Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update September 6th, 2019

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1 seat open on Saturday, September 7th… $175.00

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Call (503) 812-9036 or email brees@pacifier.com

to book your seats TODAY!

Willamette Valley/Metro – An abrupt shut down of the Chinook season has anglers wondering what to do next for their fall salmon fix. Managers met on Wednesday to pour over impacts for the Warrior Rock to Bonneville numbers and were surprised to learn that the fishery had been performing better than expected. For that reason, Chinook fishing will close effective COB (Close of Business) on Thursday, September 5th, so no fishing from Friday forward. It was a bit of a surprise as most anglers continued to witness hot again, cold again fishing for their favorite reach.

The fishing from Warrior Rock to the Gorge was described as good one day, terrible the next with some days a 2 to 3 fish per boat average. Not uncommon for this time of year. It was tough enough dealing with the early closure, but to have an even earlier closure, that’s a real tough break for metro anglers.

Of course the fishery above Bonneville Dam will remain open for the foreseeable future and there should be some good opportunity for those that are willing to learn how to fish in that fishery. It will be monitored closely so don’t have expectations for prolonged opportunity.

Tributary fisheries such as the Willamette, Clackamas and Sandy Rivers remain viable options with coho just starting to arrive in catchable numbers. Early fish will start to migrate into the lower reaches of each of these systems with the Sandy and Clackamas both options by the weekend.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports on the Sandy River, ” Hello all. Well, this week we saw the river go back to green and still very low. The current level is 7.67 ft and should stay there until we get rain. You will find a few coho in the lower river and I would look for them in deeper water. There is still some summer steelhead in the river and some very colored up late springers. Fish early and late for the best opportunity to hook any fish. Spinners will be the most effective method when you target any of these species.”

Nine coho have been counted passing Willamette Falls. There could be some good coho fishing above the falls this season when numbers start to accumulate.

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

Northwest Oregon – The big “any salmon” opener south of Cape Falcon was far from impressive according to several reliable resources. Maybe more intriguing was the Chinook bite that took place on the south side of the south jetty over the weekend. Surprisingly fair catches of Chinook were reported out of Garibaldi.

Fall Chinook season is underway and although most observers would agree that we had a better than expected Chinook season on the lower Columbia, that doesn’t necessarily translate into good fishing on the north coast. Don’t let me put a damper on your enthusiasm however, September is an awesome time of year to pursue fall Chinook on the Oregon coast.

Reports remain sparse from many estuaries, but the season is underway on most of them.

The Nestucca, Nehalem, Tillamook, Alsea, Siletz, Salmon River estuaries have all produced mediocre and sometimes surprising numbers of fall Chinook already. We’re still on a strong tide series, but waning to a softer exchange by the weekend. That’ll put effort in the lower reaches of these target rich environments, where herring trollers should enjoy success for Chinook and for some estuaries (Tillamook and Nehalem) hatchery coho should show too.

Then of course there remains halibut, an “any salmon” offshore season, and bountiful bottomfishing opportunities both inshore and offshore. Crabbing is picking up nicely for ocean and estuary crabbers as well.

And then there’s the lower Columbia. The estuary in Astoria is becoming loaded with coho. Although it’s still not a 3 coho/day bag limit, the catches don’t quite justify that just yet. That will change however. Coho action is fantastic with guides reporting 30 to 50 opportunity days recently. There remains a high percentage of “wild” coho present so limits aren’t always attained, but that too is likely to change, as in any day. Chinook handle remains a small issue depending on what part of the tide you fish. Area guides are calling the fall Chinook run under-predicted, it’s certainly tracking better than last year, but ESA regulations are keeping us from accessing those stocks, a necessary measure to ensure sustainable fishing. Astoria crabbing is picking up too.

It’s albacore time too. Offshore anglers are live bait fishing where available and catching double-digit quality albacore. Jigging iron is also productive, but you still have to plan on steaming 30 to 35 miles offshore.

Ocean weather looks favorable for at least Friday and Saturday, likely Sunday too.

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

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports

From avid anger Tim Moran

Crane Prairie –  Got a report back from a buddy that went up to Crane last weekend.  He said the intel paid off as he caught several nice trout.  He fished the intermediate sink line.  Bass fishing continues to be great,

Hosmer Lake – Damsels and zebra midges are still taking fish at Hosmer.  Some really nice Brookies have shown up in recent weeks. 

Wickiup –  It’s low but not as low as last year.  There have been reports of some big rainbows and browns coming out of the lake – I saw a picture of a rainbow that was at least 7 lbs.

East Lake – No report this week from the lake but I suspect the browns and rainbows are looking for ants and beetles near shore in the afternoons.

Lower Deschutes River – We fished the river last weekend and went 1 for three swinging flies about 7 miles up from the mouth.  A couple of spinner fishermen came in below us and they went 3 for 4 in a couple of hours.  Not bad fishing.  We had about 3 ft. of visibility but it deteriorated in the afternoon. Until Fall gets here in earnest this will be the pattern as the White River confluence pukes up mud and silt with every hot day or thunderstorm on the mountain.  The good news is Steelhead are on the move and by mid-month there should be plenty of fish in the river above the White. Swing flies or hardware and chances are you’ll find a willing fish or two. 

A word on Steelhead fishing etiquette – If someone is fishing a stretch of water at the head of a pool he is going to work that section from head to tail.  Don’t walk into the hole in the middle and start fishing in front of him. If you want to fish the hole wait until he’s at the midpoint and start your fishing behind him.    

John Day River – Bass fishing continues to be spotty with thunderstorms milking up the river.

