Victoria Gaskill had a steelhead on her bucket list for son Carter, both of Minneapolis, MN. They struck chrome on tax day, fishing the Wilson River with pro guide Rob Gerlitz.

Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update for April 19, 2019

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Willamette Valley/Metro – With Portland area rivers on the high side all week, spring Chinook fishing as well as steelheading has come to a screeching halt. Anglers have been side-lined with the exception of the mainstem Columbia, where fishers had a weekend opportunity to once again try for the region’s most prized fish. Success rates were dismal in the high flows however.

With the Willamette still spitting mud, trollers and anchor anglers spent all their time above Davis Bar, just out of the influence of the turbid Willamette River. There were a few spring Chinook taken from this area, but most anglers gambled on the gorge over the weekend, banking on dropping flows and concentrated numbers of fish. High, dark water sent most home empty handed.

At the time of this writing, managers had not decided to meet to discuss a re-opener, but most are confident that catch rates were so low on the last 2-day opener, that plenty of Chinook remain available on the sport quota. Watch the ODF&W web site for an emergency rule change.

Steelheaders looking to the Sandy River for late season action are just now getting back to fishing. Flows are expected to remain stable for the near future, but winter steelhead are well into the upper watershed, and summer steelhead are just starting to trickle in. Some spring Chinook should be available as flows drop.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports, ” Hello all. This weeks report is that there is still nice, bright winter steelhead still showing up. The upper river is still producing  bright fish as well as some dark fish. I had a buddy fishing the other day on the drop and caught a nice native around 8 lbs. on a spinner, nickel bright. Oxbow Park is still producing in the entire park.  The guys that are fishing the fly water just at the entrance to Oxbow have done well with reports that most of the fish are natives with a few hatchery fish in the mix.”

Clackamas River anglers still have high water to contend with, but some boaters were working the lower reaches in hopes of intercepting fast migrating steelhead. Water conditions remain challenging but could be a viable option by the weekend. Like the Sandy, it’s late for winter steelhead, but a few summer steelhead should be around. Spring Chinook will remain elusive for several more weeks. Numerous lakes and ponds are scheduled for trout plants over the next few weeks so when weather improves, so will the opportunity for catchable fish. Check the ODF&W web site for detailed stocking reports.

Northwest Oregon – Savvy steelheaders took advantage of the most recent rain freshet early this week. Those fishing on Sunday and Monday scored good results on the Wilson and Kilchis Rivers, with some quality hatchery fish and wild steelhead falling to anglers. The Nestucca came in at mid-week and also produced a late season flurry of activity for wild and hatchery steelhead alike.

Anglers continuing to pursue steelhead on the coast will have district rivers largely to themselves, especially as metro rivers begin to clear. The steelhead that start to show will be dark and make for poor table fare, but summer steelhead should start to show in the Wilson and Nestucca Rivers.

Spring Chinook are still about a month away.

Ocean conditions look a bit volatile for the foreseeable future, but when the ocean does lie down, bottomfishing should remain excellent.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted ocean salmon seasons on Monday. Liberal coho quotas and long seasons are likely to be the saving grace for the sportfleet this year. The Columbia River hatchery coho return is going to be the most robust in years.

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports – From Tim Moran

Well, The rivers with the exception of the Metolius are over full and when we finally get a little melt the rivers further east will be raging as well. The Ana River is fishing okay on BWO’s and nymphs and the Metolius is always a great option but will be pretty packed as it’s the only river in the area that isn’t blown out.

There is some activity at Prineville and Haystack and they’re catching some really nice fish.

As the Trout opener is upon us I did glean some information from ODFW and a couple of the resorts in the cascades.

Crane Prairie resort will be open.

Wickiup – This is very depressing news if you’re a fan and I’ve spent most of my life fishing it on the opener. ODFW reports that the awesome Kokanee fishery there is DEAD! They don’t believe many kokes survived and there are NO plans to restock.

Twin Lakes – they are ice free and open. South Twin is always a popular on the opener even though it’s already open!

