Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update

Astoria Coho Still Viable, Coastal Fall Chinook Are Available

Willamette Valley/Metro – Metro anglers are starting to see a slight slow-down in Chinook opportunity locally. Chinook counts at Bonneville remain good and anglers fishing in the Bonneville to Multnomah Falls reach are still finding fresh fish although not with the same levels of success witnessed over the previous several weeks. Backtrollers are finding fair success near the deadline, but those fish aren’t as fresh as those caught downriver.

Willamette Falls now has a functioning fish ladder so the above Willamette Falls coho fishery should be underway.

The last sturgeon opener didn’t necessarily impress. Anglers produced 1,052 trips and caught 22 keepers on Wednesday. That concludes the consumptive opportunity for the foreseeable future on the mainstem Columbia below Bonneville.

Many of the early returning hatchery coho are already staging at their respective hatcheries. We’re in peak migration for coho right now and with another batch of rain due over the weekend, anglers could get a shot at some fresh fish likely to move in. Eagle Creek on the Clackamas River has plenty of hatchery fish in it, but low, clear conditions are not making for productive fishing lately. The Eagle Creek National Fish Hatchery has about 150 fish waiting to enter the hatchery facility from the last rain event.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports, “Hello All. I’m sorry for such a short report last week. There were fresh fish caught in the entire river over the last couple of days. You will also find some fish that will show signs that they have been in the river for a period of time. Also don’t rule out fishing the mouth of the Sandy for the Columbia is open and they have increased the limit to retain two Chinook and all techniques will work. The Sandy has a three fish limit of hatchery coho and summer steelhead. You will also find a occasional late springer and they will be in the upper river. Cedar Creek to Oxbow have fish in all the deeper holes as well as boulders fields. The weather forecast is for more rain over the next few days and hopefully it will bring the river up. The current river level is 7.73 ft and with the fresh rain it will cause the fish to go on the move. Rain is forecasted for Thursday night all the way into Tuesday.”

North Coast Fishing Report – Chinook fishing improved slightly on Tillamook Bay this week, but catches remain sporadic. The north coast is expected to experience a slight bump in river levels, likely enough to get more Chinook moving on these low, stagnant systems. Trask and Tillamook Chinook are still making up the bulk of the returning fish at this time, but that will change come mid-October.

With the exception of the Salmon River, most all other north coast systems are producing predictable fair to good catches of Chinook right now. The Nestucca, Alsea and Siletz are starting to hit their stride for both bobber fishers and tidewater trollers.

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The Nehalem remains challenging and likely won’t improve anytime soon.

The tides are just right for crabbing, and success has most bay crabbers very excited. The crab are in good condition and appear to be numerous in number.

Razor clam digging has opened back up on the north coast, but tides won’t be favorable for another week or so.

Bottomfishing remains excellent when weather allows for safe and fun fishing. Lingcod action is improving and it appears as if a LOT of the halibut quota will remain under-utilized.

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

Hello everyone!  We have more Fall-like weather returning to our region but fishing should remain good at all of the locations as fish have the feedbag on for winter and this is a very important time for them.  Wind could affect the higher lakes like Paulina and East as the front comes through so check your weather before you go.  At last check with our great resources and some personal reports the fishing was good from Paulina to the Crooked with Steelhead in the Deschutes from the mouth to Warm Springs.  Salmon are being caught near the Deschutes mouth by boaters hover fishing, pulling Pro Trollers and even some going old style, flat lining Wiggle Warts!  It’s the best time of the year to fish in my book so hopefully you can get out this week. 

Meanwhile, Jeff over at The Fly Fisher’s Place in Sisters reports:      

On the Metolius we should see Green Drakes straggling to the finish line this week, and that should be about it for them until next May. 

As we move towards that cooler weather later in the week BWO’s will be really important and I’d say looking back over the years at October hatches when the weather cools that Mahogany Duns will make a stronger appearance.

Crooked River is fishing well, but keep in mind now they just lowered the river from 200 cfs to 70 cfs and that can put the bite off a little for a few days. Once it settles it’ll be fine.

Fall River is also fishing well and is one we love for October and November for sure. BWO’s are the main hatch at this time, but PMD’s are not over yet, and with warmer days there are still good caddis hatches to be found.

The Lower Deschutes is good from Warm Springs to Maupin. Steelhead are being caught throughout the river and that is great news.

