Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update

Fisheries Opening Back Up; Sturgeon, Halibut, Springers, Steelhead and Maybe Even Sturgeon On the Table and don’t forget, Free Fishing Weekend June 6-7: No special events this year, but it’s still free to fish. See the full press release HERE.

Willamette Valley/Metro – Catch rates on the Willamette jumped just a bit this week, with better catches in the Multnomah Channel than the previous week, similar results in the middle river and for the first time in 10 weeks, NO fish were caught (wild or hatchery) in the Oregon City to Oak Grove RRX reach of the Willamette for just over 200 angler “attempts.” The bite is expectedly slowing and shad effort and catch is on the increase in the Oregon City area. River temperatures are at 64 degrees so fish are migrating, and gear-fouling moss is a flowin’.

The Columbia River remains open to hatchery steelhead and sockeye salmon. You can see more detailed regulations HERE. The quick summary was provided by ODF&W’s biologist Jimmy Watts. He recorded these numbers, “During May 25-31, steelhead anglers on the lower Columbia made 3,525 trips and caught 142 adult Chinook (released), 169 summer steelhead (161 kept and eight released), and 26 sockeye (kept).” Almost as productive for spring Chinook as for summer steelhead. The only thing harder than releasing a spring Chinook, is releasing a hatchery spring Chinook. There’s been some of that lately.

Shad numbers are jumping at Bonneville Dam, we’re entering peak season for this explosive fishery. The sockeye salmon run is beginning to peak as well, and anglers are allowed to retain them downstream of the I-5 Bridge. Again, check Columbia River regulations HERE.

Clackamas River creel checks remain sparse, as the river just opened back up. That said however, the Clackamas creel check showed NO spring Chinook from the boat (142 anglers) or bank fisheries (401 anglers), but 14 summer steelhead were retained by bank anglers last week. Many boat ramps are opened on June 1st, although Carver Boat Ramp is expected to remain closed until mid-June due to construction projects. HERE is a more complete list, but Barton Park opened June 1st so fishing reports are becoming more available.

HERE is the state-wide status list of open and closed state parks.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports, “Hello All. I do have some news for you. Lewis and Clark opened on Wednesday, both the boat ramp and the park. Also Dabney is open but the park is opening around 8am and closes at 8pm. I fished the last couple of days and had no luck. I have heard of some fish being caught from Oxbow up to Dodge Park. Summer steelhead and springers are making up the mixed bag. If you plan to fish, make sure that you are fishing Oxbow Park and upper river for the warm weather has caused all the splash and gigglers to show up in large crowds.”

With spring Chinook and summer steelhead in the Sandy River, NOW is a great time to book a trip with Pro guide Jeff Stoeger. Call him today at (503-704-7920).

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Pro Guide Jeff Stoeger with a large Sandy River steelhead. Call Jeff to book a trip at (503-704-7920)

The trout stocking schedule remains hidden on the ODF&W web site to keep masses from gathering, but rest assured, you’re favorite lake or reservoir has likely been stocked. As temperatures warm, these fisheries will slow so now is the time to go.

See the full version of Jeff’s, Tim’s and Bob’s reports by becoming a paid member here. It’s just $0.50 cents per week!

North Coast Fishing Report – We’re still in peak season for spring Chinook on Tillamook Bay and spring Chinook are being caught. The upper bay produced fair catches of springers on both trolled spinners and herring. We’re on another set of strong tides, making the upper bay the best option for weekend spring Chinook on Tillamook Bay. I’ve frankly been pleasantly surprised with the level of success Tillamook Bay anglers have been experiencing this year. It’s not great, but it’s not dismal either.

District rivers saw a slight bump in river levels over the weekend and although only slight increases were witnessed, after such a prolonged period of low water, any rise is significant. Darker skies likely was the bigger factor and spring Chinook in the Trask and summer steelhead in the Wilson and Nestucca were found by a few savvy anglers. There has also been some effort at the mouth of the Nestucca Bay with a few fish being caught. Anglers are becoming frustrated by the number of seals “interacting” with line-hooked Chinook in the area. Bring your paint-ball guns people! There’s nothing more frustrating than hooking a high valued spring Chinook, only to have it taken off the line by a cheating harbor seal.

Bottomfishing remains excellent, but lingcod have become a bit harder to find in the nearshore. The seasonal 40-fathom depth line is now in effect through August. No bottomfishing outside of 40-fathoms. More bottomfish regulations can be found HERE.

Fishery managers will meet early next week to discuss lower Columbia River sturgeon fishing options. The option list won’t be robust because catch rates are likely to be good as we enter peak season for catches. A season opener, although it may only be one or two days, seems very possible.

No all-depth halibut fishing this weekend, but the nearshore remains open. Newport and Charleston are neck and neck in poundage production, but I bet dollars to donuts that effort is much higher out of Newport, making the Charleston catch-per-unit of effort more attractive.

