Oregon Fisheries Update June 23rd, 2017 (UPDATED)

Willamette Valley/Metro – Despite the increased opportunity for salmon and steelhead on the mainstem Columbia, catches remained subdued as most would have expected. Chinook did outnumber a depressed steelhead run, and that will likely be the case for the remainder of the season. Bonneville boat and bank anglers are catching fish however, but beach plunkers working water downstream of Portland are coming across occasional success. Paid members be sure to check out our longer version report for the Columbia River. Now that the mainstem is open again, we’ll be reporting on it, of course!

Willamette River anglers continue to surprise with fair to good catch rates around the head of the Multnomah Channel. Trollers working spinners and even herring (a surprise in the warmer water) are doing fairly well with full day interest drawing a fair number of chances. This fishery is likely peaking about now. A nice bump in passage is also being seen at Willamette Falls; hopefully, there’s more fish to come.

Shad fishing remains good in Oregon City, especially on sunny days.

Clackamas anglers continue to struggle to find hatchery keepers, but catch rates are improving and remain fairly good for summer steelhead. The weekend splash and giggle crowd however will quell opportunity and success.

Sandy River anglers continue to target primarily summer steelhead but the upper reaches do harbor catchable numbers of spring Chinook. They will only hunker down even more as the weekend warm weather approaches.

Sturgeon action remains fair in the lower Willamette, but action is slowing as river sturgeon likely migrate to the lower Columbia in hopes of better forage.

Northwest – Spring Chinook anglers on Tillamook Bay continue to sing the  blues. It’s rarely a good day, but there have been some impressive sized fish landed recently. Of course those are of the wild variety, requiring release. Minus tides this weekend will focus effort in the upper bay, and last year, this is when fishing finally got good. It may be worth a try.

River anglers did see a nice bump in water levels late last weekend and a few boats did fairly well in the Trask and to a lesser extent the Wilson and Nestucca Rivers. River levels have dropped back down and the warm weather front will make success more challenging this weekend. For trout anglers too.

Only the nearshore is open for halibut this weekend. Wisely, the department discourages bar crossings during big tide exchanges such as the one predicted for this weekend. There is ample quota left in both the all-depth and nearshore fisheries. Be careful if you venture out on big blue this weekend. Be sure to check the last minute bar conditions and ocean forecast.

Bay crabbing will be tough this weekend, given the big tide exchange and all.

Razor clam digging remains closed.

Southwest – From our friend Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com. The Pacific halibut nearshore recreational fishery in the Columbia River Subarea will close for the remainder of 2017 effective 11:59 p.m., Friday, June 23.

Days on which Pacific halibut fishing is open will be announced on the NOAA Fisheries hotline (1-800-662-9825) and posted on the ODFW Marine Resources Program sport halibut webpage.

Although none of our local lakes have received a trout plant in more than two weeks, trout fishing in some lakes continues to be surprisingly productive. I visited Loon Lake last Tuesday and found the bass fishing disappointing – especially for larger bass, but the trout and panfish angling was exceptional. I hooked at least 30 trout and settled for a five trout limit and also caught double digit numbers of bluegills and smaller bass and landed eight crappies to boot. The lure I was using was a three-inch Berkley power worm threaded on a black 1/32nd ounce jig head. I’m sure other small lures would also have worked.

Siltcoos River gets surprisingly little fishing pressure despite producing trout exceeding 20-inches and largemouth bass exceeding five pounds. A dam three miles downstream of the lake marks the downstream end of most floats and the stream is large enough and deep enough that smaller motorized craft can easily travel back upstream to the lake – as can those fishing from canoes and kayaks.

A few crappies were caught at Eel Lake last week and it seems that the lake now contains fishable numbers of bluegill. Fishing at Butterfield Lake on Riley’s Ranch has been slow, but there are still some planted trout left.

Smallmouth bass fishing on the Umpqua and Coquille Rivers is improving and smaller incidentally-caught striped bass are starting to surprise smallmouth anglers on the Coquille.

While some anglers believe the daily surfperch limit of 15 is too generous and a daily limit of eight or ten fish would be more sustainable, the state of Washington recently raised their daily surfperch limit from nine fish to 12 because they believe the surfperch population is strong and not overfished.

Eastern – Local angler Tim Moran reports the following.

