Oregon Fisheries Update July 10th – July 16th, 2015

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Willamette Valley Fishing Report – Warming waters continue to depress catch rates on the mainstem Columbia for summer Chinook and steelhead. Although fair numbers are still being caught, the summer Chinook run is winding down on the mainstem, as evidenced by dam counts at Bonneville. Steelhead numbers are on the climb but catch rates are not.

With water temperatures at Willamette Falls 81 degrees, there’s not much going on in the lower river for anglers. Sturgeon fishing has slowed. Bass fishing is a best bet.

McKenzie fly fishers can continue to enjoy the river as it will remain in fishable condition even as others drop in level and rise in temperature.

The Santiams are low and are predicted to fall even lower without precipitation to reverse this trend.

The gradual drop in the water level of the Clackamas over the past several weeks is predicted to continue into the foreseeable future. Finding the coolest water available has allowed some anglers to catch a summer steelhead on occasion.

Despite the fact the spring Chinook arrive later on the Sandy and that this time of year is historically considered the peak of the season, fishing has been slow due to unfavorable conditions.

North Coast Report – Anglers remain focused on ocean fisheries where tuna and salmon are being taken in great numbers, especially out of northern ports. Bottomfish and crab fisheries are producing well too although lingcod numbers are not impressing. The nearshore halibut fishery is also a bit slow. The Columbia remains the best ocean option.

Catch and release sturgeon fishing is still productive in the estuary but as salmon fishing heats up, interest in sturgeon continues to wane.

Action out of Garibaldi has been fair for coho and crab but will likely improve as July wears on.

Interest in Nehalem Bay summer Chinook is underway although catches remain subdued. It’s likely to get better in early August but there should be some fish available now.

Central & South Coast Reports – Bottom fishing has been worthwhile out of Depoe Bay and Newport for rockfish although ling cod have been slower to bite. Ocean crabbing has been good but the number of softshells is increasing.

Boats launching out of central and southern coastal ports have been catching tuna although the trip has been a long one. Fishing should improve in coming weeks.

While anglers targeting pinkfin perch on the Umpqua River have continued to find plenty of fish, scoring limits has been a challenge with the bite spotty. Winchester Bay crabbing is slow. Chinook are being taken in the jaws and will soon enter the bay.

The Coquille River has been producing fair to good catches of smallmouth bass.

Trollers have made some good catches of Chinook occasionally in Rogue Bay but results have not been reliable recently. With the Rogue water temperatures high, this is expected to be the only fishery available for a while. Fishing on the lower and middle Rogue River is slow . Summer steelheading is fair on the upper river. Water levels are low river-wide.

With the ocean Chinook fishing expected to “break loose at any time” for several weeks now, it has shown signs of life periodically. It has not reached the ‘breaking loose’ stage as yet.

Central & Eastern – Summer steelheaders are keeping an eye on counts at The Dalles Dam as the run historically gets underway around mid-July.

Once again, a hot tip for a cool getaway is to fish the high Cascade lakes. Trout are usually willing and the respite from warm valley temperatures is a pleasant change.

Kokanee are being taken at Odell but those who are doing best are trolling very deep water to catch them.

Washington fishing reports – The bank angler check on the Cowlitz was quite impressive last weekend. Anglers averaged a fish per rod from the bank but steelhead seem scarce. Other lower Columbia tributaries are void of effort as most remain focused on the mainstem in pursuit of summer Chinook or steelhead.

It’ll largely be a steelhead show for the remainder of the month with  good numbers migrating through the lower reaches right now. By early August, water temperatures will become too warm to inspire steelhead to bite consistently.