Brian Barr (far left) brought family and friends from Eugene to catch four keeper sturgeon on the lower Columbia River on May 25th.

Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update May 31st, 2019

This weekend is Free Fishing Weekend, which means you don’t need a license, tag or endorsement to fish, crab or clam anywhere in the state (all other regulations still apply). So call your kid, friend, co-worker or spouse and make a date to take them fishing!

Willamette Valley/Metro – Although spring Chinook fishing remains slow throughout the lower Willamette River, salmon are still being sporadically caught from the Multnomah Channel to Oregon City with some regularity. Water temperatures have once again dropped to the high 50’s, inspiring migrating fish to bite bait and hardware once again. Overall however, success is challenging and will likely remain that way into early July. Pro Trollers are working the Oregon City area with spinners while trollers in the Portland Harbor and Multnomah Channel are still working herring.

About 14,000 spring Chinook have bypassed Willamette Falls, while over 2,000 summer steelhead have ascended the barrier. Sea lions are no longer a significant impediment to passage. With a run forecast of nearly 40,000 spring Chinook to the Willamette River, theoretically, we still have over half of the run to go.

Shad fishing is improving in the Oregon City area on the mainstem Willamette. Boaters are anchor fishing with small Dick Nite spoons and jigs, catching ample numbers of the sporting fish. These fish make for great crab bait or garden fertilizer but most of all, a great gateway fishery for up and coming sport anglers. Success is limited from the bank.

The Clackamas River continues to produce poor results for both summer steelhead and spring Chinook. Steelhead should prove the better sport, but the fishery is off to a slow start.

The Sandy is producing only slightly better with light catches of spring Chinook and summer steelhead showing from Dodge Park to the mouth of the river. Stable and dropping river levels won’t improve the fishery in the foreseeable future. A robust trout stocking schedule will remain in the Clackamas district, check the ODF&W web site for more details on which bodies of water will receive how many trout.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN is on a much-deserved vacation this week. We look forward to having him back in the very near future! Have a great time Jeff and family!

See the full version of Bob Rees’ report by becoming a paid subscriber here.

Northwest Oregon – Spring Chinook catches in Tillamook Bay are improving slightly with most effort taking place along the inside of the north jetty towards the last half of outgoing tide last weekend. Keep your herring spinning near the bottom for best results. For the upcoming weekend, low tides should produce fair results in the upper bay, while a soft outgoing tide in the afternoon should produce catches along the jetty. The ocean swell is forecast to lie down, but strong winds will make wind waves uncomfortable.

Summer steelhead should be present in the Wilson and Nestucca systems, as well as Three Rivers.

Another halibut opener began today and will go through this Saturday. Catches have been good when boats have been able to get out and a window should exist this weekend. Bring your crab traps as ocean crabbing has been fair to good for sport legals.

Trout stockings will happen in Lost, Cape Meares and Town Lakes this week.

Lower Columbia – Sturgeon fishing remains perplexing on the lower Columbia River. Monday’s opener produced poorly throughout the river, but a few boats did well fishing in front of Astoria with fresh anchovies. Less than 1/3 of the quota has been used up with just 3 days remaining on the modeled fishery. An extension seems warranted.

Razor clam digging should be excellent this weekend along Clatsop County beaches.

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports –

Avid angler Tim Moran is out this week so no update.

From ODF&W

This weekend is Free Fishing Weekend, which means you don’t need a license, tag or endorsement to fish, crab or clam anywhere in the state (all other regulations still apply). So call your kid, friend, co-worker or spouse and make a date to take them fishing!

Anglers are reporting some spring Chinook being caught on the Hood River.

Anglers are catching their limits of kokanee on Wickiup Reservoir.

Both Walton Lake and Antelope Flat Reservoir will be stocked this week. In addition, recent sampling showed good numbers of holdover fish up to 18-inches. Fishing should be good!

Pine Nursery Pond, Prineville Reservoir and Prineville Youth Pond were recently stocked with largemouth bass from Davis Lake.

The Cascade Lakes Hwy and Paulina Lake Road (FS Road 21) are now open.

Several waterbodies are scheduled to be stocked this week in anticipation of Free Fishing Weekend, including North and South Twin Lakes, Metolius Pond, Clear Lake, Lost Lake, and Pine Nursery Pond.

A kids’ fishing derby event will be held at McHaley Pond June 1 from 9 a.m. to noon. Games, outdoor education activities and derby prizes will be available for participants.

The UF Forest Service is sponsoring a kids fishing event (age 16 and under) at Twin Pond on June 1 from 9 a.m. to noon.

