Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update

Summer Chinook, Ocean Coho Surprise

Willamette Valley/Metro – It’s getting to be towards the end of a long run for spring Chinook on the Willamette River; July 4th is when things finally start winding down on the Metro river but catches have remained impressive for it being the tail end of the fishery. The creel program will also end so detailed information on the fishery will come to a close as well.

Early morning trollers are still catching fish in the Portland Harbor, largely on 360 flashers and spinners. It remains a first light bite. ODF&W biologist Eric Ollerenshaw provided this factoid: “Records since 1992 have last week’s catch as the highest for late June Spring Chinook fishery.  The last time we had a good late Spring fishery was 2017 (260 kept). For weeks 25 and 26,  the coded wire tag recoveries are showing 4 year-olds, with majority from McKenzie Hatchery.”

The bigger news in the district is the surprising number of adult summer Chinook making a showing on the mainstem Columbia. Fishery managers decided Tuesday to allow a 5-day season starting July 4th and running through July 8th. Although the bulk of the run is likely upriver of Bonneville Dam, managers are still expecting around 500+ summer Chinook to be caught over the 5-day period, with about 335 of those fish likely to be hatchery “keepers.” Summer steelhead and sockeye fisheries will remain closed, largely due to the fact ESA constraints won’t allow for any additional harvest of sockeye salmon.

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 ok and dealing well with the virus. The governor has required that face mask must be worn and that we continue to use the six foot rule still. My report is that fishing has continued to be good for springers and so-so for summer steelhead.  The guys able to fish from boats in the lower river have had success either pulling plugs or diver and bait. My buddy caught a nice native on a plug and guessed it to have weighed in the upper teens. Most steelhead are in the upper sections from Oxbow to Cedar Creek. So wishing everyone tight lines and best of luck.”

I’m not sure why I bother, but Clackamas River fishing is still news, even if Clackamas River fish aren’t. There STILL remains NO hatchery spring Chinook recorded from the creel program. Two wild steelhead were released from boat anglers on the Clackamas last week, I’m not sure if those were winter or summer fish. It’s been an exceptionally poor return for both salmon and steelhead on the Clackamas this year.

For upper Willamette basin anglers, Santiam and McKenzie anglers are seeing fair to good spring Chinook action with more fish on their way. Passage at Willamette Falls is beginning to slow, but temperatures remain relatively moderate, compared to years past.

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!

Last week, we launched Technical Report #20: Fishing the Ocean of the North Oregon Coast. Anglers have been ordering it with excitement, especially since we’ve offered to the first 100 anglers FREE ENTRY into our July 2nd webinar (starts at 7:00 p.m.) detailing how to safely cross the Columbia River Bar and effectively fish the adjacent ocean waters for Chinook and coho. It’s timely, since the fishery just opened up on June 20th and it’s only going to get better from here. BE PREPARED, order now and join the July 2nd webinar, FOR FREE! We’re sending out the report early today, for a last ditch opportunity for those that wish to attend this informational presentation. Even if you can’t attend in person, the webinar will be RECORDED for you to view at your convenience. Purchase Technical Report #20 TODAY, and attend the webinar TONIGHT or view it on a link we’ll send out to you, for you to view at your convenience.

Webinar TONIGHT, at 7:00 p.m. Purchase Tech Report 20, join the webinar TONIGHT or view a recorded version at your convenience.

North Coast Fishing Report – Trollers working the jetty during this week’s “hold-over” (also known simply as a weak tide exchange), did score some late season spring Chinook in Tillamook Bay. The run however, continues to be depressed, following suit for many of the spring returns in the region. The tide intensifies this weekend, making upper Tillamook Bay the better option for holiday anglers. It is however, getting late in the season.

Anglers for the most part will focus on the ocean in the coming weeks. Ocean coho numbers weren’t very complete, even for the south of Falcon fishery, which opened up a few days earlier than the north of Falcon fishery. It’s typically much more challenging south of Cape Falcon. Chinook catches are fair at best on the entire north coast. Coho fishing out of Astoria however has been good, although ocean conditions have been rough recently, but the weekend and early next week weather window looks very promising!

Bottomfishing remains a mainstay and anglers should have a good time with them over the weekend. The halibut season is on hiatus until July 9th, with the exception of the nearshore fishery, which remains most productive out of Newport. See port by port landings HERE.

