Oregon Fisheries Update March 11th – March 17th, 2016

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Willamette Valley – Spring Chinook are starting to fall with more regularity on the lower Columbia. Reports from the mainstem, downstream of Portland, show fairly consistent success for the water conditions and yet early timing of the run. Counts at Bonneville are ahead of the 10-year average but only 1/3 of last years total at this time. Water conditions were very different last year, with the drought and all. There have been fish caught above I-5.

Water will start rising on the lower Willamette but will also get muddy. This is not great news for springer anglers but shouldn’t effect the sturgeon fishing which has been good in the lower river.

Trout fishing on the McKenzie has been slow but that’s to be expected at this time of year. Angling will continue as the river drops and clears.

Although the North Santiam is currently very high and is forecast to remain that way over the next few days, it will start dropping late in the coming week.

While the Clackamas River is expected to come up to a level which won’t allow fishing for a while, once it starts to drop and clear, steelheading will resume.

Steelheading on the Sandy River has-been pretty good but slowed somewhat this week. While it may return to what it was a few weeks ago, winter steelhead will be available once water conditions improve. The hatchery run is largely over however.

Northwest Oregon – Steelheaders put up with high flows for much of the week, including a significant river rise on Wednesday, putting most systems out until at least Friday. With the prolonged period of high water, there is no large concentration of fish but consistent catches are keeping anglers interested. The Wilson and Nestucca are producing best in the upper reaches with bank anglers having good access to fresh fish so far this month.

Smaller systems like the Kilchis and upper Trask will remain good bets during periods of high flow but the chance for a hatchery fish remains slim. There should be ample numbers of wild fish available however, as we enter peak season for both of these systems.

The Necanicum and North Fork Nehalem are also good options for wild fish during the late season. These are challenging for boaters however but doable if you have a smaller pontoon boat or raft for these more technical stretches.

Still no sign of calming seas. Bottomfish and ocean crab will remain on hold. A high surf will make clamming a poor prospect as well.

Central & South Coast Reports – Ocean conditions and high winds may not allow boats to get out to the ocean for bottomfish or crab in the coming week.

The trick to catching fish on coastal rivers is to time fishing to when the water level is dropping and clearing.

Fishing for rockfish, kelp greenling and even lingcod has been fair to good along the jetties at Winchester Bay. Crabbing is expected to slow with rainfall.

While winter steelhead were caught earlier this week at various locations on the Coos River system, steelheading will be on pause here until the rivers drop and clear.

The entire Rogue system is expected to take quite a wallop from storm systems over the next few days. Fishing should resume as the weather breaks with the middle river as good a bet as any.

Chetco water will be similarly effected although this system has the advantage of dropping and clearing rapidly.

Any hope of ice fishing at Diamond Lake has been put on hold as rain has softened the frozen surface, making it unsafe at this time.

Central & Eastern – Trout fishing is wintertime slow on the lower Deschutes with few opportunities for dry fly fishing.

The John Day River is predicted to crest today, March 10th at which time it is expected to be a muddy mess. It can only improve from here.

Detroit Lake has started producing a few trout and kokanee to winter trollers this week, Fishing will improve into springtime.

SW Washington – The Cowlitz River is starting to produce fine catches of winter steelhead and some spring Chinook as well. Creel checks showed 38 boat anglers with 27 hatchery winter run steelhead kept. 59 bank anglers landed 3 hatchery spring chinook and 9 hatchery winter run steelhead.

The Kalama and Lewis Rivers remain slow for steelhead

The Wind River and Drano Lake fisheries open on March 16th and although numbers past Bonneville remain low, there are fish in the region. The run will build steadily into late April.

Creel checkers working the mainstem Columbia tallied 151 Chinook for the month of February; the largest catches for February since 2011.