Oregon Fisheries Update June 24th, 2016

Willamette Valley – The summer Chinook run is underway on the mainstem Columbia, but in consistent fashion, the action is inconsistent. There have been some flurries of action at Davis Bar for trollers but gorge anchor anglers are coming up with more consistent results. Spinners are the key, no matter if you’re trolling or anchor fishing. Peak passage often happens the first week of July so we’re nearing peak. Summer steelhead are also starting to show in greater numbers as well and some sockeye, falling to smaller gear too.

No one has shared the end of the spring Chinook season with the couple of boats still trolling on the lower Willamette. It’s really slow but they’re catching occasionally. Better fishing is available for shad or catch-and-release for sturgeon.

Recent rainfall had little effect on water conditions on the McKenzie River, but this one fishes well over most seasons and many different conditions. It’s expected to fish well for trout.

The Santiams will be dropping slowly over the coming week. The greatest percentage of fish counted at Willamette Falls are headed here. Fishing has been slow, however.

Rainfall over the past week did little on the Clackamas other than prevent it from dropping; water levels changed very little. Expect to see it drop in the coming dry week. Summer steelhead and spring Chinook are available here.

Water conditions have been good this week thanks to lower temperatures and a little rainfall. This is likely to change with the water getting some color as the weather turns hot. Steelhead and springers are scattered throughout the river.

Northwest Oregon – Summer Chinook fishing in the Astoria area remains surprisingly disappointing, especially after last years success. Action may pick up but it doesn’t look hopeful in the near future. Last year’s thermal block may have had a lot to do with estuary success. Water temperatures are much more tolerable at this point.

Sturgeon fishing in the estuary is off the hook. Action is intense for those using fresh anchovies and World Class Fishing has the highest quality bait. Call (503) 741-1407 at least a day in advance of your trip to secure your bait reservation. Taylor Sands above the Astoria bridge remains the best bet as crabs are stealing bait frequently downstream, although there are sturgeon present.

Clam diggers along Clatsop Beaches remain plenty happy with their results. Although action is likely to slow on the 2nd half of this minus tide series, limits can still be attained by those most experienced.

Tillamook Bay is still putting out brief flurries of action. It’s towards the end of the season for sure so action should continue to taper. Stronger tides this week should produce results in the upper bay, especially during high tide.

Although we’re experiencing needed rainfall in NW Oregon right now, only a slight bump in river levels is expected. None-the-less, that’s all desperate spring Chinook need in water-starved Tillamook County streams. It should provide a fresh batch of Chinook to the Trask, Wilson, Nestucca and Three Rivers systems. Summer steelhead action should also bolster.

The ocean swell looks quite tolerable this week but wind waves will inspire offshore anglers to make quick work of a bottomfish limit. Garibaldi Charters (503-322-0007) is reporting excellent success for sea bass and they’re recently spotted orca’s and grey whales inside of Tillamook Bay! Ocean crabbing is also picking up but there are a fair percentage of soft shells in the catch.

Central & South Coast Reports – Surf perch fishing off Oregon’s south coast beaches continues to yield lots of fish. The limit is 15 but take only what you need, please.

While ocean Chinook fishing has been open since mid-March, starting June 25th, hatchery (fin-clipped) coho maybe added to the salmon bag. It stands to reason that having more fish to catch means more fish in the boat, right?

More to enjoy offshore! Watch for Orcas and Grey Whales which have been sighted frequently by boats as they head to the fishing grounds.

Fishing for pinkfin surf perch has been quite good as they make their spawning run into Winchester Bay and or the lower Umpqua. Bay crabbing has improved to the point that bottom fishers in the bay have started complaining about the numbers.

Tuna fishing started early this season and has made a good showing right out of the gate, both in numbers and size of albacore. While they’re being caught out of almost every port now, Charleston has been one of the best.

Steelheaders and spring Chinook anglers have been struggling on the lower Rogue River where high water temperatures have combined with low water levels to create difficult conditions. A few are being taken by trollers in Rogue Bay. Use anchovy on a spinner rig to try this. Better fishing has been on the upper Rogue.

Trout seem to be scattered everywhere at Diamond Lake and anglers can attest to the good fishing as ‘most everybody is catching limits.

Central & Eastern – Results for redsides have been good over the past week on the lower Deschutes. Improvements have been made at Macks Canyon Campground, including a new boat ramp

Some river fish better than others in the summertime. So it is with the Metolius which is challenging to fish but has been productive this week.

Fly fishers have been taking good numbers of trout at East Lake where hatches have been occurring in the evenings.

While few trollers are taking limits at Wickiup Reservoir, these are some of the larger kokanee available to Oregon anglers.

SW Washington – District anglers remain focused on the Cowlitz River, where anglers are still finding success for spring Chinook and some summer steelhead. Action is likely to taper for Chinook and improve for steelhead in the coming weeks. Bank anglers are faring better than boaters.

The Lewis and Kalama remain poor.

The Drano Lake fishery will quickly convert to steelhead and regulations for Chinook change towards the end of the month. As we’ve stated in recent weeks, focus will change to the mainstem Columbia and the tides are right for successful beach plunking.

Trout have recently been stocked in good numbers in area lakes. Check the WDF&W web site for more details.

Bill Monroe of the Oregonian writes, “For the first time in two decades, anglers can keep up to two sturgeon per day. The sturgeon must be between 38 and 72 inches fork-length and do not have to be recorded on the state’s catch-record card (????)

“The state released several thousand hatchery sturgeon into the upper Columbia in 2003. Biologists now estimate 4,000 of them are in Wanapum Reservoir and another 2,000 are in Priest Rapids Reservoir.

“The hatchery fish weren’t marked. All within the legal-retention size window are considered hatchery origin sturgeon. The fishery is intended to reduce interaction and competition for food between the hatchery fish and larger native sturgeon.

“The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will closely monitor the season and decide later whether to repeat the fishery.”