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Willamette Valley/Metro – Although steelhead season is rapidly headed toward peak season, catches have remained fair-at-best in the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers. Fluctuating flows due to the freezing level haven’t helped much either, but anglers have been waiting for February to come, and with it, more consistent catches of winter steelhead.

Both the Sandy and Clackamas are kicking out fish, but better catches are expected to start by early February. With later returning wild broodstock now making up the bulk of the hatchery returns, fish more naturally mimic the later returning wild strain so action will stay good into March.

Sandy River water and air temperatures have remained frigid with the bitter east wind, so anglers are encouraged to wait until late morning before fish become more active. Anglers are still finding bobber dogging with eggs and single beads to be effective, but plugs are coming on as well as flows drop and migration slows. Steelhead, particularly larger fish, become more territorial when river levels drop. Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) reports, “Well, this week we saw a lot of wind on the Sandy River with wind gusts as high as 30mph. The river was ideal for most of the week ,with the river running at 10.6 feet and with the cold and dry weather the river is currently running at 9.33 ft and could drop below 9 ft with the winds dropping back to single digest figures. Here are a few numbers from Cedar Creek hatchery of fish that have returned to the hatchery as of 1/22/19. Hatchery winters steelhead collected this week was 80 and total of 107. Hatchery winters steelhead recycled 38 and total of 58 released at Lewis & Clark park. The recycled fish will have a right gill plate hole punch.”

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!

The Clackamas is giving up fish to persistent anglers, with the Barton to Carver stretch more consistent. The lower the flow however, the lower in the river system anglers should target.

Steelheader communications director Aaron Sewall of Portland with a nice Clackamas River steelhead from January 24th

Steelheader communications director Aaron Sewall of Portland with a nice Clackamas River steelhead from January 24th

Beach plunkers on the mainstem Columbia reported a flurry of activity around Rainier over the weekend with some large hatchery steelhead in the creel. It’s a sign that a new flush of fish, likely destined for the Sandy and Clackamas River systems is on its way.

Plunkers are Meldrum are seeing a few more fish, but still no signs of spring Chinook on the Willamette or Columbia systems.

Huddleston, Mt. Hood Community College and Sheridan Ponds are all expecting trout plants this week, and with the warm weather in the forecast, the bite should be pretty good.

Northwest Oregon – Coastal steelheaders had some good luck late last week, and overall, the season has been fair. Like the inland rivers, the broodstock steelhead of the Wilson and Nestucca systems will produce the best catches of late season hatchery fish, and also draw the largest crowds. Although the overall numbers seem to be down, the quality of fish is excellent. One guide observed few of the 2-salt fish (6 to 8 pound fish), but a fair return of the 3-salt steelhead exceeding 10 pounds in weight. Bobber-dogging beads, yarnies and soft beads remains the ticket, but plugs are also drawing strikes.

The Trask and mainstem Nehalem are good options for wild fish and solitude as catch and release fisheries don’t draw the interest that rivers with hatchery fish offer. The Kilchis is another good wild fish option, but is currently low and clear, making for wary steelhead.

A handful of salty anglers made their way out of north coast ports, finding willing lingcod, sea bass and Dungeness crab. Lingcod fishing has been challenging as we enter spawning season, but when the ocean is friendly, the action is good. Those windows of opportunity have been rare this season however.

Crabbing is fair in Yaquina and Tillamook Bays, and the lower Columbia River.

Central and Eastern Oregon – From our friend Tim Moran:

Prineville and Ochocco Reservoirs – Winter fishing is good right now for rainbows to 4 pounds.  Reports as fresh as yesterday had the boys from COFR catching fish on power bait in shallow water near gravel.

Lake Billy Chinook – the Crooked and Deshutes arms are good for trout. Run your boat up to the moving water and drift down into the slack water with flies or worms.

South Twin Lake – Even with some ice on it fish were being caught on powerbait and worms.

North Twin Lake – It was stocked with broods as well and doesn’t get anywhere near the pressure as South..If i was going to fly fish with a pontoon boat or float tube I’d try here first.

Crooked River – Last report was low and slow….the flows and the fishing.  But it’s always worth a shot and the canyon is spectacular!

Fall River – Fish are being caught everyday from the campground down to the falls.

