Oregon Fisheries Update June 19th – June 25th, 2015

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Willamette Valley Fishing Report –Warm water temperatures is slowing an already challenging bite on the mainstem Columbia. After a fair flurry of activity at Bonneville and to a lesser extent around Kalama, action is on the downturn despite fair numbers of Chinook still crossing Bonneville Dam. Spinners will still be the best bet for success and Bonneville will likely remain the best reach to target. The most productive anchorages however get taken up well before sun-up. Shad fishing is excellent up there.

Water flow is low at Willamette Falls with water temps climbing into the mid 70s. Some anglers have measured higher following a warm day. Needless to say, spring Chinook catches are at a near standstill. Sturgeon fishing has also slowed although it is possible to catch a few with some effort. Bass fishing is pretty good, however, as is the shad fishing at Oregon City.

McKenzie River levels, as with most Willamette River tributaries, are low and clear. Hatches are occurring occasionally, which will entertain fly anglers. There are a few springers in the river and fewer summer steelhead.

Both the North and South Santiam have been slowly dropping in level and flow with forecasts indicating more of the same to come over the next 10 days or so. Fishing is slow.

While there are too few summer steelhead in the skinny waters of the Clackamas River to feel optimistic about targeting them, there are better numbers of spring Chinook. Fishing very early in the morning or in the evening as the light fades holds the best chance of catching one. Boaters are reporting increasing numbers of dead salmon in the river, a result of the lethal summer water temperatures that are occurring alarmingly early this year.

Springers are entering the Sandy River now and while catches are light, there is the chance of a hookup. There is also a better number of summer steelhead here than in the Clackamas.

North Coast Report – Anglers are beginning to turn away from late season spring Chinook opportunity and heading west into the ocean for halibut, bottomfish and salmon. Salmon anglers off of the mouth of the Columbia are reporting great catches of Chinook and coho with great catch rates reported for early season anglers.

Sturgeon fishing in the estuary remains nothing short of epic, with little competition from other anglers in the area. Be sure to call ahead for bait; World Class Fishing at (503) 791-4094 is one of the few companies supplying consistent bait. Fresh anchovies are doing the trick but sand shrimp should be equally effective.

Tillamook Bay effort is waning although fish are still available in the upper reaches near Memaloose and tidewater of the Trask. Anglers are reporting the return of the stringy moss out of the Tillamook River, impeding success in that reach. Also, strong NW winds causing wind waves in the bay turned the color turbid, further challenging anglers to find willing biters this week. Effort will likely change largely to the tidewater sections of the Trask and to a lesser extent, the Wilson.

Nestucca tidewater casters were still reporting fair action although it too is getting late here. This is the time and type of conditions where fly casters can take fish with some consistency. Fish on this system should be most concentrated downstream of Three Rivers.

Central & South Coast Reports – Windy offshore conditions prevented boats from making ocean launches much of the time last week, the situation has improved this week.

When boats have been able to get out of Newport and Depoe Bay this week, catches of rockfish and lingcod have been good.

Due to rough conditions during the last all-depth halibut opening, the quota was not caught so anglers will get another opportunity on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, June 25th through 27th. Nearshore halibut (inside the 30-fathom line) will open July 1st, seven days a week.

While Chinook fishing has been open in the ocean for a while now, anglers will get a chance to catch hatchery coho offshore starting June 27th.

Those with ocean-going craft capable of longer trips are talking about catching albacore soon. Expect to see reports here in the next couple of weeks.

Crabbing has picked up and is good at times in Yaquina and Alsea Bay although remains consistently best in the ocean.

Offshore bottom fishing has been good out of Gold Beach when boats have been able to get out. Chinook fishing is slow in the lower and middle Rogue, best in the upper river where a few summer steelhead have also been caught.

Halibut fishing is open seven days a week in the ocean out of the Port of Brookings. There are fewer halibut available here than off the central coast but anglers have been catching some whenever ocean conditions allow by using baits of whole herring.

Central & Eastern – Hatches are occurring on the lower and middle Deschutes. While nymphing is sometimes more productive, dry flies are often working well during these hatch periods.

With Salmon Flies and Golden Stones still hatching on the Wallowa River, fishing has been good.

Green Peter has been slow for much of the season and kokanee are running small this year.

Detroit Reservoir has been fishing well at times with trollers taking the majority of the fish.

Bass fishing has been good at the John Day River. Smallmouth seem to be invigorated by sunshine and warm water.

Washington fishing reports – With flows dropping and water temperatures rising, anglers are switching focus from district tributaries to the mainstem Columbia. The Cowlitz may remain an option for summer steelhead seekers but the mainstem will offer more opportunity if warm temperatures don’t effect the bite too much. Late June, especially in a warm water year such as this, will likely be the peak time to catch summer steelhead on the mainstem Columbia. Numbers are nearing that magical 200 steelhead per day at Bonneville, indicating the run is starting to really ramp up.

Most other tributaries remain low and slow. Spring Chinook returns have been dismal and summer steelhead returns are likely to mimic recent history as well.