Bonneville and upstream pools open for sturgeon retention

Willamette Valley/Metro The Bonneville and upstream pools open for sturgeon retention on the 1st. Here is the official press release from ODF&W:

States set winter sturgeon season for Bonneville Pool

December 18, 2014

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – The Bonneville Pool and adjacent tributaries of the Columbia River will be open to the retention of white sturgeon 7-days-a-week from Jan. 1 through March 1, 2015, unless the harvest guideline is reached sooner.  The Bonneville Pool extends from the Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam.

Under the split season management structure adopted today, Oregon and Washington fishery managers also anticipate the pool will re-open to a summer retention season starting in June 2015, assuming fish remain available on the harvest guideline.

Managers estimate 40 percent of the 1,100 fish harvest guideline for the pool will be caught during the winter retention period, leaving opportunity for a June re-opening.  However, winter catch rates can be highly variable and anglers should be alert to the possibility of early closure.

The daily bag limit is one sturgeon between 38 and 54-inches fork length, and the annual limit is two.

Retention sturgeon fisheries also will open as planned in The Dalles and John Day pools on Jan. 1, 2015.  Those fisheries will continue 7-days-a-week until harvest guidelines are achieved (see ODFW website).  The daily bag limit in these areas is one sturgeon between 43 and 54-inches fork length, and the annual limit is two.

Anglers fishing the Bonneville Pool in January may see tribal fishers deploying gill nets in designated areas to collect and tag white sturgeon as part on an on-going sturgeon research program.  Among other scientific uses, this work is used to calculate the size and status of the sturgeon population in these reservoirs.


John North (971) 673-6029
Jessica Sall (503) 947-6023

After cresting at 101,000 cfs at the Falls on Christmas day, the Willamette River started to drop. The last available reading online of 78,800 is December 30th. Despite the reduction in flow, visibility remains at less than a foot and that’s just fine for sturgeon fishing. Trout fishing is slow on the McKenzie River. The Santiam system is high. Both North Santiam and South Santiam Rivers will drop in the coming week but there is little of interest to anglers here. The Clackamas is coming into shape and is exhibiting decent color. There are a few winter steelhead with the bulk of the run yet to arrive. Sandy River levels are returning to normal with water clarity good as long as the freezing level remains high. Winter steelheading is slow as there are only a few fish in the system this early in the run.

Northwest – Following the recent flooding event, steelheaders have enjoyed a good week of early season steelheading. Starting with the smaller streams, good numbers of steelhead were taken by experienced driftboaters with the Necanicum being a prime target for drifters and the North Fork Nehalem a great option for bank anglers. There is a significant navigational hazard downstream of Klootchy Creek on the Necanicum so plan on ferrying your boat across challenging terrain if you float that stretch.

Larger systems came on line early in the week with decent steelhead catches reported on the Trask, Wilson and some on the Nestucca systems. There are still some chinook around but the season officially closed on 12/31 so retention is no longer an option. Early indications point to a good steelhead return this year, as is often the case when we have a good coho return.

With a distinctive east wind, the offshore swell has tamed, allowing bottomfishers and ocean crabbers to get after salty quarry. Friendly conditions may change back to angry by as early as Saturday night however.

Bay crabbing remains challenging, especially on the increasing tide exchange. A calm ocean and minus tide this week could produce good razor clam digging, especially for those willing to bring night lights.

Southwest– Bottomfish anglers out of Newport and Depoe Bay have been taking good numbers of lingcod and rockfish. Check the 2015 regulations as there are some changes in the rules for the New Year. Conditions for offshore launches are forecast to be good over the coming weekend but be certain to check before making the trip. Among other changes, cabezon may not be retained as part of a rockfish limit until July 1, 2015. Ocean crabbing remains open with fair catches coming out of central Oregon ports and results diminishing for boats launching out of southern ports. Wild coho salmon fisheries on Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes closed today, January 1, 2015. The catch-and-release fishery for wild steelhead on the mainstem Umpqua will be moving into the North Umpqua following the rain storms of the past week. Rock fishing at Coos Bay which shut off with runoff bringing silt into the bay, should return with conditions improving this week. Similarly, crabbing is expected to pick up once again as visibility improves and salinity levels return to normal. Middle Rogue spawned-out fish have been replaced with fresh, bright winter steelhead but the water temperatures are in the mid-40s even here. On the lower Rogue, flows went from 30,000 cfs to the current 8,500 cfs over the past 10 days. Plunkers and plug-pullers are finding some success with winters. Starting January 1, one wild steelhead may be kept per day up to five for the year. This regulation will apply to the middle and upper Rogue starting February 1. Chetco flows are approximately 2,200 cfs as of New Year’s Day with the flows forecast to gradually moderate into the coming week. Water visibility will determine how good winter steelheading will be.

Eastern – While the Deschutes was not spared a generous wallop of precipitation during storms  over the past week, it is settling down although enduring a bit of roller coaster action as it settles down. Steelheading has been mostly a miss in this mess although redsides have been responding as Blue Winged Olives hatch along with some Caddis. Expect steelheading to improve along with water conditions.