Oregon chinook fishing opportunities and more
Portland/Metro Fishing Report – With the news of the re-opening of the mainstem Columbia from Warrior Rock to Bonneville Dam, metro anglers will have a golden opportunity to take advantage of a robust Oregon Chinook run still under peak migration through the district’s waters.
Pro Trollers working the water from the Columbia River Gorge down to St. Helens should find fair to good action for the next several weeks trolling 360° flashers with spinners, Spinfish or Brad’s Super Baits. Warmer waters call for hardware over bait, but herring can certainly hold its own in some areas for those that have confidence in fishing it. Counts at Bonneville are about on par with last year and good action was coming from guides and anglers prior to the closure last week.
Coho have yet to ascend Willamette Falls in any number, but the returns over Willamette Falls should be significant if the run comes in as predicted. Anglers should ready themselves for early morning opportunities around the mouths of the Tualatin and Molalla Rivers in the coming weeks.
The Clackamas River has early returning coho present now, with the run building to peak early next month. Any significant rain will trigger a positive response, but as long as the water remains low and clear, the lower reaches of the Clackamas at first light will provide the best opportunities.
Avid angler Jeff Stoeger reports on the Sandy River – “There were fish rolling all over the entire river and I have no reports of any coho being caught yet. Most of the fish are holding in deeper holes and places with steady current.
The water temperature around 62 degrees and will drop with cooler water and first good rain event. The coho will shoot upriver and fish it on the rise and even coloring up.
North Coast Fishing Report – Chinook action slowed after a good start around Tillamook Bay although early returning Chinook are certainly still available. The Tillamook, Nehalem, Nestucca, Salmon, Alsea and Siletz River systems should all have Chinook present with the peak still a few weeks away.
September is such a special month on the north coast. With calming seas and a relaxing of many of the traditional regulations, opportunities abound.
Starting Friday, anglers have the opportunity for ANY TWO salmon in the ocean south of Cape Falcon. Even wild coho may be retained, and it looks like there are plenty of them. The big question is, will Garibaldi finally kick in? Garibaldi has been one of the slower north coast ports this summer season. Action should be good in most central and northern ports for coho, as well as some Chinook too.
Buoy 10 anglers continue to find consistent catches of coho, with some tipping the scales at 12 – 14 pounds. This author (Bob Rees) predicts the mother lode in by September 14th. If not, anyone wanna buy a guide business? Cheap….
All-depth halibut went to a 7-day/week season and the bag limit is now 2 fish/person. Action does seem to be picking up but remains predictably sporadic in the nearshore. Nearshore catches do often improve however, but that also seems to be a year-to-year thing.
Bay crabbing is excellent in Tillamook Bay, fair to good in Netarts and Nestucca, while Nehalem remains challenging.
Albacore remain far offshore, but action is good for those willing to commit.
Central Oregon Fishing Reports – Contributor Glenn Zinkus reports:
Deschutes and Metolius Trout Action.
Lower Deschutes River:
With the lower portion of the Deschutes closed, the only relevant data are the dam release temperatures. Water temperatures range from lows of 54 degrees to highs of 56 degrees, creeping up about ½ degree through the week.
All reports from anglers and I know and from the fly shops is that the Lower Deschutes from Warm Springs all the way to Maupin is fishing great. Dry-dropper combos with caddis and craneflies are hot.
Morning nymphing is good, and lots of caddis and PMDs during the afternoons and evenings add some dry fly action. Jeff Perin at The FlyFisher’s Place in Sisters reports som action on small black stonefly nymphs.
Middle Deschutes River: Some new reports from The Fly Fishers Place indicate the Middle Deschutes is fishing well again; euronymphing in the morning and caddis, PMDs, and the last of the PEDs for the summer.
Upper Deschutes River: The upper Deschutes has been fishing well. PMDs and some caddis are present, but nymph fishing is great. Brook trout are being caught on Perdigons, Frenchies, Jig Style PTs.
Haystack Reservoir: Fill level is 31 %. Bass fishing is excellent. Early mornings and evenings with topwaters is outstanding right now.
