Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update

Fisheries Are Fading; Crabbing Remains Strong On The Lower Columbia. Also, FREE FISHING/CRABBING WEEKEND!

Willamette Valley/Metro – With most salmon fisheries on the decline, anglers will be in transition, awaiting steelhead to make their ways into the metro rivers. Sturgeon remain an option for catch and release anglers in the Willamette River, but it’ll be several weeks before viable numbers of steelhead make it into the metro area rivers, and a couple of months before the first springer will be caught. 

The Clackamas is seeing a nice surge of late-run wild coho with few anglers in pursuit. Catch and release fishing should be productive as waters recede and the river turns a perfect green hue. Target wild coho above Carver Park for best success.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports, “Hello All. I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and I hope that you were able to safely enjoy a family meal. This week, we saw the river drop to ideal level and it was perfect steelhead green water. The river is full of spawning fish and if you are out bank fishing, please make sure that your not walking on redds. To identify what a redd is, it’s where two fish make spot to lay their eggs and the gravel under foot will look very clean and have a mound shape to them. I haven’t heard of a winter steelie being caught yet, but it’s just a matter of days. There is still some very nice coho and very late Chinook still in the river that can be had.” 

Black Friday Special: FREE SPINNERS! and FREE WEBINAR!

That’s right! We’ll send you 4 FREE SPINNERS (two size 3.5 Fatal Flash spinners and 2 size 6 or 7 Bob Toman spinners) when you take one of the following actions:

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*Upon check-out, you’ll be charged an additional $3.25 for shipping the spinners directly to you.

North Coast Fishing Report – The most recent rain has brought some fresh Chinook to the north coast, and I’ll emphasize “some.”  Pro guide Rob Gerlitz landed his people a couple of nice Chinook on Wednesday, November 25th. Drifting from Mills Bridge to Sollie Smith, Gerlitz landed these two nice Chinook and had a couple of incidental chum salmon to boot. It’s a rare success story, but a sign that not all hope is lost.

The Wilson and Kilchis remain the best two options for late-season fall Chinook, but anglers will have to work for them this time of year. The tidewater reach has been challenging as well, but persistence is paying off for the few anglers putting in a full day’s effort. 

Other river systems are largely done for the year, with winter steelhead still several weeks away. There should be some early arriving winter steelhead on the North Fork Nehalem, Necanicum, Three Rivers and Big Creek near Astoria. Thanksgiving is the traditional kick-off for these early returning fish and it’s likely that this weekend will yield the north coast’s first winter steelhead.

Crabbing on the lower Columbia remains excellent, but a large tide exchange this weekend will make the window of opportunity short. None-the-less, limits are possible if you pay attention to your gear. 

The ocean will remain angry for the foreseeable future. The commercial crabbing season is on hold, which could give the recreational fleet some great opportunity if the ocean weather calms down. 

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 and repeat from last week:

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 the ODF&W Recreation Report

Anglers have been catching fall Chinook in the Chetco, Elk, Sixes and Winchuck rivers, where water conditions have been excellent.

The Rogue in Grants Pass peaked at 3,000 cfs this week and has been dropping since. There is a slight bump forecast for later in the week but for the most part the river is dropping steadily and turbidity at 4NTU. Closer to Medford, there will be likely more color in the water from both Little Butte Creek and Bear Creek and some of the effects from recent fires.  he river upstream of Shady Cove is not blown out at all, and there should be hatchery Steelhead and hatchery Coho available. The Rogue River and tributaries above Lost Creek Reservoir are open year-round. With the weather report calling for snow, the water temps will be extremely cold. Trout were stocked weekly from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Target calmer pools and pocket water for resting trout.

