Our weekly Oregon and SW Washington Fishing Update, since 1998!
Portland/Metro Fishing Report – Although effort ticked upwards for spring Chinook in the lower Willamette, catch rates went with it. The best catches of the season were recorded last week, giving an insight as to what late season opportunities will happen for metro area anglers. In recent years, catch rates for later returning spring Chinook have remained consistent, well into the middle of July. Hardware becomes a more important tool this time of year, as Chinook seem to respond best to spinners, either trolled alone, or behind a 360° flasher for extra action.
Oregon managers met on Wednesday, to craft a June opportunity for catch and keep sturgeon enthusiasts for the Willamette River. Catch rates for Willamette sturgeon are already slowing, but at least anglers will have another crack at them in a few weeks from now.
Shad are starting to show on the Willamette River, and the Columbia as well, but the Columbia run typically peaks a few weeks later than the Willamette.
Maybe the bigger news is, fishery managers from Oregon and Washington met Tuesday, bumping opportunity for mainstem Columbia River spring Chinook (and summer Chinook too) beginning this Friday, May 21st. A higher than expected adult return will offer up this additional opportunity, along with a 30% hold-back buffer to ensure we meet the guidelines for ESA protections and catch sharing with upriver users. The press release can be found HERE.
Summer steelhead made a stronger showing last week in the Sandy River, but Clackamas River catch and effort remains very light.
Pro guide Kevin Anderson of Next Level Guide Service (541) 974-1135 had this to report from Detroit Reservoir. Kevin states, “This past week angler success was very dependent on where you might be fishing. There has been many anglers struggling to locate biting fish the past couple weeks. Having some local intel and knowledge will certainly help with your success. The Kokanee seem to be very scattered in depth & location. My last several trips I located good numbers of Kokanee in the 35-40’ range early morning. As the sun hit the water the fish went deeper in the 45-55’ of water. When the fish are scattered it’s imperative to try all depths where you are marking fish. If you get a hook up at a certain depth it’s important to work that depth to establish a pattern.
Subscribers see more of Kevin’s report, along with our other team of guides and reporters. Subscribe HERE.
Trout continue to get stocked with some vigor in all areas of the state. Check out the stocking schedule HERE.
North Coast Fishing Report – Winds continue to hamper small craft opportunity for bottomfish and halibut in recent days. Saturday may offer up a good opportunity for both target species and ocean crabbing is worthwhile as well. Some nearshore halibut are falling out of Garibaldi and Pacific City, but Newport remains king when weather allows.
Saltwater Chinook are an option as well, with catches coming from Garibaldi (by the commercial fleet) last week. Spring Chinook tides are good for the south side of Tillamook Bay over the weekend. There’s a few springers falling daily inside Tillamook Bay as well, mostly to trolled herring.
District rivers remain low but the hatcheries on the Trask and Three Rivers both have spring Chinook knocking at their doors. Summer steelhead are scarce in the district.
Sturgeon anglers working the lower Columbia for the limited keeper fishery are starting to produce better catches. As is typically the case, cold water and a lack of anchovies keeps fish from entering the estuary until later in May, June and July. Action is improving as scheduled however.
Call Jason Erickson of Astoria Bait and Tackle before 3:00 p.m. the day before your trip for your sand shrimp and fresh anchovies, should you choose to use them. His phone number is (503) 741-1407.
Good trout fishing remains on the north coast, the trout stocking trucks will remain busy for the next several weeks.
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Central Oregon Fishing Reports – Glenn Zinkus POURS on the detail for trout and steelhead from the region. You’ve NEVER seen content like it (We guarantee it!), check out Glenn’s detailed report and forecast in this week’s paid version for Chinook and Steelhead Members both!
Weather Outlook Across Central and Eastern Oregon: The weekend will be off to a cool start, with chances of showers through Central and Eastern Oregon as a low pressure trough will be over our area through the weekend. A pattern of partial clearing and then some rain will repeat itself though Monday. Winds subside somewhat on the weekend, and pickup again midweek. The high desert areas around the Lower Deschutes will be in the 60s and bump to the 70s later in the weekend and next week. The far reaches of Northeast and Southeast Oregon will be cool and wet through the weekend, and bumps to the low 60s next week. Winds increase midweek. Temperatures at the central Oregon high lakes will be in the 50s through the weekend and 60s next week, with showers on Friday and Saturday.
