Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update

Coastal Fall Chinook Fishers Continue to Struggle; Options are Waning

Willamette Valley/Metro – With Bonneville passage for Chinook around 20/day and coho less than half of that, the run is effectively over for salmon on the mainstem Columbia, not to return until February at the earliest, when spring Chinook start to arrive.

There will likely be some winter sturgeon opportunities, particularly in the Bonneville Pool and upstream, but until the spring months arrive, don’t look to the mainstem for any consistent opportunities.

The Willamette is shutting down as well, with coho counts dwindling, this fishery is effectively over for metro anglers. Adult returns surprised and impressed many, with over 11,000 adults having passed the falls. Jack counts have been good as well, hopefully an indication for next year’s return.

Catch and release sturgeon fishing in the Willamette remains an option that few are taking advantage of.

Clackamas River anglers are still finding a few coho to play with, including, much to my surprise, some hatchery fish mixed in with the wild ones. A reliable resource also stated that an early winter steelhead was also caught on the Clackamas this week, certainly sparking hope for a productive return this year. Most of the hatchery coho are nearing spawning at Eagle Creek Fish Hatchery right now.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports, “Hello All. I first want to start off by thanking all the men and women who served in the armed forces, Happy Veterans Day . We salute you for your services. Now to this week’s report. I hope that everyone is doing fine and have been able to stay away from the virus. I have two friends that have come down with the virus over the past few days and over the last couple of days we have seen a spike of nearly 50%. So if you plan to fish, please make sure that its friends in your bubble or please wear a mask when you have to come close to others and give the 6 ft. distance. There have been fish caught in the entire river from Cedar Creek to the mouth. Those that are jig fishing and casting spinners have done well, for the river has been ideal over the last few days. The fly guy’s have had luck in the upper river from Cedar Creek to Oxbow Park. The river has been ideal to float but it won’t last for long. We should see steelhead getting caught any day now. So best of luck and tight lines.”

Pro Guide Bruce Warren with an Olympic Peninsula Chinook caught on a twitched jig

Did you miss the webinar: How to Effectively Fish 360° Flashers for Salmon with Pro Guide Grant Putnam and TGF’s Bob Rees?

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North Coast Fishing Report – Fall Chinook anglers continue to struggle for results. Chum salmon seem to dominate the waterscape, right on time for the fall spawn. Few Chinook are falling under near ideal conditions for some north coast systems although some were fairly low and clear by mid-week. Another shot of rain should bring the rivers back up, but anglers will likely still be challenged to find any number of fresh Chinook.

Tillamook Bay is much the same, an odd absence of Chinook for bay trollers and no real sign of better times ahead. Effort is dwindling. God made hunting season in November for a reason it seems.

Other coastal systems are certainly shy of consumptive opportunities, the November show is consistently weak across the board.

Seas have been rough in the recent week, only to build to over 20 foot over the weekend. No sign of fresh fish tacos in the near future.

Bay crabbing continues to deteriorate, with the exception of the lower Columbia River. Wild weather and strong tides don’t make that a strong option this weekend.

There’s a minus tide series this weekend but with the clam closure nearly coastwide, who cares? Yea, seems November is for hunters…

Look for our popular river-by-river reports and FORECAST in the full version of our report. Subscribe to the weekly edition for just $24.95/year HERE!

Wilson River Chinook caught by Damon Morrow with Pro Guide Rob Gerlitz
Early November 2020

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports – From avid angler Tim Moran:

Hello all!  Remember what I said about Central and Eastern Oregon shaking off the coming winter for another week…well that’s done because it promises to be a wild weekend with low snow levels and lots of wind and precipitation.  On lousy days the one thing you can count on is the Metolius River will be in shape and fishable, even if the weather isn’t! Last week fishing was pretty decent from Allingham to the 99 bridge. 

On the Crooked  River, Fishing is good on small nymphs too.   

The Deschutes River is where I would spend my time and I’d fish the Maupin area and up around South Junction or Trout Creek. 

Want a great place to fish, flies, bait, hardware or troll for big trout?  There may not be a better place than Prineville Reservoir!  I got a report yesterday that some regulars were getting some really big rainbows bank fishing near the dam…

Over on the Imnaha River steelhead are in the river from its confluence with the Snake to Cow creek and above.  The fishing has been spotty with good reports – 2 to 3 fish per day, to slow the next. 

A check in with Joseph Fly Shoppe –  reported the Grande Ronde River, was producing fish in the Troy area and fishing in the Snake River near the confluence was good with one guide reporting 5 to 10 fish days for his clients.

SW Oregon – From Avid angler Tim Moran: Same report from last week (it still has lots of application):

The guides over at Rogue Valley Anglers report fishing has been picking up on the Rogue in the last few weeks, which is nice as most of October saw pretty tough fishing (which is still better than most steelhead rivers). Over the last week or two they have been averaging at least 2 or 3 steelhead on the swing, and also seeing some bigger fish which is common later in the season!

There are numerous great guides here at Rogue Valley Anglers Fly Shop and quite a bit of availability throughout November, so give us a call to get out there and get your chrome fix on! 541.973.2988

Tips for fishing the upper river – swing mostly dark flies basically all year in the upper Rogue, whether it be classic summer flies (green butt skunk, silver hilton, muddlers etc) or mini intruder type flies on sink tips when the sun is high.