The crappie (and mosquitoes) are biting on Cold Springs Reservoir as the fish move into the shallows to spawn.

Trout and kokanee fishing have been good on Wallowa Lake.

Several waterbodies are scheduled to be stocked this week in anticipation of Free Fishing Weekend, including Wallowa Lake, Umatilla Forest Ponds, Walla Walla Forest Ponds, McHaley Pond, Marr Pond, Brandon’s Pond and Twin Ponds.

Because Morrow County will be working on ORV pond #3, it will not be stocked in 2019.

Flows on the Wood River, Sprague River, and Upper Williamson River are dropping to very good, fishable levels and insect hatches are excellent this year.

Best bet for fishing in the Klamath Basin is Lake of the Woods for stocked rainbow trout, Klamath River below JC Boyle Dam for native redband trout, Wood River for brown trout and Gerber Reservoir for crappie.

Look for the phenomenal hatch of salmonflies to continue this week on the Klamath River from the Powerhouse to the CA border. Golden stoneflies should also be hatching in good numbers.

Effective May 25, 2019, Spring Chinook fishing in the Umatilla is prohibited.

Crappie anglers should consider Campbell Reservoir for some early season fish.

Fishing has been excellent at Heart Lake, where all fishing methods seem to produce full stringers of trout.

Cottonwood Meadows is accessible, and fly-fishing was excellent last weekend.

Several waterbodies are scheduled to be stocked the week of May 207, including Lake of the Woods, Lofton Reservoir, Holbrook Reservoir, Burns Gravel Pond and Ana Reservoir.

Vee Lake will not be stocked as schedule due to snow drifts on the road.

Southwest Oregon

From Pete Heley at

The run of female redtail surfperch into the lower Umpqua River above Winchester Bay is going strong. Although it is still early in the run, there have been a number of boat limits caught last weekend. and the run should last through July.

A word of caution though, there has been an incredible amount of fishing pressure directed at these spawning perch over the last several years and their behavior has changed. During the last couple of years the perch have moved back and forth between the ocean and lower Umpqua River during the larger tides than they ever did during previous years.

Umpqua River shad fishing, especially at Sawyers Rapids, remains almost too easy.

Somewhat overlooked because of the awesome shad fishing, the Umpqua’s smallmouth bass fishing is excellent.

Loon Lake is currently offering the best bluegill fishing in our area and has recently given up some crappie exceeding 11-inches near some of the lake’s summer homes docks.

Alder Lake and Buck Lake, two small lakes west of Highway 101 seven miles north of Florence were stocked this week with 497 and 425 legal trout respectively. Siltcoos Lagoon was planted with 36 trophy rainbows and Cleawox Lake received 1,900 trophy rainbows.

Southwest – From ODF&W

Tugman State Park at Eel Lake will be the site of a fun Family/Youth Angling Event for Free Fishing Weekend! This event will run from 9 am to 2 pm, with learning stations and fun activities for the kids.

Now would be a good time to get out to the higher elevation lakes in the Umpqua district for some early season trout fishing.

Chinook fishing has been fair to good throughout the Rogue.

Huge numbers of shad have been coming out of the mainstem Umpqua, especially neat Cleveland Rapids. Shad enthusiasts should also check out the Coos and Coquille.

A few salmonflies have hatched in the upper Rogue River around Casey Park so expect topwater action for trout and steelhead to ramp up.

Striped bass are still being caught in the lower Umpqua Basin and on the Coquille River from Riverton to Arago.

Lots of waterbodies being stocked this week in anticipation of Free Fishing Weekend, including Hemlock Lake, Rogue River above Lost Creek, Lemolo Reservoir, Tenmile Lakes, Cooper Creek Reservoir, Expo Pond, Lake in the Woods, Arizona Pond, Hyatt Reservoir, Red Top Lake, Upper Empire Lake, Clearwater Bay 2, Fish Lake, Selmac Lake, Loon Lake, Medco Pond, Marie Lake and Libby Pond.

Ocean salmon fishing for Chinook salmon from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt is open. Chinook must be a minimum of 24-inches long. The ocean is closed to coho salmon.

Bottomfishing has been good when the ocean lays down and anglers have been able to make it out.

Beginning May 1, bottomfishing is restricted to inside the 40-fathom regulatory line. Fishing for lingcod and rockfish has been good when the ocean is calm enough to fish. The daily bag limit for marine fish is 5 plus 2 lingcod. The retention of cabezon is closed until July 2019.

2019 Stocking schedule and Stocking Maps

SW Washington – The most recent report from WDF&W is from May 29th. You can access it HERE.