Willamette Valley/Metro – Trollers and wobbler fishers that have long awaited the September season for fall Chinook on the mainstem Columbia are sorely disappointed with this season’s results from Bonneville to Longview. In what has been an epic fishery the last few years, success rates are poor and the dam counts at Bonneville equally disappointing. It’s a fishery many have come to depend on, but it’s just not there right now, and likely will remain challenging until the water temperature changes. So far, not so good. There was a flurry of activity reported in the Kalama to Longview reach on Thursday however, but keep in mind, the traffic was heavy too.
Some guides have switched over to sturgeon fishing, and although it’s not epic, it’s keeping bend in the rods. Kelly Point Park has been good for sturgeon action, but the fish aren’t all that big either.
The Willamette River may harbor some Clackamas bound coho right now, but those interested in pursuing them will most likely be fishing at the mouth of the Clackamas River. It’ll be slim pickings however, the run forecast itself isn’t all that impressive.
The Sandy River and Troutdale area are inundated with firefighters and anglers are asked to take a pass on the Sandy this week. Hopefully, firefighters get the Eagle Creek blaze under control in the near future. Coho should be staging at the river mouth, ready for their next opportunity to swim upstream.
The Clackamas should start to see coho too, but not in any big number. Catches in the Buoy 10 fishery are just starting to improve, but remain inconsistent. I’m guessing the early “A” run coho may have been over-predicted as well. You’ll have to work hard for your catches, and not just because there aren’t many around, we don’t have favorable water conditions either. Good luck, you’ll need it.
Northwest – A swift and sad end to the non-selective South of Cape Falcon coho season as the closure is now in effect. Anglers must release all coho in the ocean, it was good while it lasted. It’s what we’ve all been working hard for, a return to the good old days when we didn’t have to look for fin-clips. Now it’s time for a reprieve so this iconic species can continue to replenish itself. Fishing was best out of Newport, but we didn’t have anything to complain about at Depoe Bay, Pacific City or Garibaldi either, except we wish it could last a while longer.
Chinook have been scarce in most north coast estuaries recently. Tillamook Chinook have been rare as of late, despite a good rush of them just a week ago. We’re due for another surge as the season is just getting underway.
The Nestucca, Salmon and Alsea have all slowed from a week ago, but again, action should pick up anytime now.
The Buoy 10 fishery is booting out great numbers of coho, but some guides are having a hard time landing keepers. It’s different by day and by guide, but no one is disputing the great action on the afternoon incoming tide. Action has been great, but plan on weeding through a bunch of fish before you find enough keepers to satisfy your creel. Some Chinook are still being caught (and released). Sea lions have ALL angler-hooked fish wrapped up above the Astoria/Megler Bridge. If you really want your blood to boil, fish there, you’ll NEVER land one. Chinook fishing above Tongue Point is surprisingly slow. It’s a fin-clipped only fishery now, but any Chinook is hard to catch so good luck with that!
Numbers aren’t in yet, but the halibut action was likely good over the Labor Day weekend. The nearshore fishery remains open, but the limited quota likely won’t last that much longer.
Albacore action remains perplexingly disappointing. It certainly won’t all of a sudden light up, this season is a wash.
Ocean crabbing remains excellent and the quality of crab is improving. Bay crabbing is good too, in most estuaries that is.
Southwest – From TGF’s friend Pete Heley (PeteHeley.com) – The second ocean coho season opened last Saturday and this one was nonselective – meaning both clipped and unclipped coho salmon 16-inches long or longer were legal to keep. Since previously unkeepable unclipped coho were dominating recent salmon catches the fishing should remain very good.
Coho salmon are starting to make up an increasing portion of the Umpqua River salmon catches and bank anglers at Winchester Bay are buying almost as many pink spinners preferred by coho as the green and chartreuse spinners preferred by chinooks.
Crabbing is still very good for boat crabbers in the ocean off Winchester Bay and in the lower Umpqua River. Boatless crabbers are still doing fair to good off the Old Coast Guard Pier and off “A” Dock and Dock 9. Complaints about crabs not being full have almost disappeared.
There are still good pinkfin catches being made from area beaches. The South Jetty continues to fish well with most of the catch being greenling and striped surfperch – neither of which have any minimum size restrictions.
Eastern – Deschutes River steelheaders remain unenthused. There are catchable numbers of fish in what is typically peak season, but success and traffic is noticeably down. On the upside, walleye, bass and steelhead are all options in the Deschutes right now.
And did you see this press release:
LA GRANDE, Ore. – Dry conditions in Eastern Oregon and declining water levels in Thief Valley Reservoir have prompted local fish biologists to remove daily bag and possession limits on the reservoir starting Wednesday, Aug.16 until Sept. 30, 2017.
Size and harvest method restrictions are also lifted so anglers will be able to take any size fish with a rod, a net or by hand.
Thief Valley Reservoir on the Powder River is currently holding significant water, but the storage level is declining at a rate that would have it at ‘dead storage’ level by the middle of September. ODFW biologist Tim Bailey said that removing the bag limit now will give anglers a better opportunity to harvest trout that will die later when the reservoir is drained.
“When the water level reaches ‘dead storage’, large numbers of trout get trapped in isolated pools,” said Bailey. “Most fish will be stressed in the warm, turbid water and die. Conditions when the reservoir is at ‘dead storage’ are also not conducive to the harvesting of fish.”
SW Washington – No report update this week from WDF&W.