These early fish somewhat race to the cooler waters of the upper Rogue without feeding all that much, so when they first get here they don’t seem to like the natural stuff quite as much as flashier stoneflies.

Trout fishing has slowed down a bit, as the water has cooled and now some fisheries have closed for the winter (Williamson).

The Klamath has been fishing quite well the last two or three weeks, and should continue to fish really well the next month or so.

The Umpquas are slowing down, as well as there just isn’t much access on the North right now due to how much of it burned during our fires.

As always, give a call to the shop for any specific questions and the most up to date info, as we live and breathe fly fishing and always know what’s going on down here in the great state of Jefferson…

That’s the report! Best of luck this weekend! Tight lines y’all!

SW Washington –  Terry Otto has put together another smashing report for SW Washington. What you will read below is an abbreviated version of what Terry’s “FULL VERSION” report will look like in the months ahead. Sign Up for Terry’s PAID version that started last week. With this level of detail, you won’t want to miss a single week! It’s JUST $0.32 cents per week! Here’s Terry’s summary for this week. SUBSCRIBE to the full SW Washington version HERE!

Tributaries fishing slow for late-run coho, trout fishing picking up

Vancouver Metro Area

Anglers continue to pick up some Chinook in the mainstem Columbia even as Bonneville Dam counts have slowed to a crawl. Angling did pick up in the tributaries following recent rains, but only a little bit. The late runs of coho either are not showing up as strong as expected, or they are coming in later than usual.

Warm water fishing success seems to be relegated only to Silver Lake, where crappie fishing is pretty good. Trout fishing is picking up just about everywhere for hold-over trout. Stockings ahead of the Black Friday fishery, planned for the next couple weeks, will boost success rates.

Lewis and Washougal River Fishing Report—Fishing did improve just a little bit in the Lewis River last week, although according to John Thompson of Sportsmen’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000, the river has been crowded. Late run coho have been slow to arrive, as evidenced by the most recent WDFW creel survey where 54 bank anglers kept two Chinook and released one coho. Seven boats/24 rods kept two Chinook, three coho and released eight Chinook and three coho. Either the late run will not be as strong as the early run, or those late run fish are still to arrive in force.

Most anglers are still twitching jigs, although bobber and bait is getting a few fish, too.

A few late-run coho are being caught in the Washougal River, but again, the rains were expected to bring in more fish than actually showed up. Some anglers are reportedly taking some winter steelhead already, about a month ahead of when they usually start to show. Hopes are that this could mean a decent return of those fish this year. Most anglers are drift fishing.

Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report—Kokanee fishing has been fair to good this past week, and the fish are holding high in the water column. Most fishermen have been flat-line trolling for them. Thompson said that he has yet to hear any reports of anglers jigging, although that is usually a common winter method. WDFW’s Stacie Kelsey of the Inland Fishes Program reports that the schools are scattered, and some anglers are connecting well. 

Local Lakes Fishing Report—both Klineline Pond and Battle Ground Lake are fishing pretty well for hold over trout.

Longview Area

Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—Anglers continue to catch a few salmon on the Cowlitz, and fishing improved a little bit this past week. Anglers in the lower river and the upper reaches are finding a few late run coho, and Chinook continue to show up in the catch, although almost none of them are keep-able hatchery fish. In the most recent WDFW creel survey below the I-5 Bridge, 26 bank rods kept two coho and two coho jacks, while three boats/nine rods kept two coho. In the upper river fishing was just about the same, with 49 bank rods keeping five coho, three coho jacks and releasing 18 Chinook and three coho. Two boats/six rods had no catch. 

The river still has plenty of dark coho around from the early run, but some fresh late run coho are now being found in the mix, and they are biting better than the played-out A run fish. Twitching jigs is still the preferred method, but in the lower river other methods are finding some success, including fishing bait below a bobber or drifted, and plugs, either pulled behind a boat or casted. The best color for plugs has been a metallic pink.

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

The Kalama has slowed too, according to Thompson, who fished the lower river recently and found tough conditions in the rising waters. WDFW creel surveys also showed a slow to fair bite on the river, with 37 bank anglers keeping two coho, two coho jacks and releasing four Chinook. Meanwhile, six boats/15 rods kept four coho and released three Chinook.

The river did come up with the most recent rains, drawing some fresh fish into the river. However, it was expected to be better.

Columbia River Gorge

Drano Lake and Wind River fishing Report—As in the mainstem Columbia, a few Chinook continue to be caught by a diminishing fleet of fishermen. There have also been a few quality fish, although most Chinook in the two systems are now getting dark. Trolling is still the way to get fish to bite, with 360 flashers being the best way to present the bait.

Klickitat River Fishing Report—Anglers continued to catch steelhead in the upper river canyon and late run coho in the lower river gorge this last week, according to Carl Coolidge of the Klickitat Canyon Market, (509-369-4400). Rains last week lifted the river briefly, and that drew fresh coho in. The reach below the Fisher Hill Bridge has been producing the best. Guides in the upper river continue to find steelhead in good numbers, with the fish falling to bobber and jig, spinners, and flies. Coolidge also runs a shuttle service on the river. Call the Canyon Market for info.

Be sure to become a paid subscriber and get TWICE the information as you see here in the abbreviated version. Terry produces a weekly FORECAST, detailing how the fishing will be this weekend and into next week. You don’t want to miss this valuable information for just $0.32 cents per week! SIGN UP NOW!

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