River anglers targeting spring Chinook on the Trask, Nestucca and Siletz systems have tough conditions to work with. Summer steelheaders are working with the same low-water challenges on the Wilson, Nestucca and Siletz, coupled with an already depressed return for this stock of fish. Both summer steelhead and spring Chinook should be available in peak numbers in their respective river systems. It’s just too bad that we’re (hopefully) at ‘rock bottom’ for adult returns this year.

Bay crabbing was fair, their hungry again after the spring spawn. It won’t be long until the ocean crab go into molting and their quality deteriorates. It’s a mix out there already, of both molting and quality crab.

Razor clamming is again an option this weekend, I’m guessing between the holiday weekend, a good tide series and a small swell, it will be popular.

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

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

Metolius River–  The river is fishing well but the campgrounds are booked solid so don’t expect much solace if you fish on the weekends.  It’s still a PMD, Green Drakes, Blue Wing Olive’s and Caddis show for the most part.

The Lower Deschutes – Caddis, Pale Evening Duns and PMD’s are catching fish right now and these flies, along with some BWO’s will round out your dry fly patterns for the summer. Other good options are terrestrials like hoppers ants and beetles.  

Crooked River –  Flows are 160 to 180 so the water is nice.  Caddis, midge and PMD’s are all out so fish  accordingly. 

Fall River  Caddis, midges and terrestrials have been good this week.  Evening and late morning dry fly fishing is best with nymphing best in the middle of the day. 

East Lake – Callibaetis are coming off most mornings so fishing that hatch is usually the first go to.  You can start with an emerger and go through to a cripple, adult and then when it’s over, switch to Chironomids in about 8-10 feet of water fishing one a foot off the bottom and the dropper about 3 feet off the bottom.

Anchoring in 20 to 30 feet of water and still fishing with a worm and egg combo or power bait can also be very effective!

Crane Prairie – Saw some really nice fish in the 4 to 6lb range come from Crane this week. Size #14 black or chrome/red chironomids, damsel nymphs and leech patterns did the trick with more damsels showing by the day!  

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. casting spinners, kastmaster spoons and rapalas were getting fish too.  Bass are taking crankbaits, swimbaits and plastics fishing the points. 

John Day River –This is my weekly personal report and will be for the next few weeks! We drifted from about 3 river miles above  Clarno down to the bridge take out.  I would call fishing fair for the river.  This was due to the river still in somewhat of a late spring flow.  Color was good but the river was still moving pretty good.  Great for floating but harder to fish from a pontoon boat or raft.  Don’t forget your boaters pass if you go!

Owyhee River PMD’s are all the rage on the river this week. There is a late morning spinner fall and then emergers when the hatch starts again in the afternoon..so it’s two dry fly oppert.   

NE Rivers – Water flows on most NE rivers is high with the warm weather melting snow.  Good for floaters but not so good for fishing.  A check of the Grande Ronde showed river level at 6500cfs.  That’s about 2000cfs difference from a historic norm.  

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! 

Also from our friend Tim Moran reporting for SW Oregon –

The McKenzie –  No word on Salmon this week but I’m sure the guys who hit the best holes at first light are getting a fish or two.  Sand shrimp out fished eggs last week and it might again as the river drops and clears.  Trout fishing is great on PMD’s and caddis in sizes 14 and 16. 


Upper Willamette –  Fishing from Just below Oakridge to the reservoir has been great for the last week.  PMD, PED and Caddis are all out so dial up your dry flies and fish this sneaky good section of river.

Umpqua River – They’re still getting Springers in the upper river but it has slowed with warmer weather. Fish early or the last 90 minutes before dark for best success.  

Winchester Bay – Pink surf perch action was better on the bigger tide exchange this week as we predicted.  The guides were working for them but were coming up with enough to make clients happy.  Limits are still scarce but fish are being caught.  Crabbing in the bay has been meh…and crabs will start getting soft soon.      

Upper Rogue River  The river is on a slow steady drop and the weather is perfect. Fishing is very good for trout .      

Cottage Grove Lake:  Bass and panfishing has been very good of late.  Reports of some really nice bass to 5 lbs. have been reported.  Working spinnerbaits and plastics in the shallows morning and evening have produced. 

