Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update

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Summer Chinook Extension, Ocean Coho Crazy Good!

Willamette Valley/Metro – The fishery that just wouldn’t quit. Willamette River spring Chinook anglers are still catching springers (and a stray Columbia River summer run once in a while) at the head of the Multnomah Channel. Cooler than usual water temperatures has kept the bite going, but it’s certainly due to fade. The ol’ 360 flasher and spinner, super bait or real, whole rigged green or red label herring is still getting the job done for the early risers. The bite is effectively over by 8:00 or 9:00 a.m.

Sturgeon interest has waned on the Willamette River and so has shad fishing although both remain an option. Warmwater species are kicking into high gear if that’s your thing too. Accurate data isn’t as easily attainable since the close of creel season, but anglers still stand a reasonable chance for springers for another few weeks.

The opening of the Columbia for summer Chinook was a nice surprise, and anglers can still take advantage of the surprise fishery as managers extended the opportunity for another week (July 9th – 15th). Catches were about on par with expectation with these statistics come from the fact sheet presented at Tuesday’s Joint State teleconference: “The estimated catch for the recreational fishery below Bonneville Dam during July 4-5 included 411 summer Chinook kept (249 released) from 6,036 angler trips.” It’s a great opportunity for some quality fish. Here’s a dandy that avid angler Ham Hamilton caught in the Bonneville Reach:

Ham Hamilton with a quality summer Chinook from the Bonneville Reach on the 4th of July!

Sockeye and summer steelhead fishing remains closed for fear of overharvest of sockeye salmon and shad fishing closed in the Bonneville Pool due to sockeye interception. Read the full press release HERE. Shad fishing remains open below Bonneville Dam (I’m just the messenger…).

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!

Why report on the Clackamas? Spring Chinook angling remains closed, summer steelheading is very challenging. Nuf’ said.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports, “I hope that everyone is doing fine. This week we saw some fish caught on the sandy in the upper and mid-section of the river. The upper section has both summer steelhead and springers. 

The river is still holding at 8.56 ft and should hold there until the weather turns warm and causes the snow to melt quickly and cause the river to turn glacial green or light brown. I had a couple of buddies catch fish on Wednesday. Both caught fish with one being a steelhead and springer and they were both mint bright.

The latest news from ODFW is that the Clackamas river is closed to springer fishing and so you can expect to see more pressure on the river because you can access the river without a boat. The upper river the fly guys have had some success. Just to mention that the summer steelhead numbers are down but there is fish still to be had. So, wishing you the best of luck and tight lines.”

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 – Although the news of a summer Chinook opener was all the rage recently, the real news is the epic coho bite south of the Columbia River mouth in recent days. It’s been good, real good. Limits have been common on many days, but not every day. On Wednesday, it was sure easy however, with lots of boats taking early limits, about 4 to 5 miles south of the Columbia River mouth in 100 to 140 foot of water. The real cool thing… most of the fish are fin-clipped. I had out just 2 folks on Wednesday, landing 6 coho in the first hour of fishing, ALL of them were fin-clipped. The limit came so quickly that we decided to go play with large sturgeon just upstream of the Astoria Bridge for the rest of the day. Anchovies, fished 8 to 14 strips out proved quite effective. Chinook are rare in the catch and the Long Beach Peninsula is not producing good catches.

Learn more about this fishery and view our free webinar (with the purchase of Technical Report #20) and take advantage of the most productive salmon fishery of the year (so far). The ocean and bar crossing has been nothing short of dreamy, even on the current minus tide series.

Ocean coho fishing in the south of Falcon fisheries have been much less impressive, but Depoe Bay leads the league at about .5 salmon per angler, including Chinook, which make up 1/2 the catch in some ports, such as Newport. You can view all the port catches HERE.

In freshwater fisheries, Tillamook Bay late-running spring Chinook, early run Nehalem summer Chinook, Trask and Nestucca River spring Chinook and Wilson, Nestucca, Three Rivers and Siletz River summer steelhead are all options, just not overly productive ones. River anglers are plagues by low, clear flows.

Sea-run cutthroat trout are also an up-and-coming option in the tidewaters and estuaries of the north coast this time of year.

Bottomfishing remains strong and another round of all-depth halibut started today, this time, WITH friendly ocean conditions!

Bay crabbing has been good when softer tides preside. Tides soften this weekend.

Razor clam digging is on the way out as the minus tide series disappears. It’s been a good clam season and the Clatsop beaches close after July 14th until the end of September.

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.

