Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update

Columbia Chinook Bag Limit Doubles, Coastal Fall Chinook Fishing is Challenging

Willamette Valley/Metro – Anglers got more good news, allowing them to retain up to two Chinook in the Columbia River mainstem. Anglers saw great action in the gorge on Wednesday, before the gillnets went in that night. Bonneville numbers are tapering, but action should remain fair to good, depending on the day. There are some nice coho in the catch as well.

Coho are beginning to stack at Willamette Falls as fish passage repairs remain underway to fish ladders in the area. The passage facility is expected to be back open to passage by mid-October for late run coho to utilize. More information can be found in THIS press release.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports, “Hello All. I hope that you’ve all had the opportunity to get out and fish. The last rain event caused the river to muddy up and it has been slow to clear. There is fish in the river and twitching jigs and spinners with hoochies have worked well on coho, also bobber with eggs have worked as well. The river has fish from the mouth all the way up to hatchery.”

Mike from Fisherman’s Marine and Outdoors reported drifting the Clackamas over the last few days and there are plenty of coho in the river, but the vast majority of them are wild, and they are not biting all that well anyway. The river remains low and clear and fish are pooled up.

The last sturgeon opener went well for some, but overall, keepers remain challenging to come by. The final of the 3-day seasons happens this Saturday, it’ll pay to scout before you go.

North Coast Fishing Report – Tillamook Bay has been fairly void of fall Chinook lately. Anglers are struggling for consistent results, but one boat reported 4 Chinook inside the bay by Thursday at 1:00 p.m. Chinook remain scattered but wild coho are in abundance in both the ocean (adjacent to the jaws at Tillamook Bay) and in the west channel. Pro Trolls with small spinners continue to take the lion’s share of both wild coho (a rare hatchery coho) and Chinook from the Ghost Hole to Memaloose.

There was some fair action on the Trask and Nehalem Rivers following the rains last week, when rivers came up a couple of feet despite a parched forest that soaked up the majority of the moisture. Hatchery coho were processed for food banks and anglers, if they were there when the conditions were right, scored both coho and Chinook on some north coast systems.

The North Fork Nehalem had a shot of hatchery coho but with the river now back to summer low levels, fish are holed up and unwilling to bite.

The Nestucca and Salmon saw some improved conditions and with it, a better bite for anglers able to fish late last week. The Nestucca will continue to produce albeit sporadic results, while the Salmon will start to taper as fish enter the hatchery facility for processing. It will likely be a tidewater show for the weekend, for both trollers and bobber tossers.

The Alsea River is getting more fish as we enter peak season for tidewater trollers and bobber tossers. The rain did draw some fish into the upper river, they won’t stay bright for long. The better action will remain in tidewater, where anglers have fairly good access to them, at least from a boat.

The Siletz is perking up too, with trollers working the tidewater reach finding sporadic success over the week. Tides are improving for anchor anglers working plugs in the outgoing tide, but trolling flashers and spinners has become the more popular strategy.

Bay crabbing remains excellent in most estuaries.

The ocean has been a bit volatile lately, making rockfishing and offshore salmon fishing a bit challenging. The rockfishing remains excellent, but halibut and salmon anglers are folding up their programs. There should be some more great ocean weather for offshore opportunity before the weather gets consistently big.

Razor clam digging opened back up again along Clatsop Beaches. A good minus tide series is still several weeks away however.

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

LOTS more info for our paid subscribers. GO HERE to get all the juicy details! If you don’t like what you read, OF COURSE WE’LL REFUND YOUR SUBSCRIPTION PRICE!

The Metolius had a nice reopening below Allingham this week. 
As expected, on the middle and lower river the green drakes were still hatching well from Canyon Creek to the Hatchery, and from the Hatchery to Candle Creek below Bridge 99.

Early in the week fishing up river from Camp Sherman there was great fishing on Clark’s Stones and Euro Nymphs. We saw zero kokanee up river. Bull Trout-ing is a very good bet right now.

