainstem Lewis River – 2 boat anglers kept 1 steelhead.
Drano Lake – 22 boat anglers kept 2 adult Chinook and 6 steelhead and released 13 steelhead and 1 adult Chinook. ~12 boats here on weekdays and ~25 boats here last Saturday morning.
Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Last week we sampled 1,042 salmonid anglers (165 boats) with 23 adult and 2 jack summer Chinook, 85 steelhead, and no sockeye. 8 (35%) of the adult summer Chinook and 45 (53%) of the steelhead were kept. Any Chinook (adipose fin clipped or not) may be retained beginning tomorrow (August 1). All steelhead must be released during the month of August.
Hanford Reach Summer Chinook/Sockeye Fishery – Effort has been slow but did pick up slightly this past week. There were an estimated 37 boats fishing for summer chinook salmon in the Columbia River between Highway 395 and Priest Rapids Dam during the week.
WDFW staff interviewed 9 anglers from 7 boats with 1 hatchery jack chinook harvested and 4 wild adult chinook caught and released. For the season there have been 2,366 angler trips for summer chinook/sockeye with 115 adult hatchery chinook, 42 chinook jacks, and 885 sockeye harvested. Area fisheries will continue to be open to fishing for hatchery summer chinook through August 15. On August 16, the fall fishery will open.