Oregon Fisheries Update for October 28th, 2016

Willamette Valley/Metro – With the Columbia River closed for the pursuit of all salmon and steelhead, focus for metro anglers will go elsewhere, such as the Willamette, Clackamas and Sandy Rivers and of course the Oregon Coast. Don’t look for Columbia River information until 2017.

Level and flow of the lower Willamette have returned to whence they started 10 days ago. At least most all the debris has washed out so the lower river is safer to boat now. Bass fishing has been good.

The McKenzie River has continued to suffer in terms of water level and flow as precipitation and snowmelt cause the waters to swell. Fishing in the coming week is a bit of a long shot here.

While the Santiams are often reported as “blown out” in this space, in a delightful change of pace, the entire system will be dropping and fishable in the coming week with fish scattered.

Clackamas water levels are rising currently but will be dropping on Friday this week and continue through the weekend. Fishing is usually better when a river drops. Steelhead and coho are well distributed.

According to our insider on the Sandy River, Pro fishing guide Jeff Stoeger of O2BFISHN Guide Service (503-704-7920) tells us where to go to catch all those coho that came in on the last freshet.

Northwest – It’s game on in Tillamook County with most district rivers and Tillamook Bay all options for anglers in driftboats and sleds this weekend.

The Wilson has been fishing particularly good lately, with some boats taking limits of fall Chinook from the lower reaches on Tuesday. One 51-pound Chinook was reportedly caught downstream of Sollie Smith Bridge. The Trask and Nestucca have been putting out fish as well. Driftboaters haven’t enjoyed these kind of friendly water conditions for many years. The Kilchis is also an option but good numbers of Chinook have yet to show. Chum salmon are present in good numbers however.

The Ghost Hole bite has been consistent, starting half way through the incoming tide. Bay City is also an option as is the West Channel. The West Channel has cooled however, as the Trask and Tillamook Chinook fade and Wilson and Kilchis River run fish dominate the bay right now. Since these fish utilize the east side of the bay to access their home rivers, the Ghost Hole will remain the best bet for the remainder of the season.

The Salmon and Nehalem Rivers are done for the year. Chinook runs on these rivers are well distributed in upstream tributaries or in the case of the Salmon River, at the hatchery. Interest is over until winter steelhead season. The North Fork Nehalem remains an option for late running coho salmon, just not a good one. Depending on run size, an early winter steelhead may show here soon.

The ocean may offer up a small window of opportunity late in the weekend. Likely a bit too rough for anglers to justify a trip to the deep reef however. Large lingcod await if the seas calm.

Crabbing is fair at best in most estuaries, with the lower Columbia being the exception. Weekend tides aren’t the best however, it may be best to wait a week.

Southwest – Offshore bottom fishing is providing limits for all of rockfish and anglers are fishing without depth restriction. The challenge is finding a day this time of year to launch.

Once again, author, publisher and blogger Pete Heley (peteheley.com) graces TGF with his wisdom and knowledge, reminding us that while ocean crabbing is closed through November that the lower tidewater areas of Oregon’s coastal rivers are open the entire year and there were a number of decent catches made by dock crabbers at Winchester Bay last week.

October 28-29 is the last chance for all-depth halibut as offshore conditions were too terrible to fish the last opening earlier in October. Halibut fishing closes state-wide on October 31st.

High water has caused big changes on the Rogue River. The troll fishery died when fresh water caused Chinook to run upstream while lower river fishing was quashed by too much water. This will be the story over the coming weekend for much of the Rogue River.

Despite good conditions recently for catching Chinook by backbouncing eggs or pulling plugs on the Chetco, only bobber fishing is allowed above RM 2.2 in an effort to reduce snagging.

Chinook are being caught on the Elk and Sixes Rivers when conditions are conducive, however, water color and flow changes quickly on the small, dynamic coastal tributaries.

Fishing at Diamond Lake improved as temperatures moderated. Now with snow on the ground in spots fishing continues with bait still best.

Eastern – Reports this week indicate that while the Deschutes has been troubled by rainstorms periodically, it’s been fishing well for trout this week.

Crane Prairie has continued to prove itself a worthwhile destination through the fall months. Bait fishers have been doing well this week.

According to Mah-Hah Outfitters Internet posting, the John Day fishery has switched from smallmouth bass to summer steelhead with the seasons.

SW Washington – The Cowlitz is producing some coho and sea run cutthroat trout. The fishery is winding down here, not that it ever got ramped up.

North Fork Lewis coho are also an option but anglers aren’t very motivated given poor success rates. Nothing is likely to change here anytime soon.

The Klickitat system is producing an occasional coho but like most coho fisheries on the Columbia, numbers are dramatically down.