Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update April 3rd, 2020

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Willamette Valley/Metro – Effort and subsequent catch did dip this week, but it’s mostly effort that dropped, likely due to the “Shelter” guidelines issued by the Governor’s office lately. That said, effort didn’t suffer that much so we’re hopeful people are adhering to the 6 foot social distancing guidelines that are out there from the CDC. We did get one comment from a reader that was upset at us for promoting sportfishing in this era and TGF certainly supports the guidelines put out there to slow the curve of infection. It’s also hard to believe that fishing by yourself or with members of your household can be high risk if you adhere to the guidelines set forth by the CDC. If course you risk your health, and the health of others if you are around other people, including at boat ramps so if you do go, please, please follow the social distancing guidelines. Keeping anglers from recreating outside is a terrible thing to have to do, but the sooner we behave ourselves, the quicker we get to enjoy the rest of the year in a safer environment. PLEASE DO YOUR PART!

Now back to reporting, although Willamette River effort was down, catch rates actually improved (which will only make anglers more motivated to go out). Catch and effort was fairly similar to last week, although mark rates varied between the lower (42 for 57 for a 74% mark rate), middle, (10 for 18 for a 56% mark rate), and upper river (11 for 11 for a 100% mark rate) fisheries. Bank anglers have yet to tally a bank-caught springer (although it likely has happened). We’re now into April so the fish should be hitting the deck with more regularity.

The Columbia is of course closed but a total of 65 adults have passed Bonneville Dam, 135 have passed Willamette Falls.

The Clackamas remains a bit challenging to access and there isn’t much catch or effort happening on that system right now. There are however, a fair number of wild fish in the system for catch and release purposes. The river is coming off of a nice bump so fish will be well distributed throughout the system, you just have to know where your access points are. There should still be a few hatchery fish around, but it’s clear the run wasn’t overwhelming this year.

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 I hope that everyone is safe and sound and staying indoors or making sure to be 6ft apart. I have a couple of friends of the family that has contracted the virus. My thoughts and prayers are with all those who have the virus and or family member who might have it. The fishing report this week is, that there is fish to be had if your willing to get out of the house to pursue them. Oxbow Park is open if you’re looking for a place to fish. Dabney Park is closed but you can park on the north side of Stark St Bridge and hike over to the park and walk the bank. The restrooms at Dabney and Lewis and Clark are closed until further notice.  Glen Otto Park is open, but the only way to access the park is by going into Troutdale to access the park for the bridge is closed and under repair from a couple of semi’s that crashed on the bridge. The restrooms are closed I believe. The river is producing summer fish from the mouth all the way to Cedar Creek. To identify a summer fish from winters is that the right max is missing and they tend to look like a missile and they tend to weigh between 5 to 7lbs. The upper river is getting lots of pressure so  please make sure that you give yourself enough space to fish.”

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!

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 – Like other areas of Oregon, much of the north coast is shut down for access, making fishing challenging. Following the recent rains however, the steelhead fishing on the north coast is good, actually really good. Bank anglers have been finding good success recently, after the rain freshet brought a much needed rise to the river levels to the north coast. Predictably, the Wilson and Nestucca systems had fish waiting for this opportunity for quite some time.

Other systems also received a shot of wild fish for catch and release purposes, although the Nehalem may be out for a bit of time.

This will be the last hurrah for many north coast systems, but the Kilchis, Trask, Alsea and Siletz should have fresh steelhead available, some hatchery fish, mostly wild on all systems.

Overall, most guides rated the season “better than average,” meaning when the water conditions are in as good of shape as they are right now, there is certainly some good fishing to be had.

The ocean has been upside down as of late, but if you can find a boat ramp to launch at, that should change this weekend. Calm seas are predicted and offshore fishing should be good.

Ocean crabbing may pick up as crab come out of the clutch, but again, finding an open boat ramp will be the more challenging situation.

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports

From our friend Tim Moran:

We’re reposting Tim’s report from last week, but he did state for new news that, “The Metolius fished well over the weekend for nymphs. My friend was the only one of the river from Allinham to the canyon.”

