Winter Steelhead Starting, But Between Good Action Right Now
Willamette Valley/Metro – With winter steelhead yet to show in good numbers, and salmon on the spawning grounds, metro anglers will have a little wait before fishing opportunities blossom again. There is some catch and release sturgeon fishing available, but with cold, wet weather in the region, few are participating.
This is the time of year to get your gear ready for when fishing does get good so you’re prepared when steelhead enter the Sandy and Clackamas in better numbers come January and February, and spring Chinook, shortly thereafter, flow into the Columbia and Willamette systems in February, March and April.
Trout fishing remains an option, but due to the pandemic, ODF&W isn’t posting stocking reports but popular lakes should have biters available.
Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports from the Sandy River, “Hello All. This week I can report that a small pod of winter steelhead have made it into the Sandy. I know a guy that hooked 4 fish and landed 2 with 1 being a hatchery fish weighing about 10 lbs. He said that he saw a couple more hooked but were not landed. These fish were caught mid stream on the river and should be making there way to the hatchery. The fish were caught on beads and worms. The river has been ideal color and height and will stay that way thru Friday and then it show the river taking a huge jump over the next couple of days, climbing up to 10.59 ft. Its supposed to rain for the next ten days putting some snow in the lower levels for the temp will be in the low 30’s to 40’s. With this rain I would fish entire river from the mouth to Cedar Creek. Please take precautions for yourself and others out there fishing for the river banks and boat ramps will be crowded, so please wear a mask.”
The Clackamas remains quiet as the last of the late-run wild coho make it past the counting facilities and winter steelhead have yet to make a robust showing. A significant river rise is slated for this system as well, which will likely put it out of reach for most anglers in the coming week. Following the rain freshet however, there should be a few fish nosing into the river and anglers fishing Meldrum Bar on the Willamette also stand a chance.
November was NSIA month, thanks for helping make our fundraising campaign a good one for the sportfishing community! You can still donate to NSIA by going HERE.
December is SOS month, as in Save Our Wild Salmon.
Save our Wild Salmon has been diligently working for over 25 years to recover Snake River Wild Salmon. Once recovered, a more robust Snake River salmon population will give Columbia River anglers unprecedented opportunity to catch hatchery fish in Oregon, Washington and Idaho, not to mention saving an iconic northwest species from going extinct.
The Guide’s Forecast has long been a partner in seeking solutions to the Snake River Salmon crisis and we’re donating 10% of our December sales to this wonderful organization. When you buy any of our products from The Guide’s Forecast, you’re also helping recover these incredible salmon for future generations of anglers so THANK YOU! Ten percent of all memberships, tech reports, webinars, tackle and guided fishing and crabbing trips sold through The Guide’s Forecast will go directly to helping SOS recover Snake River Wild Salmon!
We strongly encourage you to consider a direct gift to the Save Our Wild Salmon organization. You can do that directly by going HERE.
Thank you, and look for more updates on how to help save these salmon and create more opportunity for you, your family and our community as a whole.
North Coast Fishing Report – Reports from pro guide Rob Gerlitz (503-812-4950) indicate it’s not easy fishing on the Tillamook systems. Rob took a group down the Wilson on Wednesday, hooking and landing just a single wild winter steelhead for the day’s effort. Chinook seem to be largely done, for what few late runners there was.
District rivers are about to get a needed shot in the arm however, there should be some more biters entering the systems.
Other north coast favorites DO have winter steelhead, but action and success has been limited this week.
The North Fork Nehalem, Necanicum, Big and Gnat Creeks and the Klaskanine River along with Three Rivers are all options and not bad ones for anglers versed in low water tactics. Interest will grow following the upcoming rain freshet however, where each one of these systems will give us an indication of how the winter steelhead season overall should perform.
Lower Columbia River crabbing is excellent but a strong tide series over the weekend won’t be conducive to safe or productive crabbing. The commercial fleet goes in south of Cape Falcon starting on the 13th, but the lower Columbia should be exempt from this opener for the time being.
The ocean has been too rough to recreate in lately and that looks to be the same for the foreseeable future.
Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports – From avid angler Tim Moran:
Hello All, Sorry about the lack of reporting but I’ve been down and out with hip replacement surgery this last week but I’m back in the saddle (figuratively at least) this week with a winter report from the Cascades to SE Oregon to the SW Oregon’s Rogue River. It’s December – so it’s cold and the days are short but there are fish to be had for the hearty soul!
The Deschutes is hard to beat if you have a day or two to fish and maupin upstream to Warmsprings would be my go -to area, mostly because there is a good chance of catching a steelhead. The run was actually pretty good this year and was underfished due to all of 2020’s issues.
Trout fishing is good in winter too and nymphing takes most fish. I like to fish a larger dark stonefly with a smaller nymph behind it about 16inches.
