John Strohecker of Portland with a quality ocean coho from Garibaldi (7/29/18).

Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update September 27th, 2019

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Willamette Valley/Metro – With the mainstem Columbia now closed for all salmon and steelhead fishing from Tongue Point to Highway 395 near Pasco, Washington, anglers only have one more sturgeon opener to look forward to this Saturday, September 28th. Last Saturday’s opener yielded 524 legal sturgeon from a 1,230 quota guideline. The best fishing was in the Woodland/Kalama area.

With the Thursday closure comes other opportunities. Tributary fisheries start to boot up and the Sandy and Clackamas are prime areas for coho interception.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports on the Sandy River, “This week, the Sandy has a few fish in the river. The summer steelhead have all but went MIA for the most part. I’m not saying that they haven’t shown up. They haven’t shown up in good numbers as was expected. I watched a  video of summer steelhead being caught in Oxbow Park area just the other day. The fish went about 7lb and mint bright. I talked with a hatchery worker from Cedar Creek and they had a few coho already return to the hatchery.”

See the full version of Jeff’s report by becoming a paid subscriber here.

Fishing on the Clackamas is underway as well. With coho attracting the most attention, anglers are focused on the lower reaches for slow-moving migrants until flows increase. A few late summer steelhead are also expected but spinners and jigs will likely keep anglers focused on nice, bright slivers entering the river systems. The mouth of Eagle Creek is an obvious point of interest.

About 1,000 coho have passed Willamette Falls so interest is likely to increase in coming weeks for any 2 coho season now underway.

Northwest Oregon – Buoy 10 to Tongue Point remains the only open reach of the river for coho salmon on the entire Columbia River (In Oregon). Mangers recently revealed that the coho return is tracking well below expectations. Success rates dropped following the last rain event but “B” run coho are due into the river and the few being taken are quality fish.

And speaking of Buoy 10, although the estuary isn’t producing great quantities of Dungeness crab right now, I snagged my flasher on this crab pot line (the buoys were submerged) between buoy’s 14 and 12. Is this crab pot yours? I retrieved it trying to get my flasher back and found the bait to be all gone as it’s clearly derelict. I know it’s a long-shot, but contact me (Bob Rees) if it’s yours at

Following the rain last week, anglers did see an uptick in action in most coastal estuaries, at least for a short while. Most estuary fisheries reported good action, but more consistent fall weather has moderated the bite and action is back to what most expect from the fall Chinook fishery.

Noteworthy, however, is the odd absence of what most thought would be a good hatchery coho season. The predicted numbers of Oregon coho were robust, but appear to have been dramatically over-shot. Few hatchery coho are being reported in the Tillamook and Nehalem systems.

Tillamook Bay remains attractive to many and fishing has been better than most expected for the dismal forecast. That said, it has slowed in recent days and stronger tides are making for more challenging trolling due to the seaweed inundation.

Nehalem Bay anecdotally produced better than expected summer Chinook fishing this year but it appears the fall run is meeting what most would say mediocre expectations. Wheeler and Nehalem will draw the most attention over the weekend due to stronger tides.

The Salmon River is well seeded with fall Chinook and action should be peaking about now through mid-October. Recent rains stimulated migration.

The Nestucca is a good option right now and it too surprised some folks last weekend. Tidewater has been producing fair results lately but has certainly slowed from last weekend.

The Alsea and Siletz also had productive periods last week, maybe the north coast return isn’t going to be half bad after all. Keep in mind, however, that in the previous few years, September wasn’t all that bad, with October more challenging. Let’s hope the fair fishing continues.

The ocean has remained rough so tuna, halibut, bottomfishing, and ocean salmon and crabbing has not been an option lately. Hopefully, that will change, along with the rough water forecast.

Bay crabbing was fair last weekend but will be more challenging this weekend with the stronger tides.

Trophy trout have been planted in several Tillamook district lakes. Check out the list HERE.

See the full version by being a paid subscriber or last week’s edition here.

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports

From avid angler Tim Moran

Note: If this report looks a lot like last week’s it’s because not a lot has changed in a week but a few things have!

Crane Prairie –  Fishing for “Cranebows” is holding up and should get better as we head to the closing date in October.  The fish seem to change on the color during the day.

East Lake – It’s probably going to snow and be chilly this weekend at East but sometimes the fishing can be great even in a flurry!

Lower Deschutes River –  A shout out to Amy Hazel at Deschutes Angler Fly Shop.  I rely on her reports during the year when I can’t get down there myself or don’t have a buddy or group there.  She has a great rant on their site about ungrateful people complaining about the White River mud blob… It’s entertaining and I feel for you, Amy! That said, the Deschutes below White River has catchable numbers of steelhead but the river continues to be on again off again due to WR mud.  We are getting into a time when you should fish above the WR confluence if it’s muddied up the big D. 

Metolius River – Fishing is good on the river with BWO”s and PMD’s. 

Fall River is kicking out some nice fish too.  Check-in with the Sun River Fly shop to get the latest info and flies.  The staff there is knowledgeable and friendly! 

Crooked River – Really good!  This river is a fall mainstay!  

Owyhee River – There may be a snow flurry or two on Sunday but this is a great Fall fishery.  The  Browns here are as big as any in Argentina and a 28″ Rainbow was landed there last week!   