The Middle Deschutes is seeing rising flows as the canals are being shut down for the end of irrigation season.

For the most part, everyone I spoke to said Crane Prairie was challenging last week. Full Moon? Too much bright sun? nearly 10 degree water temperature fluctuations daily? I’m not sure….

Paulina had a tremendous hatch of little Tan flying ants (termites or honey wasps maybe) this week. The fish went nuts for them. I doubt we will see any this coming week.

Chironomids and Leeches are going to be important at Paulina and up the road at East Lake. With cooler nights (especially in the high country) East Lake is improving a lot.

I look forward to the cool down coming for some improvements at Hosmer. These extra bright and warmer than average days have the bite off a bit at Hosmer.

Three Creeks Lake is another good bet. It should be soon that the Brookies really start schooling up on the edges. It was October 24th 2 years ago I had one of the best days of Brookie fishing ever using a Hot Head Olive Leech.

Wallowa River – Not many reports these past few days, but top water fishing appears to remain good during these beautiful Indian Summer days.

Imnaha River – Steelhead action continues to pick up. Guided anglers reported (2) three fish days near Troy recently. Another fisher and his wife both picked up fish including a nice 9 lb female. Eighty percent are expected to be two salt fish, so expect more big fish.

And here’s some big news!

THERE WILL BE A COHO SALMON SEASON ON THE GRANDE RONDE THIS YEAR! PER ODFW NEWS LETTER: Currently estimates show that there will be as many as 3,000 Coho pass LGD. This is enough fish to offer some harvest in the Grande Ronde as fish move through the lower Grande Ronde. Announced today and starting Oct. 1, and closing Nov. 30, harvest of Coho will be  open below the Grande Ronde River Rd. Bridge (approx. 7 miles above Troy, AKA the Wildcat Bridge) down to the border with Washington. The bag limit will be 2 adult Coho (>20 inches) and 5 jack Coho (≤ 20 inches) with two jack limits in possession. This is pretty exciting news! This is the first time harvest of Coho will be allowed on the Grande Ronde Since the 70s. Again, we’ll be interested in hearing any reports.  Expect these fish to begin showing up in the catch in the next week or two.

SW Oregon – From Tim Moran

Spent some time on the coast this week and the fishing and weather could not have been better!  We started our journey with the intent on fishing the Smith River tidewater  with boober’s and eggs but a recon trip proved fruitless as the river wasn’t holding many fish and those that were there were dark.  This situation should change quickly when we get a good freshet and the low water comes up and new fish enter the river.  Look for improving fishing here as early as next week if we get a decent shot of rain this weekend.

We changed rivers and tactics and launched in the Umpqua River in Reedsport.  We were out with our guide and friend Martin Thurber and we were fishing Pro Trolls and spinners.  Fishing started hot and kept up throughout the morning on an outgoing tide.  We hooked our first chinook literally 10 seconds after putting our last rod out.  Not even time to pour a cup of coffee!  (Brother in Law) Brent Lanz landed a chrome 18 pounder and we were off!  As the morning progressed we hooked and landed several “endangered”  wild coho…this would be a theme.  After the tide change we moved out further into the river below the trestle bridge and I hooked up with a nice 20 lb king and soon it joined it’s sister in the fish box..we were rolling!   We later picked our way through several more “wild coho” before getting two hatchery fish to round out the day out near the Smith River mouth and a bit beyond.  We ended up with 22 fish to the boat and four keepers on a 75 degree day in October!  That’s pretty good fishing!

Fishing in the area should hold up for another couple weeks at least and fishing will get good in the freshwater sections on the next big rain event.  Water in the main river is low now.  

 Lower Rogue River – Fishing has been good in the lower river from the bay to Agness. 

Middle and Upper Rogue –  Steelhead are dispersed throughout this section and swinging black and purple flies has been very effective.  Trout fishing is also good and fish are responding to caddis and BWO dries and to terrestrials like ants and beetles. 

Siltcoos Lake –  Bass are active in the warmer afternoons and fishing for some of the state’s biggest and healthest is good now and will continue for another few weeks until the temps drop. 

Well that’s the report.   There are lots of opportunities – especially for getting some salmon fillets in the freezer!  Have a great week everyone and get out and enjoy the outdoors…even in the rain!

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!

