Coastal Steelheading Should Be Coming In This Weekend, Springers On Hold With Rising Willamette
Willamette Valley/Metro – Willamette River anglers will be on hold for the near future, their home base is on the rise and dirtying as we speak. When flows drop, the Sultan of Sellwood (John Shmilenko) states, “I feel very confident on the next drop.” That won’t be until the middle of next week.
The Columbia has yet to see a springer by sport angler or by hydropower passage. It’s early and like with steelhead, temperatures dictate migration, and it’s cold out there.
Metro steelheaders are still struggling, especially on the Clackamas River. After a small shot of hatchery steelhead about 10 days ago, the returns have dried up, but upriver migration is hard to gauge in rising flows and dropping water temperatures. There’s still a lot of winter steelhead season to go, but anglers are being realistic.
Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports, “Hello All. Well there isn’t much to talk about this week. The Sandy for most of the week was flowing ice the entire river. It was difficult to fish from a boat and from the bank because of all the ice and snow and slippery banks with ice and snow conditions with the weather forecast for warmer weather things will go back to normal. The river went up over 12ft and is on the drop. So best of luck and tight lines.
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At least air temperatures are rising; that will bring more fish out of their reluctant state of motivation.
North Coast Fishing Report – We’re in peak season for north coast steelheaders and anglers are struggling for consistent results. The Wilson and Nestucca should fish well this weekend, whether there’s fish present or not. The lack of 2-salt fish (7 to 9 pounders) remains a mystery. Some quality broodstock and wild fish are falling for anglers putting in the effort however, hopefully we meet broodstock needs.
Wild fish should make a good showing on the Kilchis, Trask, Wilson and other systems on the north coast. Smaller systems should fish well by Friday, the larger ones just in time for the weekend fleet.
The Nehalem will remain out of reach, but should have fish present at tributary mouths.
There should still be some spawned out kelts in the early season streams (NF Nehalem, Necanicum, Big and Gnat Creeks, Klaskanine River and Three Rivers too).
The Alsea will remain challenging, while the Siletz should produce fair catches this weekend.
The commercial crab fleet is in the water so the lower Columbia will be hit hard with effort and catch and for those rare fleeting moments for salt water anglers, better plan on lighter pots.
It doesn’t look like bottomfishing will be a great option in the foreseeable future either.
Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports – From avid angler Tim Moran:
Hello everyone! hopefully everyone got through the crazy weather last week and you can all put the chainsaw, snow shovel, ice axe, cramp-ons etc. away and get the fishing gear back out!! This time of year the fishing forecast is tied to the weather forecast and things are looking up for the next several days! If you’re coming over the pass from the west, driving should be much improved and if you live on the east side, the rivers and a few lakes should be pretty accessible. Saturday looks dry at this point with highs in the low 40’s. I’ll take that! Monday through Wednesday looks great with a little sun and mid 40’s to 50!
The Metolius should produce Rainbows and a few Browns on nymphs from around 10am on. There should be periods of decent dry fly action on Blue WIng Olives too. The Metolius, Fall, Crooked and Deschutes should all have fair to good fly fishing this week.
Prineville and Ochoco Reservoirs are top winter performers and with the warmer days coming, these waters should produce.
Kokanee fishing can be pretty good in winter as the fish tend to stay higher up in the water column. Lake Billy Chinook is a great place to target winter kokes.
Checking in with shops in NE Oregon, fishing has been tough on the Grande Ronde, Wallowa and Imnaha with cold temps, snow and intermittent warm periods with high muddy flows. Looks like fishing is pretty much at a stand still until Spring over there.
In SE Oregon, The Ana River has been good for Rainbows to 17 inches. The river stays ice free and is great for a day’s drift. BWO’s and small nymphs are the go-to flies here.
Well, that’s the report for this week. If you’re like me you’re tired of snow, ice fires, Covid, politics, closures and you NEED to get out and go fishing…Here’s to hoping you all make it out !
SW Oregon Fishing Report – From Avid angler Tim Moran:
A check in with a few local shops in the Roseburg and Grants Pass area report winter steelhead fishing on the middle and upper Rogue has picked up noticeably in the last few weeks! At present time, the river is blown out and will be until early next week, but we should see pretty consistent fishing next week with it just getting better through mid April or so.
The Umpqua River has been very good too and guides are getting fish in the main river and the south fork. Fish to 15 pounds have been caught this year, and there will be plenty more to come as fishing will get better through early April up there!
The coastal rivers have all picked up quite a bit in the last few weeks for winter steelhead too, so it’s GAME ON for winter steelhead fishing through April!
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!
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 and wear a mask 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 recent winter storm knocked out power for thousands of local residents, and made travel difficult, although conditions were worse across the river in Oregon. Few anglers were able to get out and fish during this event, and there are few fishing reports or creel surveys to draw from. However, steelhead continue to show up in better numbers in most tributaries. With rain forecast for the coming week, and snow melting, many rivers will rise and receive a fresh shot of steelhead.
Trout angling is still good in the local lowland lakes. Excess steelhead arriving at hatcheries have been stocked into many trout lakes.
Commercial landings of smelt in the Columbia River are still too low to allow managers to offer a sport dip on the Cowlitz.
Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report—There have been no creel surveys or other reports from either fishery this past week. River conditions were good in the Lewis, but with most anglers stuck at home, it is unknown if any steelhead have been caught recently. Anglers had been taking some wild steelhead in the river before the mess hit, with many of the catches being spread from the hatchery up to the fishing deadline at Merwin Dam. In the weeks preceding the storm anglers had been getting fish with bobber presentations, pulling plugs, and by drifting bait or gear.
Before the storm hit the Washougal had been low and cold, and the fishing was slow. The river has been giving up some steelhead immediately following the freshets, but when it has been low the fishing has been tough. Bobber and bait, jigs, or beads have been effective in the slower water when fish are around. Drifting bait or Corkies has also been effective in the faster water.
Salmon Creek Fishing Report—no report on angler success.
Local Lakes Fishing Report—No report on angling success. Both Klineline Pond and Battle Ground Lake were stocked on February 9 with catchable-sized cutthroat trout. For the latest trout stockings, check the WDFW stocking webpage HERE.
Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report—No report on angler success.
Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—There were very few anglers fishing the Cowlitz in recent days as snow and ice have made travel difficult. However, Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service (360-201-9313), reports that there are more steelhead showing up, while pressure was low last weekend and early this week. Numbers of anglers are rising again as the roads clear of snow.
Mallahan said the fishing is not red hot or even really good, but it is improving, and he said that right now a lot of the fish are very good-sized. He has caught fish each time out, but he said that some anglers are not getting many. Bobber-dogging in the first few miles below Blue Creek has been where he has had his success. Bank anglers are getting a few fish, too. In the upper river above the I-5 Bridge during the last creel survey, four bank rods kept two steelhead while six boats/21 rods kept one steelhead.
The lower river has also been producing some catches, although in the latest creel 41 bank rods had no catch. Still, Mallahan said that plunkers in the lower river are getting some steelhead at times. 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 lower Kalama River did well for some anglers this past week, according to John Thompson of Sportsman’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000. He said anglers found some fish by floating the reaches of the river below the Red Barn. The fish are taking the usual offerings, including beads, jigs, bait, and plugs.
Columbia River Gorge
Rowland Lake is still fishing well for good-sized trout, including some big brood rainbows. Icehouse Lake is also doing well for catchables, and a few larger rainbows. Both lakes have fished best with bait either fished along the bottom or beneath a bobber.
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