Willamette Valley Fishing Report – Despite increased opportunity with the re-opener of the Columbia, catches remained subdued last Saturday and likely will for the remainder of the spring Chinook season too. Dam counts at Bonneville have dropped below 2,000 fish although that’s likely to range back into the 2,000/day range over the next week or better. Shad have yet to make a strong showing on the Columbia but it’s likely not far away.
Over 1,000 spring Chinook adults were counted per day for the first eight days of May. On the ninth (the last date of available data) the daily count dropped to 870. Still the cumulative total as of that date was just over 29,000, a pretty impressive number. Consider that last year’s total for the season was about the same. Much more so than that of the summer steelhead which just pushed past the 900 mark on that same date. Chinook catches continue to wane as well as effort but the lower Multnomah Channel is still putting out some keepers. Shad anglers at Oregon City are catching fish in fair numbers; not surprising given the water temperatures.
Water flow on the McKenzie has held fairly steady at roughly 1,000 cfs since the first of May. That’s not a lot of water but the clarity is great and hatches are underway.
North Santiam level and flow have been gradually dropping with recent showers making little difference. We’ll call it 1,400 cfs at Mehama. There has been almost no change whatsoever in South Santiam flows since the beginning of the month. It’s right a 1,000 cfs and forecast to remain that was over the next couple of weeks. The Santiams open for trout fishing on May 23, 2015.
With a flow of 1,300 cfs, the Clackamas River is not only low but clear, a double barreled problem for those of us who are chasing spring Chinook and summer steelhead here. While water levels at the Sandy bumped up over half a foot on Tuesday this week, they started dropping again right away and are predicted to continue in that negative direction.
North Coast Fishing Report – We’re entering the start of peak season for spring Chinook in the Tillamook district although action is far from what most would call good. The minus tide series has traditionally been great for upper Tillamook Bay anglers but a whispy moss continues to infest the area from the Tillamook River, fouling gear and compromising catches. It’s especially bad with the low, warm water we’re currently experiencing. Catches are improving but again, it’s hard to fish.
Nestucca Bay trollers are seeing sporadic success with one keeper reported tipping the scales at 35 pounds recently. Fish should be well distributed in tidewater and a few likely passed upriver where solitude is more likely. Summer steelhead seem absent but only low numbers are planted anyway.
The Trask River is also seeing improved catches and these early fish are more likely to be the aggressive biters. River levels remained low, even after the most recent rain storm series. The Wilson is also an option but tidewater is the best bet. A few summer steelhead should also be around.
The all-depth halibut season got underway on Thursday. It wasn’t the calmest of seas but the real salt dawgs likely got after them and found fair numbers out of mid-coast and northern ports. Ironically, the seas are supposed to improve by Sunday, a closed halibut day. Bottomfishing should be good however and some deep-water salmon trollers may find success. Ocean crabbing is likely to remain less-than-impressive.
Central & South Coast Reports – Charters out of Newport and Depoe Bay have had good days and great days this week. On Monday this week, for instance, the offshore bottom fish bite slowed, a sharp contrast to the easy lingcod and rockfish limits of the past weekend. Ocean crabbing is starting to improve.
Ocean Chinook catches have been fairly hit-or-miss so far this season but results will improve in coming weeks. Offshore fishing for coho opens on June 27 for a quota of 55,000 hatchery fish.
The first of the spring all-depth halibut fisheries is open today through Saturday, May 14-16 with optimism high for good catches in mild offshore conditions. No reports from today were available by deadline. The nearshore halibut season does not open until July 1.
Forecast for offshore conditions look fairly friendly through the weekend but as always, check the daily forecasts to avoid surprises. Springers are being caught on the lower Rogue although it has slowed in low water. It’s still fairly slow on the middle river although upper Rogue springer anglers are doing well with good numbers upstream now.
In addition to the bounty of lings being taken out of Brookings, limits of larger rockfish are on board when boats return. Halibut season is open Thursdays through Sundays every week and a few have been taken on jigs.
ODFW biologists will be gillnetting Diamond Lake in the coming week to determine population estimates in order to better manage the lake. With gnats and mosquitoes thick at this time, fishing is slow.
Family fishing is coming to Waldport on Saturday, May 16 when the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and First Baptist Church of Waldport host a free fishing event at Eckman Lake. The event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for youth ages 17 and younger. Each participant will be able to catch two rainbow trout from a fish enclosure. Fishing gear and instruction will be provided free of charge.
Central & Eastern -Paulina Lake is treating trollers pretty well and delivering quality kokanee averaging 12 inches.
Kokanee fishing is slow to fair at Green Peter but the fish here are running quite small.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host a free youth fishing event at Bend’s Pine Nursery Pond this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. ODFW staff and volunteers will be on hand to help young anglers learn how to bait a hook, cast a rod and land a fish. Tackle and loaner rods and reels will be available, and there will be fish in the pond for those 17 years old and younger to catch, according to ODFW.
Kids will have a chance to hone their fishing skills at a free youth fishing event at the McNary Channel Ponds near Hermiston on Saturday, May 16 from 10 a.m. to noon. The event is co-sponsored by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. To give younger anglers a head start, the event will be open only to youth 14 years old and younger from 10 a.m. to noon. The ponds will open to families to fish starting at noon. ODFW will provide tackle and loaner rods and reels, and there will be plenty of staff and volunteers on hand to help new anglers get started.
SW Washington – The Cowlitz remains the obvious choice of lower tributary anglers but catches of spring Chinook are slowing and summer steelhead numbers aren’t all that impressive yet. The Lewis and Kalama systems remain quiet but savvy anglers willing to work low water will find some success for salmon and steelhead.
The Wind River and Drano Lake fisheries are slowing too; an obvious consequence of dropping passage at Bonneville. Bank anglers rule the roost in the upper reaches of these watersheds now. The Klickitat is also an option.