Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update

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Sturgeon Season Teed Up By Oregon, Washington Fisheries Manager Shoots It Down

READERS:This week, you’re going to see what an almost jam-packed Guide’s Forecast looks like. You’ve been asking us for expanded coverage for years, and we’re putting together a stronger team and coverage almost every week. And we know we can do even better!

This week, you’ll see avid angler Tim Moran expand on the Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports AND step into reporting for SW Oregon too.

Also this week, you’ll see Terry Otto’s SW Washington report, his FULL VERSION, available this week for FREE! Starting next week, we’ll still keep an abbreviated version of Terry’s SW Washington report into this weekly newsletter but anglers that wish to get the FULL MEAL DEAL need to subscribe to the SW Washington version of Terry’s TGF by clicking over HERE. The SW Washington TGF version will be just $15.95/year. That’s 50 issues of Terry Otto for just $0.32 cents per week! You can hardly buy a stale gum ball for that amount of money! As you’ll see from this week’s FREE SAMPLE, it’ll be well worth it! GO HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE SW WASHINGTON REPORT!

Now, onto the report!

Willamette Valley/Metro – Oregon and Washington fisheries managers met early this week to discuss a catch and keep sturgeon fishery, mostly designed to get anglers interested in an estuary option, which would have bode well for the Astoria area had the fishery proposal been adopted. More than one member of the sportfishing community also advocated for a river-wide or even Willamette River opener so as to spread the opportunity and lower the risk of COVID exposure. As the public testimony concluded, Washington’s Bill Tweit (William.Tweit@dfw.wa.gov) stated he felt Washington needed to save the quota for a September fishery, when most of us will have other options on the table by then. It was a gross disappointment for anglers on both sides of the river that have been stalemated by Washington policy for the entire year. Feel free to email Bill (email above) and let him know your thoughts. It’s undecided if Oregon will progress with any opportunity as the states have historically enjoyed a cooperative management strategy when crafting seasons for the Columbia River. Oregon fishery managers and especially Oregon fishermen (likely Washington anglers as well) have been extremely frustrated by the lack of compromise coming from the Washington department.

To finish up on the Columbia, summer steelheading remains challenging for anglers fishing downstream of the I-5 Bridge. Hatchery summer steelhead, sockeye and hatchery jack Chinook salmon may still be retained downstream of I-5 and opens above I-5 on June 16th. Check regulations for each section CAREFULLY however, you can find the detail you need for Columbia River fishing HERE

The Columbia is all about the (invasive) shad right now. They are in full force, go catch a boat load to use as bait or fertilizer! Bonneville Dam is passing them by the hundreds of thousands right now!

Meanwhile, in waters where Oregon has ALL the management authority, the Willamette River continues to put out spring Chinook for the troll fleet. The mark rate for hatchery fish in the lower Willamette faded, but 1,925 anglers caught 370 springers last week, 248 of them hatchery fish, 122 wild ones. That’s the worst mark rate of the season, coming in at just 67%. Anglers in the Oregon City reach however saw a notably improved catch rate with only 227 anglers catching 66 hatchery and 9 wild ones in this reach of river. That’s a mark rate of 88%, and maybe more impressively a Chinook for every 3.4 rods! I’m sure that’s some of the best fishing of the season, quite impressive!

Although shad success dropped a bit last week, they are still in Oregon City in hordes. It’s peak season, of course the action is going to be good!

Willamette River sturgeon fishing is still good from Oak Grove downstream through the Portland Harbor.

We’ve done it again! In an effort to continue to provide benefit to our beloved sportfishing community, we continue to build our on-line tackle web store to show our appreciation! Thank you! And now, WE HAVE BEAD CHAIN SWIVELS!

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Let’s get these in your hands as economically as possible! How does FREE sound? Simply sign up as a paid member for our weekly fishing newsletter, and we’ll drop these in the mail to you right away! If you’re already a member, you can sign up for a 1-year extension, and we’ll still send them to you for FREE! That’s a $9.95 value, FREE, as our gift to you for your new or renewed 1-year subscription. Just GO HERE and fill out the simple paperwork! You can also now sign up for Terry Otto’s SW Washington report! You’ll see all the detailed information you’ll get in his weekly report down below, he’s a natural fit for the Northwest’s most complete and accurate fishing report and forecast! Sign up for the SW Washington version HERE, we’re taking subscriptions for his coveted information that starts the week of June 18th!

