Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update

Wildfires Dominating Landscape, Fall Chinook Are On the Run

Willamette Valley/Metro – Anglers will be excited for another 3 days of Chinook opportunity in the Columbia River mainstem starting tomorrow (Friday). Pro trollers using spinners or super-baits should find fair to good action on the mainstem Columbia. There’s been good fishing at Bonneville (when they are not spilling water), and Ridgefield most recently and there’s no reason why that shouldn’t happen again. It should be a productive few days with hopefully more opportunity on the horizon if fish passage at Bonneville stays strong. Here is the entire press release but in short, it’s open Friday – Sunday clear up to Pasco, Washington.

Other metro opportunities are limited but some coho are in the Willamette (near the mouth of the Clackamas) and the Sandy River has early returning coho available too.

The Clackamas is under severe fire watch and its advised that anglers stay away from the area to allow fire crews to work the affected area. Fishing at the mouth of the river may be an option however, where most of the fish are likely to gather anyway.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports, “Please stay away from the Clackamas River for fire departments are taking water from Barton and Carver Park boat ramps. The Sandy River is so far safe of any fire danger but the Sandy High School is a location for evacuation if fires do start up. This week’s fishing report is that there is still some summers in the upper river with springers almost done for the year. There are guys out fishing the lower river and upstream seeking out coho. There is a storm front that’s supposed to take place over the weekend. If we get the rain that is forecasted, we could see our first good push of coho in the river.”

North Coast Fishing Report – The big news will continue to be the mainstem Columbia re-opener. Regulations are so much simpler when we have blanket re-openers throughout the system. There is one regulation folks on the north coast need to pay attention to however. Anglers fishing below Tongue Point may retain 2 salmon, of which one may be a Chinook (the other a hatchery coho), but only 1 salmon above Tongue Point (either a Chinook or a hatchery coho). The tides are excellent for a Tongue Point Chinook-a-thon. Now, they just have to be there. Coho fishing is improving as well in the Buoy 10 area, if you can avoid the seals that is.

Chinook action is starting to pop on the north coast. Tillamook fishing has been good in recent days, with an excellent tide and perfect run timing. Chinook action has been good along the inside of the jetties as well as outside along the south jetty. An occasional halibut is still being taken.

Todd Liebow with a Tillamook Bay 46-inch halibut (Bob Rees on the left)

Nehalem Bay has been producing just fair recently but action should pick up and some hatchery coho should start to show. The jaws has been the fishing focal point as of late.

And speaking of coho, recreational anglers did such a bang up job of harvesting a pile of wild and hatchery coho last weekend that the season shut down already. Newport catches were robust with LARGE coho hitting the deck for many boats. Garibaldi was productive too but all ocean coho fishing is now closed.

The Nestucca, Salmon, Alsea and Siletz Rivers all have some fall Chinook in their systems. Wildfires will limit access and steer clear from interfering with any first responders, they are having a very busy time of it right now. If you do go, the lower reaches (the mouth in other words) should be productive for trollers working herring. It’s go time for early fall Chinook, and there appears to be a decent return so far.

Ocean crabbing is off the hook but some soft-shells remain. Bay crabbing should be good this weekend too.

Plenty of halibut for recreational anglers, both nearshore and offshore. The weather looks quite conducive to an offshore foray.

Albacore anglers are going to hit it hard too, it’s live bait time, but albies should respond well to iron as well.

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports – From avid angler Tim Moran:

Hello Everyone!  What started out as a perfect start to this week – The wife and I put the sled in the Columbia Sunday morning and by 11am we had two kings and were heading back to Chinook Landing, turned into one of the worst weeks that I will probably ever have to report for TGF as the beloved McKenzie River drainage and the Santiam drainage have been devastated by wildfires. 

Monday’s high winds and heat and a spark of unkown origin turned the McKenzie ablaze.  It will be days before we know the extent of damage and possible loss of life in the drainage.  My son is a firefighter in Eugene/Springfield and he reports the damage to homes, property and the environment is truly catastrophic. 

The Leaburg fish hatchery had to release all of its fish yesterday and abandon the hatchery.  The Santiam is much the same with fire crews pushed out of Detroit by the flames and some heroic feats by fire and rescue personnel to rescue 70 inhabitants that were surrounded last night.

There is also a large fire burning on the north central coast near Otis that has blocked HWY 18. 

The Metolius has been threatened by fire for the second time this year with the Lions Head Fire burning near its border and most of the campgrounds and roads in the area are closed. The best advice this week is to stay home and not risk your personal safety and stay out of the way of those who need the roads.  I do have some info however, so that when things calm down (hopefully next week) you will have some options.           

Metolius River –  Fall is the best time to fish the Met.  Lot’s of bug hatches, cooler weather, less people and big Bull trout have moved into the river to eat the spawning kokanee. 

 Lower Deschutes Steelhead –   Got the first report of a caught steelhead in the Trout Creek area last week (Jeff at The Fly Fisher’s Place).  Fish are in the river all the way up to Maupin in numbers with lots more to come.  White river is blowing silt and muddying up the river below so again, a great weekend the wait for better conditions. The river will only get better as the run looks better than previous years and is just picking up steam.     

CrookedRiver –  It’s a bit more stable since we last checked in – Renegades, midge, and mayfly patterns on top are all working.   

Crane Prairie –  Fish near the Deschutes and Quinn River channels.  Damsels, leeches and Chironomids are taking a lot of the fish.  

East Lake -Paulina Lake – Fishing was good on both lakes last week.  Ants and beetles along the shore and midge and chironomids in 15 to 20 feet of water.      

Wickiup Reservoir – No report but it’s low and the lake is closed above the markers at Gull Point and over on the Davis arm at the marker to protect spawning fish.  There isn’t much of a lake left to fish and it will be not much more than a river until we get a snowpack next year.  This will be the third straight year of almost no water…let’s hope she survives! 

SW Oregon – From avid angler Tim Moran:

The McKenzie – There likely won’t be a report here for a while.  The river and towns in the mid river section have been destroyed by wildfire.   It was really fishing like the gem it is prior to the fire.  Let’s hope it will be as resilient as it is beautiful.   

Detroit Reservoir – Kokanee and rainbow fishing was good before the fires.  I’m afraid of what might be left when the road opens again. 

Rogue Bay – Fishing for Kings has been good in the bay trolling anchovies naked or on a spinner rig. Big crowds – but that usually means good fishing. The lower river should be going soon!

Winchester Bay – Chinook are moving through the bay and fishing near the jaws with herring is fair.

Coos River – The Coos estuary is the hot spot on the SW coast. The better guides are getting limits and extra hook ups.

SW Washington –  Terry Otto has put together another smashing report for SW Washington. What you will read below is an abbreviated version of what Terry’s “FULL VERSION” report will look like in the months ahead. Sign Up for Terry’s PAID version that started last week. With this level of detail, you won’t want to miss a single week! It’s JUST $0.32 cents per week! Here’s Terry’s summary for this week. SUBSCRIBE to the full SW Washington version HERE!

Due to the evacuation of SW Washington write Terry Otto from his home, there will be no SW Washington report this week. We promise TGF readers a total of 50 weeks of info-packed fishing fodder per year, we need to let Terry take a pass this week and hopefully his residence and family remain safe during these challenging times. Feel free to send him an email at the email addy below. Thank you for your patience and understanding at this time of crisis.

If you like what you see, send it to your friends in SW Washington! You can email us at bob@theguidesforecast.com or Terry at orotto@wavecable.com. Your SW Washington fishermen can sign up for our FREE reports HERE or become a paid member to get even more quality fishing information HERE.