Oregon and SW Washington Fisheries Update

More Opportunity for Columbia River Spring Chinook Anglers!

Willamette Valley/Metro – That’s right! Fishery managers concluded that the spring Chinook anglers of the Columbia River fell far short of achieving their allocation in the previous 4-day opener that closed on Wednesday, May 13th. Although it seemed catches picked up on Wednesday, fishery managers adopted another 4-day opportunity starting Friday, May 15th and going through Sunday, May 17th (3-days) and adding in next Wednesday too (May 20th) just for good measure. The full press release can be found HERE. The boundaries are clearly outlined in the press release if you need to know that. Sorry, still no fishery for anglers downstream of Warrior Rock near the mouth of the Lewis River due to low returns to the Cowlitz and Lewis River systems. If you want more details than you can bare to handle, you can go HERE for the Columbia River Fact Sheet that managers used to make the determination for extending the fishery.

No one section has produced better than another, but there was a flurry of activity around the I-205 Bridge on Wednesday (5/13). The river will be open from Warrior Rock upstream to the Oregon/Washington border. Flows are expected to stabilize and even drop over the weekend, making for optimistic anglers in pursuit of Columbia chrome!

The Willamette is now in it’s on-again-off-again mode of fishing success. Overall catch rates continue to drop, we’ve definitely hit the peak, but that doesn’t mean you don’t stand a fair chance at finding a springer. Water temperatures have increased to near 60 degrees (May 11th), but should drop a bit following the cooler trend we’re now in after a blistering hot weekend. The Multnomah Channel remains disproportionately productive compared to upstream reaches of the Willamette (below Willamette Falls). The sturgeon bite on the Willamette remains impressive. Anglers upstream of Willamette Falls are starting to see higher amounts of algae foul their gear. This fishery is likely over for the anchor anglers but springers should be entering the upper Willamette tributaries in fair to good numbers over the next several weeks.

Pro guide Grant Putnam with a Willamette River spring Chinook from May 13th.

Effort on the Clackamas River remains subdued, not just because the spring Chinook return will once again suck, but access remains an issue for most areas along the Clackamas. There is some bank effort, but success for spring Chinook has been predictably slow. There are a few summer-run steelhead being caught however.

Also, we’ve added a NEW VIDEO (5/7/2020) to our ongoing The Guide’s Forecast presents… library. How to rig 360 flashers for salmon trolling! You’ll see how easy it is to effectively fish for salmon in the ocean, bays or rivers using this technique. We want to get you started, if you’re not an expert already!

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Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports, “I hope that everyone is doing well and able to stay at home and protect yourself from this horrible virus. If your able to get out and do some fishing there is fish to be had.  I heard that there was fish in Oxbow Park, both springers and summer fish and that spinners and beads have been most effective. If you have a raft or a pontoon, you can float from Revenue Bridge to Oxbow. The river is on the drop and could go up with the current rain storms we are getting. Cedar creek hatchery access is still closed, and will be for a while. The reason for the closure was that too many people failed to observe the rule for six foot social distancing, and that too many people were coming into the working area of hatchery workers. The state parks will still be closed until May25th or longer depending on how the virus eithers slows down or if it explodes the parks will stay closed longer. There is a few parks that opened but the parks on the Sandy are still closed. Dodge park, Lewis and Clark and Dabney are all still closed. So tight lines and the best of luck.”

Although trout stocking is continuing in all of Oregon’s districts, the stocking schedule remains under wraps to keep anglers from going bat-shoot-crazy for Oregon’s most popular sportfish. It’s likely your favorite lake, pond or reservoir has been stocked so fish with confidence if you’re after trout anytime soom.

See the full version of Jeff’s, Tim’s and Bob’s reports by becoming a paid member here. It’s just $0.50 cents per week!

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North Coast Fishing Report – Tillamook County is finally easing restrictions a bit, just in time for a fast approaching peak season for spring Chinook. With effort still low, reports have been scarce, but there’s no doubt, there are spring Chinook in Tillamook Bay and the Trask River.

The Port of Garibaldi is loosening up their restrictions. It may soon be time to get back out on big blue in the near future. HERE are the latest restrictions for boats launching in the port. If anglers adhere to the guidelines, hopefully, we’ll get the opportunity to fish through the fall.

As far as getting out on the ocean, the weather looks to be a bit volatile. Ocean swells and the wind forecast make it look like offshore weather conditions will be “iffy” for the weekend and into next week. Those bottomfish must be hungry, hopefully we can get after them soon. Springer fishing along the south jetty, especially on the 2nd half of outgoing tide, should be coming into its own if any fish show up this year. The all-depth Halibut season won’t open for another week (May 21st), but the nearshore halibut fishery is open now. If you want finer details on the area you wish to target halibut in, go HERE. Friday looks the friendliest, by far. Imagine, a salmon, halibut, crabbing and bottomfishing quadfecta!

District rivers should have spring Chinook and summer steelhead available to anglers. Rivers are on the rise, ever so slightly, but with the prolonged period of low water, any freshet will do. Another rise is expected over the weekend.

Spring Chinook should be in fair numbers on the Trask, slight numbers on the Nestucca. The Wilson, Nestucca and Siletz Rivers should have some summer steelhead available. Anglers that know about the spring/summer Chinook fishery on the Siletz shouldn’t be surprised that a new 1-fish bag limit has been placed on this fishery. HERE are all the regulatory details for this hush-hush fishery.

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports

From our friend Tim Moran from his report late last week:

Fishing was very good last weekend east of the Cascades and all signs point to great fishing and great weather this weekend!