Lake Billy Chinook: Reports of good kokanee fishing in both the Deschutes and Metolius arms. Jigging with gold and silver colors.
Crooked River: Crooked River flows are 183 CFS at the dam. Fishing is great with afternoon dry fly fishing with heavy PMD hatches. Nymphing is also great when the dry fly action is off.
Metolius River: The Metolius in September is one of the standout fishing opportunities. We are into prime fall green drake time, with the size 10 green drakes and the smaller, size 14 Drunella flavillinea drakes all coming off, often at the same time.
Crane Prairie Reservoir: Water temperatures at Crane are getting pretty nice, and the lake is fishing well again.
Wickiup Reservoir: Wickiup is very low with a fill level of 2%!!
Lava Lake/Little Lava Lake: Most reports are that Lava Lake is slow for trout.
Miller Lake: Brown trout action remains great on Miller Lake. Remember that night fishing for trout is legal on Miller Lake, making fishing opportunities for the browns even better. Cool nights in the area are cooling down the lake very nicely. Miller has had some smoke, but some north winds forecasted today may help this.
Odell Lake: Odell remains a constant for kokanee and Mackinaw fishing with good reports all around. There is typically smoke at Odell, depending upon the winds. It changes constantly right now.
Eastern Oregon Fishing Report – Contributor Glenn Zinkus reports bi-weekly, here is this week’s report.
Owyhee Trout Action. Northeast Oregon Has Good Options.
Weather Outlook Across Central and Eastern Oregon:
There will be showers and thunder showers in the region on Friday.
Temperatures in Northeast Oregon peak in the low 70s on the weekend, and will be in the 60s, near 70 through next week. Night temperatures are in the 30s and 40s.
There is on and off smoke haze in the Cascades, High Desert, and Southeast Oregon
Southeastern Oregon, in the high country, will have rain on Friday. Sun and weekend high temperatures peak in the low 80s on the weekend, and 70s during next week. on the other days. Nighttime temperature dip to the 30s and 40s. Ana Reservoir: LIKELY AFFECTED BY SMOKE FROM THE BOOTLEG FIRE There are reports of good fishing on Ana Reservoir for legal and trophy size trout.
Blitzen River: The Blitzen still gets too warm during the afternoons, but early morning temperatures are in the high 50s. Fishing is viable for a few hours during the morning. Flows of 23 to 26 CFS are really low, near historic low averages.
Lofton Reservoir: Affected by the Bootleg fire. Inaccessible.
Owyhee River: There are some good blue wing olive hatches right now, as well as action on hoppers, ants and beetles.
Wallowa Lake was stocked in August with 5400 legal size trout and 180 trophy trout. The lake remains one of the viable fishing options in the northeast. Rob at the The Joseph Fly Shoppe thinks Wallowa Lake is one of the best in Oregon right now for stocked trout.
The kokanee bite is on. Kokanee catch rates are good.
Northeast Oregon High Lakes: Straight from The Joseph Fly Shoppe – “We are getting some better fishing reports this year compared to last year, but numerous lakes still fishing tough.
Lostine River: Rob at The Joseph Fly Shop reports that Lostine River is a good option. Water levels are low, but the water is cool. Check out Glenn’s detailed report and forecast in this week’s paid version for Chinook and Steelhead Members both!
SW Oregon Fishing Report – Contributor Jeff Rome reports:
Coho on the Menu Again but Chinook the Favorite
Wildfire smoke has hindered outdoor activities more than not lately. Those who did get out have had mixed success on the mid Rogue and decent success last Labor Day weekend. Half pounders are scattered in the lower Rogue and up through Grants Pass. Anglers are mostly targeting salmon but some of them are going for summer steelhead/ half pounders. A decent marine forecast for most of the Southern Oregon coast is expected through the weekend which will allow for more bottom fish, halibut and ling cod action if one is not targeting salmon. Non selective coho season opens back up September 10th, however the best coho catches will be towards Coos Bay and North.
