Oregon Fisheries Update July 29th, 2016

Willamette Valley – Steelhead passage at Bonneville continue to climb but success rates in the area for summer steelhead have slowed. Closer to Longview however, summer steelhead action produced just over a 1 fish per boat average. Chinook action continues to be slow but that’s to be expected as we transition from the summer to fall run of Chinook.

Fish counts at Willamette Falls are nearly up to date and indicate passage of salmon and steelhead has slowed. The water temperature, 74 at the Falls, does not make for productive fishing.

Sparkling waters of the McKenzie harbor rainbow trout, only the flick of a fly away from becoming your adversary. But which fly? Summer steelhead are also in the river now.

Despite the Santiam system dropping to lower levels and running crystal clear, steelheaders are finding some summers to catch.

We remarked this week that we are growing weary of the terms, “low and clear.” Tired of reading it, tired of writing it, but it’s that time of year and the Clackamas reflects just that, making it a tough nut for summer steelheaders. The splash and giggle crowd don’t help either.

An exception to the ‘low and clear’ refrain is the Sandy River, where hot temperatures send milky, glacial water into the river from the flanks of Mt. Hood to create a situation of low but not so clear.

Northwest Oregon – By all counts, fishing on the north coast remains challenging. Ocean salmon fishing for coho, traditionally at peak catch periods right now, remains slow. Coho have either been incredibly elusive or non-existent but anglers are having a hard time finding them.

Bottomfishing remains good but lingcod catches have slowed even further. Black seabass remain abundant and should continue to produce well into August.

Tuna chasers still have to go far offshore to find consistent action but the weekend ocean forecast does not look favorable for a far offshore foray.

The nearshore halibut fishery remains mediocre for success but the halibut are averaging larger than 20 pounds. Another all-depth is planned for August 5 – 6, hopefully, the weather cooperates.

Summer steelhead anglers remain predictably challenged by the low water conditions currently witnessed on the Nestucca, Wilson and Siletz River systems. There are fair numbers of fish present however.

The fin-clipped only requirement in Tillamook Bay and adjacent ocean areas lifts on August 1st but success is likely to remain fair at best for most of the month of August.

Central & South Coast Reports – A fishery bound to get the attention of many offshore anglers, that of the the popular non-hatchery, wild ocean coho may be kept starting September 3rd will continue through September 30th unless the quota of 7,500 fish is caught first.

Although most anglers think summer steelhead when the Siletz River is mentioned, and rightly so, another fishery has just started up, that for sea-run cutthroat trout. Fishing will get better into the fall.

Albacore tuna fishing is hot. It seems those who do it are enraptured with it while those who have never done it want to. An extremely exciting experience wrestling with these critters, which are born swimming and never stop, and doing so in the fishes’ own element.

In his report this week, Fishing sage and author of numerous books on the subject, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reports that the pinkfin surf perch fishery in the Umpqua River above Winchester Bay has slowed way down this week although there are still some around..

Trollers in Rogue Bay have had some good days with a mix of early fall Chinook mingling with late-season springers. Summer steelhead are entering the low, clear waters of the lower Rogue. Steelheaders on the middle river have been catching a few fish over the past week while fishing on the upper Rogue remains fair to good.

Bottom fishing out of the Port of Brookings has been stellar when winds have allowed boats to launch. Good numbers of rockfish are being landed along with large lingcod. Offshore salmon fishing has improved a little with Chinook and coho being landed. Halibut is open south of Humbug Mountain to the California line seven days a week.

Trout fishing has been good and remains so at Diamond Lake.

Central & Eastern – The big news on the Deschutes River, unfortunastely, isn’t about the fishing but rather the fire actively burning on the west bank from Warm Springs to Trout Creek. While the river is open at this writing, that may change.

East Lake has been producing decent numbers of trout to fly fishers who know which pattern to offer and when.

Timothy Lake is well-known as one of the most productive locations for crawfish in Oregon. There are good-sized trout here as well. What do you suppose they eat to grow so large?

Despite a significant algae bloom, thick and soupy in places, hearty Odell Lake kokanee anglers carry on. While the algae blooms, anglers are catching fish..

Wickiup kokanee fishers have continued to do well for large fish. There is a little algae in the water but nothing major.

SW Washington – The Cowlitz River remains productive for summer steelhead. About a 1/2 fish per rod was tallied for boat anglers last weekend. It should remain productive but will likely taper in the coming weeks. Salmon interest will alleviate some of the crowds here.

Drano Lake is posting impressive catches, especially for boat anglers. Boat anglers produced better than 1 fish per rod in the recent creel data. The majority of the fish were hatchery fish. This fishery is peaking right now.

Most anglers remain focused on mainstem Columbia summer steelhead opportunities. That will also change as salmon become more prevalent and water temperatures continue to rise.