Oregon Fisheries Update October 9th – 15th, 2015

Willamette Valley Fishing Report – The Bonneville fishery continues to produce fair to good catches but serious trollers are spending more time upriver, like at the mouth of the Deschutes River. It’s been an epic season here and fair to good action should continue for another few weeks. The grade of fish should taper however and staging fish begin to consider spawning in the reach.

It comes as no surprise that Willamette River levels are low. Slightly more surprising, though not earth-shaking is that, with the rainfall predicted to start up late Friday and continue through the coming weekend, flows are predicted to remain unchanged at the Falls through the middle of October. Smallmouth bass fishing is the best bet on the lower Willamette.

With no forecast available for the McKenzie, it remains to be seen if there will be much change in the flow with precipitation. Trout fishing has been good here for weeks so there’s little reason to believe it will be otherwise.

The Santiams are low, extremely so, and flows will be little effected by rainfall. The dry earth will sponge up the majority of rain that will fall over the next few days. Fishing here is poor.

This weekend will mark a brief respite from low, clear water on the Clackamas. Fresh water sill have coho moving from deep haunts upriver and this will be the time to hook a few.

While the Sandy River coho run is times a little later than the run on the Clackamas, there are still fish in the river as well as some holding at the mouth, waiting for a freshet, the likes of which is about to occur over the coming weekend. Those who have been waiting for an improvement, the time is now. Or rather, will start Saturday and may not endure for many days.

North Coast Fishing Report – Some anglers continue to pursue coho in the lower Columbia River. It can’t be too surprising that action is less than impressive. At least boaters were able to successfully target quality Dungeness crab this week, some coho were certainly caught but as we anticipated from a weak showing of early run fish, the late run will also be a bust. Managers are now thinking return rates will hopefully be about half of the pre-season forecast, if not lower.

The Tillamook fishery targeting Chinook remains strong with many boats pulling consistent limits throughout the week. With the weak tide series, the ocean and the jaws produced excellent results this week but a storm front may scrap the ocean option for quite some time. Hopefully, stronger tides will produce good catches well into the upper reaches by the weekend.

The Nehalem remains sub-par and should continue to fade after mid-month. A dropping barometer doesn’t do any fishery good but the Nehalem can be somewhat protected from a south wind, enabling trollers to take advantage of the late returning fall chinook to this system. There was no wild coho fishery in the Nehalem Basin this fall.

The Nestucca has remained a bright spot this fall and may continue to produce catches for several more weeks. Most would say it’s a better return this year, than we’ve seen in recent seasons.

The Salmon is starting to fade but the Siletz and Alsea are likely to remain strong option for at least 2 more weeks. Good reports continue to come from these systems.

Ocean crabbing also remained strong but will close by mid-month. Bay crabbing is picking up nicely but stronger tides may limit productive periods in the week ahead.

Boats willing to travel long distances did well on albacore this week. It will likely be the last hurrah until next summer.

Central & South Coast Reports – This has been a banner year for ocean crabbing. Get ‘em while you can as it is open only through October 15th and will not re-open for the remainder of 2015.

No mussels may be harvested from the mouth of the Yachats River to the Oregon/California border due to a naturally-occurring toxin.

A storm will hit the coast over the coming weekend, making it impossible for boats to launch for offshore fishing.

Once the coastal weather settles down in the coming week, anglers may want to try casting for surf perch of ocean beaches.

Several rivers and estuaries allow the retention of a certain number of wild coho with restrictions on the number per day as well as for the season. The wild coho fishery, where allowed, will continue through October 15th. Be sure to check regulations before fishing.

Rogue Bay trollers are taking a mix of Chinook and coho with results varying from one day to the nest. The lower Rogue is producing some steelhead despite low water conditions. Chinook have been taken over the past week on the middle river while the flies only stretch on the upper Rogue has slowed. Flow out of Last Creek Lake on the upper river has been further reduced.

The Chetco Bubble fishery which historically produces some of the largest fish of the year in this area, opened one week ago today and will continue through October 11th.

Trout fishing usually improves at this time of year for anglers at Diamond Lake. Many people plan their trips here in October for this very reason.

Central & Eastern – It appears that Summer steelheading is about to start up on the Imnaha River. This fishery should get underway with some rainfall this weekend.

Grande Ronde River steelheaders are already reaping the rewards of a good run on the Columbia. Several fish have been landed this week.

Steelheading is expected to improve on the Wallowa River as well. While the east side isn’t forecast to receive as much rainfall as the Willamette Valley and north coast, any additional water in the river will be a boost to steelheading.

Low water is hampering boaters and, in some cases, preventing launching at all on some east side lakes and reservoirs. If there’s any doubt, call ahead.

Kokanee fishing is either wrapping up or is over at the majority of locations which hold these fish as kokes spawn at this time of year.

SW Washington- The Cowlitz remains the go to river for a multitude of species. Chinook are making up the bulk of the catch but only hatchery fish may be retained, of which maybe half are. The coho showing is slow to start and likely won’t get much better.

The Lewis is producing some Chinook and coho as well but numbers should increase as we enter the middle of the month.

Drano Lake trollers are taking respectable numbers of Chinook but some of the fish are starting to turn dark.

The Klickitat is also producing good catches of Chinook, the coho return will be dismal this year.