Willamette Valley/Metro – Although summer steelhead numbers continue to climb, we’re still way behind the previous decade’s catch, effort and return. The trouble with seeing such low returns is that when water conditions are more ideal for catching, a weaker return year just gets productive with good numbers of fish when the water temperatures begins to peak. As we all know, success is directly linked to water temperature.
Summer Chinook catches are still outnumbering summer steelhead catches and hatchery fish, in the creel counts anyway, are few and far between.
The Willamette fishery is over for salmon, warmwater fishing, especially for smallmouth bass is on however.
Clackamas and Sandy River anglers remain challenged by low and clear water conditions, not to mention the splash and giggle crowd. Upper river anglers stand a chance if they fish early, use small and subdued baits and lures and remain diligent.
This isn’t a bad time to target trout. Like steelhead however, early morning and dusk are the most productive.
Northwest – The south of Falcon ocean fishery remains challenging for coho and Chinook anglers. Rough seas kept many off early in the week, but a return to more friendly seas should persist through the weekend. The ocean south of Cape Falcon closes starting August 1st.
Not much has changed for ocean crabbers. Still productive, still mostly soft-shelled crab. Estuary crabbing is better for quality, short on quantity.
The mid-coast nearshore halibut fishery closes effective July 31st. That quota didn’t last long, but the season average was around 26 pounds.
Albacore fishing has been hit or miss. Trolling is already on its way out, it’ll be a live bait and jig show from here. They are still pretty far out, as in 50 to 70 miles offshore, but some reports of fish inside of 24 miles are coming in.
The coho bite at the CR Buoy has picked up. The north-of-the-river bite for Chinook has not.
Sturgeon fishing in the estuary remains good, but has seemed to slow a bit in the warmer water. Fish are still quite responsive to anchovies.
Southwest – From our friend Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com – Ocean salmon fishing is improving except along the northern edge of our zone. Through July 16th, Garibaldi continues to lead in number of chinook salmon harvested, but produced virtually no chinook last week.
Winchester Bay continues to lead in ocean salmon fishing trips and number of fin clipped coho salmon kept and is up to .40 kept salmon per angler-trip. However, Charleston with .52 kept salmon per angler-trip has been even more productive and has produced 13.6 percent more retained chinook salmon with only 36.4 percent as many angler-trips.
As of July 16th, only 10.1 percent of quota had been caught and kept and since the ocean fin clipped coho season ends on July 31st, the season will not close early due to quota fulfillment. However, the salmon fishing is definitely improving – especially along the central Oregon coast.
Only a few anglers have been trying to catch salmon at Winchester Bay by casting spinners off the bank, but both Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point have given up chinooks to 25 pounds. Very few cohos have been caught and they have been chasing forage fish and have been unclipped and unkeepable.
The Umpqua River pinkfin run is not over, but appears to be winding down and becoming even more inconsistent. Fishing for surfperch in the surf along area beaches is more consistent, but some people just like to use their boats.
Umpqua River shad fishing is pretty much over, but smallmouth fishing is very good with the bass even fatter than usual. Some sections of the river have more of a weed problem than others, but fishing top water lures minimizes the problem. A few other lures and retrieval techniques can also lessen the weed problem.
Fishing for bluegills at Loon Lake continues to be very good, but weed growth has somewhat curtailed bank fishing options.
Saunders and Butterfield lakes have been relatively overlooked and are capable of providing decent fishing for anglers using light tackle.
Crabbing at Winchester Bay has been a little inconsistent, but generally very good. Last week, one boat that was crabbing just outside the Umpqua River Bar reported that 48 of the 52 crabs they caught were legal males. Both salmon fishing and crabbing should continue to improve over the next several weeks.
Eastern – Flows on the John Day are low now (160 CFPS) and the raft and kayak show is over for the year…it’s just a smallmouth basser’s heaven. Fish are congregated anywhere there is a little water movement and depth. We had a cloudy (smoky) day so poppers were the ticket all day long. We fished them from the bank all the way out into mid river and drew strikes.
East Lake – The slime and a pine pollen bloom is gone, the weather has cooled off a bit and the fishing is great!. Trollers are scoring with flashers and small flatfish or worms.
Odell Lake – Kokanee fishing is holding up at Odell with fish from 30 to 70 feet. The fish are averaging about 10 inches with some 14 inch fish in the mix.
Deschutes River – There are a few reports of steelhead being taken from the mouth up to Colorado Rapid but nothing to get real excited about. The 7 day average over Bonneville is about 800 per day and some of those fish will be heading to the Deschutes. A word of caution to the Deschutes mouth trollers – the heavy winter flows deposited a lot of sand at the mouth and the big flat at the mouth is bigger and extends well out into the main Columbia, especially downstream of the river mouth.
Reports from some of the fly shops are that the fishing is also good on the Metolius and Crooked with good dry fly fishing close to dusk. Check in at “The Fly Fisher’s Place” in Sisters to get all the up to the minute details!
SW Washington –
Cowlitz River – Upstream from the I-5 Bridge: 82 bank rods kept 12 adult spring Chinook and 9 steelhead and released 2 adult and 1 jack spring Chinook and 2 cutthroats. 172 boat rods (56 boats) kept 57 steelhead and released 2 steelhead and 6 cutthroats. Spring Chinook are being caught at the salmon hatchery and steelhead mainly around the trout hatchery.
From the I-5 Bridge downstream: 12 bank rods and 6 boat rods (3 boats) had no catch. Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 293 spring Chinook adults, 10 spring Chinook jacks, 14 minijacks and 161 summer-run steelhead adults and one cutthroat trout in five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 3,240 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, July 24. Water visibility is 13 feet and water temperature is 55.9 degrees F.
Lower Columbia mainstem from the Megler-Astoria Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam – Last week we sampled 957 salmonid anglers (145 boats) with 45 adult and 3 jack summer Chinook, 111 steelhead, and no sockeye. 19 (42%) of the adult summer Chinook and 67 (60%) of the steelhead were kept. Effort is low right now with <100 boats and <100 bank anglers counted during the Wed. July 19 flight.