This weekend I was in Central Oregon and hit a few places and talked with some of the local guides and fly shops.  It was an amazing week with cool mornings and really moderate temps in the 70’s.  Perfect fishing weather (and the wind finally subsided).  I personally fished my favorite river in summer, the John Day, Crane Prairie and Fall River.  Meanwhile over on another great western trout stream…

 Metolius River – Fishing is good but crowded. PMD’s, late afternoon BWO’s, some Mahogany Duns, Yellow Sally’s, Golden Stones and plenty of Caddis. Rusty Spinners at dusk.

Lower Deschutes –  Caddis patterns dominate most of the day, but PMD and Pale Evening Duns will intermittingly be what the trout want.

Upper Deschutes – Fishing has been good but very crowded.  This little stream is getting too much pressure so I’d give yourself and the fish  break and stay away for awhile. 

The Middle Deschutes – from Bend to Lake Billy Chinook  – Caddis and mayflies (PMD, PED, BWO) will be your dry fly hatches. Top Middle D flies (dry) for this time of year are X caddis, Renegade, Purple Haze and small Parachute Adams.

The McKenzie is one of our guiding hot spots all summer and fall and our guide team has been seeing very good fishing over there using a combination of Dry/Dropper, match the hatch dries (PMD, Epeorus, Caddis, Stones, Terrestrials), Nymphs and Euro Nymphing techniques.

Crooked River –  It’s running high and we don’t know why…300 CFS. The CR usually doesn’t fish well in higher flows due to the moss getting stirred up and making the fishing tough.  I’d watch the flows here and wait for them to slow down.

The Fall River – We fished the river for a few hours on Saturday and picked up a few nice fish on small (18 and 20) dark colored nymphs and flashback PT’s. It was getting busy by 9am with people even walking in just below and above us so rather than get pissed we went looking for quieter water…there were at least 2 cars in every pullout by 10am so we punted and went in search of breakfast and a Bloody Mary!  It was a holiday weekend so no use in getting upset.  I wanted to go back in the evening and for the  BWO, Caddis and spinners but a steak and a couple bottles of red wine shut down that craving.  

Crane Prairie – Everyone told me that it had sucked for almost a week due to strong winds but it was calm and beautiful Sunday and we caught a bunch of fish on damsel nymphs and small leeches in maroon and black/brown.  I stopped in at Stillwater Fly shop in Sunriver and had a great visit with the owner, Brett Dennis.  Bret is as passionate about fly fishing as anyone I’ve ever met. He’s also friendly and isn’t shy about sharing info on all the lakes and rivers in the area.  The shop has the best selection of rods and reels I’ve ever seen and his prices were really competitive. If you’re looking for gear, information or a guide for the area Brett is someone I’d talk to.  Stillwater Fly Shop 541-598-7322. 

Hosmer – After 10 am it has been taken over by the paddle boat navy so fish it early (sun up to 10am) or after 6pm to dark. 

East Lake – Good this week again with Callibaetis and beetles and ants. Leeches, chironomids and prince nymphs all work great here too but if you can catch them on top Why not! 

John Day River – We drifted it Thursday and Friday and it was nice to see that with flows dropping to under 1000 cfs, the hordes of rafters were gone.  We actually got a parking spot at the Clarno bridge!  Fishing was really good on rusty brown and green buggers.  The Smallmouth were gorging on crawfish and you could see them puking out the shells on the way to the net.

Lake Billy Chinook – Kokanee are deep and downriggers are the best way to get to these fish.  Got a report that Smallmouth Bass fishing was very good.  pitching small crankbaits, twister tail grubs and flies into the rocky points and banks was really good.  So was trolling these same areas with a little twitch now and then.

Don’t forget that the smaller towns in Central /Eastern Oregon need your business so buy local if you can – even if it’s a little more.  I always try to get a hat, some flies or a tippet, anything while visiting the fly shops.  All of these guys are small entrepreneurs and your purchase means a lot more to them than it does to the big box chains.  Have a great week of fishing and stay safe and healthy! 

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! 

ODF&W reporting for SW Oregon –

Rogue River bay is starting to put out some chinook for anglers trolling anchovies. 6/24/20

West Fork Millicoma and other streams in the Elliott State Forest are a good place to fish for coastal cutthroat trout with lots of public access. The streams are full of smaller trout but the bigger trout are typically in the more difficult places to access. 6/24/20

July is prime time for spring Chinook salmon in the upper Rogue River (Gold Hill to Cole Rivers Hatchery). The run is small this year, regulations are specific to which zone of the river you fish, so plan to seek out an experienced local guide for your best odds. 6/24/20

The Rogue River and tributaries above Lost Creek Reservoir should be a good place to target trout throughout the summer. Trout are stocked weekly from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Target calmer pools and pocket water for resting trout. 6/24/20

Summer steelhead are starting to pick up in the Rogue. There are still good trout fishing opportunities in the upper Rogue between the McGregor Fishing Access and Shady Cove. Only adipose fin clipped trout and steelhead may be harvested this time of year on the Rogue. 7/8/20

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!