The Lower Deschutes was good all week and Jeff at The Fly Fisher’s Place, reports that his guideAdam had a guide trip that produced great fishing for a client – All on euro nymphs! 

The White River is BLOWN out. I would not fish below the White.

Steelhead are all over the river and are being caught from Maupin to Mecca.

The Middle Deschutes is good from Bend to Lake Billy Chinook. The water is a little murky from wickiup being drained, but not as bad as from Bend upstream.

The Crooked is holding steady with a 200 cfs flow and fishing is outstanding.

The Fall River was on fire this week according to our guide Troy. Yesterday there was a tremendous Green Drake Hatch! Those are not as prevalent at the Fall as they are on the Met, but they are important. PMD and BWO and Mahogany Duns should be expected on any given day for the next couple of weeks too.

You’ve got until Wednesday if you want to fish the Upper Deschutes above Crane Prairie to Little Lava. There are some great nymphing a streamer areas up there to be enjoyed for a few more days until it is closed for the spawning season and then winter sets in.

Crane Prairie is good all over the lake. When I guided there this week we did best wind drifting brown leeches on a Hover line, but caught fish on an indicator rig using balanced leeches and chironomids.

East Lake was good this week before the winds. The last few days got too windy and drove us to lower elevation lakes. It looks like after today, the weather is going to be favorable for East and Paulina.

Paulina Lake is good, and is a top choice for fall. Fish are cruising the shore lines and you can get them to rise on the Beetles and Tarantulas.

A couple of little lakes to put on your October (and maybe early) November radar are South and North Twin Lakes. Great for a tube or small pontoon, small enough to not be a wind tunnel and plenty of fish.

October is a great time to fish the rivers and lakes in Central Oregon!  The skies have cleared and the fish really key into the last big food sources of the year. So get out and get after them if you can!    Best of luck everyone!

SW Oregon – From Tim Moran

I will apologize in advance for not having a thorough SW Oregon report as I’ve been spending most of my time on the Columbia chasing salmon there this week.   

The Coos River is still giving up some fish but it is fading.  One buddy who fished the Umpqua tide water reported slow fishing this week but the persistent fishermen (and he is certainly that) were getting a chance or two at the tide changes. 

Over on the Smith River, bobber and bait guys are also getting fish regularly! 

Rogue River steelhead fishing is great!  Lot’s of fish have gotten up river from Agness and the fishing will only get better!  

Well that’s the report for the week!  Good luck everyone and please, don’t be afraid to share your reports with me as I’d love to hear from you.  Tight lines y’all! 

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!

Bonneville Chinook by Guide Matt Eleazer

Vancouver Metro Area

Anglers continue to chase and catch Chinook in the mainstem Columbia River, with catches slipping in the lower river near Longview, but staying strong from Vancouver up to the Bonneville Dam. Starting October 1, anglers can keep two Chinook as part of their daily limit.

However, the bite in many tributaries continues to be poor because of low water, with the recent rains not quite raising the rivers long enough or high enough to produce sustained improvement.

Sturgeon catches were soft during the most recent retention opener, with anglers near woodland doing a little better than other areas.

Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report

Recent rains did little to help the bite in the Lewis River, which remains at almost record lows. There is no shortage of salmon, it’s just that in the low, super clear water the fish are hunkered down and in a defensive posture. While the early run coho rarely bite as well as the late run in the Lewis, this year it is even worse than usual.

The schools of coho are concentrated in a few deep holes just below the hatchery, with most of them holding below the hatchery outflow waterfall. Bank and boat anglers are attacking them with bait and jigs, while bank anglers are trying their luck in the Meat Hole. A few fish are being taken in the lower river near Woodland, but that bite is slow, too.

The Washougal continues to produce some bright Chinook in the lower three miles of the river, where anglers drifting with eggs and sand shrimp are finding some success in the faster water. Bobber and eggs are producing some fish in the deep holes. The river rose a little bit following the recent rains, but that lift did not last long.

Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report

All parks and boat ramps have reopened, and anglers are catching kokanee in both Yale and Merwin Reservoirs. However, reports have been incomplete as far as depth and baits are concerned.

Local lakes fishing report

A few holdover trout are coming to hand, with battle Ground Lake producing well.

Longview Area

Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers fishing Report

The rains of last week blew out the lower Cowlitz River, but weren’t enough to raise the upper river enough to produce a good bite. Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service (360-201-9313), reports that although the river did come up, it still remains very clear and low. Even with good numbers of early coho holding in the upper river, the gin-clear water has made catching them tough.

“Early coho don’t bite very well,” said Mallahan, “and they run right up to the upper river.  Unless there’s some water, they won’t bite.” During the most recent WDFW creel survey above the I-5 Bridge, 56 bank anglers kept two steelhead and released 34 Chinook and two Chinook jacks. 5 boats/11 rods kept one steelhead and released one Chinook, two Chinook jacks and one coho jack.

While the lower river did blow out for four or five days last week, Mallahan reports it is now back to fishable condition. “Its fishable down below the Toutle now,” said Mallahan, “it should start to fish better.” Even with poor conditions a few coho were caught in the lower Cowlitz. He said competition is still low with so many anglers still targeting Chinook in the Columbia.

Sturgeon anglers did a little better during the most recent retention fishery. WDFW creel surveys above the bridge had 17 bank anglers keeping one legal sturgeon while releasing seven sublegal and one oversized sturgeon. 19 boats/40 rods kept two legal sturgeon and released 3 sublegal and three oversized sturgeon.

Action in the Kalama River slowed a little after the recent rains. Recent surveys had 10 anglers releasing two Chinook. All the action is taking place below the WDFW fish collection weir. Technicians are removing most of the hatchery fish and allowing only wild salmon to enter the upper river. River conditions will need to improve before the fishing will pick up.

Local Lakes Fishing Report

Trout are still biting for those fishermen targeting Mayfield Lake. Kress Lake is producing some nice largemouth bass, and should for the next couple weeks. Smallmouth are still biting in Riffe Lake, and moving closer to the bank. catfish can still be caught at Swofford Pond. Trout fishing remains good in both Mineral and Merrill Lake.

Columbia River Gorge

Drano Lake and Wind River Fishing Report

Drano Lake continues to shine for Chinook, with anglers trolling Pro-trolls and bait or Brad’s Super Baits finding good numbers of biters. Bank anglers are taking some fish, too, but the boat anglers are doing far better. Recent creel surveys by the WDFW had 41 bank anglers keeping two coho and releasing two steelhead, while 65 boats/182 anglers kept 80 Chinook, 14 Chinook jacks, three coho, and released 16 Chinook and four steelhead.

In the Wind River success has been good, and the crowds are smaller. Pro-trolls with bait or other lures are the main ticket here, too. Here too, bank anglers are not doing as well as those with boats.

Klickitat River Fishing Report

Carl Coolidge of the Klickitat Canyon Market, (509-369-4400), reports that recent rains did blow out the Klickitat for a few days, but that the river is now back in shape and fishing very well. Anglers are catching good numbers of steelhead, and even better numbers of Chinook, and they are doing it from the lowest reaches of the river up through the canyon. Diver and bait has been the best strategy for boat anglers looking for Chinook, while jigs fished below a bobber has been working for the steelhead. Anglers have also found success for both species with Blue Fox Spinners.

Be sure to become a paid subscriber and get TWICE the information as you see here in the abbreviated version. Terry produces a weekly FORECAST, detailing how the fishing will be this weekend and into next week. You don’t want to miss this valuable information for just $0.32 cents per week! SIGN UP NOW!

Webinar Driftboating and bank fishing the Wilson River with Pro Guide Bob Rees January 20th