Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update March 27th, 2020

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Willamette Valley/Metro – Even though Columbia River salmon fishing remained very slow, we were on the verge of coming into peak season but anglers will be denied access to Columbia River springers until further notice. The press release says salmon and steelhead fishing will remain closed until at least April 8th, but I don’t think anyone believes we’ll be out of this mess by April 8th, but let’s keep our fingers crossed. Effective as of 12:01 a.m. on 3/27, salmon and steelhead fishing on the mainstem Columbia is now closed. One of the reasons Oregon took this action is to bring into compliance the joint management of Columbia River fisheries. Washington just took the unprecedented action to close ALL of the state’s fisheries, as outlined in this press release. Sorry folks, we’re on hold for Columbia River fisheries.

Meanwhile, the Willamette is still open for business, and about on par for catch for this historical week over the course of data collection for the fishery. To quote department personnel, “Multnomah Channel was the best location last week, but there were also some good days in Oregon City area.” It’s true that catches did pick up at Oregon City, but catch rates still equated to about 1 fish (wild and hatchery fish both) per 30 anglers river-wide downstream of Willamette Falls. Catch rates were almost equally productive for both Oregon City and Multnomah Channel salmon fishers.

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 is doing well. It’s been tough week with this virus that has everyone staying at home, some guys were getting out and fishing before the “stay in place action” by the Governor that has taken place. I went out last week and caught a couple of nice steelhead, all natives. I heard of a guide friend that floated Tuesday and one of his clients had caught a nice summer steelhead. There is fish to be caught, but you should consider staying home for your protection and the protection of others. Here is what I know. Oxbow Park is open and it opens at 7am and closes at 7pm as of now. Dabney Park is a day use park showed that it was closed and Lewis and Clark park is also a day use park and it’s supposed to be closed by the Governor. If you plan to fish Oxbow, the river is holding below 8.8 ft and is on the low side for drift boats. There are a couple of places that you might have to drag your boat if its aluminum.”

The Clackamas River is also shy of anglers with the new restrictions in place and like the Sandy, more wild fish are starting to show than hatchery fish. Many of the county boat ramps are CLOSED. Scroll down on this page to “County Parks,” to view closures, but yes, Carver and Barton Park Boat ramps are CLOSED. Bank fishing should be decent, where anglers can access the river. The upper reaches are likely to hold the highest numbers of fish at this time in the season. We’ll keep you updated as these closures change.

As for “spring break” trout stocking, it’s a bit more of a crap shoot now, with the pandemic. ODF&W is still stocking fish, it’s just not publicized so as to keep folks from gathering in dangerously large numbers. It’ll be a personal decision to go fishing with your family or not. It’s a terrible resource to waste.

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 – It’s getting harder to recreate on the north coast, with many boat ramps currently closed in Tillamook County. Bank fishermen had some good action on Tuesday, shortly after the last rain freshet that did bring in some long-awaited steelhead to local rivers. Pro guide Rob Gerlitz (503-812-4950) did very well bank fishing earlier this week, for both wild and hatchery fish. Prior to the highwater event, he had also done well in the low water on the Nestucca too. There are some quality fish being caught, and few people in pursuit. Check local listings on boat ramp closures or be prepared to be creative or bank fishing if you plan on going. We are still in peak season here.

But be cognizant that wild steelhead are starting to enter the spawning phase of their life-cycle as well. Don’t be fishing over them when they’re most vulnerable in these low water conditions. Those low-water conditions may change in just a few days however.

Many port boat ramps such as the one in Garibaldi are also closed. The hordes of visitors to the coast last week ruined it for many of us, but we should be practicing stay-at-home strategies anyway. You just can’t remove the will from a sportangler.

That makes crabbing pretty challenging as well.

Offshore weather looks feasible for Saturday, but it looks like a return to rough conditions for much of next week.

Trout are getting stocked in plenty of coastal lakes in the coming weeks, but like everywhere else, won’t be publicized.

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports

From our friend Tim Moran:

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.

Spring is in full force on the lower Deschutes, and trout fishing should be 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.

On the Crooked River, fishing for trout and whitefish has been excellent lately.

On Lake Billy Chinook, fishing for bull trout and kokanee has been good to great in the Metolius and Crooked River arms.

Water conditions should be good for steelhead fishing on the John Day River.

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 young children to catch a big fish.

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

The lower reaches of the Chewaucan upstream of Paisley are now reachable and fish have been rising in the evenings.

Phillips and Unity reservoirs are both ice-free and fishing should be good right after ice off. Don’t be surprised to land a few fish up to 15 inches long.

Most of the ice is off Wolf Creek Reservoir, and bank fishing is not possible around most of the perimeter.

Southwest – From ODF&W

Spring time fishing! Beautiful weather allowed for a nice and calm ocean this past week. Many anglers were able to get out on the water and try for some deep-water lingcod and rockfish, with high success. A flat ocean allowed kayakers to get out on the water as well and catch some nice size lingcod. There appears to be plenty of bait in the water, as many of the rockfish were reported to be full of squid. Near limits of both lingcod and rockfish catches were reported.

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

Fishing for recently stocked and holdover trout has been good in several area lakes and reservoirs including Ben Irving Reservoir, Cooper Creek Reservoir, Empire Lakes, Galesville Reservoir, Garrison Lake and Loon Lake.

Jackson County Parks and ramps are closed, Josephine County Parks day use and boat ramps are open. Learn more about the specific water bodies below.

There are limited boat ramps available in the Upper Rogue.

Lost Creek Lake is a great location to bank fish as trails are open and there is ample bank access.

Bank anglers willing to do a little walking on the Elk River have been very successful catching steelhead.

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

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.

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