Oregon Fisheries Update February 19th – 25th, 2016

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Willamette Valley – It’s still way too early to get excited about spring Chinook but anglers are starting to put in some time in anticipation of one of the early ones of the season. Ten Spring Chinook have crossed Bonneville Dam and one over Willamette Falls too. Cold weekend weather will not make it a pleasant experience this time but look for mid-March to start giving up regular catches unless the run size is grossly under-predicted this year. Fifteen spring Chinook have been tallied in select area commercial fisheries so far this year, not a bad start!

Passage of winter steelhead is still low at Willamette Falls, the river level and flow have been rising and falling but the water temperature is rising so that’s good news for people anxious to fish the lower river. Catch and release sturgeon fishing has been good while other fishing is slow.

Rain over the next couple of days will cause a rise of the water and flow at the McKenzie River but fishing will resume as it drops in the coming week

The problem with the North Santiam isn’t high or low water rather a lack of fish, As more winter steelhead move upstream the Willamette, they’ll enter the Santiams and eventually get caught and released.

Clackamas level and flow are on the rise, a trend which will continue into the weekend. as the water drops and clears here, winter steelheading will resume.

Sandy River steelheaders have been doing fairly well but as the river rises and roils, fishing will cease for a few days. It remains to be seen if the water will be clear enough in the coming week for winter steelhead fishing.

NW Oregon Fishing Reports- Steelheaders are starting to earn their keep with cold, wet weather conditions coming down for north coast steelheaders. Regardless, fair to good catches of quality steelhead are still coming from many north coast streams with the Wilson and Nestucca Rivers notoriously getting the most attention. The Trask is putting out fish too but a Friday rain system may put it out of reach for Saturday, maybe Sunday.

Some quality broodstock fish continue to fall with bobber-dogging and side-drifting continuing to get most of the fish. Wild fish are starting to show with more regularity on most north coast streams but action will only get better as we near March.

Smaller streams such as the Kilchis and Necanicum will offer up the best chances this weekend but don’t count on any hatchery fish coming from these systems. Some spent downstream running fish will likely be available however, they just won’t be great table fare.

The Nehalem mainstem remains too high to productively fish. The North Fork Nehalem, Three Rivers and Highway 30 systems will produce poorly for the remainder of the season.

Crabbing, clamming and certainly Bottomfishing will all be poor options for outdoor enthusiasts this weekend due to tides, weather of the surf forecast. There will be good opportunities ahead, just not this weekend.

Central & South Coast Reports – TGF has confirmed that all-depth halibut will continue every other Friday and Saturday this summer. An email announcement from the ODFW has an error that omitted Saturday.

Most of the south coast rivers are getting winter steelhead now and are expected to fish well as water levels drop in the coming week.

Bay clamming is open and safe now on the entire Oregon coast, this following a toxin scare earlier.

Crabbing and clamming are reported as good in Coos bay. Winter steelheading has been good at times at various locations and tributaries to the Coos system

Winter steelheading is expected to be worthwhile on the lower Rogue as well as the Grants Pass stretch in the coming week. Prospect aren’t as good for the upper Rogue.

Chetco steelheaders have been doing week this season but the river is rising with rain and will continue to do so over the next couple of days.

There is no ice fishing at Diamond Lake as there is no ice. It melted in January and this option may not be available again this season.

Central & Eastern – Trollers report taking limits of kokanee consistently at Lake Billy Chinook.

Fishing at Detroit Lake has been slow for trollers targeting trout but water temperatures are still in the 40s here.

Wickiup Reservoir is currently closed and while it traditionally opens on the fourth Saturday in April, it will open this year on Friday, April 22nd. We explain why this week in TGF.

SW Washington Fishing Reports – Winter steelhead remain elusive on many district streams with the greatest amount of effort and limited catch coming from the Cowlitz River. Last week however, Tacoma Power recovered 79 winter steelhead and two spring Chinook during 5 days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

Map of Razor Clam Beaches
Beaches in Washington with razor clam fisheries include: Long Beach, which extends from the Columbia River to Leadbetter Point. Twin Harbors Beach, which extends from the mouth of Willapa Bay north to the south jetty at the mouth of Grays Harbor.

Copalis Beach, which extends from the Grays Harbor north jetty to the Copalis River, and includes the Copalis, Ocean Shores, Oyhut, Ocean City and Copalis areas.

Mocrocks Beach, which extends from the Copalis River to the southern boundary of the Quinault Reservation near the Moclips River, including Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Seabrook, Pacific Beach and Moclips.

Kalaloch Beach, which extends from the South Beach Campground to Brown’s Point (just south of Beach Trail 3) in the Olympic National Park. (This beach is closed to harvest until further notice)

February 16, 2016
Contact: Dan Ayres, (360) 249-4628

WDFW approves razor clam digs at Copalis, Mocrocks;
digging continues at Long Beach

OLYMPIA – Razor clam diggers can count on openings beginning Feb. 19 at Copalis and Mocrocks beaches, state shellfish managers announced today.

Additionally, Long Beach remains open to clam digging on afternoon or evening tides through March 10.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved a two-day opening (Feb. 19 and 20) at Copalis and three days of digging (Feb. 19-21) at Mocrocks on evening tides after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat.

Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, recommends that diggers arrive at the beach an hour or two before low tide for best results. However, digging is not allowed on any beach before noon.

The upcoming dig at is scheduled on the following dates, beaches and low tides:

Ayres reminds diggers that the best digging conditions are on low tides of one foot or lower. Diggers also should monitor WDFW’s main razor clam webpage for any potential changes to the Long Beach opening.

This is the first opening at Mocrocks since elevated levels of domoic acid, a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae, forced WDFW to close beaches to digging last spring.