Oregon Fisheries Update February 11th – February 17th, 2016

Willamette Valley – From last week: ” Robert Campbell at Fisherman’s Marine in Oregon City (503-557-3313) predicts “The first Willamette Springer will be caught any day now. It may just come from Meldrum Bar this year, I dunno, it’s just a feeling. But I know that first springer is going to happen soon. I feel it in my bones!” You read it here, folks. Be sure to visit the Fisherman’s Marine booth at the Sportsman’s Show. The gift certificate has been claimed (by and angler taking a Columbia fish, actually) but springers have been taken this week in the lower Willamette. The excellent catch-and-release sturgeon fishing seems to be a lower priority to anglers now.

McKenzie River fly anglers should do well for trout once the river starts dropping and clearing after rain this week.

Winter steelhead have started entering the North Santiam but it will be several days until the water level will allow fishing.

Clackamas steelheaders have had a very good week and, with the exception of rising water, should continue to do well.

Winter steelheading, which had been excellent on the Sandy, has slowed down somewhat but is still worth the trip.

NW Oregon Fishing Reports- Steelheaders continue to be impressed with the winter season. Consistent action seems to come after each and every rain event. Weekend anglers that braved higher water conditions did well and action stayed fair into Monday. Water levels are on the drop however and action should taper as we enter the lull between early and late season fish.

The Wilson and Nestucca remain best bets, with both wild and broodstock fish available into early April. As flows drop, anglers will want to focus their efforts on the lower reaches of these systems. Plugs may become more effective in the lower flows.

Smaller systems will start to taper but spawned out fish will still be available although will make poor table fare. Paul and Jackson Curran of Portland came across 3 hatchery keepers on the North Fork Nehalem on Wednesday that were still in great shape!

The Nehalem may drop in enough to find some quality wild fish by the weekend, of not sooner.

A softer tide series this weekend may bolster crabbing catches in north coast estuaries. Good clamming last weekend won’t be there this weekend though, we need a minus tide!

The offshore option still won’t be an option for a while. Rough seas continue to be in the forecast.

Central & South Coast Reports – The ODFW announced halibut fishing dates this week, while these dates are unlikely to changed, they will be finalized in April. The ODFW sport halibut webpage can be found here.

Offshore bottom fishing has been reported as fair to good for charters and good or better for sport baits catching rockfish and ling cod.

The entire coast is open for crabbing now both in the ocean as well as in bays and estuaries,

As days get longer, warmwater fish such as bass and panfish become active. Some good catches were made in Tenmile Lake recently.

Winter steelheading has been good on the Umpqua mainstem as well as on the South Umpqua. While only hatchery steelhead may be kept here, it should remain good through March/

Following high water earlier this month, level and flow of the Rogue River have moderated. The lower river will be good for fly fishers but the Grants Pass stretch is expected to be best overall.

The Chetco is not expected to be effected much by rains this week so it should continue to fish well for winter steelhead.

Central & Eastern – With summer steelhead fishing wrapped up and no winter run on the Deschutes, it’ll be a trout fishery here for quite a while.

Kokanee fishing has been sow at the snowy, icy Odell Lake. It’s recommended too wait for this one to warm up.

Alternately, kokanee trollers looking for winter action might try Lake Billy Chinook where results have been reported as good recently.

While Detroit Lake has been an easy troll fishery recently, it has been a rare experience to actually hook a koke here.

SW Washington Fishing Reports – Steelhead fishing remains challenging in SW Washington streams. The Cowlitz has yielded some steelhead but the news of the week is the season’s first spring Chinook. That shouldn’t be a huge surprise, given the whopper return predicted for this system this year. Smelt dipping in the Cowlitz was productive for many, especially those dipping in the higher reaches of the river. No more seasons are on tap for the Cowlitz, citing a lower return than in the previous 2 years.

Spring Chinook have also been tallied at Bonneville Dam. Surely a good sign for the season ahead.

Razor clam digging was productive on the last tide series along the  Long Beach Peninsula. The next minus tide series won’t happen for several more days.