Willamette Valley/Metro – Still no word of a spring Chinook from the region, despite good water conditions. The window may be closing, with the upcoming precipitation event.
While the waters of the lower Willamette have been on a steady drop for a while, enticing a troller or two to seek spring Chinook in vain (thus far) the weather and the condition of the river are both going to change. Rainfall is coming and a rise in the lower Willamette will reflect it in the coming days. Be extremely careful boating in high water!
McKenzie fly fishers will get a little time off as the waters will rise due to the combination of rainfall and snowmelt.
Those darn Santiams will have too much water and too few winter steelhead a fishery to make.
We don’t usually do much in the way of prediction in this section, but here’s one: Clackamas River steelheaders have one more day to enjoy the river in winter-low, clear conditions as it continues to drop and frustrate anglers. This because the Clack will start to rise on February 4th and it ain’t gonna stop for a while.
Our Man on the Sandy, pro fishing guide Jeff Stoeger (http://guideoregon.com/>) reports this week that the Sandy River had a small spurt of fresh fish over the past weekend and this week, most winter steelhead have come from the lower river.
Northwest – Steelheaders had a productive but short run after river levels dropped last week. Since then, especially recently, anglers have been having to gut it out with a stiff east wind and challenging action. Ever hear the term wind from the east, fishing the least? At least it’s given the few hardy anglers a chance to have the river to themselves.
With the low flows, the Wilson, Nestucca, Nehalem and to a lesser degree, the Trask, have all been the stronger options lately. That said, none have been overly productive but anglers that have been putting in a full day, at least have been having a chance or two at fish. That could change with the upcoming rain event.
Small stream anglers are realizing it’s over. Their early season quarry have moved on, and are more likely to be spawned out, than fresh run. These smaller streams will harbor a few wild winter fish in the coming weeks but the hatchery option has come and gone.
Desperate saltwater anglers spent a little bit of time in pursuit of bottomfish and crab recently. They were of course rewarded. East winds knocked down the offshore swell, but you had to stay close to shore.
Bay crabbing is fair at best, with the big tide exchanges we’re just now coming off of.
Southwest – In a News Release dated February 1, 2017, the ODA and ODFW announced that Recreational ocean and bay crabbing is closed from the Coos Bay North Jetty to Heceta Head due to elevated levels of domoic acid.
A winter alternative that’s seldom mentioned is the surf perch fishery at many locations up and down the Oregon coast. Catching a day when the surf lays down is a challenge but they’re biting!
We use the phrase “when boats can get out” in reference to recreational as well as charter boats and do so regarding various ports. What we haven’t mentioned in a while is how rare that day is. Catching bottomfish in the wintertime is actually a rare treat!
Bottom fishing has been great with the latest report indicating a slight dip in ling cod action *which means it took a little longer to fill limits).
Once again this week, author, publisher and prolific blogger, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reports to us from Reedsport regarding a variety of subjects, including the proposed additional fees for non-motorized watercraft and expresses his dissenting opinion.
In his typical down-home, eclectic style, Heley also shares delight that the 2017 Trout Stocking Schedule has been undated and is nearly complete for the year.
The Rogue River is expected to get a real wallop from the storm front due to impact the entire length of the river starting February 3rd. This will put the Rogue out of shape for the week.
We expect the Chetco River to start rising on Friday this week, making steelheading all but impossible. And no, that’s not a challenge.
Anglers are ice fishing (and catching some fish) at Diamond Lake.
Eastern – According the latest issue of the Columbia Basin Bulletin, a significant number of Sockeye
Salmon have returned to the Deschutes and may result in a significant run in the future. We are looking forward to hearing sockeye fishing techniques and tactics from our readers in anticipation of this event. In the meantime, fish trout in the lower Deschutes ‘cause the steelheading remains poor.
The Metolius River is often considered the ‘Deschutes alternative’ when fly fishers are in that area and for good reason.
While access to Fall River is limited by snowfall to the stretch at the hatchery, this is another winter trout fishery worth considering. Perhaps keep this one a little lower on the list until it starts raining again.
SW Washington – Still not much going on in this district. Anglers are anxious for spring Chinook and steelhead opportunities coming in the near future. It won’t be soon enough however.
Trout plants and some steelhead have been taking place in local lakes. Go here for the details.
I guess the big news is the upcoming razor clam dig. You can find those details here.