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Willamette Valley/Metro – Still no sign of an early spring Chinook, but with weather conditions improving, anglers will be motivated, despite the fact we’re still 2 months away for any real chance at success. Fame is the second greatest motivating factor for the season’s first. The first motivating factor is that early season spring Chinook fetch close to $50.00/lb. in the market. A sum some sport anglers would consider paying, given how good these early fish taste.

Willamette levels have been dropping at Oregon City for a week and are expected to continue. Accompanying the drop in levels is a marked improvement in visibility as it was solid mud at this time last week. Catch-and-release sturgeon fishing still tops all in the lower river.

Fly anglers will find good water conditions on the McKenzie River for the next several days. While dry weather won’t encourage Blue-Winged-Olive hatches, that shouldn’t hinder anglers who are on their game.

It matters not but the entire Santiam system will be in good conditions and, if it matters, dropping for the next several days. Problem is, there haven’t been enough steelhead entering to make it worthwhile.

Clackamas winter steelheaders are expected to be out in force over the coming weekend as water conditions are good and improving and winters are entering now.

Our man on the Sandy, pro fishing guide Jeff Stoeger (, was pretty excited when he made contact with us today as there are winter steelhead scattered throughout the river and water conditions are good.

While you’re waiting for the Columbia River spring Chinook to show up, don’t hesitate to email the Oregon Fish and Wildlife commission, thanking commissioners Finley, Weber and Bittle for honoring the bi-state agreement. Even more important, chastise commissioners Wolley, Buckmaster, Anderson and Akenson for failing to cooperate with Washington and follow through on their promises to implement the Columbia River Reform Policy that prioritizes sportfishing on the mainstem Columbia. They don’t seem to be fiscally responsible for the agency’s budget. We’ll be sure to show them just how responsible they are!

Northwest – Steelheaders finally got the conditions they’ve been waiting for this week, as flows subsided after the big snow melt, and air and water temperatures increased to tolerable levels, anglers found success on most north coast streams.

Early season systems saw another batch, albeit small, of fresh steelhead, where persistent anglers were able to bang out a few. Broodstock fish, mostly on the Wilson and Nestucca Rivers, made a mediocre showing this week, inspiring anglers to keep after ’em, following a slow early season showing. It was a good sign that there may indeed be a late season showing for this region’s prized game fish.

It’ll be this way from here on out; the early season streams will continue to peter, with the exception of spawned out, downrunning steelhead on systems like the Necanicum, Highway 30 rivers, Klaskanine, North Fork Nehalem and Three Rivers, while the larger systems such as the Wilson and Nestucca will produce some of the better catches of both wild and hatchery broodstock fish and all other systems will have some semblance of wild fish available.

There are few other options in the district this week. The west swell is expected to remain large until early next week at the earliest and extreme tides won’t make for overly productive crabbing in the estuaries this week.

Southwest – While we could find no windows in offshore predictions for the coming week, it’s worth checking regularly for a break when waves moderate and the wind mellows. When boats have been able to get out, it’s been a seafood fiesta!

This week’s fishing discussions have been colored by the Columbia Compact Kerfuffle and this writer (Michael) chooses not to get involved. Author, publisher and prolific blogger, Pete Heley ( does comment in his weekly Outdoors submission and, as always, he is thoughtful and incisive. While acknowledging that the job of managing fish and wildlife is difficult, at the same time quotes Steve Godin, President, Oregon Coast Anglers, “the ODFW collected money under false pretenses.” Comments and feedback are welcome at The Guides Forecast website.

Mr. Heley also has a kid of cool want list of his own, however, which includes re-opening Mill Creek to fishing and to start stocking Ford’s Pond and to include special plantings such as Broodstock in the trout stocking schedule. Good ideas all!

Winter steelheading was decent on the Chetco River prior to the mega-freshet of the week past. Water level and flow have recovered well so we predict steelheading prospects this week.

With the Rogue River completely recovered from last week’s storm which pushed it over flood stage, we show indications why there are steelhead throughout the river, where the best stretch to fish is located and why. Go get ‘em, it looks like a good time to fish the Rogue for winter steelhead.

The long-awaited freeze has occurred at Diamond Lake and with it, snow nearly every day according to the report on January 26th from the lodge. Ice fishing is on!

Eastern – Eastside rivers and streams are recovering from the recent deep-freeze storm and are, by proximity, slower to recover.

Speaking of slow, that would be a good description of the flow of reader reports in winter. If you go, let us know! Don’t share hotspots but the name of the waterbody would be a nice addition. Thanks in advance.

We do have it on pretty good authority that a trip earlier this week to Green Peter Reservoir proved only that A) The angler reporting did not locate any fish or B) Fish were there but all of the various lures and techniques he tried were ineffective at fooling them the correct answer is that it matters not. Fishing at Green Peter would raise the needle on our Official TGF Angler-ometer to only a ‘2’ – Poor. Please play again in a few weeks when kokanee fishing is expected to improve.

SW Washington – District streams remain barren of fish, steelhead at least. Trap operators on the Cowlitz are processing far more coho than they are steelhead. Hey coho, it’s January, hey steelhead, it’s January…?

No sign of smelt yet either but the compact will meet on January 31st to discuss seasons for smelt, SAFE area fisheries and zone 6 sturgeon. Oregon must be walking in so proud of their recent commission antics. Way to show a spirit of cooperation Oregon. Thank your Washington Fish and Wildlife Commissioners by emailing them. Ask them to stay strong and NOT negotiate away the gains they have made for the Columbia River sport angler. It’ll certainly be more productive than the steelheading in your region this week!

All those trout stocked in Klineline Pond and Battle Ground Lake should be hungry this week. They too have been waiting for warmer temperatures.

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