Wet Weather Impeded Effort, Bonneville and The Dalles Pool Close for Sturgeon
Willamette Valley/Metro – With district rivers flooded for much of the week, there hasn’t been much angling pressure on the big systems. Steelhead are starting to show on the Sandy River however, with the Clackamas due to kick in as well this week.
The mainstem Columbia will remain a non-factor for about another month, when Willamette bound spring Chinook are more likely to be intercepted, albeit a challenging task. There should be some hatchery winter steelhead, destined for the Sandy and Clackamas systems, available for plunkers working lower Columbia River beaches when water conditions improve.
As we mentioned last week, the Bonneville and Dalles Pool sturgeon quotas have been consumed. Game over there, sorry about that.
The Willamette is a chocolatey mess. There may be some Clackamas-bound steelhead available for Meldrum Bar plunkers, but it may also be several days before waters clear enough to motivate what few biters are likely to swim by. If you go this weekend, plan on using heavy scent and milking baits for your best chance.
Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports from the Sandy River, “Hello All. Well it happened again. Huge rain storms hits the Hood and blew up the river. On Tuesday, we saw over 5 inches of rain fall on the mountain. The river was running at 10.03 ft on Monday morning and then the rain started Monday night and the river came up and is expected to go to 18.5 ft late Wednesday into Thursday. NOAA shows the river dropping quickly over the next couple of days with the freezing level dropping and slowing down the snow melt. The river could be fishable by Saturday or Sunday. Before this major rain event there were fish being caught through out the entire river.”
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The Clackamas should start to see some hatchery broodstock fish entering this weekend and next week. It may be Monday before it drops into shape, but I think the summer wildfires are certainly extinguished after this week’s deluge. It’s not uncommon to see a slow start and a strong finish, well into March for steelhead on the Clackamas.
As we’ve said before, winter trout opportunities in the Willamette Valley are often overlooked this time of year. This weekend may offer up some good opportunities for those that par-take.
North Coast Fishing Report – Following the flooding event earlier this week on the north coast, steelheaders should see some fair to good opportunities on the north coast for returning adults.
Smaller streams that harbor early returning steelhead will start to fade. Rivers such as the North Fork Nehalem, Necanicum, Three Rivers and the Klaskanine River, Big and Gnat Creek have peaked for fresh-run winter steelhead, but should have near spawning fish still available.
The Wilson showed promising signs early in the week, with some nice broodstock fish hitting the deck prior to the rapid river rise on Wednesday.
Quality hatchery fish were also starting to enter the Nestucca prior to the big event, and both the Wilson and Nestucca should start to fish decently by Saturday and Sunday respectively.
The Trask River is starting to see better numbers of wild fish enter for catch and release anglers, with an occasional hatchery stray appearing here as well.
The Alsea is about done with early returning fish, but quality broodstock steelhead should start showing in better numbers on this river, along with the Siletz when water conditions improve over the weekend. Broodstock steelhead fishing on both of these rivers will improve in February however.
The ocean remains dangerously rough although Thursday presented an opportunity for the commercial crab fleet to retrieve the season’s first catches after a long dry-dock period. That window won’t last long however as seas go back to buckin’ Thursday evening. It was a wild week on the Oregon coast.
Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports – From avid angler Tim Moran:
News this time of year can be tough to come by. There aren’t a lot of you out there because the fly shops aren’t updating their reports and my calls have gone mostly unanswered (maybe it’s me??? Nah…Just the winter doldrums)…But this should be a great weekend to hit the water because the weather is looking mighty warm (by winter standards) with highs in Central Oregon around 50. This is definitely going to trigger some bug hatches which should trigger some trout out of their winter slumber. And those temps are going to feel pretty nice on your face too!
The Crooked should be on your list. I’d say that is mostly because it’s usually freezing in the canyon and a little balmy weather should make fishing pleasant and bring out a BWO hatch and some cadis too. The Fall River has been pretty decent lately and should be a real good bet this weekend and into the week. There are some afternoon BWO and Midge hatches going from about 11 to 3.
The Lower Deschutes Checking in with a few of the guides that are still out there the reports of good winter fishing are there. The river doesn’t see much pressure and on a day (or days) like we are going to get this week – so it’s a great time to be out there with the river to yourself.
Prineville Reservoir is the place to go this weekend if you just want to chill, build a fire (where it’s legal) and catch trout. Boating is good – Trolling a wedding ring and a piece of worm behind a flasher in is catching really nice rainbows to 20 inches.
The report from out Joseph way is – The Imnaha, Grande Ronde and Wallowa rivers, are muddy this week I know this looks like my last report from there but this is as of yesterday. Good news – Clear skies are expected by this weekend and waters should drop into shape. There are still some steelhead around but picking your day will be the key to success.
