It’s Transition Time

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Willamette Valley/Metro The Willamette River level has been dropping at the Falls but that will soon change. Catch and release sturgeon fishing is good and is the only fishing available on the lower Willamette. While McKenzie River levels have been dropping, that will change with December rains. Fishing is slow. The Santiams offer nothing of angler interest at this time. Northwest – It’s transition time on the north coast as chinook are focused on spawning and winter steelhead have yet to appear in great number. Both species are available however; just view our full length version for which watershed to target which specie.

Chinook are still being caught in Tillamook Bay for the few trollers in pursuit and with a fair late-season showing of chinook in the Trask, the west channel may still be a fair option.

Hatchery workers are reporting daily success, albeit minimal, at the North Fork Nehalem Hatchery. The Highway 30 systems should also have early returning fish available although these stocks of fish can be hard to get to bite.

Minus tides this weekend may produce some catch and release opportunity for anglers in Tillamook Bay but without a consumptive option, few are likely to participate.

The minus tide series would also promote razor clam digging if the surf wasn’t going to be so high. The big tides will also minimalize estuary crabbing success although the lower Columbia is still an option even though the river is littered with commercial gear.

Southwest– Charters fishing out of Depoe Bay this week have been scoring limits of ling cod. Rock fishing has been slower.

Sport crabbers are plying the ocean for Dungeness with best results coming from just off the mouths of bays and estuaries. Bay crabbing will hold up as well unless a very heavy rain falls.

With wild coho fishing open through December, there are still some good chances to take bright fish at Tenmile. Chinook fishing is well into the wind-down phase on the Alsea but there will be stragglers which will provide scratch fishing over the next few weeks. Unmarked coho may no longer be kept.

Crabbing has been good on the Umpqua River bar where anglers have dropped posts, pursued bottom fish, then returned to good catches of hard Dungeness. Rogue Bay is done for the season with Chinook moving upstream. Winter steelhead are entering and have been providing fair fishing on lower river. Those able to fish above the Shady Cove boat ramp, however, will find better water conditions and less leafy debris.

Chetco Chinook fishing is slowing just as winter steelhead catches are improving.

Eastern – Plug pullers at the John Day River report slow fishing for steelhead but that the ice has melted.

Winter trout fishers are landing large lake trout over the gunwale at Crescent Lake. Some of these anglers look forward all year to trolling for Macks in frigid weather.