Grants Pass Pro-guide Troy Whitaker of Troy’s Guide Service (541-761-0015) shared from the Rogue River that Wednesday was a bit slow until latter afternoon when a short bite came on and boat pressure decreased. Trolling the basic Rogue spinner bait with a green/gold Water Boy blade and anchovy brined overnight in Pautzke clear/ blue bait brine.
Troy also said that Summer Steelhead are up from Agness to Grants Pass. Those anglers not fishing for salmon, side drifting corky/ worm, puff balls, and back trolling K14 plugs are getting some. The coming weeks will be prime for them as the water cools and flow goes down more. Although most effort has been on salmon, boat anglers have been doing very well catching nice size ling cod and rockfish when the ocean winds are down. Bottom fishing is now restricted to inside the 40-fathom line unless you choose to fish in the offshore longleader fishery. Anglers can still harvest 2 lingcod per day.
Andy of Brookings Fishing Charters 541-813-1082 reports that wind has been horrible most of the week. During a couple window of opportunity for tuna, what few boats did get out came back empty and “couldn’t find em” anywhere out to 50 miles. The weekend looks good for getting out and targeting halibut and bottom fish which has been good when wind hasn’t been a factor.
The Rogue Bay is still producing Chinook with lots of jacks in the mix. Half pounders are between Lobster Creek and Agness and will be moving upriver.
Andy mentioned that the Klamath River just 25 miles south of Crescent City California has been producing nice sized Fall Chinook in the mid 20 pound range for both boat and bank anglers.
Smallmouth bass anglers are catching good numbers of bass in the South Fork Coquille below the mouth of the Middle Fork and in the mainstem Coquille River. There is no size limit or daily bag limit on smallmouth bass in the Coquille River. It’s recommended to catch and keep as many as one can to help keep the population at bay since these fish are not salmon, trout, and steelhead friendly.
COOS RIVER BASIN: Boat and bank anglers (on the jetty) are still catching rockfish and an occasional ling cod inside lower Coos Bay. Smaller jigs with a twister tail or 1-ounce jigging spoons have been working to catch rockfish.
Eager salmon anglers fishing in between the jetties may be able to pick up a Chinook salmon following bait fish into the Coos estuary. A few have also been caught up as far as the chip pile/ airport area. The main run of the Chinook salmon entering the bay is starting to build up and will go through September.Diamond Lake-Colder temps and lower lake level is making trout catches more challenging. Fly fishers seem to be doing slightly better and will be mostly in mid-morning or late evening.
COQUILLE RIVER BASIN- Striper fishing is starting to pick up again in the lower Coquille River. Striped bass can be found in the river from near Johnson Mill Pond to Rocky Point in the lower estuary. There is no size limit or daily bag limit and are caught in low light conditions or in the dark. Smallmouth bass anglers are catching good numbers of bass in the South Fork Coquille below the mouth of the Middle Fork and in the main stem Coquille River.
Jim at Rogue Outdoor Store Gold Beach, Oregon 541-247-7142, reports that the Rogue River temperature has dropped a bit causing fish that were holding up in the bay to migrate their way upriver. Consequently, those anglers working the lower above the bay are catching some nice fish from the bank as well as from a boat. Side drifting roe and back trolling sardine wrapped Kwikfish in chartreuse, silver and gold combos are doing the trick. Chinook in the 30 pound range is not uncommon and “we’re still waiting for that 40 or 50 pounder to get caught” any time Jim said confidently. Rogue Bay Chinook fishing has slowed a bit after a big Labor Day weekend of heavy boat and angling pressure but is expecting to pick up again since river flow has been and will be reducing this week causing fish to hold up in the bay longer. An average of 40+ fish caught per day this past week. Bank anglers targeting salmon have been catching some below Indian Creek. Summer Steelhead and 1/2 pounders are being caught up towards Huntley Park through Agness but lots should be scattered up river as well.
UMPQUA RIVER System– Surf perch fishing in Winchester bay is fair at best. Trollers in the lower reaches of tide water are catching some nice Chinook in the 20+ pound range lately (according to Anna Alisa from Salmon Harbor Tackle). This past week has seen another influx of fish in the river with some over 30 pounds! The main is restricted to one wild adult Chinook per day and five per year. There is no retention of wild coho in the Umpqua this year. Bass fishing throughout the Umpqua basin is great.
