Photo: Pro guide Chris Vertopoulos (503-349-1377) “fun” fished with Robert Campbell (Fishermen’s Marine and Outdoor) on Tuesday (12/20) on a north coast stream
Portland/Metro Fishing Report – With anglers awaiting steelhead in the metro tributaries and spring Chinook in the mainstem, there’s little to target in the Portland/Metro area at this time. It’s early for steelhead and way early for spring Chinook. Couple that fact with the brutal weather conditions the Portland area is experiencing right now and it’ll be a good weekend to remain home. There remains some catch and release options for sturgeon in the mainstem Willamette and plunkers will keep plunking at Meldrum Bar, in hopes of early season, Clackamas River bound steelhead.
Clackamas River Fishing Report – It’s still early on the Clackamas River. Returning winter steelhead here, tend to come back about a month later than Sandy River adults. None-the-less, there are fish around, but given the bone-chilling cold east wind one might encounter on the Clackamas at this time, you’d have to be quite motivated to give it a try. Steelhead are notorious for not being very motivated to bite in dropping water (and air) temperatures, that’s exactly what’s going on right now. The river has been low and clear and the temperatures cold, keeping most (sensible) steelheaders at home, tying rigs instead of breaking them off.
Sandy River Fishing Report – Avid angler Jeff Stoeger reported, “I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope that you are able to spend some time with your family. This week’s river conditions we saw the river climb to 11ft and is on the drop for a few days. The river is forecasted to climb to just over 14ft and the river temp is around 38.3 degrees. Please be safe over the next couple of days.
As of this report, the weather forecast is for snow and mainly ice over the next few days. If you plan to fish in the Oxbow area, make sure that you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle and carry chains.
The river will go off color for a few days and as the temperatures drop the river will clear. There were a few fish caught and a few late coho that were very nice in color.
Find the full report and forecast for Members on the Sandy and the Clackamas from this page here.
North Coast Fishing Report – Persistently low, clear water conditions have small stream anglers frustrated, but that is about to change.
Reports from the small stream tributaries (NF Nehalem, Necanicum, Gnat and Big Creek and the Klaskanine River have not been impressive. The upcoming rain freshet will be in the very peak of this early return so we’ll get an idea just how robust this return is by next week.
All systems should be a go following the cold snap, each tributary will be as loaded as they will get following the weekend rain freshet.
There are a few steelhead in the larger tributaries such as the Wilson and Nestucca systems. We’re still weeks away from peak fishing, but a shot of early returning fish is a positive sign for the later season steelhead due to peak later in February and March.
The commercial crab fleet is officially delayed yet again. Crabbing in the north coast estuaries, especially the lower Columbia, has been phenomenal, when weather permits.
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.
Willamette River System Report – Contributor Glenn Zinkus reports:
McKenzie River Trout, South Willamette Valley Ponds
Alton Baker Canal: Alton Baker Canal was stocked with 700 legal size trout last week, for the end of year. As always, a great put and take option for anglers and families in the Eugene area.
Detroit Reservoir: As of right now, Detroit Lake surface elevation is currently at 1452 feet. Levels have been steady. Putting in at Mongold has been possible, but taking a boat out is difficult.
Detroit was stocked up through the end of June with trophy trout each week. The deeper, cooler waters of Detroit make this a good trout fishing option.
Green Peter Reservoir: There are some reports of anglers catching bigger holdover trout. Access is getting more difficult with the dropping levels.
As a caution, there are some reports of thefts from boat ramps including catalytic converters.
Willamette River – Middle Fork:
Most reports from the Middle Fork indicate fishing has been difficult. with an increase in flows. The Middle Fork is climbing and currently at 2670 CFS – just spiked and crested. These are fishable flow rates, but the fish are moving around and reports are that they are difficult to find. Also, the water was a bit murkier and off-color.
Willamette River – From Harrisburg, to Corvallis, to Albany:
The Willamette River is currently at 6260 CFS at Harrisburg – the river had been receding and jumped up about 1000 CFS over the last day.
McKenzie River – Trout: The mainstem McKenzie water levels jumped up over the last day or so, and peaked and now dropping at 3010 CFS.
Water temperatures are 40 degrees, and the trout are less active. The fish are in winter mode.
Find the latest full report and forecast as well as past reports for Members on the Willamette Valley/Metro start on this page here.
