Portland/Metro Fishing Report – Smelt on the mainstem Columbia continues to quell catches for spring Chinook anglers. Adult returns to Bonneville Dam are underway, however, indicating the run is underway. With a looming April 6th closure date, excitement will build when weather allows. In the absence of any significant Willamette River rises, water conditions should remain ideal for lower Columbia trollers and anchor anglers.
The Willamette itself is still just producing fair-at-best catches. All reaches of the lower Willamette saw catch improvements this week as the run will continue to build for the next 6 weeks. Sturgeon fishing in the lower Willamette remains good to very good. Winter steelhead are still being seen in good numbers in the Oregon City area, with both wild and hatchery fish available.
The Clackamas is starting to slow for what was a mediocre at best hatchery winter steelhead showing. Wild winter steelhead and some summer run fish will begin to show in greater numbers. Spring Chinook are still a few weeks away and the Clackamas run has been depressed in recent years.
There’s going to be a whole bunch of trout stocking going on in the coming weeks, in preparation for spring break. Check out the upcoming stocking schedule HERE.
Find the full report and forecast for Members on the Sandy and the Clackamas from this page here.
North Coast Fishing Report – The dog days of summer have settled in a bit early on the North Coast. Steelhead fishermen continue to cry the blues with many switching over to Willamette Valley spring Chinook opportunities. The season started off rather good but has faded during what most consider still to be peak season.
Wilson River Steelheaders are still struggling for consistent results. River conditions are dropping and clearing, further compromising any opportunity one might have.
Anglers fishing the upper reach of the Wilson are finding a few fish, pocketed up in the dropping flows.
The Nestucca isn’t any better. Despite ideal water conditions, pro guide Kent Anderson (503-550-6303) is sticking to his report. Kent states, “River is perfect but lacking fish.”
It’s not all doom and gloom on every north coast river, however. Reliable reports from the Trask River sound like action is more consistent. Of course, it’s still down from more robust years, but anglers are finding good action depending on the day for this river system.
The Nehalem is another North Coast Mecca, but being a larger river system, fish can be harder to find.
There may be a window for an offshore foray this week. Be mindful of an ever-changing weather forecast but fish tacos could be on the menu.
Razor clams could prove productive too, on the evening tides early next week
See the full report and forecast for Members right here.
Central Oregon Fishing Report – Contributor Glenn Zinkus reports bi-weekly.
Weather Outlook Across Central and Eastern Oregon:
Weather is warming as we get into the latter days of March. Temperatures will be in the 60s through much of the region through the weekend, and places such as Maupin on the Lower Deschutes will climb into the lower 70s through Saturday.
There are some chances of precipitation on Monday, especially in the mountains. Weather on Monday will cool into the 50s in the higher elevations.
Lower Deschutes River:
The Lower Deschutes is steady to very slowly climbing – currently right around 5350 CFS at Moody and forecasted to remain steady into next week, perhaps bumping up midweek.
Temperatures on the lower portions of the river are in the 48 degree range but bumped up the past day to 53 degrees.
Middle Deschutes River: The river level is up and is not dropping yet, but soon. The Skwalas are making some occasional appearances, and the March Browns are not quite out yet. This river will start to happen in the coming weeks.
Haystack Reservoir: Haystack is at 87 % full today. ODFW stocked Haystack with several hundred big rainbows (broodstock) in January, and several hundred more went in again during February. Our friend from Central Oregon Fishing Report, Josh Pardee says that Haystack will become excellent after the drawdown starts on April 1st.
Lake Billy Chinook: Bull trout season is on. However, it is still a bit slow for bulls. There have been some incidental catches while anglers targeted kokanee.
Check out Glenn’s detailed reports and forecasts right here for Chinook and Steelhead Members both!
SW Oregon Fishing Report – Contributor Jeff Rome reports:
As the title says, it’s a “wonderful time of the year” with almost any type of fishing an angler could want going on right now! Winter steelhead is winding down over at the coast however, it’s picking up on the Rogue. Many lakes and ponds have been or will be shortly getting stocked making for Spring trout fishing very good.
The Rogue River after a few (not ever enough) little rain showers definitely got some of those held up winter steelhead on the move and are now scattered nicely in the mid Rogue between Gold Hill and down to Grave creek. Good success has been between Chinook Park down to Griffin Park.
The Chetco has dropped and is still dropping but is in fishable shape and lots of fish to be caught.
The Elk and Sixes are low and clear again and there might be another opportunity or two for steelhead if there’s more rain by the end of the month before closing.
Lakes and ponds have been getting stocked with trout and it is a great time to take the family out to have some fairly easy catches and fun. Since the weather has warmed, bass and bluegill are also an option.
