Willamette Valley/Metro – Anglers working the Columbia continue to find inconsistent results, although action picked up fairly significantly on Thursday (today). Springers are being caught from Altoona near Astoria to Camas near the entrance to the gorge. Test netting from last Sunday indicates the run had yet to arrive, but improvement was noted by mid-week. Unless catch rates improve dramatically into the weekend, the sport fleet will likely fall well short of the quota allocated to sport anglers. Managers seem reluctant to extend the season given the volatility of this year’s returns. Trolled herring seems to be taking the lion’s share of the keepers, but anchor anglers using plugs are also tallying fair to good catches right now. Barely 38 fish have passed Bonneville at this time, well below the 10-year average.
Trollers working the Willamette River are coming up with more consistent results. Those working herring are coming across spring Chinook from the Portland Harbor to Milwaukie, but Oregon City anglers are finding fish with more regularity as well. Prawns are starting to become more effective as waters warm, but a predicted bump by the weekend could put fish off the bite. We’re still a few weeks away from peak season on the Willamette, but expect a large effort shift once the Columbia closes after Saturday.
Steelheaders are still plying the waters of the Sandy River with mostly native fish reported downstream of Dodge Park. It’s still peak season for late running wild fish, but a few hatchery summer steelhead will likely show soon, but consistent springer fishing is still weeks away. Rain in the forecast will likely make weekend fishing challenging. Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920), of O2BFISHN Guide Service reports, “There was some nice steelhead caught on the Sandy River over the weekend and there is still fresh fish to be caught. Beads and bobbers and jigs were the most effective way of taking fish.”
Clackamas River anglers will also face challenging water conditions after the weekend. Steelheading remains spotty at best and spring Chinook won’t show in fishable numbers for another few weeks. It’s definitely been a depressed winter steelhead return this year, hopefully spring Chinook action proves better.
Northwest – Winter steelheading is winding down on the Wilson and Nestucca systems, but should last another week or so. Most systems will also slow for late season wild fish, but the Trask will likely continue to put out some quality wild fish. The Nestucca remains the best option for hatchery keepers, with a rare summer steelhead mixed in. Anglers are saying the fish are rather small, but plentiful.
Spring Chinook season in Tillamook County opened up on April 1st, no foolin’. Catches won’t get interesting until mid-May.
Seas were friendly earlier in the week, but have since blown up a bit. When charters can get out, lingcod fishing as well as sea bass action has been very good. Ocean crabbing remains tough.
Halibut season opens around mid-May, but interested anglers will want to call now for coveted spots on Garibaldi’s charter fleet. As always, there will be limited days from mid-May through mid-June. The nearshore season opens up earlier than it did last year, June 1st.
Southwest – From ODF&W
Reports over the last couple of weeks indicate that the lingcod bite has slowed somewhat, however many anglers are still able to get their limits. Rockfish fishing has been a lot more hit and miss with anglers spending more time to catch close to their limit. Other species showing up on bottomfish trips include kelp greenling, with some petrale sole mixed in.
Reminder that beginning Sunday, April 1, the bottomfish fishery is restricted to inside of the 30 fathom regulatory line.
River conditions are almost perfect on the lower Rogue, and spring Chinook fishing has started to turn on. Winter steelhead fishing on the middle and upper Rogue has been good.
Fishing for bass and other warmwater fish has been getting better, especially on warm afternoons. Consider Agate Lake, Emigrant Reservoir, Expo Pond, Lake Selmac and Reinhart Park Pond.
Anglers have reported catching rockfish and lingcod inside Coos Bay near the north jetty and other submerged rock structures.
From our friend Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com
Marine waters deeper than 30 fathoms closed to conventional bottomfishing March 31st and during the last few days of the season the fishing was very, very good with surprisingly heavy fishing pressure. Winchester Bay’s South Jetty has been fishing fair for rockfish, greenling and striped surfperch and good for lingcod.
Fishing pressure for ocean chinook has been very light and unproductive. Spring chinook fishing on the Rogue and Umpqua rivers has been slow, but should show gradual improvement as it is still early for that run.
Both Tenmile Creek and Eel Creek remain open for hatchery steelhead through April 30th and since both streams’ steelhead tend to be late-arriving – there should still be fair numbers of steelhead present.
Yellow perch in all area waters are in post-spawn mode, while smallmouth bass should be approaching pre-spawn mode. Crappie should begin spawning in late April. Largemouth bass should begin spawning in early May and bluegills should begin spawning in early June. Bullhead catfish usually spawn in late May or early June.
SW Washington – From WDF&W
Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Br downstream: 78 bank and 4 boat rods had no catch. Above the I-5 Br: 39 bank rods kept 2 adult spring Chinook and 1 steelhead and released 1 steelhead. 81 boat rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook and 21 steelhead and released 4 steelhead and 1 cutthroat. Spring Chinook were primarily caught at the barrier dam while the steelhead were sampled at the trout hatchery.
Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 114 winter-run steelhead adults and three spring Chinook adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released six winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton. Tacoma Power also released two spring Chinook adults and ten winter-run steelhead adults into Lake Scanewa near Randle. River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 5,160 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, April 2. Water visibility is eight feet and the water temperature is 42.8 degrees F.
Kalama River – 28 bank anglers had no catch. 6 boat anglers kept 2 steelhead. All steelhead must be released on the lower Kalama River from April 4 through May 15.
North Fork Lewis River – 23 bank anglers released 1 steelhead. 5 boat anglers kept 1 steelhead.
Drano Lake – 2 bank and 2 boat anglers had no catch. Klickitat River from mouth (Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge) upstream to the Fisher Hill Bridge – Effective April 2 through May 30, open to fishing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays only. The hatchery Chinook and hatchery steelhead daily limit is a total of 2 fish.