Central Oregon Fishing Report – Contributor Glenn Zinkus reports:
Spring Fed Rivers – The Metolius and Fall River
Weather Outlook Across Central and Eastern Oregon:
At the time of this writing, we are in the middle of a short cold snap that will give way to above normal temperatures on the holiday weekend and much of the week between Christmas and New Years.
Friday will top out in the 40s in places like Sisters and the Metolius River area, and at Fall River, with mid to high 40s for high temperatures on the weekend and continuing into next week. The Deschutes canyon near Maupin stays cold with some precipitation in the forecast – still in the 20s on Friday and topping out in the high 30s on Saturday before the warming into the 40s, and lows 50s begins next week.
ODFW News – Angling Restrictions
The ODFW metric of a minimum of 9,900 wild (unclipped) steelhead through Bonneville was achieved back on July 23. That means the Lower Deschutes will open to steelhead angling August 15 to September 15.
The ODFW metric of a minimum of 23,100 wild steelhead through Bonneville was achieved on August 18th. That means the Lower Deschutes will remain open for the remainder of this year for steelhead angling.
John Day River: Angling for, and retention of steelhead will be closed in the mainstem John Day above Tumwater Falls (and tributaries above this boundary) from Sept. 15-Dec. 31, 2022 due to low projected returns.
Lower Deschutes River: The Lower Deschutes stayed fairly steady, with only slight flow decreases downriver, with normal flows of around 4000 CFS at Madras and 4360 CFS at Moody.
Although there have been some steelhead catches of hatchery steelhead on swinging flies last week, steelhead activity is slowing. Trout remains steady – especially while nymphing.
The Lower Deschutes Canyon is getting some snow and ice tonight
Middle Deschutes River: The Middle Deschutes is running high now, and best bet is to fish streamers and jigs. Try areas below Benham Falls.
Upper Deschutes River: Closed as of Oct 1 for the season.
Haystack Reservoir: Drained for maintenance – should be complete and starting a refill. At 11 %.
Lake Billy Chinook: A few anglers were reporting good koke fishing prior to the latest snow.
Crooked River: Steady flows, but the Crooked has been icing over, and may not be easily fished on Christmas weekend although the ice will start melting on the weekend and into next week.
Fall River: Fall River will continue to fish well with the onset of winter conditions and snow on the ground.
Cold there today, but will become a great and more easily accessed venue by the weekend.
When I was there last, BWOs in the air during the early afternoon, and the usual rising fish just below Allingham. When I first arrived, I watched one other angler fishing dries, and he had some success, catching a smaller fish within a few minutes. I saw other trout rising in the area.
Bull trout are present throughout the river and grabbing caught fish, flies, and some lures.
Members can always see the latest complete report as well as the forecast for this section by starting right here.
SW Oregon Fishing Report – Contributor Jeff Rome reports:
The Chetco and lower to mid Rogue river are showing some winter steelhead by those anglers braving early week sub freezing temperatures. Also Coos basin systems like the Millicoma, and South fork Coos also saw a first of season shot of winter steelhead. Most rivers are back to low and clear conditions but another expected big rain next week could have the “season” well under way for the new year🤞🎣
The ocean is finally calmed down and was an excellent slot of weather to get out for some great bottom fishing. The upcoming several days look like blustery conditions (again). Depending on where you’re at, bay crabbing might be worthwhile before Christmas to get some nice crabbages for the holiday before the rain flushes too much fresh water.
The mid-Rogue river from Griffin Park to Rogue River is seeing the tail end of summer steelhead and coho with fair to good success. Winter fish are just starting to show but more should come with the next big rain next week. 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 Sixes and Elk river are back to low and clear condition. The next good opportunity looks like early next week as expected rain will bring both back into shape and hopefully a last good shot at a Chinook.
The Chetco won’t be fishing good until rain possibly Friday/ Sat could provide a pre Christmas slot to try for winter steelhead that are now nosing into the river. Plunking around the gravel bars at Social Security beach and Loeb park are also bank favorites.
Have a wonderful holiday season with friends and family- Happy Hanukkah🕎 and a Merry Christmas!🎄
Be safe, be nice and enjoy!
Tight Lines 🎣 – Romer
Jeff’s expanded report, multiple lake updates, and forecast in this week’s version for Members!
Find our latest SW Washington fishing report right here.