Oregon Fisheries Update November 18th, 2016

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Willamette Valley/Metro – On the Columbia, anglers working the John Day Pool are finding steelhead as this is peak season for this reach. Trollers are taking mostly wild fish but a few hatchery fish persist. The John Day Pool appears to be more productive than the John Day Arm.

Fish passage at Willamette Falls hasn’t risen above single digits since November 1st. Would that we could say that about the rivers! Sturgeon and bass are available on the lower Willamette.

The McKenzie River was fishing well before the storm front hit this week. High water will be a challenge in the coming week.

Once again, the Santiams, North and South, will move as one as rainfall combines with increased outflow from upriver impoundments. This will put more water in the river than any angler wants to see.

Clackamas River levels are dropping after rainfall caused a freshet earlier this week. Dave Neel of Fishermen’s Marine in Oregon City (503-5573313) tells TGF that fishing has been slow.

Pro fishing guide Jeff Stoeger of O2BFISHN Guide Service (503-704-7920) floated the Sandy River this week, hooking into steelhead as well as Chinook.

Northwest – Anglers are still in pursuit of fall Chinook, but with recent rains, the Kilchis just became an option on Thursday. There were Chinook caught and chum salmon still remain in large numbers but anglers are no longer allowed to target them. The Wilson will come in by Friday and should fish fair through the weekend.

Most other systems are quickly phasing out although the Trask and to a lesser degree, the Nestucca may still produce a late season Chinook. Most north coast anglers are awaiting winter steelhead, but only 1 has been reported to date.

The Necanicum and North Fork Nehalem are typically the first to produce winter steelhead but none have been reported here. There are impediments to navigation on the Necanicum, which isn’t unusual. The Kilchis remains clear for drifting.

There may be some small windows of opportunity for ocean recreation through early  next week. Given that bottomfish is the only species open for targeting, it just isn’t worth it. If we get a cold front, coupled with an east wind, seas will get friendly again. That doesn’t look to be happening anytime soon.

Bay crabbing should be fair to good on many estuaries this weekend, but the lower Columbia and to a lesser degree, Netarts Bay, will produce the best catches for a Thanksgiving Day appetizer.

Southwest – With conditions milder than many of us have seen in a while, boaters may be able to get out on the ocean Monday, November 21st. Do not take our word. Check at the last minute for accuracy. Any doubt, call the Coast Guard – they’ll know.

A prediction this week by climatologists that we are due for a La Nina winter has the staff at TGF World Headquarters breaking out their rain gear and sou’westers.

Pete Heley, author, publisher, writer and blogger out of Reedsport (peetheley.com), reports this week that while no one is fishing the lower Umpqua River at Winchester Bay, that Chinook are still entering.

There are very few Chinook remaining in Rogue Bay and little interest in the lower river which has been running too high to fish. Steelhead are getting hooked on the Grants Pass stretch, just not very many or with any significant frequency. The upper Rogue has been producing summer steelhead with most pressure above Shady Cove Boat Ramp.

Those fortunate enough to catch the Chetco in good condition, at a reasonable level and color are as likely to catch a Chinook as anywhere on the coast.

Fishing for trout at Diamond Lake has been slow to fair with best catches from the south end.

Eastern – Steelheading remains slow but steady on the Deschutes. Fishing for redsides has been good for fly anglers.

Due to its spring-fed origin, the Metolius will often fish every moth of the year. Most every angler who fishes it says it’s a special kind of challenge.

Fishing reports from the central and eastern Oregon are getting a little challenging as well. This is often the case at this time of year, so if you go, let us know. We never hotspot!

SW Washington – Hatchery winter steelhead have already been trapped on the Cowlitz River although none have shown in the sport creel surveys just yet. Coho remain an option on the Cowlitz as well as the Lewis River.

The Washougal River hatchery has counted over 20 steelhead to date, a good sign for this years return.

Gear up for trout in SW Washington, WDF&W plants several lakes with quality rainbow so parents can take their kids on Black Friday. Go to the WDF&W web site for planting information.