SW Washington Fishing Report by Terry Otto
The action shifts to tributaries after the Columbia closed to salmon, after a great start to the fall fishing. But, those tribs need rain bad. Warm weather and low water is slowing the bite.
Vancouver Metro Area
The Columbia has closed to all salmon fishing locally, after anglers caught too many fish during a great season. It remains open above Bonneville Dam, where fish counts have been terrific. Anglers will now pivot to fishing the local rivers for fall salmon, and there are plenty of those around. Its beginning to look like an epic coho run. All that’s needed for excellent fishing is a little rain.
The Columbia River will be open for sturgeon retention this Saturday and the next. Fishing should be good. The Buoy Ten fishery is open for coho, and should fish very well this weekend.
Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report—Fishing remains good in the Lewis River, although the system just keeps dropping, and that has slowed the salmon bite in some places. The word has gotten out about how good the fishing is, and anglers can expect serious crowding the closer they get to the hatchery. This is especially true for bank anglers, who have less options. Popular fishing areas in Woodland have stayed crowded, too. Boat anglers are taking their fish on salmon eggs and spinners, and bank anglers are doing the same and also drifting. Hover fishing at the meat hole is paying off, and the catch is getting more skewed to the coho, instead of the Chinook. Anglers are reminded that the Chinook can not be kept unless they are fin-clipped until October 1.
Boat anglers are also doing well from Woodland to the hatchery, where some boaters are twitching jigs. Most are fishing eggs, though. Bank anglers are getting their fish at the hatchery and the Woodland Area.
No changes on the Washougal River, where a few Chinook have moved into the lowest holes. But their migration, and the bite, are being stymied by warm water. There have been no decent reports from anglers on the river, which will remain in a funk until some rains lift it.
Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report – John Thompson of Sportsman’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000), reports that anglers did well on nice sized kokanee again this week. The fish are feeding voraciously as they prepare for the fall spawn. Depths vary from day to day, depending on weather its cloudy or sunny. Most of the schools are in 20 to 60 feet of water. Anglers are primarily trolling hootchies tipped with corn behind kokanee flashers, but some anglers are mixing it up and doing well.
Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—Fishing remains slow in the upper Cowlitz, according to Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service (360-201-9313), but it is slow to fair in the lower river. There are fewer anglers fishing here than in some other tributaries, probably because other rivers are offering better options right now. The river is closed to the retention of Chinook, the early coho runs are small, and are mostly headed to the Toutle River. The late run, which will be headed to the Cowlitz River salmon Hatchery and the Barrier Dam, will not start returning until mid-October. Until then the best action will be in the lower river. Plunking is a good way to intercept the fish while they are moving through the Cowlitz, and boat anglers should try anchoring with plugs. Once the fish enter the Toutle, fishing bait below a bobber, throwing spinners, or drifting bait are good bets. Look to the Toutle below the hatchery.
The lower Kalama River is full of Chinook and coho, and anglers are getting them on spinners, bobber and bait, and jigs. The fish are holed up in the lower river below the fish collection weir and are waiting on rains to lift the river. The action is best from the weir to the mouth. Anglers are floating the river from the Modrow Bridge down, and bank anglers are gathering at the access points. Anglers are reminded that Chinook and coho kept must be adipose fin-clipped hatchery fish, and of the 3 adult daily limit, only one can be a steelhead.
Columbia River Gorge
Anglers continue to fish off the mouth of the Klickitat and White Salmon Rivers, employing some trolling, but also anchoring and jigging wobblers or fishing salmon eggs via hovering. Fishing for Chinook has been good, and a few coho have been found in the mix.
Local Lakes fishing report—Goose Lake is fishing fair for trout. Rowland Lake is fishing well for largemouth bass. All the Highway 14 causeway lakes are fishing well for bass and panfish.
You can read Terry Otto’s recent article in the Columbian on Buoy Ten HERE.
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