Oregon Fisheries Update December 9th, 2016

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Willamette Valley/Metro –  Don’t let the dropping levels of the lower Willamette lull you into thinking it won’t rise again for rise it shall, just more slowly than smaller rivers. Sturgeon fishing has been good but must wait until the water drops.

As with many rivers, the McKenzie River has been on a dropping trend over the past two weeks but will be effected by precipitation over the next several days. Trout fishing is available here.

The Santiam system, reported as high for several weeks here and elsewhere, will blow out with rain and will be too high to fish.

Water level and flow at the Clackamas River, dropping since December 5th, have just started to rise with precipitation. Expect the river to be too high to fish this weekend but there may be a few winter steelhead around as it drops and clears.

Pro fishing guide Jeff Stoeger of O2BFISHN Guide Service (503-704-7920), our man on the Sandy, reports this week that the river has winter steelhead scattered throughout the entire river and says the lower river is producing some real nice size fish.

Northwest – North coast anglers are still struggling for consistent results. A drop in air and water temperatures didn’t help much, but the fact remains, it’s still early in the season to be expecting great results. Early season steelhead should start to pick up with more consistent results, but anymore, the serious steelheaders concentrate more on later returning broodstock and wild fish. Regardless, interest will remain high if there’s fish to catch.

The north coast barometer, the North Fork Nehalem is still only producing mediocre results. The hatchery hotline reports only a few fish a day being caught and pressure remains light. If the NF Nehalem is mediocre at best, then so is the other systems on the north coast. The Necanicum, the Highway 30 streams and Three Rivers should all have fish in them, maybe not so many however. That can all change as we enter high season for early winter fish, and a warming trend along with it.

Larger systems, such as the Wilson and Trask should be coming on line this weekend. Chinook remains an option through the end of this month lawfully, but realistically, fresh fish will become more difficult to come by after mid-month. Steelhead will be an option on the Wilson and a few strays will find their way into the Trask River. Action should pick up when temperatures moderate.

High winds and swell remains in a familiar forecast but an east wind influence seems to be on the horizon, maybe early next week. We might finally get a chance to recreate on big blue for rockfish in the near future.

Crabbing is dropping off in the lower Columbia, there goes the best prospects for Christmas crab. Other areas south of Tillamook Head remain closed due to domoic acid.

Southwest – The ODFW held a meeting on December 2nd to discuss new regulations for rockfish in the ocean off the Oregon coast. We’ll let readers know what they are when the new regs are finalized.

Harvest of razor clams is closed coast wide in both beaches and bays due to a naturally-occurring biotoxin.

Author, publisher and prolific blogger, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) writes again this week from Reedsport to remind us, “The Oregon Department of Agriculture and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the opening of the ocean and bay recreational crab fishery along the southern Oregon coast from Floras Creek (just north of Port Orford) to the California border.”  (ODA Posting)

Steelhead have been caught on every part of the Rogue River recently. A few winters near Agness while those fishing the middle and upper Rogue report catching summer steelhead. With the storm hitting today, fishing will be delayed here for a while.

Winter steelheaders fishing the Chetco River report catching a few just prior to the water starting to rise early Thursday, December 8th.

When water conditions have been good, fishing at Elk River has been productive. It will drop and clear rapidly following a freshet.

Snow on the ground at Diamond Lake does not mean ice fishing and won’t for a while. When the water hardens, we’ll write about it here.

Eastern – Fishing for trout on the lower Deschutes has been slow but not as slow a results for summer steelhead here.

One of the challenges facing anglers who want to fish east of the Cascades is weather so be certain to check it, particularly wind and temperature which can combine to send anglers scurrying.

Steelheaders are advised to try elsewhere than the Grande Ronde River at this time of year as it does not fish its best.

The water is low at Detroit Lake, making the lower Mongold Ramp the only option for boaters until the Corps of Engineers starts to fill it again in February.

SW Washington – Steelhead have yet to make a strong showing in district rivers, but salmon anglers are still finding a few Chinook in the North Fork Lewis. Bright Chinook can often be found here through mid-December.

The Cowlitz is still showing a few coho to folks, but like other systems, steelhead returns come in greater abundance during late winter. Angler effort reflects that.

The Washougal is often an early season favorite. Action should ramp up here through the first week of January.

Razor clams may be an option this weekend. Dig information can be found here.