Anglers anxiously await

Willamette Valley/Metro – Passage of winter steelhead at the Falls has slowed over the past couple of weeks. Water flowing from upstream is still muddy, adding to the turbidity of the lower river.

Water levels remain high on the McKenzie River.

The Santiam system has not yet recovered from rainfall earlier this week.

The Clackamas River started rising in the middle of last week but never really blew out. It has dropped, is exhibiting good color and is a decent bet for winter steelhead.

With the Sandy River dropping and clearing and winter steelhead scattered, it will produce over the coming weekend.

Anglers anxiously await more spring chinook news and plunkers as well as boaters ply the waters in hopes of an early prize. The season’s first spring chinook made itself visible at Bonneville Dam on February 8th. The mainstem Columbia season is projected to run through April 10th.

Northwest – Early indications following the high water indicates that there are good numbers of steelhead around and as expected, a number of spent fish with some fresh wild fish available too. With larger, more productive rivers just coming on line at this writing, we won’t know more until the next issue but check the Forecast section for the region you’ll be fishing in for an accurate assessment of what lies ahead for your favorite stream. This is in the paid member’s only section.

The Wilson and Nestucca as well as the Siletz will remain top options for those seeking hatchery fish options. Wild steelhead should be available in nearly every system.

Rough weather kept recreational boats at bay for the week but conditions may improve by the weekend. Rockfish and lingcod await anglers.

Crabbing remains poor both in the ocean and local estuaries. It’s clearly a down-cycle for the crustaceans.

Southwest – Offshore launches should be possible this coming weekend off the central Oregon coast.

South coast surf anglers have been making good catches of redtail and calico surf perch whenever the ocean has laid down.

As the mainstem Umpqua drops and clears, steelhead should be good although less than 10% of the fish here will be of hatchery origin.

Steelheading will yield a mix of hatchery and wild fish in the Coos system.

Waters of the lower Rogue are still high but clearing. It should fish by Friday or Saturday. The middle river is in better shape and upper Rogue steelheader should have a decent shot at winters now.

Waters were just dropping into fishing levels and the clarity rapidly improving on the Chetco as of Thursday this week.

Eastern – The lower Deschutes offers little to steelheaders at this time of year.

Fly fishers on the Metolius report that fishing is slow.

SW Washington- District steelheaders remain less than motivated although streams are just now coming into shape. The Cowlitz will remain a top option until spring chinook arrive but the North Fork Lewis and Kalama will also get some pressure. The early season return proved much better than last year’s return.

Smelt dippers most often took limits during the last open season on Saturday. The final opener for the Cowlitz will be this Saturday and dipping will likely remain good. No license is required to catch these fish but you do have to adhere to a 10-pound limit, which is about ¼ of a 5 gallon bucket full.

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