Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update

Keeper Sturgeon Season Opens in the Willamette; Ocean Chinook on the Coast!

It’s official! Terry Otto’s SW Washington report, is available to help you catch more fish in the crown jewel region of Washington. His FULL VERSION is now available by subscription. For just $15.95/year, or $0.32 cents/week, you’ll get all the great info needed for a successful fishing outing in SW Washington. 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.

Terry Otto, SW Washington Editor

Willamette Valley/Metro – I think most anglers have heard the stories of what happened on the last sturgeon opener for the Willamette River, yea, it was a shoot-show. Actually, let me clarify, no one got shot, but tensions were high. Please, let’s let cool heads prevail in these times of turmoil. If you’re going to participate in the Willamette fishery, please exercise patience, understanding and courteousness. We’re here to have fun!

The sturgeon fishing in the Willamette should be good. Earlier this week, when the department announced the fishery, we sent out an alert along with last week’s creel survey for sturgeon, but it’s a relatively easy fishery that we’ll go into more detail in the full-length version of the newsletter. It’s open season for the next two Saturdays (June 20th and 27th) with these simple regulations: The daily bag limit is one white sturgeon with a fork length of 44-50 inches. The annual bag limit is two fish. Single point barbless hooks are required for all sturgeon fishing. Have fun, be safe!

Spring Chinook fishing in the Willamette marches on in the meantime. Catches are still relatively impressive for how the run performed this year. The creel count for the river downstream of Willamette Falls produced 253 keepers and 75 wild ones for release, for 1,230 boats that participated in the fishery last week.

Shad are still in, and being caught in good numbers, in the Oregon City area.

Shad, sockeye and summer steelhead are all available in the Columbia River, in the order of abundance. The reach above I-5 is now open and here are the regulations:

Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to OR/WA border (upstream of McNary Dam) a

  • Retention of all Chinook (adults and jacks) prohibited from June 16-July 31.
  • Retention of hatchery steelhead and sockeye allowed during June 16-July 31.  The daily adult bag limit is two adult salmonids, and may include up to one hatchery steelhead. 
  • All sockeye are considered adults in the daily limit and must be recorded as adults on the combined angling tag.

Shad is obviously the best option, but sockeye and steelhead are on the table as well. Sockeye are rather challenging to consistently target.

The Clackamas River continues to disappoint. Although there has certainly been summer steelhead and spring Chinook caught on the Clackamas River, there hasn’t been a single fish tallied in the creel program this year. We knew it was bad, but summer steelhead on the rocks too? What a strange year for the Clackamas. The wild winter steelhead adult return came in at 79% of the 10-year average, while the spring Chinook adult passage to date is tracking at 108% of the 10-year average. The wild fish are thriving!

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 doing fine. I heard that there was some virus outbreaks in the eastern part of the state as well as along the coast. The numbers jumped and has a lot of people are concerned for the state had just as we started to open parts to stage one and with the increase in cases the governor could close them just as fast. This week we will see the weather take a big change. We saw record rainfall for the first part of June. We also saw the Sandy take another jump going back up over 11ft. When this gets posted, it should be ideal in color and in height. The river is forecasted to stay above 10ft for the next few days. The weather is going to heat up and get up to upper eighties by the weekend. If you plan to fish, get out early so you can beat the crowds of swimmers and rafters. I floated the river on Friday and caught a nice 12lb hatchery springer. It took a sand shrimp under a diver in the Oxbow Park area.”

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!

We’re running our Father’s Day Special! For the fishing father in your family, we have a variety of options to choose from! Whether it’s fishing, crabbing or the awesome information we provide to the sportfishing community every week, you can find all the gifts we have on sale HERE, just in time for Father’s Day THIS SUNDAY!

See our discounted Father’s Day gifts HERE!

North Coast Fishing Report – Reports from Tillamook are very disappointing. The perfect tide series set up early this week and catches were poor along the north jetty on the inside of the bay. Guides and anglers reported that few fish were caught during the ideal time of the tide, but an abnormal number of jacks were witnessed in the catches. The upper Tillamook Bay is equally disappointing.

The Trask River has some spring Chinook and the river took a nice bump at mid-week. None-the-less, fish are pocketed up in just a few holes, some on private land, and falling to bobber and bait, as well as plugs in some instances.

The Wilson is putting out a rare summer steelhead, it looks as if north coast summer steelhead returns are dismal as well. That goes for the Nestucca and Siletz Rivers as well. The Nestucca and Siletz are also seeing a rare spring Chinook.

Offshore, more halibut opportunity this weekend, it opened today (6/18) through Saturday. The last opener hasn’t been tallied yet, but it was decent for Newport anglers. The Columbia River sub-area remains closed until we can get Washington concurrence.

Bottomfishing is excellent, mostly for sea bass, but lingcod catches are still fair. With wind in the weekend forecast, options for saltwater species is minimal, at least if you’re into a nice ride.