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports

From our friend Tim Moran:

Deschutes River – The salmon flies were being keyed on this week after the river cleared somewhat. Fishing was best from warm springs to below S. Junction. 

Metolius River – Green Drakes and Yellow Sallies were all the rage this week. Dry fly action was good from the canyon to Allingham. 

Crooked River- Flows are good and fishing is great. The weather might be a bit ugly but not as bad as last week when t-storms ravaged the area.

Wallowa Lake – Got several reports that fishing for kokanee was very good with lots of limits but only a few big fish the lake is known for.   Fish were taken on the usual gear in 15 to 30 ft.

The weather this weekend looks pretty iffy…the good news is it might keep the crowds down.

Tight lines y’all!

From ODF&W

ODF&W is putting the fishing reporting on hiatus for a few weeks so nothing to report this week.

Southwest – From ODF&W

ODF&W is putting the fishing reporting on hiatus for a few weeks so nothing to report this week.

SW Washington –  From the WDF&W web site, it looks like the agency is back in the creel checking business. Here is what they had to report from May 19th:

Fishery Reports:

Help is HERE!

Terry Otto has produced a hybrid SW Washington fishing report for us this week. Hybrid in the sense that it’s a mix between what free subscribers will get to view and what paid subscribers will get to view in the months ahead. This is a Terry Otto “teaser,” and he’s off to an excellent start! Enjoy this quality information from Terry this week and he’ll continue to provide quality content for many years ahead (we hope)! It’s a LOT of information to digest, but a sign of what’s ahead when we work with Terry! Thanks Terry!

If you like what you see, send it to your friends in SW Washington and let us know how Terry did on his first week of the job! You can email us at bob@theguidesforecast.com or Terry at orotto@wavecable.com. Your SW Washington fishermen can sign up for our FREE reports HERE or become a paid member to get even more quality fishing information HERE.

The Guides Forecast/ Southwest Washington

This is a free fishing weekend in Washington

June 6th and 7th are free fishing days in the state of Washington, but managers are still asking everyone to recreate responsibly. Anglers will need to follow state guidelines and health advice for the COVID-19 pandemic by fishing in their local communities, traveling only with family or other members of their immediate household, and practicing physical distancing by keeping six feet apart.

Anglers should also check ahead of time if their preferred destination or launch is open, and anglers should be prepared to change plans if their first choice is closed or too congested. 

While no licenses are required, other rules, such as size and bag limits, are still in effect. Always check the regulations before fishing.

Coastal halibut and razor clamming are still closed.

Non-resident sales are no longer suspended, although anglers from out of state can fish in Washington this weekend for free.

Anglers will not need a two-pole endorsement to fish with two poles in selected waters where two-pole fishing is permitted. Also, no vehicle access pass or Discover Pass will be required during Free Fishing Weekend to park at water-access sites maintained by WDFW or Washington State Parks.  
It is important to note that a Discover Pass will be required on Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ lands both days. 

Covid-19 Updates

For a complete list of updates and reports concerning the Covid-19 pandemic, visit the WDFW Covid-19 webpage HERE.

Vancouver metro Area

A North Fork Lewis River steelhead (photo Terry Otto)

Vancouver metro area

Most fishing in the Vancouver Metro Area is now open, and all WDFW and state park boat ramps are open, with the exception of the ramp at Battle Ground Lake. Recent rains have lifted most of the tributaries, and that should mean fresh steelhead entering the rivers.

Lewis River

The winter steelhead run is over. With the river closed to spring Chinook retention, anglers here are now looking for summer steelhead. Bank anglers are targeting the area at the Lewis River Hatchery in Woodland, but fishing has been slow.

The river is on the rise and is not expected to crest until late next week. It should top out at about 15 feet. The influx should bring in fresh steelhead, but the fishing may not improve until the river starts to drop.

Tacoma Power has reopened its boat launches and day use areas along the Lewis River, Lake Merwin, and other lakes. Restroom facilities will be available at the boat launches and open day-use areas.

Washougal River

According to John Thompson of The Sportsman’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360-604-800), anglers are getting a few summer steelhead in the Washougal, but the fishing has been slower than normal for this time of year.

Lake Merwin

The WDFW reports that kokanee fishing in Merwin has been good, and anglers that know how to fish the lake are getting their limits, although some days it takes longer to get the fish. The kokanee have been of a good sized.

However, the schools have not stabilized as far as depth goes, and anglers are having to experiment with different depths to find the schools each day. When the weather finally stabilizes the schools may become more predictable.

Yale Lake

The kokanee in Yale Lake are really coming on strong, according to the WDFW, and the fish are very nice sized.  While not as big as the kokanee in Merwin, they are larger than usual for Yale. Depth is a question mark as it is in Merwin, and anglers here will need to experiment to find the fish.  

