Oregon Fisheries Update May 6th, 2016

Willamette Valley – Spring Chinook have finally started pouring over Bonneville Dam, although not necessarily in the numbers we have been hoping for. Peak passage to date was on May 2nd, with nearly 14,000 adults passing the facility. It’s making for some productive fishing upriver. Fishery managers will look at a run size update on Monday, hopefully enabling them to open the season back up if the run is tracking as predicted. I guess the sea lions didn’t get them all.

Spring Chinook passage over Willamette Falls increased dramatically this week although catches in the lower river remain slow.

Warm weather has triggered hatches on the McKenzie River which is expected to provide good trout fishing for fly anglers.

The Santiam system is stable and with decent numbers of summer steelhead and spring Chinook crossing the Falls and heading upriver, these fish are starting to show here.

With winter steelhead season over, summer steelheading just getting started and really too early to be optimistic about a springer, the Clackamas is in between runs.

As the Columbia has backed up the Sandy River, causing a lake-like situation in the lower portion, it is recommended that anglers try high on the system until flows normalize.

Northwest Oregon – Anglers are reporting spotty action in Tillamook Bay, where trollers are getting more motivated for spring Chinook. Some are calling it an “every-other-day-bay but the last good bite in the upper bay was on Tuesday. The lower bay has been producing fair catches for the few anglers fishing there.

River levels have continued on the decline this week, anxious driftboaters are awaiting the next rain freshet to get access to springers in the Trask, Wilson and Nestucca Rivers. There should be some summer steelhead in these streams right now but there should also be a lot of dark, spawned out winter-run fish too.

Charter boats have been struggling to get out into the ocean given the recent winds the coast has been experiencing. That doesn’t look to be changing anytime in the future either.

Razor clam digging should be productive over the weekend. We’re already in the midst of a great set of tides for easy limits.

Central & South Coast Reports – Bottom fishing out of Depoe Bay has been quite good, particularly for ling cod which are running extra-large.

The ODFW reminds coastal visitors that whale migrations will be in full swing during May and June. Look for kiosks along Highway 101, proclaiming, “Whale Spoken Here!”

Minus tides this weekend will create excellent clamming opportunities in many bays and estuaries. Coos Bay is always good for clams and Yaquina Bay is quite productive.

While there are some spring Chinook available on the Umpqua River, North Umpqua steelheaders will find these waters between runs with few fish available.

With waters of the Rogue River running very low and clear, fishing here had stalled. Rainfall started today and will continue through the weekend here, raising the river level. Local anglers hope that this freshet will encourage spring Chinook to enter. Summer steelheading is just starting up here as well.

Boats launching out of the Port of Brookings have been enjoying excellent results for large ling cod and rockfish. Halibut fishing is open now.

Cold water at Diamond Lake has kept the trout bite slow and tentative. It is hoped that warmer weather will positively affect fishing here.

Central & Eastern – Fly fishers targeting redsides on the lower Deschutes should do well as hatches have been improving. Bull trout are being taken on the Middle Deschutes.

A trip to Timothy Lake, one of the destinations we often recommend, should be worthwhile this weekend as it will be planted for this week for the first time this year.

Wickiup Reservoir has been producing fair numbers of kokanee fishing with trolling most productive here.

Trollers at Detroit Reservoir have been taking decent numbers of kokanee. This fishery should hold up well in coming weeks.

SW Washington – Winter steelhead catches on the Cowlitz are beginning to fade but some summer steelhead are starting to show. Spring Chinook catches remain good, but maybe not 25,000 returning adults good.

The Lewis is not drawing much interest but there have been summer steelhead back to the hatchery already this year.

The Wind River and Drano Lake fisheries are producing a fish for every 4.5 boat rods and some fish are coming off of the bank. This will be as good as it gets since peak passage is happening at Bonneville Dam right now.

The Klickitat River is also beginning to see increased interest and catch.

The Guide’s Forecast sincerely thanks readers for the interest shown by readers who have signed up to receive the following Fisheries Forecast which is an abridged glimpse of the subscription newsletter. For those who have chosen to subscribe, this week professional writer, author of several Oregon Fishing books and blogger Pete Heley tells where the best place is to catch stripers in his weekly contribution. In addition, we talk about the best bait and lures for spring Chinook, summer steelhead, trout and kokanee.