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Willamette Valley/Metro – Columbia River spring Chinook seekers got some relief recently, with the extension of the spring Chinook season at least through April 10th, Given the poor performance of the fishery, unless something changes, we’d have to anticipate even more time, but only time itself, will tell. Here is the official press release.

So you might guess where this paragraph is going; we’re entering peak season now and catches remain dismal for a fair amount of effort afoot. High, cold water continues to hamper success and that doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon. Estimated catch through March 26th was only 53 fish, so we have a long way to go to achieve our quota. We need favorable water conditions to get both fish and fishermen excited however.

Willamette Level and flow remain high but without rain in the forecast for this coming weekend and beyond, it’s a safe bet that interest in lower Willamette Spring Chinook fishing will skyrocket. We predict less pressure on sturgeon.

As the McKenzie River comes back in to shape and the water clarity improves, trout fishers should expect to find some action.

Many winter steelheaders, perhaps without historical knowledge of the Santiams, ask about fishing here. Not for a while as too few are available.

Although the Clackamas River is currently (evening of March 30th) at its highest level this week, conditions will start to change, improving in the coming weekend. It remains to be seen what the winter steelhead run may hold in store but it’s certainly too early to target springers here.

According to our man on the Sandy River, pro fishing guide Jeff Stoeger (http://guideoregon.com), the Sandy rose this week, hitting 12 feet but, as with other Oregon waterways, will be dropping as the rain stops. This will be reason for optimism with winter steelheaders.

Northwest – Steelheaders on the north coast endured another weather system that put the majority of late season steelhead options again on hold. The Kilchis has had the bulk of the pressure, largely due to it being the only game in town. Reports from the Kilchis indicate anglers are having to work hard for their catch. Guide boats are getting 1 – 3 chances for an all-day excursion and some of the fish being tallied are already spawned out.

The Wilson, Nestucca and to some degree, the Trask have had negligible pressure due to high, off-colored water. Reports are scarce when the fish are, and when the water conditions are unfavorable. And the Nehalem? Forget about it.

Ocean fishing hasn’t been an option either, Rough seas have put the bottomfishing fleet on hold but there may be some reprieve this weekend. Commercial crabbers are still doing fair, but as is usually the case, catches taper after a booming January.

Same story, different week, not a great bunch of opportunity for spring break. Hopefully we’re in for a drying and clearing trend.

Southwest – South coast rivers will be dropping, clearing and improving with no rain forecast for the next several days.

As a bonus in this very temporary (and even unusual during this crazy weather year), crabbing in bays and estuaries will be improving.

Author, publisher and prolific blogger, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) is kind enough to send us weekly reports from the area of his home town, Reedsport. Among many other topics, he tells us that, despite commercial crabbers slowing recreational crabbing, it’s still fair to good with the average take four or five Dungeness for each person.

A subject about which Mr. Heley often talks is one about which little is said. That would be the striped bass fishery on the southern Oregon Coast. This weeks, he tells us where and when.

While we cover warmwater fisheries occasionally, Pete Heley is an enthusiast and shares his enthusiasm about springtime sunshine warming local lakes sufficiently to move bass and panfish into the shallows. He always shares some favorite spots.

High water, persistent at the Rogue River, has not completely shut down the spring Chinook fishery on the lower river, but optimism will be higher when the water drops and clears. Winter steelhead are available upstream.

Although the Chetco is past due for a break from rainstorms, winter steelheaders are wondering, with improved conditions over the coming days, will there still be bright fish available. We know of only two sure ways to find out: First (and best – go fish. Second, not nearly so much fun but a sure thing: Read about it in TGF next week.

Eastern – Write off the Deschutes as a weekend destination – at least for the coming weekend as the river is high and muddy.

It’s still too early to expect rapid catches at Green Peter Reservoir which still seems to be suffering from the ‘little fish syndrome’ although it is showing improvement.

Cold water is said to be the culprit slowing action at Lake Billy Chinook.

At this writing on Thursday, March 30th, the road to Wickiup remains closed.

With east-side lakes still chilled from winter weather, many, such as Odell, while accessible, has offered only slow fishing.

SW Washington – Cowlitz anglers continue to be the shining star in the district. Winter steelhead are  making up the bulk of the catch on the Cowlitz, with an occasional spring Chinook being taken as well.

Boat anglers are out-producing bank anglers almost 2 to 1 for steelhead, but that’s no surprise to anyone.

Other rivers are not faring so well. The Kalama is a second option for steelhead, but closed for spring Chinook. There are a few steelhead in the Lewis as well.

WDFW News – Razor Clam Dig Alternates Between Two Beaches Beginning March 30.
Posted on 03/28/2017 by Pete Heley

“State shellfish managers have approved a morning razor clam dig starting March 30 with openings alternating between Mocrocks and Copalis beaches through April 2.

‘The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the four-day dig – the first dig of the season on morning tides – after marine toxin tests showed that clams on those two beaches are safe to eat.

‘Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, said diggers should be aware that only one beach – either Mocrocks or Copalis – will be open each day of the upcoming dig.

‘Ayres also reminds diggers that all state fishing licenses expire March 31, so they will need to purchase a 2017-18 fishing license if they plan to participate in the digs approved for Saturday, April 1, and Sunday, April 2.

‘Licenses applicable to digging razor clams include an annual razor clam license, a shellfish license or a combination fishing license. A three-day razor clam license is also available, although it is restricted to digging days in a single licensing year.

‘All licenses are available online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/ and from sporting goods stores and other licensing outlets throughout the state.

‘The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates and morning low tides:

March 30, Thursday, 8:58 a.m.; -0.6 feet, Mocrocks
March 31, Friday, 9:47 a.m.; -0.6 feet, Copalis
April 1, Saturday, 10:40 a.m.; -0.5 feet, Mocrocks
April 2, Sunday; 11:39 a.m., -0.1 feet, Copalis

Long Beach and Twin Harbors remain closed to digging, because they have not yet met state testing requirements for marine toxins, Ayres said.

“Copalis Beach extends from the Grays Harbor north jetty to the Copalis River and includes the Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis areas.

“Mocrocks Beach extends from the Copalis River to the southern boundary of the Quinault Reservation near the Moclips River, including Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Seabrook, Pacific Beach and Moclips.

Maps of those beaches and information about razor clam digs proposed in the future are available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html