Odell Lake – Kokanee in the 7 to 12-inch class are biting from the surface down to about 25 feet.

Wickiup Reservoir – Campgrounds are closed but the main lake ramp is open just south of Gull Point. With the campgrounds closed unimproved camping is crowded, with most camp sites taken by Thursday. My report from Wickiup is firsthand as we camped and fished last Wednesday through Saturday. Fishing was very good with limits every day.

Crane Prairie – Crane fished well last week and I’d expect it to hold up for a while. Five fish limits were the norm for those who kept fish to eat. The rainbow fishing on Crane has really come back to prominence the last few years. Bass fishing should really pick up this weekend with the warm weather!

Lower Deschutes River – Maupin area – The big bugs are everywhere but trout have not keyed into them yet. This should change next week as the stones and goldens start to lay their eggs on the water.

Metolius – the Bull trout have been on the prowl and fishing them with streamers and nymphs has been outstanding!

John Day River – Lots of water…. this fishery won’t be good until the spring run-off is done in mid-June.

Eastern streams are all running high and won’t be great options for another few weeks – Chickahominy Reservoir is producing trout to twenty inches

That’s the report from here…have a great weekend everyone!

From ODF&W

ODF&W is putting the fishing reporting on hiatus for a few weeks so nothing to report this week.

Southwest – From ODF&W

ODF&W is putting the fishing reporting on hiatus for a few weeks so nothing to report this week.

SW Washington –  From the WDF&W web site, it looks like the agency is back in the creel checking business. Here is what they had to report from May 12th:

Fishery Reports:

Lower Columbia mainstem from Warrior Rock line upstream to Cape Horn – 606 salmonid boats and

152 Washington bank rods were tallied during Saturday’s (5/9) effort count.


Mainstem Lower Columbia River

Sec 1 (Bonneville) – 827 bank anglers kept 115 Chinook, 13 jacks, one steelhead and released 41

Chinook. 24 boats/75 rods kept 11 Chinook, one jack and released one Chinook.

Sec 2 (Camas/Washougal) – Two bank anglers had no catch. 89 boats/203 rods kept 20 Chinook and released four Chinook.

Sec 3 (I-5 area) – 41 boats/87 rods kept six Chinook and one jack.

Sec 4 (Vancouver) – 170 bank anglers kept four Chinook and released one jack. 262 boats/575 rods kept

24 Chinook, two jacks and released five Chinook and one jack.


Columbia River Tributaries

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 33 bank rods kept two steelhead and released one steelhead.

Above the I-5 Br: 61 bank rods released one steelhead. 7 boats/20 rods kept one steelhead.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 334 winter-run steelhead adults, 36 spring Chinook adults, 27 spring Chinook jacks, and 14 summer-run steelhead adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power released 33 winter-run steelhead adults, 16 spring Chinook adults, and three spring Chinook jacks into Lake Scanewa in Randle and they released 32 winter-run steelhead adults into the Cispus River near Yellowjacket Creek in Randle.

Tacoma Power released 25 winter-run steelhead adults into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 8,580 cubic feet per second on Monday, May 11, 2020.

Water visibility is 9 feet and the water temperature is 47.1 F.

Kalama River – 49 bank anglers kept one Chinook and two steelhead. 12 boats/24 rods kept two Chinook and one steelhead.

The hatchery spring Chinook escapement goal is about 500 adults. Return as of May 7 is 141 adults including 10 natural origin.

Lewis River – Eight bank anglers had no catch. 5 boats/9 rods released one steelhead.

The hatchery spring Chinook escapement goal is about 1,350 adults. Return as of May 7 is 562 adults including 43 natural origin.

Salmon Creek – Eight bank anglers had no catch.

Wind River – 74 boats/173 rods kept 66 Chinook.

The Carson National Fish Hatchery fish ladder is open, and 54 spring Chinook have returned. The hatchery escapement goal is 1,500 fish.

Drano Lake – 26 bank rods kept one Chinook and released one Chinook. 142 boats/354 rods kept 78 Chinook, two jacks and released two Chinook.

Little White Salmon National Fish Hatchery fish ladder is open, and 1,296 spring Chinook have returned. The hatchery escapement goal is 1,000 fish.

Klickitat – Seven bank anglers kept one Chinook.

Through May 11, a total of 79 spring Chinook adults including 1 natural origin have been counted at the Lyle Falls trap. The hatchery escapement goal is 1,100 fish.

Help is on the way!

Outdoor writer Terry Otto is coming to The Guide’s Forecast! Terry is in the process of gathering his contacts so he can put together the most reliable reports and forecasts for our TGF readers!

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Terry Otto with a nice SW Washington steelhead

Terry Otto has been writing about fishing in the Northwest for over 20 years, and has just completed two and a half years as the outdoor writer for The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver, WA. He has also written for such publications as Salmon Trout Steelheader, the Salmon Steelhead Journal, Northwest Sportsman, and many others.

He was named one of the “15 Most Influential Communicators” in the Northwest by the Salmon Steelhead Journal in 2019, and has won dozens of awards through the Northwest Outdoor Writers Association for his work.

He has been fishing for over half a century, and has done so from Alaska to the Appalachian Mountains. He is also a fisheries biologist, having worked in that capacity for the US Forest Service, The WDFW, and he still dabbles in fisheries today by working for a private consultant.

Terry is looking forward to extending his writing career with us here at The Guide’s Forecast. His style and accuracy will be a welcome SW Washington addition to an already reliable resource for fishing reports and forecasts in the Pacific Northwest. If you wish to contact Terry directly, email him at orotto@wavecable.com.