Here’s Tim’s still credible report from last week:

First the big news – With State Parks shut down there is no access to, or fishing available on Lake Billy Chinook. The Warm Springs tribe has also shut down their portion of the Metolius arm so LBC is virtually closed until May 8th (as of today).  Also, with State Parks closed, many access points to rivers and lakes will be closed as well so check with the State before you head out.

Lower Deschutes River –   – From the locked gate about 2 miles above Maupin down into Mack’s canyon trout fishing has been good fishing nymphs.  BWO’s and March Browns and caddis are also making a showing along with a few stone flies.      

John Day River – Broken record -Steelhead are dispersed throughout the river. Check the river levels before you go but the river’s been on the drop so fishing in the milder weather should be good.

Metolius River –   Nymphs are going to work all day but there will be more BWO, March Browns and caddis hatches in the afternoons. For nymphing, try stones, Perdigon’s, lightning bugs, PT’s and red Copper John’s. 

Crooked River – Flows are stable and fishing is good. It’s still mostly small midge and BWO imitations from the nymph stage through the adult cycle  Size 16 and 18 purple hazes are good too!  Keep your flies small 18 to 24. 

Ochocco Reservoir –  The guys at COFR are doing really well on this body of water. 

Owyhee River – We had a group out there last weekend and fishing was great – but it was as crowded as ever on the river…Social distancing was a challenge in some spots but our group found plenty of room and fishing was good. Lots of fish on small, size 18 dark colored nymphs.  Swinging small 18 to 20 dark wet flies on the current edges was productive too.  My buddy Greg got one Browns in the 23 inch class.  Lot’s of 18″+ fish.  This is a true Oregon treasure but the big fish can be very picky at times.       

Well that’s it from here!   Hope         you          all         get          out        and           enjoy         the           weekend!      SAFELY!

From ODF&W

To help protect you and others during the COVID-19 pandemic, take the following precautions when fishing: follow social distancing guidelines when bank fishing, only fish from a boat with other members of your household, carry your own hand sanitizer or soap/water, and, if a place is crowded, go somewhere else.

While the lower Deschutes has been closed to all boating, bank anglers will find trout fishing has been picking up from Beavertail to the reservation boundary.

Steelhead anglers report decent fishing on the Hood River, but look for fishing to peak in the next two weeks.

Water conditions should be good for steelhead fishing on the John Day River, but with many closures, be sure to plan your trip accordingly. All boating is closed on the John Day River from Kimberly to Tumwater Falls, and BLM/Oregon State Park campgrounds and facilities are closed.

This is a good time of year to target kokanee on Wallowa Lake.

Tatone and McNary ponds have been stocked with trout recently.

Marr Pond has been stocked with surplus steelhead. This is a good opportunity for small children to catch a big fish.

Southwest – From ODF&W

To help protect you and others during the COVID-19 pandemic, take the following precautions when fishing: follow social distancing guidelines when bank fishing, only fish from a boat with other members of your household, carry your own hand sanitizer or soap/water, and, if a place is crowded, go somewhere else.

Anglers have started catching spring Chinook on the lower Rogue. The higher water levels are ideal for plunking – a good way to get out fishing while maintaining social distancing.

All publicly managed boat ramps in the Upper Rogue from Touvelle upstream to Lost Creek are closed except Modoc access across from Upper Table Rock Trailhead and Fishers Ferry.

Anglers have been catching striped bass in the upper portions of tidewater of the Coquille River. Most of the fish are 20 – 26 inches long.

Largemouth bass have been moving into the shallows of Tenmile Lakes on warm, sunny days.

Fishing for steelhead on the South Umpqua has been great for those fishing from the bank.

Surfperch fishing usually sees an uptick in spring and early summer.

The US Army Corps public access, trailheads, and improved recreation sites are closed around Lost Creek Lake, Applegate Reservoir, and McGregor Park and Rivers Edge Day use, among others. Please visit their local website for more information.

SW Washington –  From the WDF&W web site, March 17th.

For regulation updates, go HERE.

Go HERE for updates from March 17th. As you may have already heard, sportfishing is CLOSED in the entire state of Washington until at least April 8th or until further notice.