Ocean fishing for bottom fish and ling cod has continued to be great in between some intermittent days of wind. Limits have been the norm especially out of Brookings, along with a good mix of lingcod action. Charleston and Winchester bays are getting a good bite of bottom fish as well as great crabbing.
Umpqua system is still seeing some good steelhead catches but has tapered down following the drop in flows.
I was recently in Bi Mart to check out what they had left of Blu Fox and Panther Martin spinners since they’ve been on sale and met a couple of fishermen with their arms full of an assortment of tackle. I teased them as I offered them a cart and subsequently, we chatted for almost 30 minutes. To make a long story shorter, they told me they had been up to Lost Creek Lake last weekend and “nailed” some big ones! Within 5 minutes on the water, they got their first bite and limited with some football fatties 16-18 inches!
Best bet for steelhead action this weekend is the mid Rogue and Chetco (for a last hurrah). where both bank and boat anglers should find fish. Lakes and ponds such as Lost Creek, Lake Selmac, Medco, Reinhardt, Empire and Saunders are good for spring trout and bass fishing.
Jeff’s detailed report, multiple lake updates, and forecast in this week’s version for Members!
Guide Bill Monroe Jr, (left), and a lucky client with a Columbia River spring Chinook taken last year. Photo by Bill Monroe Jr.
SW Washington Fishing Report
Springer catches inching up in the mainstem Columbia, but still, few in the tributaries. Steelhead fair in most streams, walleye excellent, trout good.
Springer fishing is getting better and should improve over the next week. Anglers have started to find them a little higher in the system, with the Bonneville Dam area producing a few fish this past week. The Camas-Washougal area is still fishing very slowly. Most tributaries are slow for springers.
Walleye fishing is red hot in The Dalles Pool, and trout fishing in local lakes is very good, and was boosted by plantings this past week.
Salmon Creek in Vancouver is fishing slow for steelhead. The fishery is open through May 27, from the mouth to the 182nd Avenue Bridge. The daily limit is 3 hatchery steelhead.
Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report— Spring Chinook retention will be allowed through April 30 on the Lewis, with a two fish limit, one of which may be a hatchery Chinook. Anglers are switching tactics and waiting for the spring Chinook to show up here, but there have been no reported catches in-river as of yet. Also, steelheading has been very slow, and the river still has some smelt and sea lions. Neither seem to be doing anything positive for the bite. Some anglers are trolling at the mouth of the river, and a few anglers are also plunking in the lower river. A few folks are now targeting the Meat Hole with salmon eggs, but no report on success as yet.
The Washougal is slow for steelhead, although a few stubborn stragglers are still around, mostly in the upper river. Bobber presentations and drifting are methods that are finding the last steelhead in the system, but this river is mostly done for steelhead.
Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report—Both lakes continue to clear out from the dirty water and debris, and angling has been picking up a bit, too. The forecasted heavy rains did not develop last weekend, so conditions are improving, and the bite is improving as well. The schools are still in the top 15 to 20 feet of the water column, and taking the usual kokanee offerings. Most anglers are trolling kokanee dodgers ahead of spinners or hootchies tipped with scented corn. Flat-line trolling has been the way to go here.
Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 305 winter-run steelhead adults over five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. Fishing has been fair to good, according to Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service (360-201-9313). He reported that most guides and frequent sport anglers are getting some fish regularly, but that casual anglers are not doing as well. He said that is a sign that the numbers of steelhead in the river are decent, but not great.
In the most recent creel above the I-5 Bridge, 41 bank rods kept four steelhead. 18 boats/57 rods kept 47 steelhead. Most of the fish are being taken by anglers bobber-dogging with beads, but other methods are working, too. Bank anglers are fishing bobber presentations and drifting for their fish.
There is some angling activity for spring Chinook, mostly up by the Barrier Dam, but there have been no reports of success up there as yet.
The Lower Cowlitz is fishing fair, and conditions are good. During the lates creel 73 bank rods kept seven steelhead and released one steelhead. Three boats/six rods kept two steelhead. Bank anglers are mostly plunking with spin-n-glos and bait, while bank anglers are using a number of different methods.
The Kalama has been fishing fair to slow for steelhead, although the fish are spread through the entire system, with both hatchery and wild fish in the mix. During the latest creel survey, 13 bank rods had no catch, while one boat/two rods kept three steelhead.
Columbia River Gorge
All the Gorge pools are now closed to the retention of sturgeon. Walleye fishing is excellent in The Dalles Pool, where the latest creel survey found that Seven bank anglers kept seven walleye. Eighteen boats/41 rods kept 110 walleye.
Check out Terry’s detailed report (he crushes it every week!) and forecast
in this week’s SW Washington Member’s version!