Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update

Columbia Chinook Finally Slowing, Coastal Systems Primed

Willamette Valley/Metro – Chinook fishing is starting to slow on the mainstem Columbia. Dark Chinook are still an option in the Bonneville reach, but fresh-run salmon action will start to decline dramatically this week. That said, it is still an option, but anglers should be selective as to the fish they keep.

Coho action on the Willamette is underway, with loads of salmon already over Willamette Falls. The tributary mouths upstream of the falls should be producing fish but with the bulk of the run likely already over the falls, anglers should be out there now trying their best. This year’s return is tracking ahead of last years, and that was a pretty good return.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports, “Hello All. We finally got some much needed rain and the river took a nice size jump. The river had been running at 7.79 ft and it jump up to 10.6 ft and is running brown. The weather forecast is for more rain over the next week and possibility of the river going back up. The forecast is for the river to drop back down to 8ft and hold. There has been fish caught before this rain event and some of the fish caught were very nice. There is coho spread throughout the entire river from the mouth all the way up to Cedar Creek. Spinners and eggs under a bobber has been the most effective way to target these fish. So get out and try your luck for there is fish to be had. So tight lines and best of luck.”

The Clackamas is in perfect shape and the bulk of the hatchery coho are in the Eagle Creek system at this time. Anglers are more likely to catch wild fish this late in the season and as flows drop, coho should become more receptive to spinners and spoons. Eggs drifted or under bobbers should also take fish and when the water clears, jigs under bobbers or twitched should also become effective.

North Coast Fishing Report – Recent rains inspired anglers to get after ’em on many north coast rivers. Some rivers didn’t disappoint as a mid-October rain freshet has become a bit more of a rare occurrence these years. The Kilchis and Wilson produced fair catches for those that were there, but Tillamook Bay anglers largely struggled for results despite fish being present on the incoming tide.

Other systems such as the Nestucca, Necanicum, Siletz and Alsea also had a rush of Chinook come in on the river rise, which may make tidewater fishing a bit tougher this week.

The Nehalem continues to produce mostly wild coho, the Chinook return seems to be a bit depressed this season.

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The North Fork Nehalem produced fair hatchery coho catches on Wednesday, but by Thursday, action had slowed despite good river conditions and fish present. Many of the hatchery coho are already turning color with only a few fresh fish available.

The ocean forecast doesn’t look positive for weekend anglers, it may be a while before bottomfish become an option again. Ocean crabbing is now closed.

There’s an excellent series of minus tides happening right now. If the ocean swell remains somewhat tame, digging should be good along Clatsop Beaches.

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

Hello everyone! This week I spent more time on the Columbia trolling for salmon, (it has slowed down as you might have guessed, but there are still opportunities – we still managed to hook up with around 10 fish in three trips) then we went east and stopped in at The The Fly Fisher’s Place in Sisters and visited with the staff and got the latest flies for the Metolius and headed out on the river (see report).  Today is the Middle D. We’ll let you know how it goes!

On the Metolius – we fished it yesterday on a beautiful fall day.  I’d say fishing was fair to good. We. Aught fish on October caddis, X Caddis and size 18 and w0 light tan mayfly imitations.

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.

Have a great week and get out and enjoy this beautiful fall weather!   

SW Oregon – From Tim Moran (Same report from last week)

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!

Columbia still producing, tributaries fishing better after rains

Columbia Chinook photo by Matt Eleazer

Vancouver Metro Area

Fresh salmon are still showing up with catches spread through the river below Bonneville Dam, but gill net fisheries are taking big numbers of fish and cutting the numbers going over the dam almost by half.  

The bite in the tributaries really improved following the rains this past week, although a few river reaches were blown out. The hottest bite was in the North Fork Lewis River. 

Trout fishing is picking up in local lowland lakes, with battle Ground, and Klineline Pond producing good catches.

Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report—the Lewis river is full of coho, and the rains this week really sparked a good bite, according to John Thompson of Sportsmen’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000. “The Lewis River has a lot of fish in it but it has a lot of people, too,” said Thompson. The most recent WDFW creel survey showed as much, with 99 bank anglers keeping 18 coho, nine coho jacks and releasing four Chinook, nine coho and one steelhead. 14 boats/38 rods kept 13 Chinook, four Chinook jacks, eight coho, nine coho jacks and released one coho and three coho jacks.

Almost everyone is twitching jigs for their fish, although salmon eggs are working too, and some bank anglers are drifting corkies.

The Washougal River is fishing very well, and Thompson said it is getting far less pressure than some other streams. The late run coho are starting to show, with the lower three miles of the river producing well. Anglers twitching jigs are taking their share, but other methods are working well, too. Low water is hampering the bite in the Camas Slough. 

Merwin and Yale Reservoirs Fishing report

Anglers are still getting kokanee to bite in both of these fisheries, but with the bulk of larger fish turning color in preparation to spawn, there are a few less anglers on the water. Those fishermen are getting some fish, but the depths at which the schools are holding has been inconsistent. It has been necessary to experiment each time out to find that magic depth.

Longview Area

Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—Catches in the lower Cowlitz were decent, with the catch slanted toward the non-retainable Chinook until the recent rains blew out the Toutle River. That in turn trashed the lower Cowlitz. During the most recent WDFW creel surveys below the I-5 Bridge, boat anglers did much better than those on the bank. 30 bank rods kept only two coho and two coho jacks, while 16 boats/47 rods kept seven coho, six coho jacks and released 35 Chinook, eight Chinook jacks, three coho and one steelhead.

Above the I-5 Bridge the river stayed in good condition, but the bite was slower than the week before. The WDFW reported that 59 bank rods kept one coho and one coho jack and released eight Chinook and three coho jacks. 6 boats/16 rods kept three coho jacks and released one Chinook jack.

You can check the full Tacoma Power Cowlitz River report HERE

In both sections of the river the bite was best for anglers twitching purple or other dark-colored jigs. The Chinook are taking bait fished below a bobber or drifted.

The action in the lower Kalama picked up this week with fresh coho entering the river and biting well. WDFW creel surveyors found that 31 bank anglers kept eight coho and released one Chinook. With the fish collection weir still in place few fish are being passed into the upper river. Spinners, jigs, and bait are all working. The second wave of late run coho are starting to pull into the river as the Chinook numbers are beginning to fall.

Columbia River Gorge

Drano Lake and Wind River Fishing Report–The daily limit for salmon and steelhead in Drano lake may include only one adult as of October 3. Fishing is holding up well although many of the Chinook are beginning to turn dark. It is still a trolling game with 360 flashers and bait, Brad’s Super Baits, or spinners being the best bets. Bank anglers are mostly fishing bobber and bait. A few coho are mixing in with the Chinook. The Wind River continues to give up fish as well, with less angler congestion.

Klickitat River Fishing Report–Recent rains blew out the Klickitat River this week, according to Carl Coolidge of the Klickitat Canyon Market, (509-369-4400). The fishing had slowed because of low water before the rains hit, and the river went from about 600 CFS to over 1200 CFS nearly overnight, and turned the river brown. Action had slowed for Chinook, many of which are beginning to turn dark. The steelhead bite had also slowed. There were a few fish taken in the lower river before the rains hit.

Coolidge runs a shuttle service on the Klickitat, and offers a daily fishing report on the market’s website. He strongly suggests anglers call the Canyon Market before heading out to see if the river is in good condition.

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