Oregon Fisheries Update April 14th, 2017

Willamette Valley/Metro – Spring Chinook are starting to make a better showing in the Columbia and Willamette systems. With the season extension (See press release here), ample opportunity exists, good water conditions do not (kinda like winter steelhead season). Prior to the season extension, catch rates were pathetic, averaging 22 anglers days of effort for each spring Chinook landed on the Columbia. I know, hard to stay motivated. Another surge in flow will likely keep the bite subdued.

The Willamette is showing signs of improvement, but action is sporadic at best. Trollers working the Multnomah Channel, Portland Harbor and Sellwood Bridge are catching some fish and like any kind of fishing, some days are better than others. There is effort at Oregon City, but the bite has yet to take off in any real fashion in this reach.

The Sandy still has some steelhead in it. Pro guide Chris Vertopoulos (503-349-1377) found some steelhead last week. HIs group landed one large wild buck, a spawned out fish, and had another hit on a plug. It’s getting to be scratch fishing over there, and springers are still a few weeks away.

Much the same on the Clackamas, with a few steelhead present, no spring Chinook just yet and little pressure during this shoulder season. There was one gentlemen that was seen trolling the lower reach around Clackamette Park. After landing a fish (I presume a spring Chinook), he stated he had lost 2 others (or was that just the bottom?). Seems pretty lucky as this is not a common place to see a fisherman, let along a successful one. High flows on the Willamette often draw fish into the clearer Clackamas however.

Writer Michael Teague is on what we hope is a brief medical hiatus. He would say however that the upper Willamette Basin is void of fish, still running a bit high and somewhat fruitless. There are a few spring Chinook over the falls, but what can you expect for this early in the season?

Northwest – Guides working the north coast are hoping to wind down the season soon. With so much focus on Willamette Valley spring Chinook, the rivers have become more user friendly and the fishing has been respectable. That has changed in recent days however as catches have dropped off and more spawned out fish are showing in the catch.

The Nestucca and Wilson remain favorites, but catches will continue to taper and summer steelhead are even a rarity this year. Many smaller streams are now closed to avoid conflict with spawning wild steelhead. Check local regulations before embarking.

And speaking of embarking, it’s been another week of little ocean effort as storm after storm roll ashore. There may be a window coming up soon however, so if you pay attention to that type of stuff, keep a watchful eye. Halibut season is less than a month away, you’ll want to be prepared for it.

Spring Chinook are also a month away, but it’s likely that there are some in the Trask or Tillamook area system. You’d have to be pretty motivated to try it, or have a lot of extra time on your hands.

Southwest – No Southwest report this week as writer Michael Teague is on what we hope is a brief medical hiatus. Paid members however should go to the paid subscriber section and read Pete Heley’s report. There’s great detail in there!

Eastern – No Eastern OR report this week as writer Michael Teague is on what we hope is a brief medical hiatus.

SW Washington – Although spring Chinook action should be picking up on the Cowlitz River, it isn’t. Steelhead action remains fair however, it appears there is a decent return this year. Here is the stats right from the horse’s mouth:

Cowlitz River – 128 bank anglers kept 3 adult spring Chinook, 19 steelhead and released 3 steelhead, 1 cutthroat. 37 boat anglers kept 4 adult spring Chinook, 20 steelhead and released 1 adult spring Chinook.  River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 9,680 cubic feet per second on Monday, April 10. Water visibility is five feet and water temperature is 43.7 F.

East Fork Lewis from mouth to top boat ramp at Lewisville Park and Washougal River from mouth to Mt. Norway Bridge – Open to fishing for hatchery steelhead Sunday April 16. Through the first Friday in June, selective gear rules are in effect; no bait may be used.

Wind, White Salmon, and Klickitat rivers and Drano Lake – No effort including the bank only area outside the mouth of Drano Lake.

Drano Lake – April 12 is the first of the scheduled Wednesday closures that run through June. Effective April 16 through June 30, bank fishing only west of a line projected from the easternmost pillar of the Hwy. 14 Bridge to a posted marker on the north shore.

Webinar - Building Your Own Gear with Pro Guide Chris Vertopoulos - January 29th