Spring Chinook Make A Strong Showing, Coastal Steelhead On The Skids
Willamette Valley/Metro – After a good week for spring Chinook on the mainstem Willamette, the bite has slowed. Catches were well represented across all reaches of the lower Willamette, but anglers are struggling as of late. Steelhead passage at Willamette Falls, mostly wild fish, has also been unimpressive as of late. Sturgeon fishing is good on the Willamette, also a catch and release fishery.
Although a few spring Chinook were caught on the mainstem Columbia in February, biologists have yet to tally one for March as of the 7th. That will change soon, but it doesn’t look like the “black chins,” springers largely destined for Idaho, have made a strong showing just yet. Those springers also have a deeper red flesh than the Willamette fish as well.
Clackamas River steelheaders continue to struggle for results with few hatchery fish available. Wild fish will make a stronger showing this month and well into April, but despite ideal water conditions, anglers are still coming up short compared to year’s past.
Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports, “Hello All. I hope that everyone is doing well. This week we saw the river take a small bump and there were fish caught throughout the river. Oxbow Park was a good place to fish from the bank. There were very few anglers over the weekend with a few boats and rafts floating from Oxbow Park to Dabney. Most of the bank guys have been fishing beads, spinners, jigs and worms under a float. Dabney to the mouth has fresh fish showing up but not in great numbers. The number of fish have been disappointing as we should’ve seen more fish. I have seen photos of a couple of native fish from friends that fish regularly but hatchery fish are hard to come by.”
See more of Jeff’s report by becoming a paid member HERE!
North Coast Fishing Report – It’s been a tough week for steelheaders working north coast systems. With dropping and clearing river systems, fish are a bit more timid and fewer fresh ones are showing up in the catches.
The Wilson has produced fair at best most recently, and plenty of anglers would even call that a generous assessment. One guide reporting going 3 for 5 last weekend, but that was a rare good day, with 2 of the 3 being hatchery take home keepers. It’s been a struggle as of late.
The Nestucca system has produced even poorer results, with numerous boats drawing blanks after putting in a good effort, and I mean NUMEROUS boats. The water conditions are better than that on the Wilson, the fish simply aren’t there. Apparently, there is also a harbor seal to “seal the deal,” and make it even that much more challenging in finding a willing biter.
The Siletz has cooled, but still may be one of the better bets on the north coast. The lower reaches are producing better now that flows have subsided and water clarity is improving. The Alsea remains slow.
The Trask has also slowed and anglers are calling for more rain, which doesn’t look to be in the forecast anytime soon. There should be some sizeable wild fish entering into the Trask when the next rain freshet arrives.
Other smaller systems are too low to have high expectations. The Kilchis, Necanicum, NF Nehalem and Three Rivers will all be poor prospects this weekend.
The Nehalem may be a great option under this water regime. The entire river should have fair numbers of fish present, as anglers need to keep in mind however, the depressed return of adults this season. The Nehalem won’t be exempt from witnessing these compromised returns. It will however, be in ideal shape this weekend.
The ocean is finally giving up a bounty of bottomfish for the anglers engaged in this opportunity. I’m going out tomorrow (Friday) and plan on fresh fish tacos for Friday night! Hopefully the lingcod are as cooperative as the bass are likely to be. The 2021 bag limit is 6 fish per person and HERE are the other regulations you have to pay attention to. It should be good fishing on Friday, and Saturday morning as well before the winds kick up in the afternoon.
Ocean crabbing may be fair, estuary crabbing remains hit or miss although the crab are in great shape!
Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports – From avid angler Tim Moran (same as last week):
Hello everyone! As mentioned often -This time of year the fishing forecast is tied to the weather forecast. Tomorrow (Friday) looks bleak with snow and rain with a high around 39 but Saturday is okay and Sunday looks like your best day as temps are around 40 with partly sunny skies! The rest of the week is ‘meh” but you go when you can…right!? The news from most rivers didn’t change much from last week’s report but I do have a personal report from the Deschutes where I got out with fishing legend (in his own mind) Greg Haase, on the lower Deschutes! There was also a good report from a couple of guys hitting Prineville and Ochoco. Love to hear from some of those guys out there trolling LBC and the Bull Trout fishing in the Metolius arm is just around the corner! Meanwhile, here’s my report –
We hit the river on Sunday and fished below the bridge at Maupin to Shearer’s Falls. Fishing was purely a nymph show for us and the fishing was pretty good by winter standards.
