Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update

Willamette Valley/Metro – With only a few fish still going over Bonneville Dam, along with fall-like, some would say winter-like weather piling in, interest is tapering for mainstem action. A few dark Chinook remain in the Bonneville reach and anglers fishing near the mouth of the Klickitat have about another week of opportunity for fresh run coho in that reach. We’re in waiting mode for spring Chinook, still months away.

The Willamette is about done for coho as well although we may start seeing Meldrum Bar plunkers out for late season coho and hopeful for an early-run winter steelhead. Winter steelhead won’t start showing in earnest until late January however.

The Clackamas remains high and colored, which makes for great migration conditions for late-returning coho that should be in the system. With most of the hatchery coho banging down the doors at the Eagle Creek Hatchery, anglers aren’t very motivated for catch and release opportunities. That leaves plenty of room for those fishing for the sport of it, to go out and pursue what should be fair to good numbers of late returning fish in the mainstem Clackamas.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports, “Hello All. Well this week we saw the river jump up to over 12.34ft and it has slowly dropped to just above 10.7ft. The weather forecast shows more rain today with Friday and Saturday being mostly dry with rain showing up for the rest of the week. Thursday night, the river will take another spike going up over 11.3 ft and then slowly dropping to about 10 ft on Monday and will slowly go up and down thru next Friday.  The river is running milk chocolate and will turn a milky color green and possibly turning off color brown and then should turn steelhead green by mid week unless the rain forecast changes. I was out by the river on Sunday and I saw a few guys out in the lower river plunking. The river was ripping at 12.34ft and when its that high, fish close to the bank and use as much scent as you can and fresh bait works well as gel scent on lures.”

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North Coast Fishing Report – Fall Chinook fishing on the north coast remain bleak. On Thursday, only the Kilchis was in good enough shape for the driftboat fleet to deploy upon and most anglers came up short while pursuing Chinook. A lot of incidental chum salmon were caught and released however, a good sign that there’s a good return of those challenged fish.

Most north coast rivers remained too high for productive fishing much of this week, and inclement weather kept anglers from getting motivated on Tillamook Bay itself. It’s been a challenging month on one of Oregon’s favorite November systems, and other nearby watersheds have suffered the same depressed returns.

The ocean has been upside down as well with a possible window of opportunity over the weekend although it still doesn’t look comfortable.

Bay crabbing has slowed with the exception of the lower Columbia, where weekend tides look favorable for success. Watch that east wind however, it can creep up at any time.

Look for our popular river-by-river reports and FORECAST in the full version of our report. Subscribe to the weekly edition for just $24.95/year HERE!

Jeff Whalen from Beaverton with a November 19th fall Chinook from the Kilchis River,
guided by Pro Guide Chris Vertopoulos. Check out his webinar this Tuesday HERE!

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports – From avid angler Tim Moran and repeat from last week:

Hello all!  Remember what I said about Central and Eastern Oregon shaking off the coming winter for another week…well that’s done because it promises to be a wild weekend with low snow levels and lots of wind and precipitation.  On lousy days the one thing you can count on is the Metolius River will be in shape and fishable, even if the weather isn’t! Last week fishing was pretty decent from Allingham to the 99 bridge. 

On the Crooked  River, Fishing is good on small nymphs too.   

The Deschutes River is where I would spend my time and I’d fish the Maupin area and up around South Junction or Trout Creek. 

Want a great place to fish, flies, bait, hardware or troll for big trout?  There may not be a better place than Prineville Reservoir!  I got a report yesterday that some regulars were getting some really big rainbows bank fishing near the dam…

Over on the Imnaha River steelhead are in the river from its confluence with the Snake to Cow creek and above.  The fishing has been spotty with good reports – 2 to 3 fish per day, to slow the next. 

A check in with Joseph Fly Shoppe –  reported the Grande Ronde River, was producing fish in the Troy area and fishing in the Snake River near the confluence was good with one guide reporting 5 to 10 fish days for his clients.

SW Oregon – From the ODF&W Recreation Report

Anglers have been catching fall Chinook in the Chetco, Elk, Sixes and Winchuck rivers, where water conditions have been excellent.

The Rogue in Grants Pass peaked at 3,000 cfs this week and has been dropping since. There is a slight bump forecast for later in the week but for the most part the river is dropping steadily and turbidity at 4NTU. Closer to Medford, there will be likely more color in the water from both Little Butte Creek and Bear Creek and some of the effects from recent fires.  he river upstream of Shady Cove is not blown out at all, and there should be hatchery Steelhead and hatchery Coho available. The Rogue River and tributaries above Lost Creek Reservoir are open year-round. With the weather report calling for snow, the water temps will be extremely cold. Trout were stocked weekly from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Target calmer pools and pocket water for resting trout.

