Oregon Fisheries Update December 18th – 24th, 2015

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Willamette Valley Fishing Report – Most of the valley rivers are flowing high, swift and muddy. This includes the lower Willamette, which is currently unsafe for boating.

The McKenzie will remain too high for fishing for at least a week.

Also high and raging, the entire Santiam system is expected to remain out of shape until after Christmas.

Unlike other rivers in the Willamette Valley, the Sandy and Clackamas actually produced a few winter steelhead prior to the latest deluge. As these waters drop and clear, they hold promise for steelheaders.

The best bet this week will be stocked trout ponds which will fish regardless of river conditions in the valley.

North Coast Fishing Report – A glimmer of hope for north coast smaller systems with the Kilchis putting out a rare fresh December Chinook early this week. It’s getting quite late for fresh Chinook and will close at the end of this month. These winter Chinook may be our only hope for a strong broodstock return since we’ve had about 5 “over-the bank” events already this fall. This doesn’t bode well for future runs of Tillamook Chinook.

Steelheaders did find some action on smaller streams after the major flood event last week. The North Fork Nehalem, Necanicum and Three Rivers were some of the better producers as the larger systems remained somewhat out of reach for much of last week as well. These rivers are once again on the rise however and likely won’t fish again until at least the early part of next week. The steelhead season is not off to a great start, we should be entering peak season for the early returning fish.

Other outdoor opportunities are out of reach due to rough ocean weather and colored waterways. Tillamook Bay may be in reach early next week for the rare troller looking for a late season Chinook.

Crabbing on the lower Columbia remains productive when you don’t get blown off the river, which is often. With the huge influx of fresh water however, it would be wise to wait for a few hours of incoming tide before crab dig their way out of the sand to forage for food.

There was rumors of a razor clam re-opener based on the results of recent testing. No word yet but with the surf the condition it’s in, clams won’t be feeding in range anyway. Hopefully, we’re close to a razor clam option despite the strong El Nino forecast for this winter.

Central & South Coast Reports – Ocean conditions will prevent boats from launching to take advantage of winter bottom fishing which is historically good.

Crabbing remains closed in the ocean, bays and estuaries on the south coast. Due to ongoing rough seas coupled with high winds, testing of Dungeness will be delayed.

A few winters were taken by steelheaders earlier this week at the Alsea River which is a tributary to the bay at Waldport. It has since blown out.

The Rogue River is high and roiled for its entire length and is expected to remain unfishable for a while. Once it recovers, winter steelhead should be available.

Curry County Resident, who endured about seven inches of rainfall over the past weekend, are due for another four to seven inches today and tomorrow.

At this writing, the Chetco River is rapidly rising and is expected to reach 30,000 cfs by mid-day Friday, December 18th. It will then drop between storms, and rise again to a predicted 34,000 cfs later this coming week. It will fish eventually, but not far a while.

Trout fishing has been slow at Diamond Lake where most anglers are waiting, even hoping, for the surface to freeze and ice fishing to commence.

Central & Eastern – Steelheading has been slow on the lower Deschutes as summers seem reluctant to strike, despite decent populations. Trout fishing is seasonably slow.

SW Washington Fishing Reports – Steelhead anglers on the Cowlitz are seeing more coho than steelhead but that should change in the near future. In integrated broodstock program has been in place for a few years and improved action is expected in the coming weeks. It will remain the best option for much of the winter season.

Other district systems are producing poorly, which is no surprise with little to be hopeful for in the near future.