Metolius River – The Met is as good a Late Summer stream as there is!  Drakes are ready to explode. Fishing is good throughout the river and there are big Bull Trout up from the lake following the Kokanee spawn.  Check-in with Jeff at the Fly Fishers Place in Sisters for up to the minute river info, a guided trip or pick up the best flies and techniques for your trip.  There is also a generous supply of flies at the Camp Sherman Store.  

Fall River – I watched a video taken underwater on the fall last week.  There is a lot of fish in the river!  It’s shallow and clear so 6 and 7X tippet is the norm here and wear muted colors or camo as the trout can see very well. 

Crooked River – My nephew and his new bride were out on the Crooked last weekend (honeymooning from Texas).  They caught scores of 8 to 13-inch rainbows and a few whitefish on small nymphs under an indicator.  Fishing on the ‘C” will be great all of this month and next. 

Cooler this weekend so the fish should be in feed mode!

From ODF&W

Fishing the higher elevation hike-in lakes can offer solitude, good fishing, and a chance to combine a couple of your favorite outdoor activities. Find more information on planning your hike-in fishing trip. https://myodfw.com/articles/fishing-oregons-hike-lakes

Anglers have been catching some nice, bright Chinook on the lower Deschutes.

North and South Twin lakes are scheduled to be stocked this week.

Best bets for trout fishing include the Wallowa and Imnaha rivers, and Jubilee Lake. BONUS: There are huckleberries at Jubilee Lake.

Smallmouth bass fishing on the Columbia should continue to be good.

Trout fishing on the Blitzen near Page Springs has been good for anglers throwing wooly buggers and hopper patterns.

Trout fishing also should be good at Blue Lake in the Gearhart Wilderness.

Fishing has also been good at Campbell Reservoir, which was stocked with 1,000 larger trout last week.

Southwest Oregon from Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com

There is an impact neutral rollover of coho remaining from the mark selective summer season to the non mark selective September season from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. This results in a net increase of 6,640 coho in the non selective coho season and a revised quota of 15,640 coho.

The non selective coho season is open each Friday through Sunday through the earlier of the quota or September 30. Open days within September may be adjusted by further action.

Angling for Chinook salmon is open 7 days per week through October 31 within the area from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt.

RATIONALE AND NOTES: The recreational season in the area from Cape Falcon to the Oregon/California Border landed an estimated 40,404 coho during the June 22 to August 25 mark selective season. This left 49,596 coho available to rollover on an impact neutral basis to the non selective coho season from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. which opened on August 31. This season was scheduled to open on Saturday, August 31, and then open each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday through September or the quota of 9,000 coho. When the calculations for the impact neutral rollover were made by the Salmon Technical Team, the resulting rollover was 6,640 coho, and resulted in a revised non selective quota of 15,640 coho.

The opening two days of the non selective season (August 31 and September 1) saw total estimated landings of 5,164 coho or 57% of the original quota. With the rollover, there are enough coho remaining on the quota to insure the next three-day opener from Friday, Sept. 6 through Sunday, Sept. 8 could proceed. Catches from this opening will be evaluated early next week to determine if any changes need to be considered for the next open period.

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. If enough quota remains the ocean nonselective coho salmon season maybe open again this coming weekend. 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 off shore 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 seven days a week in the Central Coast Subarea. As of Aug. 25, there is 71 percent of the Nearshore quota remaining. The summer All-Depth season for the Central Coast Subarea is open every Friday and Saturday through October 26 or attaining the quota of 67,898 lbs. As of Aug. 24 there is 75 percent of the All-Depth quota remaining.

The Southern Oregon Subarea is open seven days a week for halibut. There is still 76 percent of the quota remaining for the Southern Oregon Coast halibut season.

In Coos Bay, rockfish fishing near submerged rocks continues to be good.

Trout anglers should check out the upper Elk and Chetco rivers for cutthroat. Look for them at the mouths of tributaries or in deeper pools where the water is cooler.

Smallmouth bass should be on the bite in the mainstem and South Fork Coquille.

Anglers report good fishing for hatchery trout and steelhead on the Rogue river above Fishers Ferry.

A few waterbodies are scheduled to be stocked with trophy trout this week, including the Rogue River above Lost Lake, Ben Irving Reservoir, Cooper Creek Reservoir, Red Top Lake and Marie Lake.

2019 Stocking schedule and Stocking Maps

SW Washington –  From the WDF&W web site, September 4th:


Columbia River Tributaries

• North Fork Toutle River: Until further notice: Daily salmon limit 6, up to 4 adults may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery coho.

• Wind River: Effective September 1 – September 30, 2019, from the mouth to 400 feet downstream of Shipherd Falls fish ladder: release all steelhead.

• White Salmon River: Effective September 1 – September 30, 2019, from the mouth to the county road bridge below the former location of the power house: release all steelhead.


• Buoy 10 upstream to McNary Dam including adjacent tributaries: Closed to retention of white sturgeon but remains open for catch and release fishing only.

Fishery Reports:


Lower Columbia mainstem from the Mouth of the Cowlitz River to Bonneville Dam – 606 salmonid boats and 124 Washington bank rods were tallied during the flight on Tuesday.


Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River – 4 bank rods had no catch.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 16 bank rods had no catch. 5 boats/13 rods kept 1 coho, released 2 Chinook jacks and 2 steelhead. Above the I-5 Br – 14 bank rods released 2 Chinook, 6 Chinook jacks and 1 steelhead. 8 boats/19 rods kept 21 steelhead.

Wind River – 1 bank angler had no catch. 1 boat/2 rods had no catch.

Drano Lake – 2 bank anglers had no catch. 8 boats/16 rods kept 5 Chinook, released 3 Chinook and 17 steelhead.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – 1 bank angler had no catch.