Oregon Fisheries and Soapbox Update July 24th – July 29th, 2015

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Willamette Valley Fishing Report – Statistically speaking, gorge boat anglers are still producing some of the best catches in the entire reach from Bonneville Dam to the Astoria/Megler Bridge. Effort remains somewhat subdued but boaters tallied a fish per boat in the weekend creel check. Steelhead counts are peaking at Bonneville and even though warm water temperatures are likely quelling catch rates, fair numbers of steelhead are also being taken in the gorge. It’s still early but returns are half of what they were last year and what the 10-year average is. Like the Willamette, it may be a poor year.

The ODF&W closed the lower Willamette to fishing for salmon, steelhead, trout and sturgeon earlier this month and imposed further restrictions, which are now in effect. Check the ODF&W web site for up to date information. Try fishing far upriver for trout.

Trout fishing is fair on the McKenzie where water levels have continued to moderate.

The Santiam system is low, clear and warm. Fishing is not worthwhile here.

A similar situation exists on the Sandy and Clackamas rivers. It is generally advised to fish elsewhere until the drought situation improves.

North Coast Fishing Report – Anglers still look west for their best options as inland fisheries, with the exception of Nehalem Bay, are flat. Ocean trollers had a hard time getting out early in the week, with rough bar conditions and a less than friendly swell. That’s changing now however and a weekend option could bring good numbers of coho and a rare Chinook out of Garibaldi. Softer tides should calm the bar down. Anglers are reporting warm water as close as the 200′ line, which often scatters fish. Like inland fisheries, it will be best to go early.

Tuna is seemingly getting more attention out of Garibaldi lately. With warm water close to shore, anglers can expect good action, not that far out. Live bait is hard to come by in Garibaldi but there may be plans in the near future.

Nehalem Bay anglers continue to produce some summer Chinook catches. Effort was largely focused around Wheeler on the recent tide series but with the softening of the tides, effort will likely once again take place at the jetty tips. Trolled herring at high tide and the first several hours of outgoing should produce some catches.

Nearshore halibut fishing remains poor on the north coast; it could be water temperature related. Ocean crabbing is picking up however but the catch is increasingly becoming the soft-shelled variety.

The lower Columbia, well, above the bridge on the Washington side, is heating up again for Chinook. It’s likely these are becoming more fall Chinook than summers, which could create a problem if catches remain good. A fair percentage of the fish being retained is tule Chinook, which should be released because they are poor table fare (especially the jacks) and could hurt the longer term opportunity later in August. It’s way too early to be taking everything you’re legally allowed, especially if there are a bunch of tules there.

Lower Columbia River crabbing is picking up too.

Central & South Coast Reports – Bottom fishing and ocean crabbing have been good out of Depoe Bay and Newport this week.

Albacore are within reach of sport boats although windy conditions have prevented many from making a tuna trip.

The ODFW reports that high levels of a naturally-occurring biotoxin has forced closure of razor clamming coast-wide. Bay clams are safe south of Tillamook Head.

Tenmile Lake has been producing fair to good catches of panfish. There is also a population of largemouth bass here.

Ocean salmon fishing has been spotty out of Winchester Bay. More coho than Chinook are being taken with either requiring deep trolling to connect with fish. Ocean crabbing is good.

Bottom fishing has been good out of Charleston and some boats have been trying for tuna as well.

Trolling for Chinook has been spotty in Rogue Bay but warm water in the river leaves little alternative for salmon. The exception is on the upper Rogue where fishing has remained fair to good.

Boats launching out of the Port of Brookings report fair fishing for ocean salmon but it has been slow for halibut.

Central & Eastern – Trout fishing is fair on the lower Deschutes where Caddis patterns are still effective. Summer steelhead are starting to enter the river and cooler temperatures have spurred the seasons first productive bite in the lower reaches.

Trout fishing has been decent for fly anglers and bait fishers at Crane Prairie Reservoir.

With most of the Cascade lakes fishing well now, making the trip will also be a pleasant alternative to hot weather at lower elevations.

On the John Day, where a 100 smallmouth a day is a fairly easy mark to hit, bass anglers have continued to do well.

Fire danger is extremely high on the east side. Use caution and check regulations before traveling.

Washington fishing report- Although anglers remain focused on the main stem, decent fishing for steelhead has been reported in the Cowlitz, Lewis and the Kalama coming in third for production. It is nearing peak season for these systems although far less productive than they were several years ago.

The Wind River and Drano Lake Fisheries are picking up for both steelhead and salmon. Steelhead will make up the bulk of the catch in the coming weeks however but it looks like anglers will have a more challenging time if the run continues to be depressed.

The Klickitat River is producing fair numbers of summer steelhead and with so few cold water refuges near the main stem Columbia, one might see why there are good numbers stacked up there.

Soapbox Update – In an action without precedent, the ODFW moved to limit or curtail angling entirely at many Oregon locations. We consider the action undertaken by the ODFW to be prudent and reasonable in such extreme conditions. Not fishing in rivers are streams has become an ethical alternative.

Streams that will remain open for angling under normal hours are:

Northeast Zone: The Wallowa River above Sunrise Road; Lostine River above Pole Bridge Campground; Prairie Creek; Hurricane Creek; Spring Creek; and all streams within the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area.

Southeast Zone: The Malheur River and its tributaries; the Owyhee River below the Owyhee Reservoir; and the Blitzen River and its tributaries above Page Springs Weir and Bridge Creek.
The Klamath River and its tributaries.

Central Zone: The Deschutes River above Macks Canyon; the Metolius River; the Fall River; the Crooked River (from mouth to Bowman Dam); and Tumalo Creek. The Hood River and its tributaries and the White River and its tributaries.

Willamette Zone: The McKenzie River and its tributaries; the Middle Fork of the Willamette River below Dexter Dam; the Middle Fork of the Willamette River and its tributaries above Lookout Point Reservoir; and Alton Baker Canoe Canal. The mainstem of the South Santiam River below Foster Dam; Quartzville Creek; the North Santiam River above Detroit Lake; and the Breitenbush River.

Southwest Zone: The mainstem Rogue River from Fishers Ferry upstream to William Jess Dam and all tributaries upstream of the William Jess Dam and Lost Creek Reservoir.

NOTE: If your river of choice is not on the above list, assume it is closed for fishing after 2PM, or as is the case for some rivers, closed outright.

Details on the emergency restrictions, closures and regulations follow below.