Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update

Columbia Coho and Chinook Fading; Coastal Chinook Runs Slowing As Well

Willamette Valley/Metro – Willamette River coho returns continue to surprise anyone watching the counts. Well over 10,000 adult coho have bypassed Willamette Falls, making for some good opportunity near upriver tributaries. Maybe more impressive is the jack counts, just shy of 3 times higher than last year. I think we’re in for a really nice return of adult coho next year, Oregon’s nearshore and offshore water temperatures are much more friendly to our fish this year than they have been in recent years. Chinook offer a different story however, we’ll blog about that another time.

The Clackamas River has been inundated with coho salmon as of late, most of them wild as of late. The Eagle Creek National Fish Hatchery is rumored to have over 4,000 adults waiting at the facility, but they haven’t updated their web site lately to verify this. Returns are often around 3,400 so it’s certainly possible, especially given the under-prediction we’re seeing for most basins around coho returns this year. There are anglers scoring fair numbers of wild fish, few hatchery fish remain in the system however.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports, “Hello All. Well to say the least that the Sandy was chocolate milk for most of the week. With the river being of color you will want to use lots of scent and big lures. We are at prime time for peak of the run and it will continue to be good for about another 3 or 4 weeks before it will start to slow down. The river went off color from the last rains we received put up some low level snow which melted as more rain came and cause all that snow to melt quickly. I was asked if I could give some clarification about the Sandy mouth. The mouth of the river that I refer to is that which is you enter off sun dial road. There is another channel that enters the Sandy that comes through the new delta that the dog park is located on the east side of the river and that channel was opened to flush out the mouth of the Sandy and open up some spawning water for fish. So wishing everyone the best of luck and tight lines.”

There is still some light effort for Chinook in the mainstem Columbia, but anglers aren’t coming up with fantastic results. The lower Columbia by Bonneville Dam remains the best bet for Chinook, although bright fish are becoming harder to find.

North Coast Fishing Report – Tillamook anglers have been largely disappointed by the October return. Chinook fishing in Tillamook Bay has been challenging to say the least. So much so that effort is starting to taper at a surprising rate. Thursday’s reports indicated success continues to be challenging.

Most north coast rivers predictably received a good shot of Chinook into their systems following last week’s rain event. Now, with rivers low and clear once again, fresh fish will will remain in the lower portions of the rivers, more so in the tidewater and estuary reaches, but soft tides this week will not move many fresh fish into the upper reaches of our estuaries or tidewater reaches. Anglers should focus their efforts on the lower portions of the estuary you’re targeting fish in.

The Siletz, Alsea, Siuslaw and Nestucca Basins remain the best bets for fresh Chinook this week and next.

The lower Columbia is slow for coho as most have taken advantage of recent rain freshets. Crabbing in the estuary remains productive however and weak tides this weekend could spell good crabbing for those willing to brave the cold. East winds may also compromise your experience and your safety so pay close attention to wind direction and speed before you go.

Crabbing in many north coast estuaries has tapered with the recent fresh water rain events. Crabbing in the ocean CLOSED on October 16th.

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Razor clam digging was fair to good for diggers on the last minus tide series. It’ll be early November before we see favorable tides once again.

The ocean forecast changes favorable once again although a NE wind on Sunday may be problematic for offshore anglers. Nearshore anglers may get a crack at rockfish. The ocean closes to Chinook fishing on October 31st.

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

Hello all!  The bite is still on on Century Drive lakes and up in Newberry Crater….but how long will it last?

Rivers throughout the area are fishing well and I expect them to continue doing so for quite a while.  I fished the Metolius and Middle Deschutes last week and we had decent success on October caddis and BWo’s on the Metolius.

Metolius River is of course a year round fishery and remains open in all stretches for now. It is fishing well with the predominant hatch being BWO’s. PMD’s are giving way to another little Yellow Mayfly called a cinygmula (PMD’s have 3 tails and cinygmulas have 2).

Fall River – Really good BWO’s and excellent nymphing going on.  Besides BWO’s you can expect to see some straggler PMD’s, some small caddis and a few October Caddis and midges are becoming more and more important as we move towards colder weather days.  My friend Kent Zook hit the river last weekend and had a lot of success fishing small dries. 

Crooked River is low but fishing really well. BWO’s and Midges are important top and bottom.
Soon the whitefish will begin to spawn and eggs will be really important .

The Lower Deschutes in the WS to South Jct area is super good for trout and is producing some steelhead too! We are really excited about this better steelhead run in 2020 and hope you are too. The next 2 months are going to offer many days of good steelheading so don’t miss it.

The guides at The Fly Fisher’s Place have been doing best on Perdigons and Jigs fished Euro style and keep reporting amazing days.

Paulina lake was pretty darn good again this week. A watermelon Balanced Leech was the hot fly.

I heard a very good report from East Lake.  Fishing leeches on a slow sink line off the south bank area  produced a lot of nice rainbows and browns.

Crane Prairie – The Deschutes Channel side of Crane Prairie is good on a small Balanced Leech with red in the tail.

North and South Twin are strong contenders now for the rest of the season. Focus on Balanced Leeches and Wooly Buggers on a sinking line.