Although the fishery hasn’t historically drawn a lot of interest, the offshore Chinook season opens on Saturday (June 20th). It’s Chinook only until the 29th, when coho then become an option. It’s hard to say how the fishing will be, but again, the ocean doesn’t look too friendly.

Catch and release sturgeon fishing in the estuary is quite good. From Taylor Sands just upstream of the Astoria/Megler Bridge to Miller Sands above Tongue Point, there are large sturgeon available for play. Sand shrimp would be the go-to bait, but call bait shops in the area well in advance, unless you’re bringing your own. I use World Class Fishing in the West End Mooring Basin at (503) 741-1407.

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports – From our friend Tim Moran:

Hello TGF readers,  here is your Central Oregon fishing report.   

Metolius River– PMd’s, Drakes BLue Wing Olives and Caddis are all on the menu depending on time of day.  The Drake fishing is good to great most afternoons. PMD’s are also very important.

The Lower Deschutes – Caddis, Pale Evening Duns and PMD’s are catching fish right now. Warm Springs to Mack’s Canyon is good.  Euro or indicator fishing with caddis pupa doing quite well.

Crooked River is good below Bowman Dam. The trout are keying on midge nymphs, caddis and small BWO’s. Fish these in all of their stages for best results.

Fall River This great little river has really been fishing well lately with some toads coming out of it!  Drakes, PMD, BWO, Yellow Sally, Caddis, Midges and Terrestrials may all make an appearance this time of year. 

East Lake – With theo cold windy weather it’s taken awile but Callibaetis hatches are finally here. It’s a late start, but the fish are eating dries finally. 

If you’re trolling, fish a small flasher and worm combo about 80′ back with very little weight and troll the lake edges. 

Crane Prairie – Size #14 black or chrome/red chironomids are good. Damsel Nymphs and leech patterns always take their fair share of fish too!  This week should kick the bass on Crane into high gear! 

3 Creeks Lake – Unless you’ve been there before check in at The Fly Fisher’s Place” in Sisters to get up to the hour reports and the flies you need for success.  The shop reports that it’s been cold and windy but the fishing is really good if you hit it right.

Prineville Reservoir – Worms floated off the bottom  either by injecting them with air or using a small corkie are taking fish in 15 to 25 feet of water.

John Day River It bumped up to almost 3000 CFS..good for floating..bad for fishing..but it’s on the fall and should be good to go by the weekend AND I’M COUNTING ON IT because me and the kids (29 and 25) and their spouses are hitting the river for a Father’s Day float trip.  Before the bump fishing was good but not great yet but with the hotter weather that’s likely to change fast! 

Owyhee River Blue Wing Olive’s are still the predominant hatch.  Fish a size 20 split back and then a 18 to 20 emerger when the hatch starts.  You can fish all the way through the hatch to adults, cripples and late in the day/evening spinner falls.  As I stated last week one of my favorite tips is I like fishing the last small bit of current before a long pool with a soft hackle that looks like a wet dying BWO!

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!

Tim’s report has MUCH more detail in the paid members section of the newsletter! Click over there now or GO HERE to subscribe!

SW Oregon – Also from our friend Tim Moran:

The McKenzie – This is my personal report as I fished the river with my wife and her in laws this weekend.  We were out with Guide Martin Thurber and I have to say that the fishing was surprisingly good – Now good as in the salmon fishing has been downright awful for all but a few, so my expectations were low but we landed a fin clipped Springer and had three other opportunities including a fish that my wife lost (ugh) in about 4 hours time. Then, we went trout fishing and caught about 50 trout in a couple hours.  Brent and I fly fished off the bow while everyone else used bait.  We kept some planters for dinner and had a great day on the river! We caught our trout on size 14 caddis and 14 and 16 Adams. 

Umpqua River – This report will look a lot like last week because it’s about the same although I’ve gotten several reports that fishing for Spingers is very good early and late in the upper main and North fork.  Fish are being taken on eegs, shrimp and pithing spoons and spinners.  One very reliable source told me that their party of 4 hooked and released 15 one evening! – As for the lower river – shad are still present and spread throughout the mainstem. 

Winchester Bay – Pink surf perch was a bust for us due to a very minimal tide exchange – (So we fished the McKenzie – see report above) But with better tides expect better fishing this week!  Crabbing in the bay has been meh…and crabs will start getting soft soon.  But we’re only a few weeks away from salmon fishing if any show!    

Siltcoos and Tahkenitch Lakes Weather is going to be warmer this weekend which may help bass fishing.  Buzz baits and faster retrieves for you swimbaits will draw strikes. 

Siletz River  – There may be a few salmon but not much effort, It’s pretty much over here until fall. 