Davis Lake – There are some trout around and I’d target them near the creek area with buggers, leeches, and nymphs.

Lava Lake – I’m guessing it will be a tough go getting there as snow is falling as we speak in the cascades and Lava sits a bit higher. I’d target mid-May to start fishing it. Same goes for Hosmer.

Cresent Lake – Macks and browns will be available and fishing is usually good early in the year.

Odell Lake – This will be the new go-to for Kokanee fisherman that used to fish Wickiup. Hopefully, there will be enough pressure to so that the population actually decreases enough to get consistent fish to 16 inches.

Paulina and East lake don’t normally fish until Mid may and this year will be no exception. They can both be red hot when the ice first comes off. Stay tuned for more from these two lakes!

From ODF&W

It’s springtime on the lower Deschutes River and recent spring rains have made the river high and muddy. But once the river falls back into place, trout fishing should be good from Mack’s Canyon to the locked gate.

Bull trout and kokanee fishing have been good in Lake Billy Chinook, especially the Metolius arm.

Trout fishing has been good in Ochoco and Prineville reservoirs.

Several waterbodies are scheduled to be stocked this week and trout fishing should be good.

Hatrock, McNary and Tatone and Peach ponds were stocked the week of April 8. Access to Twin Ponds is still blocked by snow, so they will not be stocked the week of April 8 as scheduled.

The Wood River, Sprague River and Upper Williamson River open on April 22.

Best bet for fishing in the Klamath Basin is Klamath River below JC Boyle Dam.

Krumbo Reservoir has been recently stocked and fishing should be good for 8- to 10-inch trout. Though there are larger, holdover trout to tempt the determined angler.

Thief Valley Reservoir full, ice-free and stocked with 7,500 legal-size and 500 trophy-size rainbow trout.

Phillips Reservoir and the Hwy 203 Pond are scheduled to be stocked the week of April 15.

Southwest from Pete Heley at www.PeteHeley.com

Heavy rains last week greatly raised pond and lake levels and caused muddy water and near flood conditions in many streams and it is highly unlikely that Johnson Mill Pond, located in a swampy, muddy area, received its trout plant on schedule.

Eel and Tenmile creeks are not muddy and offer poor to fair fishing for winter steelhead.

Offshore bottomfishing is still very good and remains open through April. Surf fishing area beaches for redtail surfperch has been very inconsistent, but occasionally very good. Crabbing has been poor as Oregon’s coastal rivers are high and muddy. Crabbing the ocean has been fair and the bottom half of Coos Bay, between the North Spit Boat Ramp and Charleston, has been good.

Southwest – From ODF&W

Bottomfishing has been good when the ocean lays down and anglers have been able to make it out.

Bottomfish anglers may now fish at all depths until May 1. Fishing for lingcod and rockfish has been good when the ocean is calm enough to fish.

Ocean salmon fishing is open for Chinook salmon from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt from March 15 through April 30. Chinook must be a minimum of 24 inches in length. The ocean is close to coho salmon.

The middle and upper Rogue are dropping back into shape after the recent high waters. And with plenty of steelhead available, fishing looks good for the weekend.

Both the North and South Umpqua should be in good shape for steelhead fishing this weekend. Anglers have been reporting a lot of hatchery fish in the South this year.

With warmer spring temperatures, look for warmwater fishing to pick up in places like Empire and Tenmile lakes.

Keep an eye on surf conditions and when conditions allow, plan to hit the beach for surfperch fishing. Spring and early summer fishing can be excellent.
Trout fishing is closed on many SW streams from Oct. 31 through May 22, consult the regulations.

Several waterbodies in the SW Zone are scheduled to be stocked the week of April 15 including Powers Pond, Applegate Reservoir, Tenmile Lakes, Galesville Reservoir, Empire Lakes, Lost Creek Reservoir, Ben Irving Reservoir, Loon Lake and Arizona Pond.

2019 Stocking schedule and Stocking Maps

SW Washington – The most recent report from WDF&W is from April 10th. You can access it here:
https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/files/2019-04/Region%205%20fishing%20report%204-1-19.pdf