Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update October 26th, 2018

Willamette Valley/Metro – Chinook passage at Bonneville Dam is but a trickle right now, a sign that the run is on its last legs and clearly under-performed fishery manager’s expectations. Chinook jack counts don’t point to an improvement for the 2019 return, but if there’s any one lesson we’ve all learned in recent years, predictions are unreliable. Jack coho counts on the other hand have out-paced the 10-year average, pointing to a rebound in returns for 2019. Steelhead returns often mimic coho returns so maybe we’ve seen the bottom of the barrel for the 2-salt species.

Anglers are still putting forth effort on the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers for coho, even in the extremely low flows we’re currently experiencing. Success rates are low under these conditions however, coho are notoriously lock-jawed salmon, especially in low, clear flows. Eagle Creek hatchery has some fish in its holding raceway, but more are expected from the mainstem Clackamas if flows jump as expected. It won’t take much in the way of a river rise to inspire returning adults to these hatchery facilities, hopefully this week’s precipitation triggers it. Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503) 704-7920 of O2BFISHN Guide Service reports, “The Sandy on Tuesday started to color up for there was a heat inversion and it had started to melt some of the upper glaciers. The river has dropped again to 7.66ft and should go up over the next couple of days. The weather forecast shows that we should get about 3/4 inch of rain over the next five or six days. There is fish in the river from Cedar Creek all the way down to Troutdale. There is pods of fish stacking up and will move with the next rains.

Coho on Cedar Creek on the Sandy system are also staging at the creek’s mouth, waiting for the next rain freshet that will give them access to their home hatchery. Effort can be intense at these pinch points as late October is commonly when fish are at full capacity at these hatchery facilities. Bobber and bait is producing some biters at daybreak, but fish become timid soon after sunrise. You can see more of Jeff’s report and an upcoming forecast for the Sandy River by becoming a paid subscriber HERE. Paid subscribers get about FIVE TIMES the amount of information for fifty cents a week!

Sturgeon fishing remains excellent in the Portland Harbor and should remain productive well into the fall. Smelt and sand shrimp should produce the best results in the deeper holes downstream of the Fremont Bridge.

The Association of Northwest Steelheaders is holding its 31st annual Hall of Fame Banquet in Wilsonville on November 10th. Great raffle prizes and auction items will be up for bid with proceeds going to the many programs the Steelheaders lead. Tickets are available at www.nwsteelheaders.org.

Northwest Oregon – Chinook fishing in Tillamook remains challenging for most, but Bay City and the Ghost Hole will be primary targets for trollers this week with the stronger tides pushing in. Seaweed may also be a factor once again as stronger tides and a storm surge tend to bring in the fouling foliage.

Tidewater of the Wilson River is rumored to have fair numbers of Chinook available. Tides improve for bobber fishers, but do check the ODF&W web site for current regulations as there is talk of a limited closure to protect concentrated Chinook in the tidewater reaches of some coastal systems. Returns already look compromised and tidewater fish seem particularly vulnerable when they can’t access the upper reaches of these systems.

The ocean swell is forecasted to be on the increase as is commonly the case this time of year. The ocean salmon season as well as halibut season closes on October 31st. Many charter operations are also closing for the winter although bottomfishing should remain productive.

Bay crabbing will be challenging this weekend with the bump in tide exchange. Astoria even more so given the large drainage the Columbia drains.

Central and Eastern Oregon – From ODF&W

Anglers are catching summer steelhead on the Grande Ronde and fishing should continue to improve through October.

This time of year, trout on the Wallowa River are keying in on October caddis. Look for some good dry fly action in the afternoon.

On the John Day River, flows have increased and steelhead are starting to enter the river.

Hunter, Luger and Taylor Green ponds and Kinney Lake have been stocked this fall and fishing should be good throughout the season.

Bikini Pond, Taylor Lake and the Prineville Youth Fishing Pond have been stocked with legal and extra trophy trout, and fishing should be good.

On the lower Deschutes, steelhead are passing over Sherars Falls and fishing should be fair in the Maupin area.

Anglers have been catching fall Chinook at Sherars Falls on the Deschutes, and can expect good numbers of fish through October.

The Fall River was stocked recently and anglers report good fishing throughout the river.

More on our site will be available on Friday.

Southwest – From ODF&W 

Several waterbodies in the Coos Bay were stocked with one-pound trout last week – giving anglers one last chance before winter hits. Upper Empire, Butterfield, Saunders, Bradley lakes and Powers Pond all have been stocked.

If you’re in the mood for a fish fry, yellow perch fishing has been excellent in Tenmile Lakes.

Anglers are catching hatchery coho in the lower Rogue, and there are reports of coho in the Grants Pass area.

Fishing for summer steelhead in the middle and upper Rogue should be good for the next month or two due to a strong run this year.

Trout fishing has been very good in Applegate and Lost Creek reservoirs.

Expo Pond in Central Point, and Reinhardt Pond in Grants Pass both received Rainbow Trout this past weekend. With the cooling weather trend, fishing should be good at these easily accessible fisheries.

