Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update

Coastal Fall Chinook Anglers Struggling, Most Ocean Fisheries Closed

Willamette Valley/Metro – Options for metro anglers are quickly declining. Fall Chinook and coho numbers passing Bonneville Dam are now at less than 100/day for both species, the run is decidedly over. Effort for salmon on the mainstem Columbia is waning quickly although gorge boats are still tallying great catches. Chinook quality has deteriorated, a bright fish will be hard to find. A few bright coho remain, but even in the upriver fisheries, such as the mouth of the Klickitat, success rates have been falling.

Willamette Falls coho counts are dropping off as well. The overall adult count will surpass a whopping 11,000 adults however, with over twice the number of jacks so far this year, as we saw last. Success rates at the mouths of the lower tributaries (Tualatin, Molalla) is slowing and so is effort. There are a few folks trying for sturgeon in the Willamette, but effort and catch is light.

Clackamas River anglers continue to find fair numbers of wild fish to wrestle. Eagle Creek Hatchery is nearing the spawning of it’s good return of coho this week indicating that most of the consumable hatchery fish are back at their respective hatcheries. Wild fish remain abundant on the mainstem Clackamas but few are in pursuit. PGE reports a modern day record of early returning coho to the basin, blowing out the 10-year average. Things are looking up for wild coho, wild spring Chinook and wild steelhead in the Clackamas Basin.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports, “Hello All. I hope that everyone is doing well. Last week we had to deal with off color water for most of the week. The river as of this report was running green and should stay that way for a while. There is fish scattered thru out the entire river with the peak of the run upon us. Don’t be surprised if you hear of a winter steelhead showing up over the next couple of weeks also. Remember that the limit is 3 hatchery fish per day either coho or steelhead as long as the have clipped fins. So get out and try your luck and make sure to keep your distance on the river. I have a friend that went deer hunting and got home only to find out that 3 of the 12 in the group came home with COVID. Please take this seriously for there has been a large spike in cases over the last few weeks and the deaths in Oregon has taken a jump. So wishing everyone tight lines and best of luck and please make sure to wear your mask when you come in close contact with other anglers.”

North Coast Fishing Report – Tillamook Bay anglers continue to struggle to find success on Tillamook Bay. Inclement weather and poor performance is putting a damper on effort in the bay. Anglers working the tidewater reaches of the Trask and Wilson Rivers are also struggling to find consistent fishing. Late season, Wilson and Kilchis River bound Chinook are due, but showing in low numbers as they have been for the last several years.

The Wilson and Trask look to be driftable, should have some Chinook coming back this week, and anglers will certainly be pretty excited to float down these rivers this weekend as they will be in great shape to fish. Bank fishing opportunities should be abundant too, and don’t overlook the Kilchis for Chinook and chum salmon should start to show as well.

The Nehalem is over but wild coho remain fairly abundant in the upper reaches of the Nehalem River itself. There are some dark Chinook above tidewater as well.

The Nestucca still has a few bright fish available in tidewater but recent rains should send those fish upstream. The rain systems that moved through on Tuesday and Wednesday brought river levels up by 1 to 2 foot on most systems. That’s enough to get fish to move (if there were many around).

The Salmon River is effectively over for the year, at least for bright fish.

The Siletz continues to produce some fish but it’s clear that the action is winding down. Recent rains sent a batch of fish upriver, but small pods of fresh Chinook should still be arriving for at least another week.

The Alsea continues to under-perform as expected. The current rise in river levels should send fish upstream, but not many will remain in good condition for anglers to justify keeping.

Cutthroat trout fishing closed on October 31st in the district’s rivers. Check lake regulations before heading out to your favorite.

The ocean is closed for salmon, halibut and crab. Bottomfishing remains an option, should be productive but a wicked swell is forecasted through the weekend.

Bay crabbing should be fair in most north coast estuaries but fall rains continue to cause declining catches.

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!

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

“Hello all!  Central and Eastern Oregon shook off the coming winter for another week as temps were in the mid 70’s in several places and that made for some pretty good fishing! However – today was the last day and the temps are going to crash starting tomorrow into the low 40’s for highs and the 20’s and even teens by the end of the week!  Yikes…that will probably have a negative effect on fishing for a few days until the trout (and the bugs) get used to those as the new normal.  So “In case you missed it,”  fishing was pretty darn good this past week on rivers in central Oregon with very good reports from the Metolius, Crooked and Deschutes rivers.   

On the Metolius Kokanee are about done spawning but their eggs are floating about so this is a great time to fish that pattern with another nymph under an indicator or Euro-nymphing.     

The Deschutes from Warm Springs to Macks Canyon  is still pumping out steelhead and really good trout fishing.  Tribal guide Elke Kirk took several steelhead last week swinging big dark flies in the WS to TC drift and Deschutes Angler Fly Shop in Maupin reports decent success on Steelhead and good trout fishing in the Maupin area. Don’t forget that Crane Prairie, Wickiup and the upper Deschutes are all closed now.

