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Willamette Valley/Metro – The season’s first spring Chinook has been claimed, and a few others reportedly fell after the initial “ice was broken.” That said, the only newsworthy story on spring Chinook is that the season has been set. As expected, the fishery will go from now until a modeled closure of April 6th. I say modeled because it’s a moving target, based on how catch rates perform under a high snow-pack and cold water temperatures. Do you see where I’m going with that? I’ll go out on a limb and say that the fishery will last longer than April 6th, but that’s just me. For all the details on the Columbia River spring salmon run, go here.

One new feature in the mainstem Columbia spring Chinook fishery, there is no proposed commercial gillnet fishery and no Tuesday closures. I guess progress is being made!

Despite water that looks threatening, high, rising and muddy, the Willamette is forecast to start dropping on Friday this week. There have been no reports of spring Chinook landed recently, but the upcoming week looks promising.

Most McKenzie fly fishers are used to action slowing for trout in the wintertime. These well-prepared anglers will not be disappointed!

Santiams, sweet Santiams, your siren song is alluring. But of fish, you know naught, nor will you for weeks to come. Waiting is, for fishy fullness.

Clackamas winter steelheaders speak in one voice when they say, “Gimme a break!” As the waters drop and clear, conditions will be optimum for steelhead slaying this coming weekend. Let’s hope the fish show up for it.

Sandy steelheaders have had it best of any inland river fishers this season with steelhead showing up early this season and catches fairly steady (with a few exceptions) following. This weekend looks promising.

Northwest – Steelheaders longing for opportunity on the north coast saw some following another weekend high water event. Larger systems such as the Wilson started fishing the best early this week, and quality sized fish are still coming from these systems, but most wouldn’t call the steelheading phenomenal.

Smaller systems fished well early this week too with one 20+ pound brute reported from the Kilchis River. Most smaller, early season streams however produced mediocre results at best.

The Nestucca is a favorite this time of year and is starting to yield both broodstock and fair numbers of wild fish. It’ll be game on well into March for this system.

The mainstem Nehalem may also come into reach over the weekend. Dropping snow levels and a dry Saturday should allow for anglers to start tossing hardware of bait at big brutes on this system as we near peak season.

Ocean weather may offer up some saltwater opportunity this weekend. An east wind may knock down the swell for Saturday, so if you’re equipped, you may want to weigh your options. There should be a hungry batch of bottomfish out there. Commercial crabbing is still underway mind you. The afternoon outgoing tide may be a screamer however, so watch post-effort bar crossings.

Bay crabbing will likely be fair at best.

Southwest – With heavy rain still effecting bays and estuaries all along the Oregon coast, it will likely take several days for salinity, reduced by fresh water, to return to levels which Dungeness find acceptable. Until then, bay crabbing will be slow.

As is often the case at this time of year, the most difficult part of ocean bottom fishing is getting there. When wind, wave and weather come together in a cosmic convergence to create a day when it’s possible to cross out into the ocean, it goes without saying that fishing will be good. But we say it anyway. Weekly.

Another reminder from Pete albeit lamenting the date conflict, is of the Frostbite Open bass tournament held annually on Tenmile Lakes is the same day as the Lower Umpqua’s Flyfishing Expo. Now, we know the majority of bass fishers don’t fly fish so ….

There have been herring reported out of Newport this week but there’s no guarantee one day to the next if they’ll remain. These are mostly females at this time of year.

Blogger and Author of several fishing books, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) send his reports to us from Reedsport. This week, he reminds us that this Saturday, Feb. 25th, the 26th annual Flyfishing Expo put on by the Lower Umpqua Flycasters will take place between 9 am and 3 pm at the Reedsport Community Center and admission is free.

Also from Heley – Upcoming Fishing Shows
KDRV JACKSON COUNTY SPORTSMEN’S and OUTDOOR RECREATION SHOW at the Jackson county fairgrounds IN MEDFORD.
TIME: FRIDAY – NOON – 9pm; Saturday – 10 am – 8 pm; Sunday – 10 am – 5 pm.
Admission: $7.00 (adults); $1.00 (ages 5-11); FREE (children under 5)

FEB. 25TH
LOWER UMPQUA FLYCASTERS FLYFISHING EXPO AT THE COMMUNITY BUILDING IN REEDSPORT
TIME: 9 am – 3 pm
ADMISSION: FREE TO EVERYONE

