Oregon Fisheries Update August 12th, 2016

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Willamette Valley – With summer steelhead petering out, metro anglers are anxiously awaiting their opportunity to take advantage of a robust fall Chinook run almost at their doorsteps. It’ll still be a few weeks before fishing becomes a bit more consistent but action in the estuary is far from “on fire,” so plenty of biters should be making it through, assuming Chinook change their attitudes by the time they get higher up in the system. It’ll only be a matter of weeks before anglers have a realistic chance at fair to good action.

Willamette water level and flow dropped a bit over the past week with fish passage indicting the end is nigh for springer and summer steelhead runs. Springer fishing is over in the lower Willamette and shad fishing is done. Try for warmwater gamefish.

Despite another drop in level and flow, the waters of the McKenzie River are inviting to fly anglers. Redsides and summer steelhead await anglers here.

Fishing has been good on the South Santiam and North Santiam doe summer steelhead and, spring Chinook.

Clackamas water is low and clear but that shouldn’t discourage steelheaders from giving it a try. While steelhead numbers are fair to good, there are few springers here.

The brief respite in water clarity on the Sandy River, afforded by cooler weather earlier this month, has passed, along with the break in air temperatures. Pro Guide Jeff Stoeger advises anglers to fish high on the system and, unlike the Clackamas, there are springers to catch here.

Northwest Oregon – Ocean coho season south of Cape Falcon is now closed, boy, was it unimpressive. Anglers will now await what is likely to be abundant numbers of fall chinook, awaiting the fall’s first rain freshet to head up most north coast river systems. Until then, the Nehalem should provide some sport for summer Chinook as mid-August is peak season here. The action has been less than the previous few years but this fishery offers the smaller boat operator a fair chance at a nice Chinook salmon.

Newport was the highliner port for the all-depth halibut opener last weekend. Plenty of halibut quota remains, with the  next opener on August 19th and 20th. Meanwhile, the nearshore fishery (inside of 40 fathoms) is also producing best out of Newport but Garibaldi certainly offers up options as well. The bottomfishing out of Garibaldi remains very productive.

Tuna remain far offshore, out of most anglers reach. With a strong Chinook run finally making a showing on the lower Columbia, interest has faded, for now at least.

The Buoy 10 fishery is finally starting to heat up. Michael O’ Leary, Nic Callero, Meredith Shield, Amy Baird and Charlie Burr all took their 1 Chinook limits by 9:15 on  Thursday morning, trolling sardines and herring from the Astoria/Megler Bridge to Tongue Point in 40 to 50 foot of water. That’s right, sardines are producing very well but are sparsely interspersed with the fresh anchovies available at World Class Fishing by calling (503) 741-1407. If you can find sardines, even frozen in another market, it seems to be producing the best. The Tongue Point bite produced well on Wednesday but not so well on Thursday.

The ocean fishery opens up to a 2 Chinook limit starting August 16th. Fishing remains mediocre off of the Long Beach Peninsula but coho seem fairly abundant SW of the Columbia River Buoy in 250 to 300 foot of water. Many of the coho are wild however, requiring release.

Ocean crabbing is best out of Garibaldi but fair out of the mouth of the Columbia. The lower Columbia River itself is terrible.

Catch and release sturgeon fishing remains an option but no one cares since the salmon are running.

Central & South Coast Reports – The ocean season for hatchery coho ended on August 7th, with a little over seven percent of the 26,000-fish quota taken. Following this disappointing fishery, the ODFW stated that this fishery “mercifully closed last Sunday.”

Author and blogger Pete Heley reports this week “the nonselective ocean coho season will still run from September 3rd through September 30th, or until the 7,500 coho salmon quota is caught – if earlier. With good coho numbers and decent fishing conditions, this season could be very short.” Non-selective refers to hatchery or wild; either may be kept to make up a limit.

Bottom fishing has been great out of most Oregon ports but observers have seen others venturing out too far in search of rockfish and ling cod. The depth limit is 20 fathoms (120 feet).

Nearshore halibut fishing will continue off the central Oregon coast, as will all-depth halibut fishing which is open alternate Thursdays and Fridays with the next opportunity August 18th and 19th.

Tuna are still being caught by a few boats properly sized and equipped to ravel as many as 120 miles or more round trip to find fish no9w as albacore have moved farther offshore.

Charter and sport boats were able to launch out of Gold Beach over the past weekend following 22 days of high winds and rough seas. Rogue Bay has been producing Chinook for trollers but the lower River is slow due to poor water conditions. Steelheaders on the middle river are catching a few while the upper Rogue has continued to be productive for late-season springers and steelhead.

When boats have been able to launch out of the Port of Brookings (which has been difficult in rough seas over the past two weeks), bottom fishing has been very good just outside the harbor.

Trout fishing has held up well at Diamond Lake this week, slowing only a little over past weeks.

Central & Eastern – An ODFW bulletin this week stated that the Lower Deschutes River that borders the Warm Springs Reservation will be open April 22-Dec. 31 in 2017.

Fishing has been fair doe trout at Crane Prairie, slow for bass. There are no hellgrammites available anywhere in the area this year.

While John Day is producing scores of smallmouth bass for nearly everyone who fishes it, larger fish are harder to come by than they were in springtime.

The ODFW has issued a warning to residents of John Day to be on the lookout for scavenging bears. This warning can also apply to visitors in the area.

For months. Trollers at Green Peter have been saying there are plenty of Kokanee in Green Peter but they are all small. Good news this week is the overall size of kokes seems to be improving.

SW Washington – The Cowlitz River continues to produce good numbers of summer steelhead, especially for boaters. Creel checks over the weekend yielded nearly a fish per boat average. Bank anglers are doing fair as well.

Although the Lewis River is a distant 2nd for summer steelhead success, it is far less crowded.

The Drano Lake fishery is producing excellent numbers of steelhead and some fall Chinook already. Boaters are trolling plugs for chinook success while those plunking prawns are faring best for steelhead.