Oregon Fisheries Update July 31 – August 6th, 2015

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Willamette Valley Fishing Report – With a slight weather reprieve last week, anglers were after summer Chinook and steelhead in the gorge again. Although results weren’t fantastic, they were worth the effort for both species, given the water conditions anglers are faced with right now. Steelhead counts are running way behind last year’s counts, especially for hatchery fish.


With water temperature moderating at Willamette Falls, fish are again showing up at the counting window although fishing for salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and trout remains closed on the lower river.


The Clackamas and Sandy Rivers are frustrating fishers right now but most are sidelined on their own volition, due to dangerously warm waters and the splash and giggle crowd. Hopefully by late September, water conditions change for the coho run, which should be ample. Trout fishing on the McKenzie River remains a viable option with water conditions here fair. Not so the Santiams, however. On the upside, the North and South Santiam rivers are stable. On the other hand, they are running so low, clear and warm as to eliminate the entire system as an angling option.


North Coast Fishing Report – With much of the focus to the north, little attention is being paid to Garibaldi and Nehalem areas. Both are producing fair but far from the opportunity that exists on the Columbia right now.


Strong winds and a moderate swell are keeping folks from ocean fishing as of late but there are some hatchery fish available and anglers are also reporting a fair number of wild fish as well. South of Cape Falcon (Manzanita), less than 25% of the quota has been consumed but the fishery will still close on August 9th. Anglers targeting fish in 160 to 170 foot of water, fishing 12 to 16 strips deep, due west of the Nehalem Bay entrance are finding a few fish on trolled herring or shad chunks. Ocean crabbing has improved greatly but there are more soft-shelled Dungeness beginning to show in the catches.


Nehalem Bay anglers had soft tides to work with this week but a dangerous bar has kept most of the effort near Wheeler. One boat flipped on the north side of the entrance last week. Chinook catches are fair and likely to improve in the coming weeks.


The Astoria/Megler Bridge bite continues to impress trollers. There’s no sense in fishing prior to 2 hours before high slack but that doesn’t seem to deter some anglers; you’re wasting your time. These fish are a mix of fall and maybe a few summer Chinook and there are good numbers of coho present too. Coho retention doesn’t open until August 1st but there will certainly be fish present when it does.


Lower Columbia sturgeon fishing remains good above Tongue Point. Below Tongue Point, especially in the deep water, you’ll be robbed blind by juvenile Dungeness. Fish shallow with fresh anchovies but by August 1st, most anglers will likely focus on salmon.


Lower Columbia crabbing is fair but few are participating. Fresh bait should be readily available at the fillet tables.


Central & South Coast Reports – Tuna are being taken inside 25 miles of the beach by boats launching out of Depoe Bay and Newport. Crabbing has been excellent in the ocean out of central Oregon ports and is fair to good and improving in large bays.


With shellfish regulations and restrictions changing periodically, we recommend that anyone who goes clamming, mussel harvesting or diving for bivalves call the ODA shellfish hotline at 1-800-448-2474 first.


Salmon fishing in the ocean out of Winchester Bay has been very good at times. The trick has been nothing more than locating the fish. Ocean crabbing has been great. Smallmouth fishing remains good in the Umpqua mainstem.


Another port from which boats have launched to successfully return laden with Albacore this week has been Charleston. Be sure to drop crab pots on the way out for a seafood feast. Limits of bottom fish are being taken by boats out of Gold Beach whenever they can get out. Trollers in Rogue bay are doing well for Chinook at times. The lower and middle Rogue River are non-productive although the upper Rogue has continued to produce fish.


While salmon fishing is reported as very good out of ports in northern California, the fish and their inclination to bite or strike with such abandon have not yet made their way to the ocean out of Brookings. This report of good results just south of the border has rekindled optimism in Brookings anglers. In the meantime, bottom fishing remains good.


Central & Eastern – Water temperatures are dropping on the lower Deschutes thanks to efforts of Portland General Electric who manage many of the dams in Oregon. This should have a positive effect on fishing here. With water and flow at near historic low levels while water temps run very high, the Wallowa River has little to offer anglers. Kokanee fishing is low at Odell Lake although the algae bloom reported in the last few weeks has cleared up. Paulina Lake has been producing decent catches of kokanee to anglers using jigs to catch them. Attend a free kokanee fishing seminar Friday and Saturday, July 31st and August 1st at Odell Lake Shelter Cove Resort. The seminar starts at 6 PM both days.


Washington fishing reports – Like Oregon’s streams, much of the effort is focused on the main stem Columbia. That said, summer steelhead catches on the Cowlitz especially but also the Kalama have been quite good. Both bank anglers and boaters are scoring good results. Early returning fall salmon are reportedly entering the systems as well.


Drano Lake anglers are scoring fair to good results for steelhead although a large percentage of them are wild, requiring release.


Main stem Columbia steelhead plunkers are finding fair results despite less than ideal water temperatures.