MARCH 2ND – 5TH
CENTRAL OREGON SPORTSMEN’S SHOW AT THE DESCHUTES COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS IN REDMOND..
TIME: THURSDAY & FRIDAY: NOON – 8 PM; SATURDAY: 10 am – 8 pm and Sunday 10 am – 4 pm
admission: $10.00 (adults – 2-day pass for $15.00); $5.00 (ages 6 – 16) FREE ( children under 5)

“Outrage among anglers fishing the lower Deschutes River regarding increased numbers of smallmouth bass has decreased recently when it was revealed that the photo posted online by the Deschutes River Alliance was not a smallmouth bass, but instead a northern pikeminnow – a fish native to the Deschutes and Columbia Rivers. It appears that a slight reduction in water temperatures in the lower Deschutes would go a long way towards slowing down the rate of increase in the river’s smallmouth population.” – Pete Heley

The Saltwater Sportsmen’s Show is This Weekend at the Expo Center
HERE”S THE SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25TH – CASCADE HALL

8:15 am – 9:15 am
Fishing Buoy 10 – Fishing AND Catching.
Presented by Steve Lynch (Pro-Cure) and Josh Cooper (Cousins Tackle)
9:20 am – 10:30 am
Chinook Salmon Workshop and Panel Discussion
Presented by a select panel of experts including Steve Lynch, Josh Cooper, and Mark McCulloch
10:45 am – 12:15 pm
Introduction to Jigging: What you need to know to start jigging for albacore tuna off the NW Pacific coast.
Presented by Dave (Teton) Phillips
1:45 pm – 3:45 pm
Sea Conditions & Bar Crossings – Knowing when to go and when to stay
Presented by Charles Loos (Tinman) & Capt. Dan Shipman (USCG)
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26TH – CASCADE HALL

8:15 am – 9:15 am
Halibut Hooking Behavior
Presented by Halibut Steve Kaimmer
9:30 am – 11:00 am
Maximize Your Electronics
Presented by Capt. John Keizer of Salt Patrol
12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Tuna Workshop and Panel Discussion
With a select panel of experts
1:45 pm – 3:45 pm
Sea Conditions & Bar Crossings – Knowing when to go and when to stay
Presented by Charles Loos (Tinman) & Capt. Dan Shipman (USCG

With the Rogue well into recovery from rain storms of last week, the best stretch will be the Middle Rogue, which is the number one producer at this time of year. Side drifting roe has been most effective with a little pink shrimp kicker while tossing bait or drifting corkies will take fish from the bank. Be aware of spawned out steelhead which appear bright but have soft bellies. They’re not worth keeping, hatchery or not.

Eastern – There has been no explanation for the gathering of anglers at the mouth of the Hood River this week. Please send a report if you have one!

With heavy snowfall forcing anglers to use snowmobiles to access Odell Lake, a thing of the past week, it’s just frozen now, all around the lake.

When the sun shines and the wind doesn’t blow too hard – wait, this is a Lake Billy Chinook report, not Odell. The wind hasn’t been much of a problem and the weather periodically pleasant. The fishing’s good, too.

Many lakes and reservoirs are used for flood control so following the heavy rains of late, and changes in water level may negatively effect the bite. Check if possible before you fish.

Kokanee have been absent in catches recently according to trollers who fished there this week. There have been a few trout taken.

SW Washington – Steelhead are starting to show in better numbers on the Cowlitz River. Catch rates remain relatively unimpressive however. That should change in the coming weeks.

The Lewis is producing a few winter steelhead and action should only improve in the coming weeks.

The big news is the smelt opportunity this weekend. Fishery managers report:

State fishery managers approved a limited sport fishery for smelt on the Cowlitz River for Saturday, Feb. 25. Under this year’s rules, a portion of the Cowlitz River will be open to recreational dip netting along the shore from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. for one day only. (see map on this page.)

The area open to sport dipping stretches from the Highway 432 Bridge upstream to the Al Helenberg Memorial Boat Ramp, located approximately 1,300 feet upstream from the Highway 411/A Street Bridge in Castle Rock. Each dip-netter may retain 10 pounds of smelt per day, with no more than one day’s limit in possession.

Ten pounds is about a quarter of a five-gallon bucket. No fishing license is required to dip for smelt in Washington state.

Below, Pro guide Chris Vertopoulos (503) 349-1377 netted this 37-inch steelhead for client, Dave Billheimer on the lower Wilson River on 2/23.

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