Got your subscription needs filled for the moment? We still want to honor our readers by deeply discounting fishing gear for your use. Paid members will receive 53% off of retail ($4.63) for a 10-pack of 6-bead chain swivels, and regular subscribers can get a 10-pack for just $9.95. Membership has its benefits! Of course there are some other important tackle items in our SHOP that you may want to check out too!

The Clackamas is producing as expected; poorly, very poorly in fact. Last week, 230 boat anglers and 281 bank anglers were checked for not a single summer steelhead or spring Chinook. Maybe it’s time to list the entire river under the Endangered Species Act? And this is PEAK SEASON! Yikes!

HERE is the state-wide status list of open and closed state parks. The map is getting more green and less red on it. We’re coming out of hibernation!

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports, “Hello All. I hope that everyone is safe and well. All the lower boat ramps and day use parks are now open.  You will have to check the state website to see what time they will open the parks. Some parks have opened earlier than they posted and some days later. The parks have their hands full because of limited staff due to the virus. There is a lot of places that are slowly opening and staff is available. One thing that you will notice is that most of your favorite sporting good stores will have limited stock due to overseas shipments as production was limited. The  Sandy has had some good days and a lot of slow days, but there is fish to be had. Oxbow Park to Dodge seem to be the most productive areas to fish. There has been good action on springers and summer steelhead. The river took a sharp jump with all the rain we had over the last couple of days. I believe we broke the rain amount for June rainfall this early in the month. The river took a 2ft swing from Sunday thru Tuesday. So get out early to find your spot and wishing you the best of luck. Tight lines until next week.”

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 Tillamook County spring Chinook and anglers remain optimistic since catches have been steady. We’re entering into a softer tide exchange over the weekend, which will change strategies from the upper bay to the lower bay, in hopes of finding holdover fish that are waiting for better conditions to migrate. Fishing was very challenging on Thursday, it looks like we may have lost some estuary salmon to the rain freshet early this week.

District rivers jumped by nearly a foot, likely prompting spring Chinook and summer steelhead to make a run for it on district rivers. Spring Chinook are in the Nestucca and Trask Rivers and anglers are catching them in fair number. Summer steelhead are on the Wilson, Nestucca, Three Rivers and Siletz Rivers, but catches are fair-at-best. The river is well on the drop again so by the weekend, levels are expected to be low and clear, making for challenging conditions for seasoned anglers to take advantage of.

Halibut fishing is again an option and wind waves don’t look to be an impediment to effort over the weekend. The swell looks fine for most of the 3-day opener as well, but don’t let that fool you, boaters always have to keep their guard up on both inshore and offshore excursions.

Bottomfishing, especially for sea bass, should be exceptional this weekend.

Ocean crabbing is picking up too, after a prolonged period of the spring clutch, crab are finally back on the feed, and in good condition until the July molt happens again.

Catch and release sturgeon fishing on the lower Columbia is very good if you land in the right spot. No word on whether Oregon will go rogue and prosecute a fishery in the estuary this spring.

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports

From our friend Tim Moran:

The Metolius – its fishing well.  Green Drakes are hatching but have not peaked by any means. This means on most days you’ll see drakes, maybe just a few, but the fish are looking up for them. There are good caddis emergences and some Yellow Sally Stoneflies too.

The McKenzie is fishing well on dry flies! 

The Lower Deschutes Caddis hatches are strong and mix in with PMD and Pale Evening Duns and you are going to see a lot of chances to catch fish on top. Hot Nymphing with PMD Nymphs and Caddis Pupa. 

The Upper Deschutes in the Headwater stretch you get a shot at rainbows and brook trout.  Some of these Brookies get big, like 18 to 20 inches big!

Hosmer – afternoon action picks up with Callibaetis hatches and spinners for an hour or more.

East Lake On and off with the weather which has at times been sunny, cold and windy, colder and snowing and well….you get the picture.

Rainbows are spawning around the edges of the lake but when they are done and spread themselves back out across the lake and go into a regular feeding pattern, fishing should improve.
There are no callibaetis yet but this is the usual main food source so it should happen any day and then be steady throughout the season.

Fall River is fishing quite well with both Dries and Small Nymphs. PMD’s are the primary hatch you’ll see, with some Green Drakes, Caddis, Yellow Sally’s, Midges, Rusty Spinners and small Terrestrials working on top.

Crooked River  The water is back up to 280 cfs which is okay but a little high. A fair bit of green slime is in the drift, some days worse than others. This means on some days there is a fair amount of cleaning weeds off your hook.