Lower Deschutes River: Salmon fly action is peaking through much of the Lower Deschutes system. Flows continue to be ideal now in the upper stretch of the Lower Deschutes, from Warm Springs to Trout Creek, and below.
Last week, friends fishing from various locations on the Deschutes including one on a lengthy float trip had both glorious weather and fishing. Last week, nymphing was hot on stonefly nymphs down to Whiskey Dick, and it was fish on top downriver from Whiskey Dick. Clarks stone was the fly of the day.
The fly shops (Deschutes Angler in Maupin and The Flyfishers Place in Sisters) are reporting great salmonfly activity when the water stays steady and when the weather is right. Golden stones are appearing now and will continue.
EASTERN/SOUTHEASTERN OREGON WATERS
Ana Reservoir: There are reports of good fishing on Ana Reservoir. The reservoir was stocked in April and stocked with 3000 legal size rainbow trout last week, and is due to be stocked with 2400 legal size rainbows next week.
Trolling lures and flies, and bait are taking fish.
Chickahominy Reservoir: Last month ODFW removed the trout bag limit on Chickahominy because of low water levels, specifically the reservoir is less than 10% full and there is approximately 6 feet of water in the deepest locations.
The lake is accessible. The bottom of the boat ramp was about a foot or two above the water in March. ODFW does not recommend launching a propeller driven boat out there. It is very turbid and there are some boulders in shallow water near the dam. A drift boat would be fine, and so are pontoon boats, but note that the reservoir level is dropping now.
The trout ODFW sampled this spring ranged from 10 to 22 inches.
Power Bait on the bottom were taking fish.
Chewaucan River: Runoff will be a short-lived event this year. The Chewaucan is fishing better now for trout with nymphs and lures right now. Fishing will improve through the month of May.
Krumbo Reservoir: Krumbo has been stocked with 13,000 rainbow trout during April.
NORTHEAST OREGON WATERS
Wallowa Lake: There are reports of kokanee action on the lake. The Wallowa Lake Marina is reporting catches of kokanee. Trolling with flasher rigs/single blade is working now, as well as jigging. Reports are that most fish are taken while trolling. Wallowa Lake is fishing best where the river enters the lake.
MUCH More detail, including what patterns to use, in the full version of The Guide’s Forecast. Subscribe
SW Oregon Fishing Report – Contributor Jeff Rome reports:
Josh reports that the salmon fly hatch is underway and fly fishing for late Winter steelhead and this coming trout opener would be the best bet. Fishing the “Holy water” (which is the short section between the Dam and the hatchery) and down to Shad Cove using any stone fly pattern. “There are many varieties to choose from” says Josh as he recommends having several in one’s fly box because you never know what they will bite on from day to day.
He suggested to try some of the small lakes and ponds for stocked trout and bass with black leech and streamer patterns.
He also mentioned that Diamond Lake should be good for big trout casting and retrieving leech patterns and using a “balanced leech” (a wooly bugger type tied on a jig hook- photos coming) along rocky shoreline and shoals after it warms up again after this last snow.
Any angler on the Rogue at this time will need to have in possession a valid combined angling tag, in addition to their fishing license.
Andy Martin- Brookings Fishing Charters 541-813-1082
Andy reports that wind will still be an issue for this weekend, however getting out early before the major wind picks up has produced limits of rock fish and lingcod. Halibut season that opened May 1st, finally saw 6 “Butts” at the dock this last Tuesday when the wind was calmer.
Salmon Season- The season out of Brookings runs June 12-Aug. 28. Hatchery Coho may be kept the entire season. Chinook (wild or hatchery) may be kept June 19-Aug 15. The daily limit is two salmon.
The season out of Crescent City and Eureka runs June 29-Aug. 1.
Bottom Fishing- Bottom fishing for lingcod and rock fish is still good when winds calmed down. If one wants to get out early morning before the winds pick up, there’s lots of opportunity for bottom fish. The weekend weather looks better for fishing the lakes and ponds inland than getting out on the ocean.
