Oregon Fisheries Update June 17th, 2016

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Willamette Valley – The Columbia River is coming on surprisingly strong in recent days. There have been reports of impressive bites for trollers in the Davis Bar area, not quite to the magnitude of the September fishery but for the amount of pressure and a mid-June fishery, it is worth your while. Furthermore, Chinook numbers crossing Bonneville Dam have also showed an impressive bump in recent days, eclipsing over 4,000 adults at mid-week. In addition, sockeye salmon, summer steelhead and shad are also entering the Columbia River system in fine fashion. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

While the ODFW stated in their fishing report that spring Chinook are still being caught in the lower Willamette, we’re pretty sure it’s not many. Shad fishing has been quite good as has catch-and-release sturgeon fishing. But you have to fish for springers in order to catch one.

McKenzie River fly anglers have been doing well with success expected to continue with weekend showers having little effect on excellent water conditions.

The Santiams are starting to show their stuff now that data at Willamette Falls shows good nubers of spring Chinook and summer steelhead moving upriver and heading for tributaries.

Fishing has been slow to fair on the Clackamas River. Levels will rise over the coming weekend to drop in the week to come. Catches of summer steelhead many times outnumber those of springers.

Water conditions turned silty and off-color on the Sandy River during the heat wave but cleared with lower temperatures and rainfall. Fishing improved with this change.

Northwest Oregon – The Tillamook Bay spring Chinook fishery never gained great momentum this season. For the most part, action for estuary Chinook starts to wind down by mid-June. The fishery switches to a tidewater and river program and fair action should maintain the fishery through early July or later. Given the current water conditions however, action will remain challenging. A recent slight bump in water levels certainly brought in better numbers of adults into the Trask, Wilson, Nestucca and Three Rivers.

Summer steelhead numbers should be growing as well, the Nestucca, Three Rivers and Wilson will offer the best chance but use small baits or muted spinners to attract biters. They will likely be in the swifter, broken surfaced waters.

As the spring Chinook fishery fades, and the Pacific Ocean offers more friendly seas, anglers will switch focus westward, in pursuit of halibut, nearshore bottomfish, salmon and soon-to-be tuna. Peak action for salmon and albacore is still weeks away but bottomfishing and halibut opportunities are what to focus on this weekend, friendly seas are ahead.

To the north, Columbia River sturgeon anglers are having a great time with ample numbers of large fish, eagerly taking anchovies and sand shrimp in the estuary. The best fishing remains upstream of Tongue Point.

The soft tide series is producing good catches of bottomfish along the sunken and south jetty of the Columbia River estuary but lingcod remain scarce.

The estuary Chinook salmon fishery should begin to take off but anglers are restricted to fish upstream of the Astoria/Megler Bridge.

Central & South Coast Reports – Tuna were caught this week out of Charleston/Coos Bay in pretty good number and decent size for so early in the season. So it begins.

Deep water halibut fishers will have more opportunities on Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18 as sufficient quota remains for this opening. With 92% of the quota remaining to be caught, the inshore halibut fishery will continue seven days a week.

Regular weekly contributor Pete Heley (peteheley.com) reports that the pinkfin perch fishery caught fire this week, producing many limits for anglers in Winchester Bay and on the lower Umpqua. Heley also reminds us that the smallmouth bass fishery on the Umpqua is strong now.

Spring Chinook catches have been slow on the lower Rogue due to warm water but improved this week as rain provided fresh water but also served to lower water temps. Fishing has been poor on the middle Rogue while the upper river is producing some spring Chinook as summer steelhead start to show.

Surf fishing for pinkfin perch has been excellent off beaches in the Brookings and Gold Beach areas. These fish bite best during last two hours of the incoming tide.

Salmon trollers have finally started scoring out of the Port of Brookings. Now that they’ve broken the ice (so to speak) fishing is expected to improve. Hatchery coho may be taken starting June 25th, Halibut fishing, open seven days a week here, has been slow to fair.

Since the water temperature improved at Diamond Lake, trout fishing has remained pretty good. Be certain to release any tiger trout (they’ll be small).

Central & Eastern – The Stonefly hatch on the lower Deschutes has concluded for the year. Fly fishers continue to take trout on other patterns.

Trolling at Green Peter Reservoir has been producing great numbers and usually limits of kokanee but these fish are running small.

Trout fishing has been worthwhile at Lava Lake this week.

East Lake has been producing decent catches of trout to bait anglers.

This is a great time to fish almost any of the Cascade Lakes as the majority are fishing well.

While not totally resolved, the gate at Starvation Lane which is used for public access to Starvation Point on the John Day is now open.

SW Washington – As Chinook opportunity winds down, summer steelhead numbers are climbing, especially for Cowlitz River anglers although the Lewis and Kalama will also remain options.

Serious Chinook and steelhead anglers will begin to focus most of their effort on the mainstem Columbia, which should pay dividends given the large return size that’s in the forecast. Beach fishing is soon to peak and Washington beaches, especially on the stronger outgoing tide series, often pays dividends during this time of year.

The Drano Lake and Wind River steelhead fisheries should also begin to light up. The action is often best at night.