Oregon Fisheries Update January 15th – January 21st, 2016

Willamette Valley Fishing Report – Despite the rising, turbid water in the lower Willamette River, many anglers are still thinking about that first spring Chinook of 2016. A phony report earlier this only served to fan the flames. Sturgeon fishing remains the best option.

McKenzie River anglers may be out of luck for a little while as the river level is rising and, with the exception of a brief respite on Friday this week, more rain is on the way.

Winter steelhead counts are picking up at the Falls and these fish will eventually populate the North Santiam to create a catch-and-release fishery. We’ll let you know when that occurs.

Water clarity is remarkably good on the Clackamas despite rainfall this week. The water level is up but winter steelheading has been good.

The Sandy River is fairly murky but this is the time of year when the greatest number of hatchery winter steelhead should be available.

North Coast Fishing Report – After a good run for early returning steelhead, north coast steelheaders succumbed to another round of precipitation which should put most district streams in shape for the weekend. Consistent results were witnessed on many of the larger systems prior to the deluge mid-week with some large 3-salt fish pushing 18 pounds reported. The Wilson and Nestucca remained top prospects since the flood earlier this year.

The Trask and Nehalem fished fair for wild fish too although more consistent action lies ahead for these predominately wild fish producers. Smaller streams suffered in the lower, clear water but should be fishable by Friday and into the weekend. We are however, transitioning to a lull in the fishery, awaiting the later returning wild and hatchery broodstock fish that peak closer to March. Anglers are likely to see more spawned out “kelts” returning to the sea as the weeks progress.

Clam diggers found good success during last weekend’s tide series but we won’t see another clam tide until next weekend.

The ocean will be off limits in the predicted 20+ foot seas. Bay crabbing will be fair at best but with the winds forecasted, open water won’t be friendly to anyone with all their wits. The lower Columbia has been swept of most of its keeper crab although a softer tide series this weekend might produce fairly for those willing to work for them.

Central & South Coast Reports – It’s been a rough week, figuratively and literally for both charter and commercial vessels which have been unable to launch due to high wind and waves.

When offshore conditions calm down and boats are once again able to launch, bottom fishing is expected to be excellent.

Ocean crabbing has been fair in most locations, good for those who seek out more productive areas and move pots to find better catches.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s 2016 Ocean Salmon Industry Group meeting (OSIG) is scheduled for Thursday, February 25, 2016. at the Hallmark Resort, 744 SW Elizabeth Street in Newport and is open to all ocean sport fishing anglers and anyone interested in participating in the development of ocean salmon fishery regulations for the 2016 ocean salmon seasons.

The Saltwater Sportsmen’s Show will take place this year on February 27th and 28th at the Oregon State Fairgrounds. Those new to offshore fishing can learn what it’s about while old salts will be able to expand their knowledge.

Rains this week put the entire Rogue River system out of commission until sometime next week. The upper river will fish earliest with the Grants Pass stretch a better bet for fresh winter steelhead. Lower Rogue anglers will get their chance late next week.

The Chetco is currently in full blow-out. Prior to the freshet this week, winter steelheading was good and given the time of year, will be worthwhile once the waters here drop and clear.

Anglers have started ice fishing at Diamond Lake although reports indicate the condition of the surface may be marginal.

Central & Eastern – Summer steelheading is all but a wrap on the Deschutes. While winter trout fishing is an option, weather on the east side has been brutal.

A commercial fishery will start catching carp at Malheur Wildlife Refuge as have been resistant to ODFW methods of eradication.

A few east side lakes offer ice fishing. Check for accessibility, surface condition and weather at this time of year.

Washington Fishing Reports – District streams remain fair at best with the Kalama and Cowlitz producing the best results for the effort being expended. Kalama anglers caught about 1 fish for every 6 bank rods and under permanent rules, all hatchery fish caught, must be retained.

East Fork Lewis River steelheaders were also reporting some fair results for steelhead but success rates were lower on this system.

Sturgeon anglers working the Bonneville Pool reported a keeper retained or released for every 10 rods.

No sign of smelt just yet, the forecast is for lower returns than the past few years.