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 slow, but still producing. Black Friday trout beckon.
Covd-19 Update—With the Covid-19 virus spiking in Washington State, anglers are reminded to please fish only with members of their own household, avoid crowded areas, and use social distancing to protect themselves and others from the disease. No one wants a return to last spring’s lockdowns, so please do your part to make sure fishing and hunting remain open statewide.
Vancouver Metro Area
The Columbia River and its tributaries are seeing the last of the late run coho, and fishing is slowing in some tributaries. The systems are recovering from heavy rains, and are in better condition. Trout fishing has been good in local lakes for holdover trout, and this week a number of lakes were stocked with good-sized fish ahead of the Black Friday trout fishing event.
With early run steelhead having been cut to almost nothing in southwest Washington, anglers will find few opportunities for them until the January fish start to arrive. While indicators for winter steelhead are few, most fisheries managers do not expect a big run this year. For a comprehensive look at ocean conditions, and how it may affect the winter run this year, you can check out Terry Otto’s ocean conditions article from November 19 in The Columbian newspaper’s Outdoors section HERE
Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report—according to Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service (360-201-9313), a few late run coho are still being caught here, and there were a few days this week that the fishing was pretty good. There are some dark fish in the mix, but anglers are finding some bright late run coho as well. Good numbers of bright Chinook are also showing up in the catch. In recent creel surveys 44 bank rods kept one Chinook jack, three coho and released four coho. Three boats/eight rods kept eight Chinook, one Chinook jack and released 12 Chinook.
The Washougal River has come back into shape, but heavy rains this week may change that. Reports are few, but anglers are still finding a late coho or two. Early reports had some winter steelhead showing up in the catch well ahead of the usual return timing. Drifting bait or Corkies in fast runs and glides has been the most effective approach.
Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report—Both lakes are giving up kokanee is decent numbers, but the fishing at Yale has been a little better. In both lakes most anglers are flat-line trolling for the fish, which are holding high in the water column.
Local Lakes Fishing Report—Holdover trout have been biting well in Klineline Pond and Battle Ground Lake, and fishing will only get better now that both lakes have been stocked for tomorrow’s Black Friday Trout Fishing Opener.
Longview Area
Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—The upper Cowlitz River fished pretty good early this week, according to guide Dave Mallahan. He had a couple good days on the river, but fishing dropped off some later in the week. High flows are pushing the salmon toward the bank. During the latest creel survey, 29 bank rods kept 18 coho, four coho jacks, one steelhead, two cutthroat and released 23 coho. Three boats/seven rods kept five coho and one cutthroat.
The coho have been taking jigs and bait, as well as plugs and spinners. Many of the fish are dark, but anglers that were willing to pick through the coho found a good number of bright, late-run fish.
Reports from the Kalama were few, with most anglers giving up on the system for the year. There were a few late run coho around, but most of the fish moved up following the heavy rains. The coho were biting on a wide variety of baits, including jigs, spinners, salmon eggs, and plugs.
Local Lakes fishing Report– Ft. Borst Park Pond and South Lewis County Park Pond have been stocked for tomorrow’s Black Friday trout fishery, and should provide excellent action for large trout. Some rainbow still being caught in Mayfield Lake, and Riffe Lake is still fishing well for coho. Silver Lake is still fishing well for crappie, although they have been a little difficult to find,  and anglers are having to search for the fish.
Columbia River Gorge
Drano Lake and Wind River Fishing Report—fishing is pretty much over in both fisheries. While a few dark fish are still around, the bite has been poor and few anglers are trying their luck at either fishery.
Klickitat river Fishing Report—The river was fishing a little slower this past week, according to Carl Coolidge of the Klickitat Canyon Market, (509-369-4400). Coolidge, who offers a shuttle service and a fishing report on the market website, said the freeze level in the mountains is low enough that the Klickitat should stay in good condition, but that the steelhead have slowed. Anglers are still getting some of them, and they are reportedly very nice size, and still in good condition. Coho fishing is still happening in the lower river Gorge, but that fishery is just about over for the year.
Local Lakes Fishing Report— Rowland lake has been fishing very well for holdover trout, even before the state stocked the lake with 2,000 rainbow trout for the Black Friday fishery this week.

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!

Webinar Driftboating and bank fishing the Wilson River with Pro Guide Bob Rees January 20th