Swift Reservoir

Local anglers are finding trout in the shallow water near shore, although the bite has been on and off, and some sections of the lake are producing better than others. Coho and Chinook are biting well in the deeper parts of the lake.

Swift Power Canal

The canal was stocked with 1,566Rainbow trout at 1.7 per pound on May 20, but fishing has been a little slow so far.

Klineline Pond

Fishing for trout has been excellent, but the lake has been very crowded. Anglers concerned about social distancing should probably fish elsewhere.

The lake was stocked with 5,100 rainbows at 2.1 per pound on April 29. It was also stocked with 3,866 cutthroat trout at 2.4 per pound on April 27.

Battle Ground Lake

The lake was stocked with 2,333 rainbows at 2.3 per pound on May 18. On May 26th the lake was stocked with 2,138 rainbows at about 2 fish per pound. While the park is now open, the boat launch and dock are being renovated, and will not open until the end of June.

Lacamas Lake

This lake was stocked with 3,000 rainbows at 1.8 per pound on April 28. On May 27th the lake was stocked with 175 large rainbow trout at 1.5 per pound. The WDFW reports that fishing the lake for trout has been surprisingly good. Largemouth bass and large yellow perch are also being taken.

Longview Area

Cowlitz River

Winter steelhead hatchery returns to the river were surprisingly good, coming very close to the ten-year average, while the wild run was a little below the ten-year average.

With spring Chinook retention closed, and the winter runs of steelhead fading away, anglers are now targeting summer steelhead. Thompson at Vancouver’s Sportsman’s Warehouse has heard reports that steelheading has been fair. Anglers targeting the Blue Creek area are doing the best.

While anglers are catching some steelhead, the numbers are still low, and most anglers and guides feel the fishing will improve in about two or three weeks. Most anglers are bobber dogging or side drifting

It is too early to tell how strong the summer run will be this year, but the decent return of winter fish could bode well. 

The river peaked recently at about 13 feet at Kelso, and is expected to drop and stabilize by this weekend. Thompson thinks fishing will improve as the river drops.

For the Tacoma Power Cowlitz River report, and the full list of reopened facilities along the Cowlitz, check HERE.

Kalama River

Although the river has attracted a lot of fishermen trying to catch springers, Fishing for spring Chinook continues to be very slow. However, Thompson reports that the steelheading has been very good at times. He received reports that fishermen did very well there for a few days, but then the fishing turned off.

During a recent WDFW creel survey, 32 bank anglers had no catch.  6 boats/12 rods kept only one steelhead.   

Horseshoe Lake

The lake was stocked with 3,000 rainbows at 2.5 per pound on April 28. On May 5th the lake was stocked with 2,500 rainbows at 2.5 per pound and 50 big rainbows at 0.4 per pound. Fishing has been excellent.

Kress Lake

Kress was stocked with 2,760 rainbows at 2.4 per pound on May 3rd, 2,875 brown trout at 2.5 per pound on May 4th, and 2,512 rainbows at 2.4 per pound on May 6th. Trout fishing has been very good

Sacajawea Lake

Sacajawea was planted with 2,400 rainbows at 2.4 fish per pound on May 3. The lake was also planted on April 29 with 25 rainbows at 0.15 per pound, or about 8 to 10 pounds each, and another 175 rainbows at 0.4 per pound, or about two to three pounds apiece. 

According to Cody Clark of Bob’s Sporting Goods, (360-425-3870), trout fishing has been very good here, with the fish responding well to Berkley Power Garlic Eggs.

Columbia River Gorge

Drano Lake and the Wind River closed to all salmon and steelhead angling as of June 1. Fishing for spring Chinook had started to slow down.

Klickitat River

During a recent WDFW creel survey, below the Fisher Hill Bridge eight bank anglers kept one Chinook.

Goose Lake

The lake was stocked heavily recently with rainbows and cutthroat trout and fishing should be excellent. However, some days the bite reportedly has been fair to poor.

Stockings include 1,500 rainbows at 2.15 per pound and 25 rainbows at 0.3 per pound on May 19. Another 2,000 rainbows at 1.5 per pound, and 5,427 cutthroats at 2.2 per pound were stocked out on May 20. On May 21, an additional 6,000 cutthroats were planted in at 2.2 per pound.

The most recent stocking came on May 27, when 999 rainbows were stocked at 1.8 per pound.

Rowland Lake

Trout fishing is slowing down, but panfish are beginning to bite.

Terry is looking forward to extending his writing career with us here at The Guide’s Forecast. His style and accuracy will be a welcome SW Washington addition to an already reliable resource for fishing reports and forecasts in the Pacific Northwest. If you wish to contact Terry directly, email him at orotto@wavecable.com.