Bottomfish anglers may now fish at all depths for the remainder of the year. The daily bag limit for marine fish is 5 plus 2 lingcod. The retention of cabezon is now closed for the remainder of the year.

Anglers may also choose to fish the offshore longleader fishery outside of the 40-fathom regulatory line which is open year round. The longleader fishery has a daily bag limit of 10 fish made of yellowtail, widow, canary, redstripe, greenstripe, silvergray, and bocaccio rockfish. No other groundfish are allowed and offshore longleader fishing trips cannot be combined with traditional bottomfish, flatfish or halibut trips. Find information about a longleader setup here.

Salmon fishing is open through Oct. 31 from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain with a limit of two salmon per day. But salmon anglers are limited to fishing inside the 40 fathom line. The Elk River Fall Chinook State Waters Terminal Season starts on Nov. 1-30.

From Humbug Mountain to the OR/CA border, salmon fishing is closed for the season.

The Nearshore halibut season is open seven days a week through the earlier of the attaining the quota or Oct. 31. As of Oct. 14 there is 33 percent of the quota remaining.

For the southern Oregon Subarea, halibut is open 7 days a week through Oct. 31 or attaining the quota of 8,982 lbs. As of Oct. 14 there is 33 percent of the quota remaining.

From Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com

Regarding ocean recreation – crabbing is now closed and will remain so until December 1st when both sport and commercial crabbing in the ocean will resume. Of course there is always the chance of a toxin-related closure or a voluntary closure by the commercial crabbing fleet because of a low meat content in the crabs they test.

River and bay crabbing appears to be slowing down, but is still decent for boat crabbers.

The ocean chinook fishery will close an hour after sunset on October 31st).

Steve Godin took some OCA memberson his boat to fish the Chetco River’s “bubble fishery” in early October and one member, Russell Smitherman, was fortunate enough to hook and land a 40 pound chinook. Steve said that since the “fishing area” only extends to three miles offshore, the 250 boats Steve was competing with made for very crowded fishing conditions.

The best ocean angling opportunities are for bottomfish. The long leader method is still legal in waters deeper than 240 feet – but most anglers are using conventional bottomfish methods.

Coho salmon fisheries on Tahkenitch, Tenmile and Siltcoos lakes has been open since October 1st, but no salmon have yet been reported in Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes.

Bradley Lake is slated to receive 800 trophy rainbows this week in addition to the 800 it received last week and should offer good trout fishing.
Trout fishing should also be good on Upper Empire Lake which currently has less than 30 acres of water and received more than 3,200 trophy rainbows last week.

SW Washington – From WDF&W:

from October 15th:

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River – No anglers sampled. Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 59 bank rods kept 9 coho jacks and released 11 coho jacks. 26 boats/57 rods kept 8 coho, 12 coho jacks and released 2 chinook, 3 chinook jacks, 4 coho and 2 coho jacks. Above the I-5 Br: 68 bank rods kept 1 coho, 3 coho jacks, 5 steelhead and released 36 chinook, 1 chinook jack and 2 coho jacks. 8 boats/18 rods kept 3 coho, 12 coho jacks, 1 steelhead and released 2 chinook.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 1,225 coho adults, 2,584 coho jacks, 256 fall Chinook adults, 49 fall Chinook jacks, 210 cutthroat trout and 49 summer-run steelhead adults during seven days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. During the past week, Tacoma Power released 92 coho adults and 197 coho jacks into the Cispus River near Randle, and they released 101 coho adults and 232 coho jacks at the Franklin Bridge release site in Packwood. Tacoma Power released 300 coho adults, 1,176 coho jacks, 38 fall Chinook adults, 17 fall Chinook jacks and 15 cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton, and they released 467 coho adults, 890 coho jacks and three cutthroat trout into Lake Scanewa in Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 3,560 cubic feet per second on Monday, Oct. 15. Water visibility is 14 feet and the water temperature is 53.2 degrees F. River flows could change at any time so boaters and anglers should remain alert for this possibility.

Kalama River – 28 bank anglers kept 1 steelhead. 2 boats/2 rods released 1 steelhead.

Lewis River – 105 bank anglers kept 1 chinook jack, 7 coho, 5 coho jacks and released 2 chinook, 2 chinook jacks, 2 coho, 3 coho jacks and 2 steelhead. 22 boats/55 rods kept 1 chinook, 3 chinook jacks, 3 coho, 20 coho jacks and released 1 chinook, 3 chinook jacks, 2 coho jacks and 1 steelhead.

Wind River – No anglers sampled.

Drano Lake – 3 bank anglers kept 1 chinook. 36 boats/84 rods kept 33 chinook, 35 chinook jacks, 2 coho, 2 coho jacks and released 24 chinook, 11 chinook jacks and 1 coho.

Klickitat River – 80 bank anglers kept 43 chinook and 12 chinook jacks, 3 coho and released 2 chinook and 1 coho jack.