Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update February 28th, 2020

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Willamette Valley/Metro – After a flurry of spring Chinook activity on the Willamette River, the tide has turned and anglers are having to work hard for success. Interest seems to keep growing, as more boats are starting to ply the waters of the Willamette near Oregon City as of late. A consistent creel program won’t start up for another few weeks so it’s hard to get a grip on the overall catch, but information right from our sources tell us that fishing has slowed in the previous week. That’s not inconsistent from what’s happened in years past.

Here’s what pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN GUIDE SERVICE had to say about Sandy River fishing, “Hello All.  I hope that everyone had the opportunity to get out and do some fishing. I fished three times this week and found success. We caught three wild and one hatchery, which went about 7lbs. The river is currently on the drop and is running at 9.2 ft and is showing a small jump over the weekend due to the rain forecasted. The river is showing a bump up to 10ft which is ideal level and should stay steelhead green. The entire river has fish in it with good catches of wild fish being the majority of the fish being caught. The number of hatchery fish that has returned to the hatchery is less than 250 fish. The number of hatchery fish caught this week was better than the last few weeks. Most of the fish caught this week has been on a variety of techniques.”

The Clackamas has been performing a bit better for hatchery fish. It appears that the Clackamas may be getting a better return than the Sandy River this year, although it’s early. Effort has been running unusually high for February, but river conditions have been favorable lately and catches have been improved from previous years.

There are some winter trout opportunities, but with the upcoming weather blast and current wet weather events, maybe they should fend for themselves for just a bit longer. HERE is the February stocking schedule.

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Northwest Oregon – Steelheaders working the north Oregon coast for fish have been plagued with low, clear water conditions that are making the fish quite spooky and reluctant to bite. There are fish present, with bank anglers working the upper reaches of these systems finding some of the more consistent success as of late.

Effort remains highest on the Nestucca and Wilson respectively, as most anglers remain motivated for a take-home opportunity. Larger systems like the Nehalem remain in prime condition with anglers taking fair numbers of fish in the upper Nehalem as well.

Smaller systems such as the Kilchis and Necanicum remain options for wild fish this time of year, but anglers must employ stealth tactics to get the job done here. Hardware such as spinners are a good tool under these conditions.

The Siletz fished well for some on Saturday, with bobbers and worms producing well for those in the know of how to fish that system in low water conditions.

The Alsea remains a fair fish option too this time of year, with both wild and broodstock fish available, it is producing both in fair numbers right now.

Despite bluebird skies, the ocean has been rough and saltwater anglers haven’t had much of a chance to get offshore for willing bottomfish and crab. There was a window last week, and it was good, but that window didn’t last long.

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports

From ODF&W

The Deschutes, Crooked, Fall and Metolius rivers are open year-round and offer fair to good fishing for native redband trout.

Steelhead have moved into several area rivers including the Grande Ronde, Imnaha, John Day and Wallowa rivers. Anglers should keep an eye on water levels and be ready to hit the water when water drops and clears.

Bank fishing at Thief Valley Reservoir has been good for 12- to 18-inch trout.

Ice conditions seem to be holding up on Phillips Reservoir and fishing has been good.

Priday Reservoir is open and anglers have been catching some nice trout.

Ice conditions continue to deteriorate with warm weather and rain. Ice anglers should use extreme caution before venturing onto the ice.

Best bet for the Klamath area is native redband trout in the Klamath River from Keno Dam to below the JC Boyle Powerhouse.

Southwest – From ODF&W

The weather cooperated for a couple days last week allowing anglers to get out on the ocean and do some fishing. Anglers from the south coast reported good catches of lingcod several days last week. Limits of rockfish were able to be caught as well. When the weather cooperates, winter can be a good time to catch lingcod as they are in shallower waters to spawn.

The bottomfish fishery is open at all depths. The General Marine Species bag limit is 5 fish. Retention of yelloweye rockfish is prohibited by all anglers.

Anglers have been catching lingcod while fishing along the jetty in Coos Bay.

Excess hatchery steelhead from the Eel Lake fish trap have been planted in Butterfield and Saunders lakes.

Anglers willing to hike in below Graves Creek on the middle Rogue report that there are fish holding in the Canyon. Boat and bankies are picking up winter steelhead in the Galice Area more regularly. The Grants Pass area has been pretty slow so far.

Both Reinhardt Pond and Lake Selmac received their first stocking of the season earlier this month. There should still be fish around for this weekend.

Check out the trout bite in the Holy Water, the stretch of the upper Rogue between the hatchery and the Lost Creek Lake spillway. Anglers are reminded this is a fly-fishing only section of water.

Steelhead fishing continues to be hot on the Chetco and it’s been picking up on the lower Rogue.

Steelhead fishing continues to be decent on the mainstem Umpqua River.

SW Washington –  From the WDF&W web site, February 19th.

For regulation updates, go HERE.


• Buoy 10 upstream to John Day Dam including adjacent tributaries — Closed to White Sturgeon

retention but remains open for catch-and-release fishing only.

• The John Day pool is open to the retention of white sturgeon until the quota is met. See 2019/2020 for retention details.

Fishery Reports:


Mainstem Lower Columbia River

Sec 5 (Woodland) – Six bank anglers kept one steelhead.

Sec 6 (Kalama) – One bank angler had no catch.

Sec 8 (Longview) – One bank angler had no catch.


Columbia River Tributaries

Grays River – Eight bank anglers had no catch.

Elochoman River – 12 bank anglers released two steelhead. 1 boat/2 rods released two steelhead.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – Four bank rods had no catch.

Above the I-5 Br – 10 bank rods had no catch. 5 boats/20 rods kept eleven steelhead and released one steelhead.

Tacoma Power employees recovered 48 winter-run steelhead adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power released one winter-run steelhead adult into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released seven winter-run steelhead adults into the Cispus River near Yellow Jacket Creek.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 17,700 cubic feet per second on Tuesday, February 18,

2020. Water visibility is 3 feet and the water temperature is 42.4 F.


Bonneville Pool – Six bank anglers had no catch. 8 boats/24 rods kept six legal sturgeon and released six legal, 63 sublegal and one oversize sturgeon.

The Dalles Pool – 15 bank anglers had no catch. 13 boats/30 rods kept 10 legal sturgeon and released three legal, 35 sublegal and one oversize sturgeon.

John Day Pool – 52 bank anglers released one sublegal sturgeon. 8 boats/21 rods kept two legal sturgeon and released eight sublegal and two oversize sturgeon.


Bonneville Pool – 2 boats/2 rods had no catch.

The Dalles Pool – 8 boats/20 rods had no catch.

John Day Pool – Two bank anglers had no catch. 4 boats/9 rods released three walleye.

Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted