Willamette Valley/Metro – With the season’s first flood event at hand, anglers will be anxious to try their hands at Steelheading in the “Metro Two,” otherwise known as the Clackamas and Sandy Rivers. Both rivers jumped to flood stage but will recede to questionable levels by the weekend. Regardless, any staging steelhead should be entering both of these systems, but despite improving water conditions, it’s still early for the bulk of these fish to return this early in the season.
Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN Guide Service reports “The Sandy is high and little muddy. The forecast is for the river to drop and possibly be fishable by the weekend. It will depend on how much rain we get and if the freezing level drops below 3000ft. I was informed that early in the week before the river blew up that there was confirmed a nice native winter that was in low teens had been caught and released.”
Both systems have integrated more wild fish into the hatchery broodstock, more mimicking the wild return, which starts in earnest around mid-February. Anglers shouldn’t expect good fishing until at least mid-January, but since a fair number of wild and some hatchery fish have already been caught on the Clackamas, when flows subside, fish will be around.
The Willamette River will be up and turbid for the foreseeable future but plunkers working Meldrum Bar won’t have a fair crack until next week at the earliest. Boaters should be aware of floating debris coming from upstream areas following this high water event. That shouldn’t impact sturgeon fishing in the Portland Harbor when it’s safe to boat again however.
A pile of trophy trout will be stocked in local area lakes like Huddleston Pond and lakes around Corvallis. These bodies of water may be the only bodies of water with any visibility over the weekend and trout to 8 or 9 pounds make for good prospects for those that can tolerate the weather. Check the ODF&W stocking tab from their web site if you plan on heading out.
You can see more of Jeff’s report and an upcoming forecast for the Sandy River and Northwest Oregon by becoming a paid subscriber HERE. Paid subscribers get on average, about FIVE TIMES the amount of information for fifty cents a week!
Northwest Oregon – Early season returns on the North Fork Nehalem and Three Rivers on the Nestucca system continue to disappoint anglers. Saturday anglers still arrive with enthusiasm, but it’s quickly gut-checked by Sunday as low success rates are realized. Regardless, these two systems remain some of the best options in Tillamook County, especially coming off the major rain event at mid-week. They may be the only weekend options until dryer conditions come about.
That said, the Wilson River was producing fair steelhead catches prior to the high water with cookie-cutter 6 – 7 pounders taken on bait and soft beads over the weekend. The Wilson and other larger Tillamook area rivers will be a bit high to fish over the weekend, but that is often when the best fishing actually occurs. Look for willing fish in the softer pockets and shallower water under these conditions.
The Dam Hole on the Trask River is also a high water favorite, but often produces only catch and release wild fish results with fewer anglers in pursuit.
Seas remain angry, it’s a pity sport crabbers haven’t been able to take advantage of wide-open opportunity during the month of December. The commercial fleet may drop gear as early as December 28th if conditions are right.
Lower Columbia River – Tides and weather may be ideal for weekend crabbing in Astoria. Success should be excellent for top-notch holiday horderves.
The Highway 30 streams and Necanicum River should have steelhead available this weekend but the early season show has been disappointing.
Central and Eastern Oregon – From our friend Tim Moran
Metolius River – If I could only fish one river in the winter it would be this one. Fishing with nymphs was good last week and that should continue.
John Day River – Steelhead are moving through the river and I’ve heard of fish to Clarno.
Crooked River – Flows are better and the ice is gone so the fishing has come back.
Fall River – the Fall River has been consistently good this year.
South Twin Lake – I have seen a few pics and reports from South Twin. Bait guys have taken fish from the bank.
Lake in the Dunes – This is a pay to play fishery in SE Oregon. It fishes well in the winter as the small lakes are fed by underground springs.
Steelhead are spread throughout the lower 100 miles of the Deschutes with anglers reporting fair fishing in the Warm Springs, Trout Creek and Maupin areas.
Anglers report good trout fishing in the Metolius River.
Steelhead are have been entering the lower sections of the John Day.
Persistent anglers have been catching some steelhead on the Grande Ronde and Wallowa rivers.
Southwest – From ODF&W
Bottomfishing should be decent if the ocean lays down.
There is snow in the forecast and that could limit access to some higher elevation lakes. Check ahead for road conditions, and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather.
Lost Creek Reservoir will be the premiere trout destination in the Rogue Valley throughout the winter.
Anglers are catching some winter steelhead on the upper mainstem Umpqua. Rain in the forecast should have river levels coming up, making the river a tempting target for the weekend.
Arizona Pond will be stocked this week – just in time for the school winter break.
Half-pounder steelhead are worth targeting this time of year on the middle Rogue from Lathrop downstream to Graves Creek.
From Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com
With the commercial crabbers currently under a voluntary closure through at least December based on low meat content in the northern and southern sections of the Oregon coast, it’s good news for recreational sport crabbers – especially along the central Oregon coast where the meat content of recently tested crabs is just fine.
SW Washington – No new info from WDF&W, but HERE IS the December 7th report.