Over on the Imnaha River reports are a little scarce but steelhead are in the river and it is absolutely beautiful in the fall – so if you have the chance, fish it.   On the Owyhee River fishing is good and should hold up at least through Saturday.   

SW Oregon – From Avid angler Tim Moran:

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.

Nymph the usual suspects like Otis/Ugly Bug stoneflies, with oversized trout patterns below it like copper swans, steelhead brassies, princes, copper johns etc. Flashier flies early in the summer steelhead season, as that extra flash seems to attract a few more fish.

Trout fishing has slowed down a bit, as the water has cooled and now some fisheries have closed for the winter (Williamson). There are still some good options with area lakes, the Holy Water, and northern California rivers (McCloud, Pit, Fall, etc).

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!

Vancouver Metro Area

Fishing continues to slow on the main stem Columbia River, and catches are winding down. Fishing in the tributaries continues to be slow, with most of the rivers full of dark early run coho. Heavy rains today and Friday should lift these systems, and bring in a fresh pulse of late run coho, as well as some better fishing.

Trout fishing is picking up with the cooler weather in lakes across southwest Washington. Most warm water fishing is tailing off.

Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report–The Lewis River is full of dark fish and people, according to John Thompson of Sportsmen’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000. They are not biting well, either. In the most recent WDFW creel survey, 36 bank anglers kept only one coho. Five boats/12 rods caught no coho. A few Chinook were released.

What few fish are biting are taking mostly jigs. Salmon eggs are also getting a few fish. The action is centered on the hatchery reach, but many boat anglers are targeting the river from there up to Merwin Dam. That action has been spotty. Once again, most of the fish were dark early run coho.

The Washougal has also dropped to very low levels, and the fishing has tailed off. Fishing pressure remains low along the lower three river miles, where most of the access is located. Bait has been effective this year, but few fish have been biting lately. 

Merwin and Yale Fishing Report—Anglers are finding hold-over kokanee in both lakes, and according to Thompson, they have moved up in the water column. He said many fishermen are taking the fish by flat-line trolling. The WDFW’s Stacie Kelsey of the Inland Fishes Program reported that you still need to work to find the schools, and some anglers are doing very well while others are struggling.

Longview Area

Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—both of these rivers are suffering from a lack of fresh fish right now. In the Cowlitz anglers are struggling to find any quality fish, with most of the salmon looking old and dark. Both the upper and lower river fisheries are still producing a few fish, but the bite has gotten tougher.

Twitching jigs continues to be the best bet in the upper river, where 26 bank rods released eight Chinook, one Chinook jack, two coho and three coho jacks according to the latest WDFW creels. The many fish released is a testament to the condition of the salmon currently in the river. Below the I-5 Bridge, 18 bank rods kept one coho, two coho jacks and released two coho jacks. One boat/two rods released one coho. 

The Kalama River is still suffering from low water and it has almost killed the bite entirely. Fishing pressure has dropped with the fishing, and the WDFW surveyed only eight bank anglers this week. They had no catch. Before the lull in action anglers were getting fish to take jigs, plugs, spinners, and bait in the lower river.

Local Lakes Fishing Report—Mayfield Lake has been really good for trout the past week, and Swift Reservoir has been rated good to fair for trout. However, the Swift Forest Camp boat launch closed early for the season on November 3 because of low water. You can check the announcement HERE. At Silver Lake anglers continue to do well for nice-sized crappie and yellow perch. Riffe lake has been very good for coho.

Columbia River Gorge

Drano lake and Wind River Fishing Report—Anglers continue to catch decent numbers of Chinook, especially in Drano Lake. However, the fish are now mostly dark, as illustrated by the fact that six surveyed bank anglers released six Chinook and only kept one jack Chinook. The pressure is dropping quite a bit at both fisheries, too.

Klickitat River Fishing Report—Carl Coolidge of the Klickitat Canyon Market, (509-369-4400), reports that the upper river is in very good condition, and the steelhead are biting well. Anglers are taking the fish on a variety of methods, including bobber and jig, swinging spinners, and fishing bait below a bobber. Fly anglers are getting their fish on the stone fly and bead combo.  

In the lower river anglers are finding bright late-run coho and getting them to bite on salmon eggs, but the bite has been slowed in sections of the lower river by low water. Even though the flows have held steady, the Columbia is very low, and that dropped the lowest holes about 2 feet. That in turn killed the bite in those sections, and now the action is centered up near the tribal fish collection site. The anglers are really piled up in there, too, although the fish have been tough to get to bite this last week. 

Local Lakes Fishing Report—Rowland Lake has been pretty good for hold-over trout, and fishing dough baits on the bottom is the best way to get them. In Goose Lake the bite has also been good, and anglers there are taking the fish on just about everything. With colder temps forecast for next week the road to the lake may snow in soon

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!