Oregon Fishing Report from TGF
Oregon's most complete and accurate fishing update.
Updated for March 7th – March 13th, 2014
Oregon Fishing Update
Willamette Valley/Metro - Spring chinook have been taken at Davis Bar this season with many anglers hopeful that as March progresses, so will catches. In just another 2 weeks, catches should dramatically improve based on water temperatures and flow. The often turbid Willamette won't affect anglers working from Davis Bar across from the mouth of the Willamette, upstream.
Another rise in river levels will keep Willamette River springer hopefuls sidelined for at least another week. It hasn't been a prosperous start to the salmon season but hopes weren't running high given the mediocre prediction this year. Sturgeon catch should remain good, if not great for those in pursuit. Anglers lucky enough to have fresh smelt to fish should produce awesome catches.
As of Tuesday this week, water levels on the McKenzie River were headed for bank full stage. With more rainfall on the way, it's not likely to be fishable for a while.
Expect the North Santiam to be a raging torrent this weekend and it won't disappoint. While the South Santiam is high, it is forecast to drop rapidly into the coming weekend. There may be some native winter steelhead staging in the lower sections to provide catch-and-release action.
Overall, Sandy River anglers have been largely disappointed with the season and currently, the river is turbid and in need of dropping to see improvements in the catch. The upper reaches from Dodge Park to Cedar Creek offer up the best chances in higher flows but be sure to match your offerings to water conditions; bigger and brighter offerings in high water, most subdued colors in clear.
The Clackamas saw its first push of fish late last week with anglers taking fair numbers around Cross Park and vicinity. There were some large hatchery broodstock fish taken and Meldrum Bar lit up with fish on Thursday and Friday. The ratio of wild to hatchery was near 50/50, indicating that the Clackamas hatchery component is underway. Action will improve when flows drop.
Hagg Lake was slow at the opener on March 1 but a few nice fish were landed. The local store weighed four over seven pounds. It was heavily planted again this week.
Northwest – North Coast steelheaders had to put up with another significant rise in rivers levels late in the weekend with another rise forecast for Friday. The late season return of wild and hatchery fish was markedly better than the early returns so there is hope for a salvaged season.
The Wilson and Nestucca will remain primary targets of interest but wild fish should be available in all open north coast systems. By Saturday, if river levels cooperate, action should be good on most smaller systems such as the Necanicum, Kilchis and upper Trask and Nestucca systems and by Sunday and early next week, most systems should be fishing good.
The Nehalem will remain colored for another several days but fair numbers should be returning by this time when conditions cooperate.
No sign of calming seas but when saltwater anglers are able to get out, fishing has been productive. Jiggers did well at the mouth of the Columbia last week with limits of sea bass and lingcod easily attainable. Tides and conditions have to match perfectly for good catches however.
Razor clamming was good as well last week but the next set of minus tides won't happen until late in the month.
Southwest- Charter boats launching out of central Oregon ports in less-than-optimum conditions early this week caught plenty of fish despite wind and rain. They reported seeing whales beginning their northern migration, a sure sign that spring is coming. All-depth bottom fishing will continue through March.
The projection for the 2014 ocean salmon fishing has been released, predicting around 25% fewer Chinook off the southwest coast than in 2013. Anglers are reminded that last season was outstanding so this year still looks pretty darned good.
Surf perch fishing is picking up on south coast beaches with best results on the last two hours of incoming tide on days when the ocean is somewhat calm.
Umpqua water levels are rising and it's getting muddy. While there may be a springer or two in the river by now, it'll be a week or more until conditions allow for fishing. Good numbers of hatchery steelhead are entering the South Umpqua now which will reward steelheaders as the peak of the season is mid-March through early April and improving water conditions should coincide with that timeframe.
Fishing was good on the Rogue over the past week. The first spring Chinook got caught. Then the rain came. Water levels on the lower Rogue are rising at this writing and are forecast to rollercoaster through the coming weekend. Averaging it out, it will be mostly high and off-color. The Grants Pass stretch upstream will be no better. The upper Rogue, which will usually offer a little respite from lower river torrents, is forecast to top 9,000 cfs by the coming weekend. Look to mid-March for the next steelhead (or springer) opportunity on the Rogue.
Boats fishing just outside Brookings Harbor are doing well with jigs for rockfish and ling cod. The Chetco River blew out on March 4th with levels expected to rapidly rise and fall over the coming week. This will put the kibosh on steelheading for a while.
The Elk River has had decent numbers of winter steelhead enter. It will be rising and falling over the coming week with steelheaders scoring when they hit it as it drops and clears.
Eastern – Deschutes water levels have continued to drop and the clarity is good as of early this week. There will be a few redsides around which may show some interest but results are expected to be fair at best. Waters of the Deschutes are scheduled to open for spring Chinook on April 15, 2014, with a good run expected following a river-wide closure last season.
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