Willamette Valley/Metro – With local area hatchery coho seasons in the bag, anglers are now looking for early season steelhead in the Portland/Metro river systems. Eagle Creek National Fish Hatchery tallied just over 3,700 returning adults to their facility, not bad considering a downturn in coho returns in the Northwest.
The Clackamas should continue to kick out some late season wild coho, but few are targeting them. This river will remain relatively quiet for the next several weeks, but steelhead hopefuls will be out when water conditions are favorable. Incoming precipitation is expected to keep the river high into early December, but some steelhead will likely make a showing soon. There has been at least one steelhead confirmed from the Clackamas.
Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) reports “We have seen the river go up over a foot and then dropped. The weather forecast is showing that the river should maintain its height over the next several days. The freezing level will drop to about 4000 ft and hold over the few days which will help with color.
I was on the river on Wednesday and the river had gone up and the color was slightly brown color and should turn green and clear. There isn’t much pressure on the river for most of the fish in the river are coho that are on the dark side.
This years coho return on the Sandy was 2500 fish with still some stragglers still showing up. The ideal river levels are around 10.5 ft to 9.5ft and best to catch it on the fall. So get your gear ready and it the river. Wishing you all the best of luck and tight lines.”
The Sandy has had a more robust return of steelhead in recent years and there have been reliable reports of the season’s first catch on this system as well. Like Eagle Creek, the hatchery return is over with, but native coho will still be returning through December. Steelhead effort won’t start climbing until early January with the return of quality broodstock fish, largely taken from robust wild stock.
On the Willamette, with the increased flow, Meldrum Park plunkers will start making their way to the banks of the river near Gladstone, in hopes of early season steelhead destined for the Clackamas River. Success rates are best when flows are on the drop and clearing, which could be a while for the mainstem Willamette.
High flows on the Willamette doesn’t seem to slow the sturgeon bite in the Portland Harbor. This catch and release fishery should remain productive well into the spring. Use sand shrimp and smelt downstream of the Fremont Bridge. Watch for floating debris however, floating logs can cause serious damage to boats, motors and anchor ropes while navigating or on anchor.
Northwest Oregon – Chinook season remains closed in the Tillamook district rivers, but there has been some limited success for the Tillamook Bay trollers working the Ghost Hole and Bay City. The effort has been light however as most have folded it up for the season.
The season’s first winter steelhead was reported on the Wilson River over the weekend, taken from the tidewater reach in the low flows. Other river systems have little to report however.
The North Fork Nehalem is often the first system to report any numbers of steelhead, the effort has been running high over the holiday weekend with nothing to show for it. The current rain freshet should bring more positive results, maybe as early as this weekend.
Three Rivers near Hebo is another early season favorite and is likely to produce the season’s first catches by early December too. It’s the perfect small stream fishery with a fair amount of bank access, especially at the mouth of this Nestucca River tributary.
Tides moderate for weekend crabbing in Tillamook County, but the best tides will occur during the nighttime hours.
Lower Columbia River – Crabbing remains excellent for lower Columbia crabbers and weekend tides will continue to produce great catches of quality sized Dungeness.
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Central and Eastern Oregon – Tim is out this week.
Anglers are reporting fair fishing for lake trout on Crescent Lake.
Trout fishing on the Fall River has been good.
Anglers are catching some bull trout on the Metolius River.
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.
Snow gates on Cascade Lakes Hwy west of Mt. Bachelor and on the road to Newberry Crater have been closed for the winter, limiting access to some popular locations.
River flows have increased on the John Day and steelhead are beginning to enter the lower river. Boating access is now possible. Recent angler reports indicate 5 hours per fish when using fly gear.
Persistent anglers have been catching some steelhead on the Grande Ronde and Wallowa rivers.
Fishing on the Klamath River below Keno Dam has slowed but it continues to be the best bet for fishing in the Klamath Basin.
Flow management on the Klamath River below the powerhouse continues to be ideal for a great fishing outing until late afternoon.
The Ana River was stocked in late October and fishing has been fair. This spring-fed river, with its constant water temperature, is a great late fall and winter destination.
Most Lake County waterbodies are frozen or are starting to freeze over.
This time of year, anglers should keep an eye on the weather forecast and be prepared for winter driving conditions.
Southwest – From ODF&W
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.
Steelhead fishing continues to be good on the lower Rogue thanks to an exceptional run of half-pounders and adults running upriver this fall.
Umpqua River anglers might consider the upper mainstem for hatchery coho.
Recent heavy rains have improved chinook and steelhead prospects on the Chetco, Elk, Pistol and Winchuck rivers.
Winter steelhead season is coming, and it’s not too soon to check your gear and be monitoring water levels.
With several water bodies beginning to ice over, anglers need to be cautious during first-ice conditions. Take the following precautions: use the “buddy system,” wear a PFD in case of thin ice, carry a throw-rope, and use a heavy metal staff to check for thin-ice.
Lingcod and other bottomfishing in the ocean was going well, but with winter weather on its way crossing the bar may be difficult.
Bottomfish anglers may now fish at all depths for the remainder of the year. Fishing for lingcod and rockfish has been good when the ocean is calm enough to fish. The daily bag limit for marine fish is 5 plus 2 lingcod. The retention of cabezon is closed for the remainder of the year.
Anglers may also choose to fish the offshore longleader fishery outside of the 40-fathom regulatory line, which is open year round. The longleader fishery has a daily bag limit of 10 fish made of yellowtail, widow, canary, redstripe, greenstripe, silvergray, and bocaccio rockfish. No other groundfish are allowed and offshore longleader fishing trips cannot be combined with traditional bottomfish, flatfish or halibut trips.
From Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com
We’ve received a fair amount of rain in the last several days and could certainly use more, but the rain we have received, combined with some very high tides, has allowed some good things to happen.
Hopefully, when the cohos reach the tributaries of these lakes, their usual spawning sites will still be viable.
Farther south, the Elk, Sixes and possibly Floras Creek should have chinooks in them.
It also appears that the rains came before the more shallow sand dunes lakes near North Bend, like Horsfall and Beale suffered a fish kill – or major population shrinkage.
Locally, crabbing is not yet over in coastal rivers and bays.
With the possible exception of the Umpqua River, it’s still a little early for winter steelhead.
Butterfield Lake and Saunders Lake should be the top bets for uncaught planted trout.
SW Washington – Salmon/Steelhead:
Nothing new on the WDF&W website, but HERE’S the November 11th report.