Upper Rogue River   I didn’t get an update from the guys down south but that probably means the fishing is good enough that no one is answering the phone. Last I heard -Fishing for trout is good. 

Best of luck this weekend.

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 abbreviated version of what Terry’s “FULL VERSION” report will look like in the months ahead. Sign Up for Terry’s PAID version starting THIS 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.

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 be prepared to change plans if their first choice is too congested. 

All family fishing events, outdoor workshops, and other group activities still remain closed, as does razor clamming.

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

Summer steelhead photo by Terry Otto

Vancouver Metro Area

Anglers are catching plenty of sockeye and steelhead in the Columbia River, as well as shad. With fishing in the big river as good as it is, only a few anglers are trying their luck in the tributaries, where fishing is slower.

The other hot bite continues to be trout, and pretty much all of the local lowland lakes are producing very well. Warmer weather is on the way, and that could slow the bite, but it will take more than just a few warm days to really turn it off.

Shad, sockeye and summer steelhead are all available in the Columbia River, in the order of abundance. The reach above I-5 is now open and here are the regulations:

Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to OR/WA border (upstream of McNary Dam) a

  • Retention of all Chinook (adults and jacks) prohibited from June 16-July 31.
  • Retention of hatchery steelhead and sockeye allowed during June 16-July 31.  The daily adult bag limit is two adult salmonids, and may include up to one hatchery steelhead. 
  • All sockeye are considered adults in the daily limit and must be recorded as adults on the combined angling tag.

Shad is obviously the best option, but sockeye and steelhead are on the table as well. Sockeye are rather challenging to consistently target.

Lewis River

Fishing for steelhead continues to be very slow for both bank and boat anglers. Pressure is also low with most anglers targeting the Columbia. The steelhead showing up in the Columbia are headed for the Lewis and other rivers, but they have not moved in in any strong numbers.

Bank anglers are concentrating around the hatchery at Woodland and below, while boat anglers are now working the entire river.

Washougal River

The Washougal is giving up a few fish, according to John Thompson of The Sportsman’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360-604-800). Thompson said anglers that really know the river well are getting a few steelhead.

Lake Merwin

The WDFW reports that kokanee have been biting well in Merwin, and the algae issue seems to have dissipated. Thompson of Sportsmen’s Warehouse reports that anglers are targeting fish from 30 to 40 feet, but on sunny days the kokes will move deeper.

Fishing pressure has been intense.

Yale Lake

The lake is producing good catches of kokanee, although they are smaller than in Merwin. Limits are coming fairly quickly, and this lake is not as crowded as Merwin.

Swift Reservoir

Fishing is improving. Trout and land-locked salmon are still being caught in good numbers, and now some nicer sized trout are being landed. Look for the trout to be in shallow water along the shorelines. Landlocked salmon are biting in the deeper sections of the lake.

Anglers are warned that bull trout inhabit the lake, and they enjoy protected status. They must be released quickly and unharmed. There is an interpretive board at the boat launch where anglers can learn to identify bull trout from other species.

Mayfield Lake

The lake was stocked again on June 9 with 3,640 rainbows at 1.9 per pound. Fishing for trout has been good. The lake is also giving up lots of tiger muskies.

Swift Power Canal

The canal was well stocked this spring, but fishing has been slow to fair.

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 trout should bite well until hot weather arrives.

Battle Ground Lake

The lake was last stocked on May 26with 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

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

Longview Area

Cowlitz River

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 steelhead have been slow to move up out of the Columbia and into the Cowlitz. “The Cowlitz is spotty,” said Mallahan. “If you go there every day, and you are a good fisherman some days you might get three to five, and on the other days one or two.”

Mallahan said many of the steelhead in the Columbia are headed to the Cowlitz, but have been slow to move in. “I expect them to show up any day,” he added.

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

Kalama River

Fishing in the Kalama River remains very slow. Creel surveys this week showed no catch for boat or bank anglers. The river is open to the retention of spring Chinook, but very few have been caught to date. While fishing for steelhead was better a few weeks ago, few steelhead are now being taken.

Horseshoe Lake

Horseshoe Lake continues to be excellent for trout. Fishing is expected to stay good through the weekend and into next week.

Kress Lake

Kress has fished very well for rainbows and brown trout.

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. The trout fishing has usually slowed by this time, but cool weather has kept the bite going. Warm water species are slowly starting to show in the catch.

Columbia River Gorge

Drano Lake and the Wind River are closed to the retention of salmon and steelhead.

Klickitat River

In the most recent survey below Fisher Hill Bridge two bank anglers had no catch. Above the #5 Fishway, 14 bank anglers released one Chinook jack.

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 both bank and boat anglers catching limits. A wide variety of baits and methods are taking fish. Boat fishermen are casting spinners and flies, and trolling. Bank anglers are catching limits by fishing Berkley Power Bait on the bottom. 

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.