Oregon Fisheries Update for April 15th

Willamette Valley – With the recent Columbia River closure, spring Chinook effort will now shift to the Willamette and Multnomah Channel for the next 6 weeks. After the peak passage of upper Columbia bound springers, likely the first week of May. Fishery managers will evaluate whether the sport fleet gets any additional time in pursuit of the regions most prized salmonid.

Willamette water conditions have improved this week, with water clarity and temperature conducive to fishing for salmon, steelhead or sturgeon.

Fly fishers may expect to enjoy a good weekend on the McKenzie River, there won’t be swarms of hatches but there should be decent results.

Finally, the Santiam system is at good level and condition for anglers. There are both summer and winter steelhead in the system.

Clackamas levels will be rising overnight on Thursday, April 14th but will start dropping mid-day on Friday, the 15th, with water conditions continuing to improve over the weekend. Fish for steelhead or salmon with results expected to improve late in April.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger of O2Bfishin Guide Service (503-704-7920), reporting on the Sandy River, tells us that stealth will be required as the water level will be dropping and is extremely clear. With
winter steelhead winding down, summers are starting to enter.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host a free family fishing event Saturday, April 16 at St. Louis Ponds near Woodburn from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Northwest Oregon – Even though we’re on the waning days of winter steelhead season, a Thursday rain freshet should stimulate a last-ditch opportunity for hatchery and wild fish on North Coast systems.

It’s been a great steelhead season and anglers are likely to begin to find more spawned out fish than fresh ones in the coming weeks for the remaining systems that are still open.

Anglers will soon shift their attention to Tillamook spring Chinook but fishable numbers typically don’t show up until early May.

Bottomfishing remains predictably terrific with mostly limits of seabass falling to anglers. Lingcod success has been hit or miss in the nearshore but should become more consistent in the coming weeks.

Central & South Coast Reports – When boats have been able to launch out of central Oregon ports, bottom fishing has been good to excellent.

With a quota increase of 15% in 2016 over the 2015 quota, halibut anglers are anxious for the offshore opener scheduled for May 12th.

In his regular weekly report, author of several books on fishing, Pete Heley (PeteHeley.com) reports that bass fishing has been quite good in temperate coastal lakes while many lakes that receive trout have been planted this week

Coos Bay rock and jetty fishers have been catching bottom fish. Crabbers in the bay report poor to slow results.

Spring Chinook have started entering the lower Rogue with anglers taking a few this week. Catches will improve a few weeks into the season. There are a few winter steelhead on the Grants Pass stretch but the best steelhead remains on the upper Rogue. This time of year, many steelhead have spawned or are darkening.

The Chetco and Elk rivers closed for the season on April 1.

Diamond Lake Resort reported this week that ice is melting rapidly and trout fishers may soon be able to fish and ice-free lake.

Central & Eastern – While the Stone Fly hatch is some ways off on the lower Deschutes, Caddis and March Brown imitations continue to be effective.

Water levels at Crooked River are once again too high to fish.

Odell Lake, which reported good catches of kokanee last week, has continued to produce good numbers including some limits.

Smallmouth bass fishing has been good on the John Day River with several anglers landing larch fish recently.

SW Washington – on the Cowlitz, anglers continue to produce great catches of late-season steelhead and spring Chinook are starting to show with more regularity. Some anglers are questioning whether the return predicted on the Cowlitz will actually ever come through.

The Kalama is another district favorite but results here look disappointing. Hopefully summer steelhead make a stronger showing in the coming weeks.

Effort is climbing for the Wind River and Drano Lake fisheries. Once passage at Bonneville eclipses 1,000 adults per day, we’ll see a noticeable uptick in Chinook catch rates.

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