The Metolius did produce Rainbows and Browns on nymphs last week and a few Bull Trout too. Nymphing will take the majority of the fish but there should be periods of decent dry fly action on Blue Wing Olives too along with a few caddis and small black stoneflies.
On the Metolius, Bull Trout fishing can be very good in winter swinging and stripping large streamers.
Prineville and Ochoco Reservoirs Both had some very good winter trout fishing lately. The fish are big and the meat is cutting nice and orange.
Kokanee fishing can be pretty good in winter as the fish tend to stay higher up in the water column. Lake Billy Chinook is a great place to target winter kokes.
Checking in with shops in NE Oregon, fishing has been tough on the Grande Ronde, Wallowa and Imnaha with cold temps, snow and intermittent warm periods with high muddy flows. Looks like fishing is pretty much at a stand still until Spring over there.
In SE Oregon, The Ana River has been good for Rainbows to 17 inches. The river stays ice free and is great for a day’s drift.
Well, that’s the report for this week. Winter’s not over so be safe out there whether (pun intended) you’re driving over the pass or wading in the icy rivers! Tight lines y’all!
SW Oregon Fishing Report – From New Contributor Jeff Rome:
Greetings fellow Fishermen and Fisherwomen!
My name is Jeff but most friends and buddy’s call me “Romer”. I’m going to give this writing thing a try for the Southwest Oregon section. I am not a guide and I don’t fish as much as I’d like to, however I am a fellow fisherman and Guides Forecast member that just wants to help everybody out and hopefully catch some fish……so please be gentle….I’m NEW! Tight lines! Romer 🎣
Being that this is my inaugural first report (and attempt at writing since college), I’m combining some firsthand reports from local guides and information I’ve collaborated with calls and website information. The following information is mostly pertaining to Southern Oregon (Roseburg, Grants Pass, Medford, Ashland) but will hopefully be expanded towards the coast and NorCal so please be patient- I’m NEW!
First off, I’m calling this section (and there will more to come as soon as I expand my guide assets) Local Fishing Report –From the Guides Mouth:
Local Grants Pass guide Troy Whitaker of Troy’s Guide Service (541-761-0015) reports that this coming weekend March 12th-14th should have some nice winter steelhead in the Grants Pass area from the Weasku Inn (by the old Salvage Dam) down to Robertson Bridge.
Boat fishers should also use the same for success and include back trolling plugs- Kwikfish K9’s in the copper colors along with black and silver, 49er, and pink/ silver combos seem to be the latest picks.
Another local guide from Medford area is Chris Griffin (541-973-7896)
Chris fishes all over Southern Oregon and as of Wednesday evening (3/10) he was fishing the South Umpqua where he said the river conditions were improving after the recent rain but was in decent color to fish. He and his patrons fished it hard to only land and keep 1 fish today.
Rivers and streams to fish this week:
Lower Applegate should be starting to have a chance of picking up some winter fish. Try throwing spoons here, small gobs of roe, soft beads and worms of course. Remember that only hatchery steelhead and trout may be kept and fishing from a floating device is prohibited!
Lower Rogue- River conditions are improving and should be great for this weekend. Success dropped after a bunch of rain earlier this week killed the bite, but it should start up again for both bank and boat anglers.
Middle Rogue- is seeing some winter fish being picked up, but still relatively slow BUT WITH GOOD WEATHER COMING THE NEXT FEW DAYS SHOULD GREATLY IMPROVE THE BITE. See Troy’s input at beginning of report.
Upper Rogue- Anglers have had slow success of winter fish but have had some nice catches from the Elk River area on up to the hatchery hole.
Chetco River- After a good solid (and cold) rain earlier this week, the river is dropping and in decent condition as of Wednesday.
Coos River and Bay- Weather and ocean conditions when favorable has been good for anglers fishing for lings and rockfish in the lower estuary of Coos Bay and along the jetty using small jigs with a twister tail and Berkley Power worms.