Vancouver Metro Area

Anglers continue to chase and catch Chinook and coho in the Columbia River, and they can now keep two Chinook as part of their daily limit on the mainstem. Although catches have slowed a bit in the Vancouver area, the action at Bonneville is still fair to good. 

The bite in the tributaries improved some this past week, and the rains expected for this weekend should pick up the bite more, unless there is too much of a good thing and the rivers blow out. 

Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report–There are plenty of coho available in the North Fork Lewis River, but low water continues to subdue the bite. Reports do indicate that some anglers are doing okay. There are still a few nice Chinook in the river, and as of October 1, anglers can keep them whether they are fin-clipped or not. Most anglers are fishing in the proximity of the hatchery above Woodland, where the fish are holed up in the deep water. Twitching jigs, with purple or dark colors is working best. Some anglers are fishing with salmon eggs. A few bank fishermen are drifting corkies with bait or yarn, and they are getting a few fish, too.

The lower Washougal River is fishing well for coho, according to John Thompson of Sportsmen’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000, and again the hottest method is twitching jigs. The only negative is the low water. A few Chinook are still coming to hand, mostly on bait. Most of the access is in the lower three river miles, so that is where the anglers are congregating and getting their fish.

Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report—Thompson is hearing reports that Yale lake is still fishing well, although there are few reports from Merwin. Cooling temps are slowly bringing the fish up higher in the water column.

Longview Area

Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report –Fishing for coho picked up some this week in both the lower and upper river, but fishing is still only fair. Water clarity has improved below the Toutle River, and anglers are getting the silvers to bite by twitching jigs, drifting bait, or fishing bait below a bobber. The most recent WDFW creel survey below the I-5 Bridge had 20 bank anglers keeping one coho and releasing one Chinook and one Chinook jack. 27 boats/67 rods kept 23 coho, eight coho jacks and released 37 Chinook, 11 Chinook jacks, 15 coho and two coho jacks.

Above the I-5 Bridge the action did pick up some. The upper river had more flow this week, so the fish are biting a little better. Boat anglers are taking the fish by twitching jigs or fishing with eggs, and the bank anglers are doing some twitching and drifting to get their fish. Boat anglers are doing better than those on the bank.

You can check the full Tacoma Power Cowlitz River report HERE

According to Thompson fishing in the lower Kalama River has picked up some, too, with coho schooling in the deeper holes and biting Blue Fox Spinners. The fish have also been taking salmon eggs and hitting jigs. There are reportedly lots of coho showing down there, just waiting for a freshet in order to move.

Mayfield and local lakes fishing report–Effort has declined for trout in Mayfield Lake, although the fish are still biting fairly well. Kress Lake is producing some nice largemouth bass, and smallmouth are still biting in Riffe Lake. Trout fishing remains good in both Mineral and Merrill Lake.

Columbia River Gorge

Drano Lake and wind River Fishing Report–Catches continue to be good in Drano Lake and the Wind River, although they did drop off a bit. Chinook counts over Bonneville dropped to two to four thousand a day this last week. Still, over 376,00 adults Chinook have crossed the dam this year. Low water in the Columbia has made it tough for bank anglers at Drano. During the most recent WDFW survey nine bank anglers had no catch, but boat fishermen did better. 21 boats/51 rods kept 10 Chinook, four Chinook jacks, two coho, one steelhead and released 22 Chinook, one Chinook jack and one steelhead.

Anglers are still finding success by trolling bait or spinners behind Pro-Trolls at both fisheries. Bank anglers continue to toss mainly bobbers and bait at the fish. Pressure is still high at Drano, but just fair at the Wind river.

Klickitat River Fishing Report—The Klickitat River dropped to a very low level over the last week, and that definitely slowed the bite for both steelhead and Chinook, according to Carl Coolidge of the Klickitat Canyon Market, (509-369-4400). The river level is below four feet, or about 600 cfs. Fishing pressure was very high last weekend. “It was our busiest weekend so far this year,” said Coolidge. “The word I got was that it was tough fishing. The salmon are in here but for some reason they are turned off right now.”

The action slowed in both the lower river and up in the canyon, but a few fish were taken. Bait is definitely the best bet for the Chinook, and steelhead are still liking jigs fished below a bobber. Nymphs and egg patterns are working for the fly guys.

Local Lakes Fishing Report—Goose Lake is still fishing well for trout and should do so until the snows arrive, probably later this month. Until then, Goose should produce well, as will other high elevation lakes.

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!

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