Portland/Metro Fishing Report – Metro opportunities for salmon and steelhead are sparse, but anglers got a glimpse of the season ahead, with the 2023 spring Chinook prediction released this week. Biologists are predicting 71,000 adults back to the Willamette system, and another 200,000 back to the mainstem Columbia, giving regional anglers some of the best opportunities we’ve seen in years. Most of the 2022 run was under-predicted as this business is a tough one, but anglers are over-joyed that we could see a nice rebound for the area, spring Chinook are a fan-favorite for metro anglers and draw a lot of attention from surrounding areas.
For the meantime, catch and release opportunities for sturgeon will be on the menu. Few anglers take advantage of this fishery however, it’ll remain good well into the spring months.
Clackamas River Fishing Report – With very little effort on the Clackamas River, it’s an indication that times are tough for steelheaders there. Wild coho numbers are impressing biologists, PGE has done an incredible job of recovering wild salmonids in the basin, kudos to them! Avid angler Tim Wilson of Knipe Realty reported having the river to himself on Thursday (12/15), and clearly for a reason. Tim reported the river as a “barren wasteland,” catching 2 smolts in the 10 to 12″ range that looked like juvenile steelhead to him. He knows the Barton to Carver stretch well, but came up with no bites.
Sandy River Fishing Report – Avid angler Jeff Stoeger reported, “I hope that you all the chance to get out and try your luck on these winter steelhead. The report I have is that there are fish coming in daily and the number should increase with a rain event. The river forecast shows that the river will be on the drop until we have the next major rain event. The current river level is 9.4ft and should drop into the upper 8ft level and the water temperature is 39.3 degrees. The weather forecast shows rain over the weekend with a chance of snow. The freezing level is going down to 1000ft and snow is expected from Sunday into Monday.
Find the full report and forecast for Members on the Sandy and the Clackamas from this page here.
North Coast Fishing Report – Steelhead anglers are finding the early season, small stream steelheading opportunities a but challenging right now. Low, clear water and cold temperatures has them a bit clammed up, but we’re in peak season so fish are present.
Small systems such as the NF Nehalem, Necanicum, Big and Gnat Creek, Klaskanine and Alsea Rivers are peaking right now, anglers just need to exercise stealthy tactics to find success.
Offshore, sport crabbing is open and productive and the lingcod bite recently has taken off. Rockfish are of course open and available as well. Recreating on the ocean during the winter has its risks, but is also well worth the reward.
The lower Columbia is excellent for crabbing as well, limits are the rule.
Larger systems such as the Wilson and Nestucca are still weeks away from seeing catchable numbers of steelhead but some are present. Look to late January for better opportunities.
Don’t overlook fall trout opportunities on the coast, the north coast stocking schedule can be found HERE.
See the full North Coast Report and Forecast for Members right here.
SW Oregon Fishing Report – Contributor Jeff Rome reports:
The recent big rain got most rivers flowing enough to briefly get blown out till Tuesday/ Wednesday where anxious anglers at the ready were pulling plugs and beating the water to a froth to find a few, only a few first of the season winter steelhead on the Chetco. Other anglers working the Elk and Sixes also found success with late season Chinook. Rogue river anglers mostly took the time to take advantage of shopping deals on winter clothes and gear instead of fishing as pressure is low. Some guides that did go out did get some nice late summer steelhead and colorful coho.
The ocean is finally calming down and looking like a good opportunity to get out for some good bottom fish action. The ling cod are also in closer and biting! Bay crabbing would also be an option since most of the rain water from the rivers has flushed out.
The Sixes would be a best bet for the weekend to get on a Chinook while the flow is still fishable. The Elk is too low now and not an option until more rain.
The Chetco would be a second good option. Plunking around the gravel bars at Social Security beach and Loeb park are the favorites. Boaters floating the lower water working plugs is the other good option.
The mid-Rogue river from Griffin Park to Rogue River should see some success of summer steelhead and an occasional coho. Winter fish could be up that far too but has yet to be confirmed with a catch. The flow is low and cold so covering lots of water and moving from spot to spot to find fish is the key. Boaters are having the best luck pulling plugs that will attract both steelhead and wondering coho.
The Coos basin rivers like the Millicoma and Coquille would also be a good bet to try for early winter steelhead.
Be safe, be nice and enjoy! Gooo Beavers!
Tight Lines 🎣 – Romer
Jeff’s expanded report, multiple lake updates, and forecast in this week’s version for Members!
Here is this week’s SW Washington fishing report.