Best of luck everyone!  

From ODF&W

Fall can be a great time to hike into one of high elevation lakes ODFW stocks with trout. The weather can be great, the mosquitos are gone and the trout are trying to put on a few ounces in preparation for the cold winter months.

Recent sampling revealed good numbers of good-size bass in Ochoco Reservoir. And trout up to 18-inches.

At Antelope Flat Reservoir, water conditions are excellent and recent sampling showed lots of trout available within 40 of the bank.

The lower Deschutes is open for Chinook until Oct. 31.

This is the last week to fish McKay Reservoir, which closes to fishing for the season on Sept. 30

Trout anglers should consider Jubilee and Pendland lakes for their weekend fishing. The summer crowds are gone and cooler temperatures have put trout back on the bite.

Hunters in the area of the Umatilla and South Walla Walla forest ponds should remember to take a rod with them and enjoy a cast-and-blast weekend.

The following water bodies are scheduled to be stocked the week of Sept. 23: Teepee Pond, Salt Creek Summit Pond, Luger Pond, Honeymoon Pond, McGraw Pond, Hunter Pond, and Kinney Lake.

Trout fishing was excellent this past weekend at Blue Lake in the Gearhart Wilderness.

Balm Creek Reservoir is holding a fair amount of water this year, as well as a fair number of trout in the 8- to 15-inch range.

Fishing for yellow perch can be excellent in the Lower Williamson River, Pelican Bay of Upper Klamath Lake and Crystal Creek, if you can find them!

Fishing for brook trout is excellent this time of year in the Upper Sycan, Upper NF and SF Sprague, Upper Williamson, Long Creek, and a few high elevation lakes.

Recent rains are great news for fish and the cooler temperatures this weekend should create better fishing and more importantly catching.

Southwest Oregon from Pete Heley at

No update from Pete this week.

Southwest – From ODF&W

Bottomfishing is now open to fish at all depths. 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 harvest of cabezon along with copper, quillback, and China rockfish are now all closed to boat anglers. Shore anglers will still be able to harvest these rockfish species (but are encouraged to release them) and 1 cabezon a day.

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, blue, deacon, 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.

Ocean salmon fishing for Chinook salmon from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt is open 7 days a week. The non-selective coho season is now open every day from Sept. 23 through Sept. 29 or until attaining the quota of 15,640 wild coho. Chinook must be a minimum of 24-inches long and coho must be at least 16-inches.

Tuna are still being caught 20-35 miles offshore when conditions allow anglers to get on the ocean.

Halibut anglers may now keep two halibut per day as of Aug. 23. The Nearshore Halibut season is open Monday through Thursday each week in the Central Coast Subarea. As of Sept. 15, there is 69 percent of the Nearshore quota remaining. The summer All-Depth season for the Central Coast Subarea is open every Friday through Sunday through October 26 or attaining the quota of 67,898 lbs. As of Sept. 15 there is 57 percent of the All-Depth quota remaining.

The Southern Oregon Subarea is open seven days a week for halibut. There is still 71 percent of the quota remaining for the Southern Oregon Coast halibut season.

Coos River continues to be a good bet for Chinook fishing.

Water temperatures in many lakes and reservoirs are still warm enough for some good bass and other warmwater fishing.

Chinook fishing continues to be good on the lower Rogue thanks to recent rains. Most fish are being caught below the Hwy. 101 bridge.

With temperatures cooling and mosquitoes gone, the fall is a good time to plan a trip to one of the high cascades hike-in lakes — brook trout are hungry and active this time of year.

2019 Stocking schedule and Stocking Maps

SW Washington –  From the WDF&W web site, September 26h:

Columbia River salmon/steelhead: Anglers took about 13,000 chinook salmon during the Buoy 10 chinook fishery that ended Aug. 20. The Chinook fishery upstream to the Warrior-Rock line, the fishery closed on Aug. 27 with nearly 2,000 harvested. In September, coho salmon are the name of the game downriver from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line.

  • Chinook salmon: Columbia River anglers can still catch and keep chinook upriver from Warrior Rock through Sept. 8, and it remains open after for coho. Anglers should note that the Columbia River fisheries are managed in-season and early closures may occur.  Anglers are advised to check the WDFW website for the latest emergency rules. Above Bonneville, the chinook season is scheduled to run through the end of the year with a daily limit of one adult salmonid. This year’s pre-season forecast anticipates a run of 350,000 adult fall chinook salmon, 120 percent of last year’s return.
  • Coho salmon: The retention fishery for coho is open through the end of the year from the mouth of the Columbia to Highway 395 in Pasco. When areas of the lower river close to chinook retention, the daily limit for adult salmonids rises to two fish from one, except Buoy 10 where it is already a two fish limit. The 2019 forecast for coho returning to the Columbia River is 611,400 adult fish.  This return represents more than four times of last year’s return.
  • Steelhead: Fisheries have already been reduced from previous year’s opportunities due to low forecasts for both A- and B-index steelhead.  Night closures are in place for salmon/steelhead fishing, and when steelhead is open, it remains at a one fish limit. Starting Sept. 1, steelhead retention re-opens from the Dalles Dam downstream (Drano remains closed through September).