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!

Rivers blow out as late run coho start winding down

Covd-19 Update—With the Covid-19 virus spiking in Washington State, anglers are reminded to please fish only with members of their own household, avoid crowded areas, and use social distancing to protect themselves and others from the disease. No one wants a return to last spring’s lockdowns, so please do your part to make sure fishing and hunting remain open statewide.

Vancouver Metro Area

Heavy rains have blown most of the rivers out in southwest Washington, even as the late run of coho is pushing through. With more heavy rains forecast before the weekend, the larger tributaries may well be un-fishable. Smaller rivers may clear out enough to be fished by the weekend.

Trout fishing is improving across the region, and soon the local lakes will be stocked ahead of the Black Friday trout event. There are still a few opportunities for warm water fishing, consisting mostly of crappie. 

Strong salmon returns this fall are a result of improved ocean conditions, according to many scientists, although all is not well yet in the Pacific. For a complete story on the most recent available ocean data, check out the latest article by Terry Otto in the Columbian Newspaper online HERE.

Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report—Fishing was improving for late run coho in the North Fork Lewis River just before the rains arrived in force. Boat anglers have out-fished bank anglers this week, with WDFW recording that 64 bank anglers released one Chinook and four coho. 11 boats/29 rods kept six Chinook, five coho, two coho jacks and released three Chinook and three coho.

Twitching jigs has been the most popular method all fall, but bank anglers are also fishing with drift gear, or bobber and bait. The river has seen heavy angler pressure all autumn long, and that has continued to be the case this week.  

The Washougal River was blown out with the recent rain, so there are few reports from the river, according to John Thompson of Sportsmen’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000. There had been some success for late run coho and even a few winter steelhead before the river rose, especially in the lower three miles.

Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report—kokanee fishing dropped off at Merwin Lake over the last week, according to WDFW’s Stacie Kelsey. Recent rains have dirtied the water a little bit, but the kokes continue to bite at Yale Lake. The fish are staying high in the water column, and anglers are mostly flat-line trolling for their fish.

Local Lakes Fishing report—Klineline Pond has been good this past week for trout, and Battle Ground Lake is giving up some holdover trout, too. Both lakes will soon be getting stocked ahead of the Black Friday Trout opener.

Longview Area

Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—The lower Cowlitz is in poor condition following the recent heavy rains. The Toutle River has been dumping dirty water into the Cowlitz, and it is unlikely that it will clear out anytime soon. However, guide Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service (360-201-9313), reports that the upper river is fishable, but the action for coho has slowed. He believes the late run has pushed out of the lower river into the upper reaches, but the run also seems to be tailing off. Still, during the latest WDFW creel survey, 30 bank anglers above the I-5 Bridge kept 13 coho, one steelhead, two cutthroat and released 18 coho, one coho jack and two cutthroat. 2 boats/4 rods had no catch.

The Kalama also blew out with the rain, but before that fishing had slowed. WDFW surveyed four bank anglers with no catch, and one boat with three rods had no catch. The late run never seemed to get any steam on the Kalama, after a pretty good run of early fish. The coho have been taking a wide variety of baits, according to Thompson. Jigs, bait, and plugs have all been taking fish.

You can check the full Tacoma Power Cowlitz River Report HERE. You can check river flows and lake levels, including for Mayfield and Riffe Lakes, HERE

Local Rivers Fishing report—Mayfield Lake is still good for trout, and Riffe Lake continues to give up some very nice coho. Silver Lake is good for crappie, but some days the schools are not holding in the channels, and anglers have had to search for them at times. Anglers are also reminded that crappie must be at least nine inches long in Silver Lake, and you can only keep 10 fish. Crappie are also being caught in the east end of Lake Sacajawea.

Columbia River Gorge

Klickitat River Fishing Report—Even with the recent rain the river has stayed in good condition and anglers have continued to catch steelhead in the upper sections, and a few late run coho down in the gorge, according to Carl Coolidge of the Klickitat Canyon Market, (509-369-4400). Coolidge, who offers a shuttle service and a fishing report on the market website, said the freeze level in the mountains is low enough that the Klickitat should stay in good condition.Local Lakes Fishing Report—Rowland Lake has been producing some hold over trout. The lake will be well-stocked with 2,000 rainbows at almost one per pound over the next week in preparation for the Black Friday fishery.

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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