Happy Thanksgiving! We truly hope you all are able to enjoy the weekend. Thanks for reading The Guide’s Forecast, being a member or a subscriber.
Willamette Valley/Metro – Not much on the Columbia River to fish for, anglers will focus their catch and release sturgeon efforts on the Willamette throughout the rest of the fall and winter months.
Biggest news is Free Fishing Weekend which allows all to calm or fish for any species without license or ‘tags’ Friday and Saturday, Nov. 25th and 26th. Crabbing is included but south coast bays are closed for now.
Expect to find high, muddy water on the lower Willamette and with it, debris washing down from upriver. This can be a hazardous time for boaters so exercise extreme caution until the waters start to drop. When conditions allow, catch-and-release sturgeon fishing is expected to be good.
Clackamas levels are on the rise and won’t be fishable until late in the coming week. With a couple of winters reported, this one is a possibility but these fish run later in the year than they once did.
Sandy River conditions are fairly challenging and deteriorating rapidly. Our man on the river, Pro fishing guide Jeff Stoeger of O2BFISHN Guide Service (503-704-7920), advises shopping (of all things) on Black Friday. Scarf up some tackle bargains to use when the river drops.
Fly anglers can’t catch a break this week as the McKenzie is currently getting clobbered by the storm and may not fish in the coming week. We’ll keep an eye on it and advise anglers the same.
Once again, there’s no doubt about the Santiams as the entire system, barely recovered from the last freshet, has blown out and is forecast to remain in that state, at least until we report on it again.
Northwest – With anglers still struggling to find late season Chinook, steelhead will soon draw hoards of anglers to district rivers. The run is just getting underway.
The Wilson and Kilchis Rivers remain the best bets, but if recent success is any indication, you’ll have to put in many hours if you expect results. The Kilchis remains choked with chum salmon, but anglers may no longer target them. The predicted rain storm starting Thursday, will likely put the area’s rivers out of reach for most of the holiday weekend.
Steelhead have been trapped at the North Fork Nehalem hatchery, but there are no reports of anglers catching them just yet. Steelhead have reportedly been taken in the lower Wilson River however, along with some Chinook by side-drifting small baits and colorful yarnies.
Tillamook Bay is slow for Chinook trollers and likely won’t pick back up again.
Bay crabbing is closed but clamming remains open although we won’t see productive clam tides until the following weekend.
Don’t even think about recreating on the ocean.
Southwest – Crabbing is closed in south coast bays due to a naturally-occurring bio-toxin. Unless there’s a reversal, the option is to wait for the ocean opener on December 1.
The ODFW announced this week, “The traditional Dec. 1 opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season along the entire Oregon coast will be delayed due to concerns about domoic acid levels in some areas. During recent testing, domoic acid in crab viscera from the Garibaldi area was above the alert level that normally triggers action. In addition, the overall trend indicates domoic acid in other areas may be increasing as well.”
From Reedsport, author, publisher and prolific blogger, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) recommends for anglers to head for the ponds, enjoy Free Fishing weekend, entertain the kids and have some family fun!
Rogue River levels are rising rapidly but anglers may catch a break midweek as the level and flow is predicted to drop and should be fishable Wednesday and/or Thursday this week. Keep an eye on it and get out there if you can.
Local Chetco Chinook anglers are lamenting the heavy rain this week, said to be due to El Nino. This may mark the end of the season here.
Eastern – Trout fishing (for redsides, of course) has been fairly productive on the Deschutes River which is a good thing because fishing for summer steelhead remains slow.
Trolling Crescent Lake with large plugs of herring will produce large lake trout (called Mackinaw locally) in the winter but is recommended for hearty anglers.
John Day steelheading has been poor recently but is expected to improve in December and fish into the first month or two of 2017.
SW Washington – District rivers started to show signs of a hopeful winter steelhead season. The upcoming storm however will blow out prospects for the weekend and beyond however. When rivers drop, look for the Washougal, Lewis, Kalama and Cowlitz to start producing a few winter steelhead.
Coho and Chinook seasons are on the brink of blinking out for the year.
Look to the WDF&W web site for updated trout stocking information. Area lakes will receive generous plants of trout to counter Black Friday, where kids should NOT be. It’s been a great tradition for several years now.