Wallowa River – It is fishing well with purple chubby’s and a dropper the hot combo this last week. Euro nymphing was good too on small jig flies and tungsten beads.

Grande Ronde River – Fishing is slow for steelhead.   

That’s the Central/Eastern report.  Have a great weekend everyone!

SW Oregon – From Tim Moran:

Okay, one of my favorite fishermen, Scott Hall was out all week in the Umpqua River and the Ocean in search of fall fish.  Scott is as hard core as it gets and spent a week from Reedsport to the mouth chasing Chinook and the elusive hatchery Coho!  He reports that after 4 straight days of fishing and crabbing that he has bonked exactly one 14 lb Chinook and has caught more wild endangered coho than any man has the right to do. 

Not much to report on South of the Umpqua, rain should change that as many rivers wait for the first big freshet of the year to take off.   

ODF&W reports:

Yellow perch fishing on Tenmile Lake continues to be excellent. While topwater lures, crankbaits and wacky rigged stick baits are all catching largemouth bass especially in the bays and arms of the lake.

The artificial fly only season is still in effect on the Rogue through the end of October from Fishers Ferry upstream to the hatchery.  The cold stream temps and lack of freshets with no foreseeable rain on the horizon has summer steelhead pretty locked down. If you find a pod of fish, they will likely be in the same vicinity until some moisture brings the river up. Bait is not allowed until Nov. 1, when it is allowed again upstream of Shady Cove boat ramp to the hatchery.

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!

Vancouver Metro Area

The mainstem Columbia is still producing salmon, although catches in the lower river have slowed. Fishing is still fair to good up by Bonneville Dam. B-run coho are now entering the tributaries in strong numbers, making late October and November a good time to get out.

Local lowland lakes fishing remains slow for hold over trout, but panfish and bass are still biting.

Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report—The recent rains spurred the coho in the river to spread out more, and that has spread the anglers around, too. Fishing remains strong for both coho and Chinook, although most of the kings are getting dark. Bright B-run coho are in the mix with the darker early run fish. Catches have been good to fair through the river below the hatchery. Twitching jigs is what most anglers are doing, although drifted baits and bobber and eggs are taking fish as well.

During the latest creel surveys, 20 bank anglers kept two coho and released six Chinook and one coho. Seven boats/17 rods released one Chinook jack and one coho. The action is still centered around the hatchery, the golf course, and in Woodland.

The Washougal is fishing very well, too, according to John Thompson of Sportsmen’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000. He is hearing very good reports of B-run coho being taken in the lower river, with the best action coming at the bowling alley reach. The fish are biting a variety of offerings including spinners, bait, and of course, they are biting jigs.

Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report—Kokanee fishing is fair to good for both lakes, but the bite and key depths remain spotty. Most anglers are having to try different depths every day to locate biters, but the fish are definitely moving up in the water column. The 20 to 30-foot depths have been the place to start.

Longview Area

Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—Thompson reports that anglers are doing well in the Cowlitz River, with the lower river clearing a little below the Toutle. Few creel surveys were carried out on the river this week, with only six bank anglers being surveyed below the I-5 Bridge. Those anglers had no catch.

The B-run fish are making a strong showing, and there are still many early run coho and Chinook still in the river. Anglers may now keep fin-clipped hatchery Chinook. There has been good fishing to be had at the mouth of the river, and there are schools of salmon holding near the Barrier Dam as well.

The upper river is producing well, as returns to the hatchery have remained strong. Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 3,930 coho adults, 2,852 coho jacks, 477 fall Chinook adults, nine fall Chinook jacks, and 924 cutthroat trout during seven days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

You can check the full Tacoma Power Cowlitz River report HERE

Fishing in the lower Kalama River picked up nicely this week, according to Sportsmen’s Thompson, a fact that is backed up by recent creel surveys. 30 bank anglers kept nine coho and three coho jacks, while 11 boats/23 rods kept 12 coho, six coho jacks and released two Chinook and one steelhead.

Columbia River Gorge

Drano Lake and Wind River Fishing Report—Both of these fisheries are slowing down, although Chinook continue to be caught. Most of the fish are beginning to turn dark, and the numbers of fresh fish arriving are slowing down. More and more Chinook are being released as a result. Trolling with 360 flashers and bait or spinners is still working for boat anglers and most bank anglers are fishing bobber and bait.

Klickitat River Fishing Report—While the Chinook fishery here is slowing and the fish are turning dark, there are a few good fish available. Anglers in the lower river are beginning to do well with the B run coho. Below the Fisher Hill Bridge the WDFW surveyed 51 bank anglers that kept three Chinook, 17 coho and released three Chinook. Above the #5 Fishway six bank anglers had no catch.

According to Carl Coolidge of the Klickitat Canyon Market, (509-369-4400), conditions in the river have improved markedly, with the visibility increasing to 18 inches or more. Coolidge runs a shuttle service on the Klickitat, and offers a daily fishing report on the market’s website. He strongly suggests anglers call the Canyon Market before heading out to fish to see if the river is in good condition.

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!

1 comment

  1. I must be blind. I have paid my $15.95 for the SW Washington report on Oct. 17 but cannot find the access/sign in link. Hoe/where do I sign in to access the report? All I see are multiple links to join up and pay.

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