Oregon Fisheries Update for May 13th

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Willamette Valley – Anticipation is running high for the Friday the 13th opener of nearly the entire Columbia River. Anglers need to realize however that the bulk of the returning adults is upriver of Bonneville Dam and the 2nd half of the run is focused on upstream migration, not biting. None-the-less. there are some quality fish to be had and a May opener is a welcome chance at them. All reaches of the river will likely offer up equal opportunity but Friday is likely to be the best day.

Spring Chinook are in the lower Willamette and with double digit daily counts since the 1st of the month, there seems to be quite a few. Finding biters has been a challenge, though, but persistent anglers are getting a few.

McKenzie level and flow are excellent for fly fishers. While rain is in the forecast for the first of the coming week, it should have little effect on water conditions here.

Summer steelhead are available in the Santiam system and with good numbers of springers crossing at the Falls, catches will be reflected here soon.

Clackamas River level and flow are low and the water is quite clear. Fishing has been slow but it is hoped the freshet due in a few days will improve prospects here.

Springer fishing has been slow on the Sandy but there are many weeks ahead, during which these fish will continue to enter.

Northwest Oregon – Spring Chinook fishing is about to enter peak season on the north coast with Tillamook Bay offering up the best opportunity. Catches to date however have been slow. It’s due to break open however and with a calm ocean, lower bay options are the best.

Rivers remain low and unproductive for spring Chinook but there remains a few fish to be had nearly every morning up at the hatchery hole on the Trask River. The Wilson and Nestucca have isolated pockets of springers as well but the low water will keep them spooked.

The halibut opener out of Garibaldi wasn’t all that impressive. It likely won’t get much better either but there are some quality fish coming to the dock. Calm seas will make for a great experience, whether or not you catch your single keeper.

Razor clam digging was excellent last week but softer tides this weekend will be more conducive to crabbing; too bad that’s not all that productive.

Central & South Coast Reports – The first all-depth, three day fishery opens May 12th through 14th off the central Oregon coast with more openings scheduled as the quota allows.

Blogger, author and self-publisher of numerous Oregon fishing books, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reports that spring Chinook catches slowed a bit this week but will bounce back.

Clamming was great in bays along the coast during the last minus tide. The next chance for extra-low tides will come in the third week of May.

Central & Eastern – Trout fishing has been good on the Deschutes this week as large Salmon Flies and Stoneflies are hatching now. This is a once-a-year event.

O’Dell has remained good for kokanee fishers. Jigging is a favorite technique here but if it’s too windy to jig, try trolling for them.

Smallmouth bass fishing remains good on the John Day both for number of fish and extra-large smallies.

A Free Family Fishing Event at Howard Prairie Reservoir will take place on Saturday, May 14, 9 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Two 30-minute talks are also offered in a covered area at the marina.

McNary Channel Ponds near Hermiston will also have a free fishing event on Saturday, May 14 from 10 a.m. to noon. The event is co-sponsored by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

Surf perch fishing gas been ongoing off beaches u and down the coast. Many beach casters are taking limits of these tasty fish.

Bottom fishing has been yielding good catches of rockfish and ling cod for most ocean-worthy vessels launching out of central Oregon ports.

Rogue River has been slow for spring Chinook fishing ut best for those who know what stretch to fish. Summer steelhead are also available here.

SW Washington – The Cowlitz remains the best prospect in the district but catches are not living up to the 25,000 returning adults predicted. None-the-less, we’re in peak season here and some summer steelhead are starting to show. The winter run is fading.

The Kalama remains slow but some summer steelhead are showing here as well.

The Drano Lake and Wind River fisheries are still producing fair to good catches. Bank angling at time is as good, if not better than boat angling.

The Klickitat and Yakima Rivers are coming on line too.