Over on the Metolius Jeff form The Flyfisher’s Place in Sisters reported good fishing this last week in the sunshine but a turn in the weather is on the way with snow in the forecast! The main hatch this time of year is the BWO and fish were rising to them for about an hour in the mid afternoon.
The Crooked River is flowing at about 40 CFS. Low but fishable. There have been some really nice fish taken here lately with a few documented in the 16 to 18 inch class.
Prineville Reservoir – This place just keeps pumping out big trout!
The Owhyee River – Browns have about finished their spawn but please be careful as redds will be on the gravel so stay on shore or use extreme caution when walking. The fish will be looking for any bugs so small BWO’s or midges will be about at sometime during the day.
Have a great weekend everyone – hopefully you can all get out there and chase some fish!
SW Oregon (Report from Rogue Valley Anglers)
Umpqua and Rogue Rivers- Fishing has stayed pretty good on the Rogue, with the afternoons being better then the mornings due to rising water temps getting the steelhead more active. We are mostly running half or 3/4 day trips now, as it’s just not worth it to be out there at 8 AM. We have also seem some of our biggest summer steelhead start showing up like we always do later in the season.
We are starting to turn our attention to winter steelhead though, as they will start showing up in certain spots in decent numbers over the next few weeks. The mainstem Umpqua is always a good bet throughout December, and the coastal rivers will start seeing more fish by Christmas.
We have numerous great guides here at Rogue Valley Anglers Fly Shop, so give us a call to get out there and get your chrome fix on!
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.
Tributary steelhead trickling in, winter trout going strong
Vancouver Metro Area
A few late run coho are still being caught in local tributaries, but the runs are pretty much over. Winter steelhead are beginning to drift into the rivers, although only a few southwest Washington streams get early runs. The early shows in streams with late runs may be a sign that winter runs may be decent this year, although it is too early to tell as yet.
Lowland Lakes trout fishing is picking up just about everywhere, and trout stockings will get a boost over the next two weeks. Fishing has slowed pretty much everywhere for warm water species.
Lewis River and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report—There have been few reports from the Lewis River this past week, although winter steelhead are beginning to move into the river. A few late run coho have been taken during the past week, too, but few anglers are still targeting them, and many of the fish remaining are turning dark.
Bank anglers are drifting for the fish near the hatchery, or fishing bobber and jigs or bait. Boat anglers are finding just a few fish, too, mostly by bobber fishing. The North Fork Lewis does still get an early return of steelhead, but a shift to the Eagle Creek stock has changed the timing of the run a little bit. Instead of strong numbers showing up right now, as they used to in the past, the run is just getting started.
The Washougal River has seen some early catches of winter steelhead, according to John Thompson of Sportsman’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000. However, most of the fish that were being caught earlier have now moved upriver, where there is little public access. Recent creel surveys back that up, with seven bank anglers going fishless.
Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report—Merwin has fished slow this week for kokanee, while Yale has been fair to good. The fish are still holding near the surface, and flat-line trolling has been the best way to get them. Orange and pink have been effective colors, and corn has been the preferred offering.
Local Lakes Fishing Report—Klineline Pond received 2,000 catchable rainbows on December 1, and Lacamas Lake also received a December 1 planting of over 4,500 catchable rainbows. There are still plenty of the chunkier Black Friday trout biting in Klineline.
Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—Anglers continue to catch a few late run coho, although the action continues to slow, according to Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service (360-201-9313). He reports that there are very few coho left in the river, as evidenced by the hatchery only seeing a return of 709 coho adults this past week. Most of the recent action has been centered below the Barrier Dam, where 47 bank rods kept four coho, one coho jack, two cutthroat and released nine coho and five cutthroat. 1 boat/1 rod kept one coho jack.
The lower river is in better shape than it has been for a while, but fishing remains very slow. Creel surveys conducted in the lower river this week had 34 bank rods keeping one coho and releasing one coho. Two boats/four rods had no catch.
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
A few winter steelhead have been caught in the Kalama recently, but the numbers are still very low. The late coho run is now over, and the fishing pressure has dropped off considerably.
Local Lakes Fishing Report—Kress Lake has been very well stocked, but fishing has been hampered by heavy weeds, and the lake has been crowded. Silver Lake is fishing fair at best for crappie and yellow perch.
Columbia River Gorge
Local Lakes Fishing Report—Rowland Lake continues to produce good catches of sizable rainbow trout, with bank anglers taking the fish with worms or bait combos fished off the bottom. A few trout are also coming to hand for bankies throwing spinners. Boat anglers are getting fish on bait or trolled plugs. Horseshoe Lake is also doing well for trout.
You can check the WDFW trout plants website HERE for the latest stockings.
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!