Willamette Valley Fishing Report – Anglers are beginning to report more consistent action from the spring Chinook fishery on the lower Columbia. Although it’s still not great fishing from day to day, anglers can now go out and reasonably expect a chance at catching a springer anywhere below Bonneville Dam. Creel checks remain best in the gorge, where trollers working the Multnomah Falls/Horsetail Falls reaches are still producing good catches. Trollers working the Kalama area, mostly on anchor with plugs, are also seeing more consistent results. Passage at Bonneville Dam is starting to ramp up with over 200 fish per day now passing the facility. The season is modeled to close on April 10th but managers will meet on Thursday to make a determination. The gillnet fleet fished on Tuesday, reportedly taking about 1/2 of their quota for the spring; approximately 1,000 salmon, with nearly 1/2 of the “catch” robbed out of the nets from sea lions. It’s pretty bad out there!
The temperature of the water spilling over Willamette Falls is in the mid-50s. Nearly 250 spring Chinook are upstream now, along with about 3,500 winter steelhead and about 140 summers. As of mid-day Thursday, April 2nd visibility was improving.
Water level and flow at the McKenzie River are stable, have been so for nearly a week and are expected to endure in this state well into the week to come. It is a good time to fish the Mac.
The ODFW warns of a new reason for boaters to use caution on the lower North Santiam. There is a large tree across the entire river between Green’s Bridge and the confluence with the South Santiam above Jefferson making this stretch of river extremely hazardous for boaters
Since the storm front bumped water levels over a week ago, the Clackamas has been more or less dropping and rain forecast for the coming week will have little effect on this trend according to the NOAA forecast. The river’s in good shape, though, and the timing is good to catch steelhead from the Clack.
Water levels picked up with precipitation on the 1st of April on the Sandy River but should be dropping over the weekend which will create improved fishing conditions.
Northwest – Spring Chinook are on the minds of many here in the Northwest corner of the state. Lower, lower Columbia anglers are finding fair numbers of fish from Westport (Puget Island) downstream to the estuary. One angler reported hooking 5 Chinook, landing 3, get this, casting spinners off of Clatsop Spit at Fort Steven’s State Park! I can’t verify that rumor but one has to hope it’s possible.
Spring Chinook season also opened up in Tillamook Bay but no one is reported to be fishing. It won’t be long however.
Some guides are remaining diligent in pursuit of late-run winter steelhead. Guides are reporting a drastic downturn in action however with fresh fish clearly coming on the tide. Pro guide Kent Anderson (503-550-6303) reports “going miles in virgin water without a bite” but then you come into a pod of fish that clearly came in on the tide and you’ll get 3 to 5 opportunities in pretty short order. Then, once you’re out of them, you’re back to mile-less bites. Kent has spent his whole season on the Nestucca.
It’s much the same in more northern watersheds, where the action has clearly slowed from the last rain freshet. Wilson River steelheaders are reporting only sporadic action with nearly ideal water conditions. It’s becoming clear that the season is drawing to close.
Some North Coast streams are now closed to protect spawning wild populations of steelhead. Check regulations before going out.
Ocean anglers may not get a comfortable chance at bottomfish, or ocean Chinook if you’re south of Cape Falcon, until early next week. The seas are just too rough.
Central & South Coast Reports – Anglers may no longer ply unlimited depths while seeking offshore bottom fish. As of the 1st of April, fishing can only take place inside the 30-fathom line
Offshore anglers are reminded that the limit in Oregon is seven rockfish a day and two lingcod 22-inches or better. Cabezon must be released until July 1st.
Spring All Depth opens May 14th through 16th (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) Back up dates include May 28-30, June 11-13 and June 25-27 if the quota does not fill first.
Ocean coho seasons have not yet been finalized nor have quotas for the central Oregon fishery from Cape Falcon south.
The day-long Alsea River clean-up is set to begin at 8:30 a.m. at the U.S. Forest Service’s Blackberry Day Use area, 19 miles east of Waldport on Highway 34. Volunteers are needed to help.
Winter steelheading is well into the wind-down phase in the Coos River system although the season will remain open through April.
The Rogue River Bait Rig (which puts a spinner on the nose of an anchovy) is being used almost exclusively on the lower Rogue for springers and to good effect. Winter steelhead have moved into the middle Rogue.
The early February ice-out at Diamond Lake was indicative of the extremely mild winter we had this year. The lake was still sheathed in ice at this time last year.
Central & Eastern – Fishing is slow for kokanee at Green Peter. The few being caught are so small they have been described as bait.
Kokanee fishers at Lake Billy Chinook are taking quick limits of 10 inchers on jigs with the occasional, accidental bull trout adding to the excitement. Trollers are doing all right here as well.
Trillium Lake has been producing good numbers of trout but they have been running small.
SW Washington- Steelhead anglers working the Cowlitz are scoring good results on steelhead. The late run winter fish have arrived in force. Spring Chinook are also starting to get caught with some regularity but bank anglers seem to be doing better than the boaters in this instance.
The Kalama is receiving light pressure but a few steelhead, mostly wild, are falling to anglers.
Despite good passage of spring Chinook at Bonneville Dam, the Wind River and Drano Lake fisheries are pretty flat. That is likely to change in the coming week however. It’s still a few weeks away from peak season for these fisheries however.