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.

Photo by Jeff Otto

Photo by Jeff Otto

Vancouver Metro area

During the July 8th Compact meeting between Oregon and Washington, it was decided to keep summer Chinook retention open in the lower mainstem Columbia through July 15. During the most recent session some anglers did well, while others struggled. Areas that produced well include Frenchman’s Bar, and the beach below Warrior Rock for bank anglers. Boat anglers also did well in these areas. 

However, it now seems clear that sockeye retention will not be opened again, but most of that run has now passed through the lower river.

There is finally some good news on the tributary front, with steelhead fishing improving on some local systems. Others still remain slow. The Cowlitz seems to be the best tributary, but the Kalama and the North Fork Lewis saw an uptick this week.

Numbers of steelhead passing over Bonneville have climbed recently, and the next three or four weeks should see the summer steelhead run peak in the tributaries.

Trout action in lowland Lakes continues to decline, as warm water fishing improves. Council and Takhlakh Lake should produce good trout fishing through the summer. One hotspot for panfish is the South Lewis County Park pond. Also Look to Vancouver Lake, Lacamas Lake, and Silver Lake for crappie, catfish, bass, and perch.

Lewis River Fishing Report

The river is closed to spring Chinook. Fishing finally improved some on the North Fork Lewis River this last week. John Thompson of Sportsmen’s Warehouse in Vancouver (360-604-800) said he received reports of a flurry of action over the weekend. Bank anglers are finding a few fish at the hatchery, where drift gear and jigs or bait fished below a bobber work well. Boat anglers have been taking fish with a wide variety of methods, including pulling plugs, and bobber fishing with eggs.

Washougal River Fishing Report

Fishing in this tributary continues to be slower than usual, with Thompson reporting that even the best of the local anglers are only finding a few steelhead.

Merwin and Yale kokanee Fishing Report

Fishing pressure remains high at Merwin for kokanee, and the fishing has suffered some overall as a result. The WDFW reports fishing is fair, with anglers still finding some very nice-sized fish, but limits are taking longer to collect.

The pressure at Yale is less, and although the kokanee here are typically smaller than at Merwin, the fishing is still reported to be good.

Swift Reservoir Fishing Report

Trout and salmon fishing continue to be good here, even as the local lowland lakes are slowing. Fishing should remain strong until hotter weather arrives.

Longview Area

Cowlitz River Fishing Report

Steelhead fishing continues to improve, although it is still fair at best. Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service (360-201-9313), reports that fishing was a little slow this weekend, but that steelhead in the river are being caught here and there. The most recent WDFW creel survey had 91 bank rods keeping five steelhead below the I-5 Bridge. Fishing is better above the bridge, where 19 boats/48 anglers kept 22 steelhead, and 32 bank anglers kept eight steelhead.

Bobber dogging with eggs or shrimp has been the go-to method.

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

Kalama River Fishing Report

Fishing for steelhead in the Kalama River improved this last week, according to Thompson. There were reports of decent catches here for the first time in many weeks. Warming water temperatures may be finally bringing the fish up from the Columbia.

Thompson said that anglers are getting fish by casting bobber and bait, spinners, and pulling plugs.

Goose Lake cutthroat photo by Terry Otto

Columbia River Gorge

Drano Lake, Wind River, Klickitat River Fishing Report

Cool temps in the Columbia River mean steelhead are not entering the cold-water areas in any numbers as yet. Creel surveys for Drano Lake and Wind River fisheries this week showed no catch for boat or bank anglers.

Klickitat River anglers are seeing a few more steelhead enter the system, as the smallish spring Chinook run dwindles. Three surveyed bank anglers above the #5 Fishway kept one steelhead.

Goose Lake

The lake was stocked with about 3,000 catchable-size rainbow trout on July 1. Fishing continues to hold up well, and most anglers are still getting limits. Bank and boat anglers are getting in on the action by fishing a wide variety of baits, flies, and lures. Expect the fishing to stay strong, especially in the mornings.

If you like what you see, send it to your friends in SW Washington! 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.