A lucky angler with a Drano Lake spring Chinook caught with guide Shane
Magnuson of Upper Columbia Guide Service. Photo by Shane Magnuson
SW Washington by Terry Otto
Vancouver Metro Area
Columbia reopens for Chinook tomorrow through Sunday, while sturgeon fishing remains slow. Summer steelhead still slow to arrive. Trout fishing remains very good, and warm water fish are biting well.
Anglers will get three days of Chinook retention in the Columbia, from Friday through Sunday, and the river will open for Chinook again from June 1 through the 15th for 18 additional days of retention. However, Bonneville Dam daily Chinook counts have dropped from over 3,000 a day to only about 1,000 a day over this past week and are expected to continue downward.
Sturgeon fishing remains very slow in the Columbia, while very few summer steelhead are showing in local tribs.
Drano Lake was fishing hot for Chinook after reopening last week, but it is now slowing.
Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report—Fishing pressure has dropped off considerably in the Lewis since the river closed to spring Chinook, according to John Thompson of Sportsman’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000). The most recent creel survey had one boat/two rods releasing two steelhead. It has been noted that a few summer steelhead have pulled into the river lately, but there is no fresh information on what they are biting on.
The Washougal remains very low and clear, and there have been no reports of summers coming in, although they should be showing in decent numbers by now.
Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report—According to the WDFW, fishing in both lakes improved from poor to fair, to fair to good. It is still all about finding that magic depth. If anglers manage that, limits are the norm. However, some anglers continue to struggle. For the most part the schools have been holding in the 40-to-50-foot depth, but sometimes the fish are shallower, or deeper
Local Lakes Fishing Report—Klineline Pond and Battle ground Lake are fair for trout, while Lacamas Lake is fishing well for yellow perch and largemouth bass.
Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—The Cowlitz River is slow for summer steelhead, and the fishing pressure has really fallen off. During the latest creel surveys above the I-5 Bridge, five bank rods released one steelhead. 6 boats/13 rods released one Chinook. In the river below the I-5 Bridge, 128 bank rods kept one steelhead and released five Chinook and four steelhead. 5 boats/19 rods released one steelhead.
Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 242 spring Chinook adults, 105 spring Chinook jacks, 65 winter-run steelhead adults, and only 21 summer-run steelhead adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
You can check the full Tacoma Power Cowlitz River Report HERE. You can check river flows and lake levels, including for Mayfield and Riffe Lakes, HERE. Anglers are reminded that retention of spring Chinook is closed in the Cowlitz this year.
The Kalama is still giving up some spring Chinook and summer steelhead, although the fishing has been slowed recently by low water. In the last creel survey, 24 bank rods kept one Chinook, two jacks and released one steelhead. 11 boats/25 rods kept three Chinook and one jack. Bait has been the go-to for spring Chinook, and the early arriving summer steelhead will also be looking for bait. Salmon eggs, sand shrimp, and coon-tail shrimp are all good bets.
Local Lakes Fishing report—Riffe Lake is fishing well for coho, but you must fight your way through the trout bite to get them. The lake’s smallmouth bass are also biting. Mineral Lake is fishing well for trout. Silver Lake is producing crappie, yellow perch, and largemouth bass.
Columbia River Gorge
Drano Lake and Klickitat River Fishing Report—Drano Lake reopened last Thursday, and the bite was red hot for a few days. It has started to slow, although the last creel survey still showed good catches for boat anglers. 205 boats/623 rods kept 280 Chinook, 12 jacks and released 16 Chinook and two jacks. The lake has been pretty crowded on most days. Guide Shane Magnuson of Upper Columbia Guide Service, (509) 630-5433, reports that the fish are mostly falling for prawn spinners in the Toilet Bowl, but a few Chinook have bit in the main lake.
A very few spring Chinook have come to hand in the lower Klickitat River, according to Carl Coolidge of the Klickitat Canyon Market, (509-369-4400). He reports the fishing is slow, with a few bank anglers getting maybe two or three fish a day. He also reports that only about 160 adult Chinook have arrived at the hatchery trap so far.
Read Terry Otto’s recent article in the Columbian on a proposal to remove the four lower Snake River Dams HERE.
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