Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update April 10th, 2020

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From ODF&W

Beginning Friday, April 10 at midnight, all hunting and recreational fishing, crabbing and clamming in Oregon will be limited to Oregon residents only, in order to limit travel and protect rural communities

While most seasons are open, many locations to fish, hunt, crab and clam are closed to public access due to COVID-19 including boat ramps, parking lots and restrooms. All Oregon State Parks are closed. Many county and city parks with fishing locations are closed. Beach access is closed in many areas. National forests have closed most established recreation sites including campgrounds, trailheads and restrooms. Campgrounds, day-use sites and restrooms are also closed on BLM lands.

Please check with the land manager where you are headed for the latest information on access restrictions.

While hunting and fishing seasons remain open, travel to get to those opportunities is strongly discouraged and violates the Governor’s Stay Home, Save Lives order. Please fish or hunt close to home if you do go.

Willamette Valley/Metro – Covid-19 doesn’t seem to be stopping anglers in pursuit of spring Chinook. The nice weather and the fact we’re coming into peak season is bringing about interest to the region’s most prized salmonid. Anglers are out in force on the Willamette River.

Catches, although happening, are far from impressive. Anecdotal information from guides and avid anglers are reporting less-than-stellar fishing success but some fish are being caught from each reach of the lower Willamette River (below Willamette Falls). It’s still prior to peak season as the best catches have historically happened the 3rd week of April. The weekly update from ODF&W has not come through this week so we won’t be able to report on section by section creel information, but the anecdotal information is likely representative as to what’s happening, we’ll detail that more in the longer version of the newsletter.

There are 223 spring Chinook over Willamette Falls, which is an exciting start, but hardly enough to justify much effort upstream just yet. I’m sure the die-hards are after it however.

The Columbia remains closed but counts are starting to climb at Bonneville Dam, causing Drano Lake spring Chinook trollers to salivate at the opportunity that does NOT exist. The entire state of Washington remains closed to sportfishing, at least until May 4th statewide, in response to the governor’s order to “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” and limit the spread of coronavirus. It looks like we’ll be writing off most of spring Chinook season, but the Wind River/Drano Lake fisheries really start ramping up about that time. Only time will tell.

Here’s what pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN GUIDE SERVICE had to say about Sandy River fishing, “Hello All. This week’s report is going to be short and to the point.  I called the hatchery to get a report of the number of winters that returned to the hatchery and the report was that all state property was closed to the public. The access point into the hatchery is closed, all parking and hiking into cedar creek is closed. I then had a friend call me and said that he had talked to state parks and all state property is closed and if you hike in to fish Dabney or Lewis and Clark, you can be ticketed for trespassing. I had another buddy who had hiked into Camp Namanu and was confronted that the property is now closed with “No Trespassing” signs on both sides of the river. The only parks open that you can fish is Oxbow and Dodge Park. I also believe that Glen Otto Park is open and the only way to access it, is by entering thru Troutdale for the Troutdale Bridge is closed for repairs. The parking next to Lewis and Clark is limited. There is no parking of boat trailers for I was informed that they were coning off parking. Those who were able to get out had some success. There was nice spurt of summer steelhead that went thru Oxbow earlier this week. There were some nice winters that were caught and released, for most of the winters were natives. I haven’t heard of any springers yet caught and it’s just a matter time before they show up.”

Clackamas River fishing is also producing a mixed bag. There are some late winter steelhead and a few summer fish showing in the catch, which has largely been subdued, due to the various boat ramp closures. Bank anglers are accessing some reaches of the river but success is limited. The creel program for the Clackamas will start around early May if the fishery remains open. No spring Chinook have been reported to date.

See the full version of Jeff’s, Tim’s and Bob’s reports by becoming a paid subscriber here. It’s just $0.50 cents per week!

Northwest Oregon – Steelheaders are still in pursuit for what looks to be a good late return of winter steelhead on some north coast streams. Pro guide Rob Gerlitz (503-812-4950) has been doing some social distancing guiding with a fair amount of success. Rob caught Stan from Salem several steelhead, with Stan taking home his limit.

Other north coast systems such as the Nestucca should be producing equally well. Rivers are starting to get low and clear again, making for more challenging conditions to fish in. The Nestucca and Wilson remain the last two rivers with a late return of hatchery fish.

The Trask has good numbers of wild fish and the Nehalem is winding down but in perfect shape now since the last high water event.

Several systems have April 1st closures associated with them, be sure to check before venturing out.

Spring Chinook season is now open in Tillamook County, there’s just next to no boat ramps to use to pursue the non-existent fish anyway at this point.

The ocean is starting to go through its normal spring turn-over; Northwest winds at tide change makes for a bumpy ride. Good thing anyway, since most ports are shut down for launching anyway. Even the rinky-dink Bay City Boat Ramp isn’t an option at this time.

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports

From our friend Tim Moran:

Tim reports that few folks have been out lately. Fly shops are largely shut down and folks have been obeying the stay at home or close to home order keeping many from recreating.

From ODF&W

ODF&W is putting the fishing reporting on hiatus for a few weeks so nothing to report this week.

Southwest – From ODF&W

ODF&W is putting the fishing reporting on hiatus for a few weeks so nothing to report this week.

SW Washington –  From the WDF&W web site, April 9

  • Fishing and shellfishing seasons: All recreational fishing and shellfishing are closed until at least May 4 statewide in response to the governor’s order to “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” and limit the spread of coronavirus. 
  • Razor clams: Planned razor clam digs have been canceled until further notice.
  • Catch record cards: Return via mail or hold onto them until you are safe to drop off.
  • Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Check Stations: AIS check stations are still active, and WDFW staff are inspecting watercraft for invasive species.