No reports of much success for steelhead in the Coos Basin even though March is typically past the peak of the season……Let’s hope the fishy’s are late!
UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH- Fishing should improve with the river turning to the classic steelhead green. Some of the North Umpqua and tributaries are open for trout (those above Slide Creek Dam). These areas may be tough to access during the winter months. Check the fishing regulations to see which areas are open.
Note that as of Oct 1, fishing in the fly water area is restricted to the use of a single, barbless, artificial fly.
UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH: (See Chris Griffin’s report above) Fishing seems to be picking up on the South after a slack in fish over the past week.
See MUCH more of Jeff’s report by becoming a paid subscriber HERE.
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 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.
Springers still tough in Columbia, while steelhead runs start to peak. Trout and panfish picking up.
Vancouver Metro Area
The Columbia River is open for spring Chinook from the mouth to the Bonneville Dam, but it is still a tough show to pull a springer from the Columbia. Just a handful have been caught so far. Another week or two should change that, though.
Steelhead runs in local rivers are nearing the peak, with fishing improving in most waters. However, no one is ranking the fishing as excellent. It is better, although two-salt steelhead still seem hard to come by.
Trout stockings continue to duel a good trout bite in local lakes. Panfish are waking up, and anglers are taking some nice walleye from the Bonneville, The Dalles, and John Day pools.
Lewis and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report—A few anglers are still chasing wild steelhead in the North Fork Lewis River, and boat anglers have been taking a few fish. Bobber and beads or jigs is one method that is working pretty well. However, bank anglers, with less access to areas the wild fish like, are not catching many fish. Recent creel surveys found 5 bank anglers with no catch. Pressure is starting to fall off for steelhead.
The Washougal did rise to about 1,800 CFS earlier this week, but has dropped back to about 940 CFS. As usual, the fishing improved after the river rose, but the low water presently means tough fishing for steelhead on the Washougal. Drifted bait or gear and bobber presentations have been taking a few fish.
Merwin and Yale Lakes Fishing Report—it was a tough week for most anglers at both lakes, although a few knowledgeable fishers did find kokanee limits. Most of the action is still taking place in the top 20 feet of the water column, so most fishers are flat-line trolling with flashers or dodgers, and orange or pink hootchies tipped with corn. Trollers are also catching some big rainbows near the dam in Merwin Lake.
Local Lakes Fishing Report—trout fishing is still good in klineline Pond and Battle Ground Lakes. Lacamas Lake was stocked with 4,000 catchable rainbow trout on Tuesday, and the fishing has picked up. The lake is also giving up some yellow perch and bluegill.
You can check the WDFW trout stocking schedule HERE.
Cowlitz and Washougal Rivers Fishing Report—Steelheading in the Cowlitz is picking up as the run nears its peak, but the March bite is well known, and the competition has picked up, too. Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service (360-201-9313), reports that over 90 boats fished the river below Blue Creek last weekend. Fishing was decent over the weekend, and he did pretty well. Mallahan took his fish by bobber-dogging, and beads have been a little more successful at drawing bites than bait. He is fishing the first few miles below Blue Creek. He warns that while the fishing is better, it’s certainly not red hot. Above the I-5 Bridge WDFW creel surveyors found that 56 bank rods kept five steelhead and released one steelhead. 33 boats/111 rods kept 52 steelhead.
Anglers in the lower river are taking some fish, too, although it is not as good as the upper river. The latest creels below the I-5 Bridge had 33 bank rods keeping one steelhead, while one boat/four rods had no catch.
John Thompson of Sportsman’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360) 604-8000, said he has heard a number of good reports from the Kalama River recently, and he said that steelhead are being caught through the entire river. This may be the tributary with the best fishing going into the last half of March. The float from the Red Barn down to Modrow Bridge has been popular, but anglers are finding fish below the bridge, too. Bank anglers are finding good success in the canyon in the upper river. Anglers are doing well with a number of methods, including tossing hardware, and fishing jigs below a bobber.
Local Rivers Fishing Report—Kress Lake has been hot for steelhead and trout, as has Horseshoe Lake. Some very nice coho are reputedly coming to hand in Riffe Lake, which looks to produce excellent fishing this year. Crappie and some largemouth bass are biting in Silver lake.
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!