Diamond Lake continues to fish well. It was hot in late May in shallow water but the fish have moved deeper but the bite is still good. Still fishermen are scoring with garlic Power Bait while trollers are fishing a worm or flatfish behind a flasher. Five fish limits are the rule with rainbows running 14 to 18 inches with the occasional brute.

Over on the Snake system Brownlee Reservoir is fishing well for crappie 8 to 12 inches. Small tube jigs tipped with a worm or a little pike minnow meat are the ticket. The fishing is good around docks and submerged structure in 12 to 20 feet of water. Smallmouth bass fishing is good to on 4″ plastics and small crankbaits. The bass are shallow early and then move out on the points as the sun warms the water.

It’s been a great year for the bounty fishermen on the Columbia so far chasing Northern Pike Minnows. Over 40,000 have been caught since the season opened May 1st and the fishing has been good from Cathlamet all the way to the Snake River. This year fish are worth 5 to 8 dollars apiece and tagged fish are worth $500.00 so you can go fishing and make a little cha-ching! Get all the information on check in stations and how to catch and keep them cold at www.pikeminnow.org.

The Deschutes from Warm Springs to Maupin is fishing good. Nymphing is the way to go during the day with sparkle pupa’s, and PMD and Caddis emergers. Dry fly fishing has been great in the last hour or two before dark with Caddis and PMD adults and rusty spinners size 16 to 22.

Hosmer lake is fishing very well. The “hot” fly tends to change with the hour but you can’t go wrong stripping damsel nymphs or fishing red chironomids under and indicator. Look for fish in the evenings on top with elk hair caddis or small spinner patterns.

SW Washington – From WDF&W:

Cowlitz River

I-5 Bridge downstream – 63 bank rods kept 3 adult and 4 steelhead. 3 boat rods had no catch.

Above the I-5 Bridge – 217 bank rods kept 31 adult and 3 jack spring Chinook and 2 steelhead and released 2 adult spring Chinook and 1 steelhead. 56 boat rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook and 23 steelhead and released 5 cutthroats.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 11,000 cubic feet per second on Monday, June 19. Water visibility is seven feet and water temperature is 48.9 degrees F.

Kalama River – 27 bank anglers kept 3 adult spring Chinook and released 1 adult and 1 jack spring Chinook. 10 boat anglers kept 4 adult spring Chinook and 2 steelhead. Lewis River – 3 boat rods had no catch.

North Fork Lewis River – 23 bank rods kept 1 jack spring Chinook. 3 boat rods had no catch. Wind River and

Drano Lake – At Wind River, June 30 is the last day to fish for spring Chinook above Shipherd Falls. It is also the last day for the two-poles, boat limits, and barbed hooks for both Wind River and Drano Lake. Drano Lake will be open 7 days per week beginning July 1 and the bank only area near the mouth will be open for boats.

Drano Lake – 8 boat rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook. Klickitat River – 7 bank anglers with 4 adult and 2 jack spring Chinook.

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – During the first 3 days of the summer Chinook season we sampled nearly 1,000 salmonid anglers (179 boats) with 107 adult and 12 jack summer Chinook, 15 steelhead, and 7 sockeye. 75 (70%) of the adult summer Chinook and 13 (87%) of the steelhead were kept. Though legal to keep clipped and unclipped fish, 6 (86%) of the sockeye were kept.


Lower Columbia mainstem from the Marker 82 line downstream – We sampled 27 sturgeon anglers (9 boats) with 16 legals released. Only open for catch-and-release angling.

Mainstem Columbia River from Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam (Bonneville Pool), including adjacent tributaries – Friday June 23rd (1 retention day) open for white sturgeon retention between 38-inches and 54-inches fork length.

Note: Sanctuary – Angling for sturgeon is prohibited during May through July from The Dalles Dam downstream 1.8 miles to a line from the east (upstream) dock at the Port of The Dalles boat ramp straight across to a marker on the Washington shore.


Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – We sampled 292 shad anglers (including 6 boats) with 2,408 shad kept and 55 released. With the drop in river flows (to only 334,100 cfs) daily shad counts at Bonneville Dam jumped to nearly 100,000 fish yesterday.


Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – 2 walleye anglers (1 boat) had no catch.

Above, Jason Erickson landed this 37” fish in Oregon City, to take big fish prize during the Steelheaders annual Salmon Quest tournament last Saturday.