Willamette Valley – It’s still early on the mainstem Columbia, for fall Chinook anglers in the Portland/Metro area to get too excited about pursuing these fresh run fish. If you ask estuary anglers, they’re already calling the run a bust but those with reliable fish finders are stating that the fish are there, they just aren’t biting. Passage numbers at Bonneville would back that up. Trollers are anxious for a repeat of last year, when anglers working pro-trolls and Brad’s lures were doing very well in October and November. Wobbler dunkers should start to see improving action, starting with the Kalama and mouth of the Cowlitz fisheries but anglers working the I-5 area as well as Bonneville should also start to see improving catches.
Low, warm water has all but stopped fish passage at Willamette Falls. The best bet for action in the lower Willamette is for warmwater fish, particularly smallmouth. They have an affinity for warmer water temperatures and are actively feeding where current and rocks can be found together.
It’s a good thing the McKenzie serves many different types of anglers but is a haven for fly fishers. These wielders of the long rod don’t mind low water and there’s plenty of it here.
With good populations of salmon and steelhead now, this is a good time to hit the North or South Santiam although it will benefit anglers to be prepared for skinny water conditions here.
On the Clackamas River, anglers nay expect to see little difference although levels will actually drop a little more in the coming week. Try fishing it early for best results.
Pro guide Jeff Stoeger of O2BFISHN Guide Service (503-704-7920) reports, the sandy is still producing some fish. Although some of the Chinook are dark, there are still plenty of bright ones left to catch.
Northwest Oregon – Action remains quiet for much of this region, even though we should be seeing peak catches for the Nehalem Bay summer Chinook fishery. Fish are present in Nehalem Bay and catches are coming from the Wheeler to Nehalem area but success rates are down from the previous three summers. This fishery is sub-par right now and will likely remain that way through the end of the month before the fall run comes on. Believe it or not, this fishery is the highlight for the north coast right now.
Fall Chinook should start to kick in near bay entrances in the coming weeks. About 8 Chinook were reportedly taken behind the south jetty out of Tillamook Bay last weekend, by trollers working plug cut herring on the bottom of the shallow water. That’s far from a white-hot bite but a good sign that the coastal fall Chinook might still come on strong versus what we’re seeing in other fisheries this year. Tillamook Bay itself hasn’t produced any measureable results but with the extreme tide series we’re on right now, it’s not out of the realm of possibility, especially in the upper bay.
Offshore action for halibut, tuna and salmon has been quiet out of most northern ports, with the weather and the distance needed to travel the two major factors. Bottomfish are keeping the charter boat fleet happy, at least for the moment. Most are hopeful that they’ll be able to finish strong this season, given the extra regulations that they’ve had to endure for the benefit of more sensitive stocks of fish.
Summer steelhead action will take a hit this weekend, when temperatures warm the coast to unusual temperatures. They’re already stressed under these low, clear water conditions, action likely will be subdued.
Offshore weather doesn’t look all that promising for the all-depth opener on Friday and Saturday. Not only is the swell forecast to be high, but high winds will likely further hamper comfort for the long ride out to the halibut grounds. Hopefully, September will provide some additional opportunity.
Not a great week for crabbing, given the extreme tide series. The lower Columbia remains incredibly slow but more southerly estuaries are producing some catches. It should improve when tides moderate. Ocean crabbing is good however, but there remains a high percentage of soft-shells.
Central & South Coast Reports – If you’re lucky enough to be able to launch out of one of Oregon’s ports for the ocean, be sure to take some crab pots as ocean crabbing is good and getting better.
All-depth Halibut will continue Friday and Saturday this week of the central Oregon coast while nearshore halibut fishing is ongoing seven days a week inside 240 feet of water.
Popular Oregon Angler and blogger, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reports from Reedsport, “The biggest news at Winchester Bay is the improved crabbing success by dock-bound crabbers. Of course, boat crabbers in the lower portion of Half Moon Bay and in the ocean at depths of 50 to 60 feet are doing even better.
Expect to find heavy pressure at Winchester Bay as optimists in boats are seeking early season Chinook. They are not finding them yet so your time and budget are best spent elsewhere for now.
Offshore tuna fishers are traveling great distances – sometimes 0 miles or more – to find their quarry. While many anglers look forward to this time as the peak of the albacore season, comfort may be taken that it will continue well into September.
Despite good catches of rockfish out of Gold Beach when boats have been able to get out, catches of ling c9od have slowed. Also slowing slightly this week are catches of Chinook in the bay. Lower Rogue fishing is slow while it is poor on the middle river. Chinook and steelhead continue to be taken on the upper Rogue.
Fishing is still good at Diamond Lake for those using bait rather than trolling.
Central & Eastern – Trout fishing has been slow to fair on the lower Deschutes with those studying insect patterns and matching hatches doing the best. Steelheading is slow.
East Lake has been productive again this week with preferred patterns changing frequently but the locally-hatching Chironomids would be a good place to start.
Smallmouth bass fishing is producing jaw-dropping numbers of smallmouth bass for John Day anglers who may not catch the biggest fish of the year in August but may catch 100 or more in a day.
For those who know the ins and out of the tricky Metolius, fishing has been fair too good. For those not so familiar, this can be a challenging river. Try nymphs!
Odell Lake is producing decent numbers of kokanee. The preferred method here is jigging although they say trollers have the upper hand in August.
Detroit Reservoir has gotten so low that, while the ramp at Mongold is still useable, it isn’t possible to use the dock for boats at that location.
SW Washington – Cowlitz River anglers, particularly boat anglers, are still finding good success for summer steelhead from Mission Bar and upstream. Those working the mouth are also taking a few fish. Some fall Chinook are starting to show but more serious Chinook anglers will be sticking to the mainstem Columbia.
There were some steelhead also taken from the North Fork of the Lewis system as well.
Virtually all Drano Lake anglers are catching either a salmon or steelhead for their effort. Steelhead still make up the bulk of the catch and many of those fish are wild, requiring release. Chinook action should continue to pick up however, as numbers improve at the Bonneville facility.