With it being Superbowl weekend you’ll liable to have the water to yourself this weekend so if the game doesn’t excite you get out there and get into some fish!

Good luck this weekend whether you’re betting on the fish to bite or the game!

You can see more of Tim’s report for Central and Eastern Oregon by becoming a paid subscriber HERE. Paid subscribers get on average, about FIVE TIMES the amount of information for fifty cents a week!

ODF&W Updates

Redband trout on the lower Deschutes will start actively feeding in February. Anglers using nymphing techniques and large stonefly imitations will be most successful.

Anglers are reporting good afternoon trout fishing on the Fall and Metolius rivers.

Trout fishing in the upper ends of the Deschutes and Crooked River arms of Lake Billy Chinook is typically good in the winter months.

Ice fishers have found success at Kinney Lake catching rainbows up to 16-inches.

Some early steelhead are being caught in the Wallowa River.

Trout anglers should check out Willow Creek Reservoir, which typically stays ice-free and offers some good mid-winter trout fishing.

Fly-fishers can target redband trout on the Blitzen River throughout the year. Large streamers and other nypmhs work well anytime. There also are periodic hatches, so keep a selection of dry flies handy.

This time of year, anglers looking for something new should consider hybrid bass in Ana Reservoir.

Ice fishing is underway on several waterbodies in the zone including:
Pilcher and Wolf Creek reservoirs, where anglers are catching trout in the 10- to 15-inch range

Cottonwood Meadows, where anglers will need a snowmobile to get it but the fishing could be worth it

Lake of the Woods, where pan-size yellow perch are biting; Warner Pond where anglers reported good fishing last weekend, and Burns Gravel Pond, Chickahominy and Malheur, where anglers have reported some catches up to 18-inches.

Southwest – From ODF&W

The upper Rogue water levels don’t typically fluctuate dramatically upstream of Elk Creek. So while the rest of the river is falling into shape after a storm, this is a great section of river to explore.

We’re getting really good reports of winter steelhead fishing throughout the mainstem Umpqua.

Rivers in the Coos and Coquille basins continue to be in good shape for winter steelhead fishing.

Trout fishing at Eel Lake has been pretty good, with some holdover trout over 15-inches being caught.

Yellow perch are usually the first warmwater species to become active in late winter/early spring in Tenmile Lakes.

Late winter/early spring can typically be good for surfperch fishing on Coos County beaches, when surf conditions allow.

ODFW will be asking for public input on the upcoming Central Oregon Coast spring all-depth halibut season at a meeting on Monday, Feb, 4 from 6- 7:30 p.m. at the ODFW Marine Resources Program Conference Room, 2040 SE Marine Science Dr., Newport.

Ocean conditions smiled on anglers again last weekend. Out of Newport, lingcod fishing continued to be hot in nearshore waters. Rockfish have been harder to find, but those caught offshore, like canary rockfish and yellowtail rockfish, have been large.

The bottomfish fishery is open at all depths with a General Marine Species bag limit of 5 fish, and a separate lingcod limit of 2 fish. No cabezon may be retained until July 1. The longleader gear fishery outside of the 40-fathom regulatory line is open all year. Catches often consist of a nice grade of yellowtail, widow and canary rockfishes.

Late winter/early spring can typically be good for surfperch fishing on Coos County beaches, when surf conditions allow.

2019 Stocking schedule and Stocking Maps

From Pete Heley at www.PeteHeley.com

Trout plants in our area start during the second week in February (actually Feb. 4-8) with several Florence-area lakes being stocked.

So far, almost all the winter steelhead streams in our area are lagging behind the average of the last several years catch-wise – but there’s a good chance that the best fishing on many streams will occur in February.

Offshore bottomfishing continues to be very good – especially off 10-Mile Reef which draws anglers launching out of both Charleston and Winchester Bay. Winchester Bay’s South Jetty has also been fishing well when wave conditions allow it.

Outdoor Sports Shows this week are:

February 1st – 3rd KEZI EUGENE Boat and Sportsmen’s Showat 796 W 13th Ave, Eugene (Lane Events Center)

Feb. 6th – 10th Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Showat the Portland Expo Center2060 North Marine Dr, Portland

Washington – No new info from WDF&W, but HERE is the December 24th report.

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