That’s the report for this week! I hope that you all can get out there and have a great week. I’ll be trying to get on the Deschutes mid week so if you’re out come by and say hello! You and I will probably be the only one’s there!
SW Oregon – From the ODF&W web site:
Rivers and streams to fish this week:
- The Illinois River would be the places to go if you’re looking for a little solitude. The Illinois River has an earlier running winter Steelhead run than the Rogue and Applegate. The river should be dropping the rest of the week, and looks to be in good shape for the weekend. Fishing was slow last week, but some fish were caught. There are BLM access points along 8 Dollar Mountain Rd. outside of Kerby and Illinois River Rd. down to Miami Bar, accessed from Selma. 1/13/21
- Anglers have been enjoying some good success with winter steelhead in the Umpqua. 12/9/20
- Steelhead rivers in the Coos and Coquille basins are high and muddy, but some rivers should drop to fishable levels by the weekend. 1/6/21
- The rivers in the Umpqua might be a bit high to fish this weekend. But, the Smith and upper parts of the basin may be fishable and steelhead should definitely be around. 1/12/21
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!
Southwest Washington Fishing Update and Forecast
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 and wear a mask 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.
Steelhead slow as rivers flood, trout excellent in local lakes.
Vancouver Metro Area
High water has bedeviled most Local rivers, but they should be on the drop going into this weekend. However, steelheading has been slow just about everywhere. Early runs in local rivers have been poor, and it is beginning to look like another lackluster year for winter fish.
Local lakes are shining for winter trout, and the state continues to plant out trophy-sized brooder rainbows as well as plenty of catchable rainbows.
Sturgeon fishing in the pools above Bonneville was excellent to the point that The Dalles and Bonneville Pools have already maxed out their quotas and have closed to retention.
Lewis and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report–The North Fork Lewis River continues to give up just a few steelhead each week. With the usual peak of the run behind us, it is now clear that the run has underperformed this year. A few fish have been caught on most days, but the catch has been poor to fair at best.
Bank anglers at the hatchery have taken fish by plunking, bobber fishing, and drifting. Boat anglers have found a few fish by bobber fishing, pulling plugs, and fishing beads.
The Washougal has fished decent in the first few days after the river comes back into shape following a freshet, according to John Thompson of Sportsman’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000. However, the fish are moving through the lower river rather quickly and rolling right up to the upper river where there is little to no public access. Drifting with Corkies or bait has taken a number of fish, and other methods can work as well.
Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report—Fishing for kokanee picked up this week in both reservoirs, according to Stacie Kelsey of the WDFW Inland Fishes Program. Not all anglers are doing well, though, according to Thompson. His reports indicate that some fishers are doing very well, while others have struggled. The schools are close to the surface, so flat-line trolling had been effective.
Local Lakes Fishing Report—both Battle Ground Lake and Klineline Pond were recently stocked with catchable sized rainbow trout, and a few of the large brood trout have also been caught recently. In both lakes Powerbait has been effective, but other baits and spinners have been working as well. For the latest trout stockings, check the WDFW stocking webpage HERE.
Cowlitz and Kalama Rivers Fishing Report—A few winter steelhead have been caught in the Cowlitz recently, and a few continue to arrive at the hatchery. However, fishing is still poor overall. Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service (360-201-9313), reported catching some steelhead this week, but he said many other anglers went skunked. Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered only 25 winter-run steelhead adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
Above the I-5 Bridge, creel surveyors counted 30 bank rods with no catch. 11 boats/31 rods kept five steelhead and released two cutthroat. Below the I-5 Bridge, 24 bank rods kept one steelhead and released one steelhead. Bank anglers have been drifting bait or Corkies and fishing bobber and jigs, beads, or bait. High flows have often pushed the fish near the bank this week.
The Kalama River has been blown out recently, and there have been few anglers on the water. Before the heavy rains some anglers were finding winter steelhead in the upper river. Steelhead here have been taking plugs, as well as jigs, bait, and drifted gears. Hardware has also been working. However, fishing was rated as only fair.
Local Lakes Fishing Report—Kress Lake was stocked this week with 2,000 catchable rainbows and has been fishing very well. Lake Sacajawea continues to fish very well for catchable rainbows, larger rainbows, and even some trophy-sized brood trout. A few crappie are being taken at Silver Lake. Coho fishing at Riffe Lake has been very good, and anglers are also getting some trout.
Columbia River GorgeLocal Lakes Fishing Report—Rowland Lake is still fishing very well for trout, with both bank and boat anglers finding biters. Worms, Powerbait, salmon eggs, and spinners have all been taking fish. A few of the trophy-sized brood trout have also been landed. Little Ash Lake and Icehouse Lake are both fishing very well, with anglers getting bites on a wide variety of baits, including Powerbait, spinners, worms, and cocktail shrimp.
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!