Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update

Winter Steelhead Yet To Show In Metro Areas, Available On The Coast However

Willamette Valley/Metro – Catch and release sturgeon on the Willamette River are becoming one of the only choices for Willamette River anglers. Trout fishing remains an option in many metro lakes however, although few find the motivation when the weather gets cold. Spring Chinook are still 2 months away, but some of the more serious anglers think about them 12 months out of the year.

Clackamas River anglers may still pursue late-run coho, but the hatchery option has all but gone. It’s still early for later returning broodstock winter steelhead, but anglers remain hopeful for a good return. Winter steelhead often mimic coho returns so prospects have anglers excited. Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports, “Hello All. This weeks report has fish being caught all throughout the entire river. Coho have slowed down but can still be had in the upper river, Oxbow Park up to Cedar Creek. I haven’t heard of any winter steelhead being caught yet but it’s just about to start. There is some fall Chinook in the river as well and there is a chance to hook up but they must be released. I floated the other day and hooked one very dark fish on a plug by accident. If you plan to fish Oxbow section of the river, the county had posted some signs for bank anglers that certain portions of the river is close to angling for its spawning area and they don’t wont you to walk on the redds. I had contacted ODFW and asked if they had placed any signs saying no fishing area. The state said they hadn’t posted any signs and this was the first they heard about this. The county can post signs for bank anglers and those who fish from a boat can continue to fish. If you see these signs check to see if they have dates posted on them and must be followed. Most of the guys that I talked with were saying that they were catching most of their fish on beads sizes 10 – 14 mm.”

Bob Rees with a Wilson River winter steelhead from Monday, December 1st, 2020

The Kilchis still has a few late running bright Chinook, but it is also inundated with chum salmon. A nice change from previous years. 

The North Fork Nehalem is seeing returning fish with the hatchery working about 30 adults from the trap recently.

Three Rivers and the Necanicum, as well as Big Creek all have steelhead starting to return but water conditions are low and clear, making success spotty.

Bay crabbing is improving on many coastal estuaries but don’t expect limits, they are hard to come by.

The ocean has been too rough to recreate in lately and that looks to be the same for the foreseeable future.

Crabbing on the lower Columbia remains excellent, and a small tide exchange is happening this weekend but strong winds may hamper your safety and success. None-the-less, limits are possible if you pay attention to your gear and it’s safe to go out. 

The ocean will remain angry for the foreseeable future. The commercial crabbing season is on hold, which could give the recreational fleet some great opportunity if the ocean weather calms down. 

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!

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.  The 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!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.

Blake Ramsey with Black Friday trout from Rowland Lake-photo Buzz Ramsey

Tributaries slow, awaiting steelhead. Winter trout going strong everywhere.

Vancouver Metro Area

The Columbia and its tributaries are slowing down as the late runs of coho tail off, ending the fall salmon runs, and the early steelhead have yet to show in force. Winter trout fishing is really heating up after lakes were stocked ahead of the Black Friday trout fishery. Even lakes that have not been stocked yet this year are producing hold-over trout in good numbers.

Lewis and Washougal River Fishing Report—Fishing in the Lewis has really dropped off this last week, even though a few late run coho will be caught well into December. Most of the coho still in the river are turning dark and not biting. What Chinook and coho there are in the river are still biting twitched jigs, and bait fished below a bobber. What action is left has been centered around the hatchery, since that is where the fish are concentrated enough to find the few biters left.

There have been few reports from the Washougal River, where the salmon runs are all but over. The river has been producing a few winter steelhead that are taking drifted baits or Corkies. The fish have been caught in the lower three miles of the river, where the best access is to be found.

Merwinand Yale Lakes Fishing Report—Both lakes are giving up kokanee, but reports indicate that Yale Lake has been the most consistent over the last couple weeks. Anglers at both lakes are mostly flat-line trolling for the kokanee, but this is the time of year when jigging works well, too. The fish are hanging out near the surface, so a hundred feet of line off the reel and a little weight are all that is needed right now. Anglers in Merwin are reportedly catching some very nice-sized rainbow trout as well. 

Local Lakes Fishing report—The lakes that were stocked with trout ahead of the Black Friday Fishing Event have been fishing very well. However, Klineline Pond has been very crowded, so anglers worried about social distancing should probably pick another location. Battle Ground is fishing very well, too. It has also been somewhat crowded, but the lake offers more room to spread out.

Longview Area

Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing report—According to Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service (360-201-9313), high water pulled most of the last late run coho into the hatchery last week, when almost 5,000 adult coho checked in. Fishing slowed following this exodus, although anglers were doing quite well before that. This week the number of coho returns dropped to about 1,000. In all, Tacoma Power employees recovered 1,025 coho adults, 228 coho jacks, 90 cutthroat trout, six winter-run steelhead adults, two summer-run steelhead adults, and one fall Chinook adult during four days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the most recent WDFW creel surveys, below the I-5 Bridge three bank rods had no catch. Above the I-5 Bridge 53 bank rods kept two coho, eight cutthroat and released one coho jack, one steelhead and 18 cutthroat. 6 boats/18 rods kept one coho, one cutthroat and released one coho.

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

The Kalama did give up a few big late run coho this week but here the run is tailing off as well. The high-water last week did allow some hatchery adult coho to move above the fish collection weir, and that may have led to the short mini-bite.

Local Lakes Fishing Report—Mayfield Lake is still fishing well for rainbow trout, and there are hold-over trout biting at Sacajawea and Horseshoe Lakes. Riffe Lake is still producing coho. Crappie, yellow perch, and even a few decent largemouth bass have been biting at Silver Lake, although the fish are not schooling in the channels as usual, and anglers are having to search for the fish.

Columbia River Gorge

Drano Lake, the Wind River, and the Klickitat River are all done for the year.

Local Lakes Fishing report—Rowland Lake has been producing decent trout fishing, both for newly stocked rainbow trout and for hold-over trout. Many of the fish are being taken from shore by anglers fishing bait along the bottom, and by casting spinners. Boat fishermen are getting the fish on trolled lures or on bait, and Berkley Trout Worms.

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 weekSIGN UP NOW!

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