Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update August 31st, 2018

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This weekend (Sept. 1-2) is a Free Fishing Weekend in Oregon when no license, tag or endorsement is needed to fish, crab and clam anywhere in Oregon that’s open to fishing. As an angler, you know how much fun fishing is. This is a great weekend to share that fun with others.

Willamette Valley/Metro Fall Chinook passage is slow to go at Bonneville Dam, but that’s not stopping motivated anglers from trying their hand at Pro-trolling in the Portland to Longview stretch as numbers grow in the region. Catches have yet to take off, and with little time remaining in the Tongue Point (near Astoria) to Warrior Rock (near the mouth of the Lewis River) fishery, anglers will have little time to score. That reach closes on September 2nd, but will remain open upstream of Warrior Rock to Bonneville Dam through September 14th. Anchor anglers had the best chance on the most recent strong tide series. Overall, the Chinook run is tracking slightly behind last year’s return, as expected.

Summer steelhead haven’t fared as well. The states closed the mainstem Columbia River to the retention of steelhead effective last Monday. Returns are expected to come in lower than last year. A section of the John Day is also closed, from Tumwater Falls downstream to its confluence with the Columbia.

It’s too early to gauge the coho return, but the run is tracking slightly ahead of last year.

The Clackamas and Sandy still have summer steelhead available, and with the cooler weather, rafting traffic has slowed. These residualized fish remain quite timid however, but the overcast skies and cooler weather has improved opportunity. Coho are soon to show in each of these metro tributaries too. Pro guide Jeff Stoeger of O2BFISHN (503-704-7920) reports, “This week’s report we were hoping for more rain than what we received and the forecast doesn’t show any rain in next week’s forecast. When we do get that first good rain, we will see some coho show up in the lower river. They’re catching fish off the mouth of the Sandy using spinners and casting plugs. The upper river still has some fish but they are on the darker side.” 

More trout are coming to Willamette Valley lakes this week, check the ODF&W web site for details on which lakes offer the best opportunity.

Northwest Oregon – It hasn’t been a fantastic week for Chinook fishers in the Tillamook region. Fall Chinook are soon due to almost every north coast system, and catches have been recorded already. Action was reported as slow on the Nehalem early in the week, but tides will weaken and action should pick up at the bay entrances over the Labor Day weekend.

The Nehalem, Tillamook, Nestucca, Salmon, Alsea and Siletz River mouths should all be fair prospects over the long weekend. Overall, the fall return isn’t expected to be tremendous, but catchable numbers will certainly be in order. Troll herring on the bottom during outgoing tide, but stratify baits on the incoming, especially around high tide. Hatchery coho should be available on the Nehalem and Tillamook Bay systems.

Ocean salmon fishing for coho closes on September 3rd, with nearly 70% of the quota remaining. Many wild coho were caught during the open season, a good sign for the September 7th opener that will run every Friday and Saturday through the end of the month or the quota of 3,500 fish is harvested.

Astoria area – The Buoy 10 fishery closed last Friday for Chinook, but remains open for hatchery coho. Anglers are witnessing fair catches of coho at or near Buoy 10 itself. Lower Desdemona Sands has also been productive recently.

Softer tides over the weekend should prompt fair to good catches of Chinook above Tongue Point using spinners or bait at high tide and the first part of outgoing. Again, this reach closes after September 2nd.

Central and Eastern Oregon – From our Friend Tim Moran: Check back later for an update.

Southwest – From ODF&W

Several area waterbodies are scheduled to be stocked the week of Aug. 27 – just in time for some holiday fishing. They include Red Top Lake, Clearwater Bay 2, Rogue above Lost Creek Reservoir, Marie Lake, Cooper Creek Reservoir, Lemolo Reservoir, Bowman Pond, Lake in the Woods, Ben Irving Reservoir and Hemlock Lake.


A number of fire closures are in effect near various southwest water bodies. ODFW personnel have done their best to compile the most up to date closures for specific angling destinations below. However, due to dynamic fire behavior, situations can change and anglers should consult with web links and phone numbers, and response agencies before they decide to visit.

Salmon fishing is open from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain with a limit of two salmon per day. The fin-clipped coho season opened on June 30 and will be open until Sept. 3 or attaining the quota of 35,000 fin-clipped coho. As of August 19, there is 70 percent of the quota remaining.

The All-Depth halibut quota remaining is 42 percent as of Aug. 19. The next all-depth fishing days for the Central Coast will be Aug. 31-Sept 1.

Chinook and coho are being caught from the shore at Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point in Winchester Bay.

Fall Chinook anglers are still doing well in the Rogue Bay of Gold Beach.

Fall Chinook are around in several other rivers and the best fishing will be in the bays and lower sections of rivers like the Coos, Coquille, and Umpqua.

Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be a fishing bright spot in the south and mainstem Umpqua.

SW Washington – From WDF&W


Elochoman River – 4 bank anglers had no catch.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 12 bank anglers had no catch. Above the I-5 Br: 17 bank rods kept 1 chinook and released 2 chinook. 33 boats/87 rods kept 18 chinook, 3 jacks, 26 steelhead and released 6 chinook, 7 jacks and 4 steelhead.

Kalama River – 1 bank angler had no catch. Lewis River – 1 boat/1 rod had no catch.

Wind River – 2 boats/2 rods had no catch.

Drano Lake – 15 boats/33 rods kept 7 chinook and released 3 steelhead.

Klickitat River – 3 bank anglers had no catch.

Columbia River Tributaries

Cowlitz River: Until further notice, the closed waters section below the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery Barrier Dam is 400’, at the posted markers.

Wind River: from the mouth to 400’ below Shepherd Falls, effective August 18, 2018 until further notice, closed for steelhead retention and closed to night fishing for salmon and steelhead.

Drano Lake: effective August 18, 2018 until further notice, closed for steelhead retention and closed to night fishing for salmon and steelhead.

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