Williamson, Sprague and Wood Rivers – Resident trout fishing has been good but the bigger migratory fish from the lake are moving up into the rivers with the warming weather.  Fish will fall to dries, nymphs and streamers.  These are world class rivers but run through a lot of private land and are difficult to access.  These rivers are worth hiring a guide and having a Montana type trip in our backyard!  Just to whet your whistle I’ve seen trout over 28 inches pulled from these waters!

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

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. To give you an idea, Terry’s abbreviated version is 768 words of wisdom, while his FULL VERSION is double the size, coming in at a whopping 1521 words of wisdom! 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!

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 keep a close eye on the WDFW Covid-19 update webpage, given that cases are rising across the state. Anglers should also be prepared to change their plans if their first choice is too congested. 

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

Summer steelhead photo by Jeff Otto

Vancouver Metro area

Fishing for steelhead and sockeye closed on the mainstem Columbia on Thursday, June 25, shutting down the best fishing option in the area. The Columbia will reopen on the 4th of July for summer Chinook.

Trout fishing is slowing down in the lowland lakes as warm water fishing is improving across the region. However, trout angling is excellent in higher elevation lakes. This is the time for trout anglers to hike in to the area’s many high-country lakes and take advantage of the good bite up high.

Lewis River

Chinook retention is closed. Fishing remains slow for steelhead, although it has improved a little. This is the first time in many weeks that WDFW creel surveyors actually registered a kept steelhead.

Washougal River

Not much change here. The river is still giving up a few steelhead to fishermen that know the river well, but according to John Thompson of The Sportsman’s Warehouse in Vancouver, (360-604-800), overall fishing is poor to fair-at-best.

Lake Merwin

Multiple reports show the kokanee fishing slowing down in the lake. Most anglers are still getting fish, but sources say fishing is only fair. Thompson of Sportsmen’s Warehouse reports that what is slowing the bite is the sheer numbers of anglers targeting the lake.

Expect plenty of company of you fish here this weekend.

Yale Reservoir

Yes, the kokanee are smaller here, but the pressure is much lighter, and the fishing is still rated as good. Anglers are getting their limits, and they are coming faster than at Merwin.

Swift Reservoir

Trout and land-locked salmon are being caught in good numbers by both boat and bank anglers. Anglers need to avoid keeping bull trout, which are being caught, but cannot be kept.

Battle Ground Lake

Trout fishing remains fair. The boat launch and ADA dock are now open.

Longview Area

Cowlitz River

From the mouth upstream to Forest Road 1270, the Cispus River, and Lake Scanewa:  Closed to Chinook salmon retention. 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 constantly fluctuating river flows made for a poor bite this week, although there are some signs that more steelhead are entering the river. During the latest WDFW creel survey above the I-5 Bridge, 29 bank rods kept two steelhead and 22 boats/63 rods kept 30 steelhead and released two steelhead.

While still slow, the Cowlitz has been the area’s best producing tributary for summer steelhead. Bobber-dogging with bait is still the main method being used in the river. The best fishing is centered around the Blue Creek area.

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

Kalama River

Fishing actually improved a bit in the Kalama River this week. The WDFW creel survey showed that 46 bank anglers kept three steelhead. 6 boats/14 rods kept one steelhead. However, overall, the fishing remains slow.

Sacajawea Lake

Trout fishing continues to slow, although the lake was stocked with 2,000 brown trout in late June. Those fish should bite well until the weather heats up. Bass, crappie, and panfish are improving.

High country trout photo by Terry Otto

Columbia River Gorge

Wind River

The river reopened for salmon and steelhead as of June 22. Fishing is slow. This week’s creel surveys turned up no catch for six anglers.

Drano Lake: The lake reopened for salmon and steelhead as of June 22. The most recent creel survey showed no catch for six anglers.  

As of July 1, the steelhead daily limit is one fish in both Wind River and Drano Lake. 

Klickitat River: Fishing remains slow for spring Chinook. A few summer steelhead are entering the river.

Goose Lake: Fishing for rainbows and cutthroats remains good, with limits still the norm. If and when any warm weather arrives the bite will slow in the afternoons. The trout are still biting spinners and flies, as well as Berkley Powerbait.

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.