Haystack Reservoir Fishing is generally good throughout the lake with bass and panfish responding.

South Twin Lake on the 9th one fisherman came in with two rainbows over 5 lbs.  Fishing is good from bank or boat. 

John Day River It’s rounding into shape.  Flows have plummeted from 14,400 CFS a couple of weeks ago to 2390 and falling.  Fishing in the Cottonwood canyon area should be good for bank anglers as well as accessible areas near Clarno and Service Creek.  Floating should be nice as there is enough flow to help you through the long pools.  Bass should be getting active with the warmer forecast weather. 

Owyhee River It’s a Blue Wing Olive fest most days right now.  Fish a size 20 split back and then a 18 to 20 emerger when the hatch starts. 

Well that’s it from Central and Eastern Oregon.  If you have a report you’d like me to share you can email it to me at tim.moran18@gmail.com 

Good luck everyone!

SW Washington –  As we’ve previously mentioned, Terry Otto has put together a smashing report for SW Washington, what you will read below is a FREE SAMPLE of what Terry’s “FULL VERSION” report will look like in the months ahead. Sign Up for Terry’s PAID version starting next week. With this level of detail, you won’t want to miss a single week! It’s JUST $0.32 cents per week!

Covid-19 Update

Anglers are still being asked 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. 

For updates on the pandemic,  check the WDFW Covid-19 webpage HERE.

All family fishing events, outdoor workshops, and other group activities still remain closed, as does razor clamming.
 
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. Steelhead are being caught in good numbers on the Columbia River and many of those fish should be entering the tributaries following recent heavy rains. Sockeye and summer Chinook, which must be released, are also being caught.
With anglers doing so well in the Columbia, fishing pressure in the tributaries has been fairly light.
 
Lewis River

Until further notice, from the mouth to Merwin dam:  Closed to salmon retention.

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.

With the river closed to spring Chinook retention, anglers are looking for summer steelhead. Bank anglers are targeting the area at the Lewis River Hatchery in Woodland, and boat anglers are looking to the Golf Course, but so far fishing has remained slow.

During the most recent creel survey, seven bank anglers had no catch. Three boats/four rods had no catch. Bank anglers are mostly drifting Corkies, and boat anglers are using a variety of methods, including bobber-dogging.

The river is on the drop and should level out at about 12 feet going into the weekend. Steelhead fishing in the Columbia has been good, which means there should be fresh fish entering the river. However, even with stable river levels the weekend prospects are only fair at best. There just don’t seem to be many steelhead entering this river.

Washougal River

According to John Thompson of The Sportsman’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360-604-8000), anglers are getting a few summer steelhead in the Washougal, but the fishing is still slow. Thompson reports that it is still early for the Washougal to produce well, but with fresh steelhead on the way in the Columbia, the fishing should improve over the next two to three weeks.

However, anglers may not see much improvement over the next week.

Lake Merwin

Photo by Allen Thomas

The WDFW reports that kokanee have been biting well in Merwin, but the lake has had issues with an algae bloom. Where the algae are present the fishing is poor. Anglers that find themselves in an area where the algae are heavy should try another area of the lake.

The size of the fish has been very good this year.

Thompson of Sportsman’s Warehouse  reports that the fishing has been very good, but pressure has been high as a result. Look for the fish to be in 15 to 30 feet of water, but when the sun is out, they move deeper. The kokes are taking a wide variety of trolled baits, including Brad’s Super Baits, Wedding Rings, and Wiggle Hootchies. 

Fishing this weekend should be very good, but expect to find plenty of competition.

Yale Lake

The lake is producing good catches of kokanee, and they are reportedly larger this year. Still, expect smaller fish than in Merwin, but also expect less pressure this weekend.

Swift Reservoir

Trout and land-locked salmon are still being caught in good numbers. Look for the trout to be in shallow water, and the salmon to be in the deep water at the center of the lake.

Swift Power Canal

The canal was stocked with 1,566 Rainbow trout at 1.7 per pound on May 20, but fishing has been 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 should fish well until hot weather arrives.

On June 1, the lake was stocked with 1,500 rainbows at 2.3 per pound, as well as some trophy-sized trout. Stocked out were 75 rainbows at 0.33 per pound, and 50 rainbows at 0.14 per pound.

Battle Ground Lake

The lake was last stocked on May 26 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.

Battle ground should fish very well until hot weather arrives. It should provide good fishing this weekend.

Lacamas Lake

Trout fishing in Lacamas Lake continues to hold up well, even as bass and panfish have turned on.

