Oregon Fisheries Update December 4th – 10th, 2015

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Willamette Valley Fishing Report – Willamette level and flow will be on the rise as rain, and plenty of it, fall in the Willamette Valley over the coming week. Sturgeon fishing is expected to be good on the lower river.

Water levels of the McKenzie will be on the rise over the coming week. Once the level drops and the water clears, it should fish again.

Fishing will be poor on the Santiams until winter steelhead arrive. That means over the Falls and up the Willamette to the mouth of the river. It’ll be a while.

Relief will come to the low, clear water of the Clackamas River which will be on the rise all week. It will fish after the weather moderates.

Fishing on the Sandy River has been slow but it is hoped that following the results from storms in the coming week, winter steelhead may be available.

North Coast Fishing Report – Anglers are still in pursuit of Tillamook fall Chinook but anglers are commenting that fresh fish are hard to come by in local area rivers. The current weather system should draw in another round of fresh fish and anglers trolling herring in the bay have found some fresh fish in the low flows of late. The current rain freshet will likely be the last ditch option for fresh run Chinook this season although some anglers have reported bright fish closer to Christmas.

Most anglers are anticipating the early return of hatchery steelhead and those in pursuit have not necessarily been disappointed. The season has been off to a reasonable start with fish coming from most north coast systems that harbor early returns of hatchery fish. No one is expecting a gang-buster return but anglers remain optimistic.

The Necanicum, North Fork Nehalem, Kilchis, Wilson, Nestucca and Three Rivers are all good early season options. There will likely be some strays on the Trask River as well.

Crabbing remains open on the north Oregon coast, in coastal estuaries that is. The lower Columbia is the obvious hot spot. With another influx of fresh water, Netarts Bay will likely be the best option and catches should be good with the continued closure of commercial crabbing in the ocean.

Central & South Coast Reports – South coast steelheaders are anxiously awaiting the arrival of winter steelhead. This may occur once rivers recover from storms this week.

Crabbing remains closed from Haceta Head near Yachats to the Oregon/California border. While ocean crabbing was scheduled to open Dec. 1, it will be delayed. No crabbing is allowed in the ocean, bays or estuaries.

Razor clamming remains closed coast-wide and no mussels may be taken anywhere on the south coast.

As many look forward to the start-up of winter steelhead fishing, others have continued to catch red-tail surf perch from area beaches.

A few wild coho have been caught over the past couple of weeks at Siltcoos Lake. It is hoped that, following rainfall, this fishery will improve.

There were a few winter steelhead taken on the lower Rogue but with the river rising, it may be mid-December before it will be in shape to fish again. Summer steelheading is slow on the middle river but fair to good on the upper Rogue.

While tidewater Chinook fishing is wrapped up in tidewater on the lower Chetco. Winter steelheading will just be starting once the river recovers from the freshet resultant of storms in the coming week.

Not many anglers participated in the salmon fishery in the ocean off the mouth of the Elk River. This opportunity ended on November 30th.

Central & Eastern – Steelheading and trout fishing are traditionally slower on the lower Deschutes at this time of year. Hopefully, rain this week will improve prospects.

Trout fishing is expected to be worthwhile on the Metolius as it fishes well through the winter time. Often getting there is challenging in winter weather conditions, however.

Steelheaders at the mouth of the John Day report poor results this week.

The Grande Ronde should produce summer steelhead if it is accessible.

SW Washington Fishing Reports – The Cowlitz, often the highlight throughout the year, is disappointing. Traditionally, early run winter steelhead have been numerous here but a change in planting strategy has put this fishery in the toilet. A few coho remain with even fewer in pursuit.

The North Fork of the Lewis River remains an option for late-season Chinook and a rare coho. Returning winter steelhead should start to show, albeit in low numbers, back to these tributaries in coming weeks.