Expect the trout fishing to continue to be good until the weather warms up, while fishing for bass, panfish, and catfish will improve.

Longview Area

Cowlitz River

Until further notice, from the mouth upstream to Forest Road 1270, the Cispus River, and Lake Scanewa:  Closed to Chinook salmon retention. Until further notice, the closed waters section below the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery Barrier Dam is 400’, at the posted markers.

Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service, (360-201-9313), reports that steelheading in the Cowlitz did not improve as much as expected.  
  
“Fishing should have improved this last week, but it did not,” said Mallahan. “It should be getting better, but that wasn’t the case this week.”

Most boat anglers are bobber dogging with eggs or shrimp. Bank anglers are mostly drift fishing and a few are fly fishing.

The river is expected to rise this week following the rains, and that could bring in more steelhead, but according to Mallahan, rising water could also affect water quality. The lower river, below the Toutle, was in better shape last week, when releases of clear water from Mayfield Lake diluted dirty water from the Toutle River. Releases from Mayfield are expected to increase once again, and that could improve conditions in the lower river.

Mayfield releases are projected to drop from 8.5 kcfs to about 6.2 kcfs.

Water levels should be stable by this weekend, and that should mean decent fishing. Steelhead in the Columbia should continue to move into the Cowlitz, and If the numbers of steelhead do improve, fishing should be fair, at least.

Pressure has been a little lower than usual, with most local anglers and guides still targeting the Columbia River. During the most recent creel survey, below the I-5 bridge eight bank rods kept two steelhead.  Above the bridge 14 bank rods released four Chinook jacks. Nine boats/31 rods kept 11 steelhead and released one Chinook. 15 bank rods kept one steelhead. 

Fishing pressure should increase through June.

Fishing should improve, but that is based on the assumption that fresh fish will come in on the rising water. That could mean better fishing this weekend, but that is dependent on those fresh fish coming in, with no guarantees that will happen.

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

Mayfield Reservoir

The lake was stocked with over 3,000 rainbows of good size on June 3.

Kalama River

Fishing continues to be slow, even with fairly heavy pressure. According to the most recent creel survey 52 bank anglers kept one Chinook, one Chinook jack and released one Chinook and a steelhead.  Two boats/Four rods had no catch. 

Steelheading was slow the past week. The fish have been coming in in spurts. There seemed to be more steelhead in the river a couple weeks ago. Fishing will probably remain slow this weekend, although river conditions should be good.

Horseshoe Lake

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. Trout fishing has been excellent, and is expected to remain so.

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 continues to be good.

Sacajawea Lake

Trout fishing has been good, with anglers taking most of the fish on Berkley Power Eggs in the garlic flavor, fished along the bottom. Expect the trout fishing to slow as the weather warms, although weather conditions should keep the bite good through the weekend. Fishing for warm water species is starting to improve.

Columbia River Gorge

Wind River:  Effective June 1 until further notice, from the mouth to 800 yards downstream of Carson National Fish Hatchery:  salmon and steelhead fishing is closed.

Drano Lake: Effective June 1 until further notice, in the waters downstream of markers on point of land downstream and across from Little White Salmon National Fish hatchery and upstream of Highway 14 Bridge; Salmon and steelhead fishing is closed.

Klickitat River:  Effective immediately until further notice, from the mouth to Fisher Hill Bridge: the adult salmon daily limit is one fish. Effective May 23, 2020 until further notice, from 400 feet upstream from #5 fishway to boundary markers below Klickitat Salmon hatchery:  the daily salmon limit is 6 fish, of which only 1 may be an adult.

According to the most recent creel surveys below Fisher Hill Bridge, 19 bank anglers kept one Chinook. Above the #5 Fishway, two bank anglers had no catch.

Fishing will likely remain slow as anglers target what is projected to be a poor return.

Rowland Lake

While the lake did receive a planting of over 1,500 rainbows at the end of May, trout fishing continues to slow while bass and panfish are improving.

Goose Lake

The lake is fishing very well, with anglers catching fish by throwing spinners and flies, and trolling with a wide variety of baits and flies. Bank anglers have had some excellent days and are catching limits by fishing Berkley Power Bait on the bottom.

Boat anglers are catching fish all over the lake, while the best bank fishing can be found from the boat ramp north along the campground shoreline.

Anglers may expect the fishing to continue to be strong, especially in the morning. However, angling pressure has been very intense. Expect plenty of company if you fish this weekend.

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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.