Oregon Fisheries Update September 16th, 2016

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Willamette Valley – Fall Chinook passage at Bonneville seems to have peaked. Although there should theoretically be hundreds of thousands of Chinook yet to come, action seems to be slowing for most fisheries downstream of Bonneville Dam. Trollers however are taking fair numbers of fish at Bonneville Dam, largely trolling Pro Troll flashers and small size 3.5 copper Colorado blades about 18 inches behind the Pro Troll. Action should stay good for a few more weeks and backtrollers should start to catch fish when the temperatures cool a bit more.

At this time of year, the Willamette is considered “between runs.” That is fish such as salmon, steelhead and shad “run.” Warmwater fish live there all the time.

There was little reaction in level and flow on the McKenzie River which means that fishing will continue to be worthwhile here.

Last week brought us rain and cooler temperatures which seems to have had a positive effect on a number of streams and rivers. The Santiams are no exception according to reports this week.

Level and flow on the Clackamas rose with recent rainfall but has now dropped back and should remain virtually unchanged for the next several days despite showers forecast for the coming weekend. Target steelhead or coho.

According to our man on the river, Pro fishing guide Jeff Stoeger of O2BFISHN Guide Service (503-704-7920), rain due over the coming weekend will have a highly positive effect on fishing prospects.

Northwest Oregon – It’s been a productive week in Tillamook although the bulk of the catching, at least on the ocean, has been coho. Good numbers of hatchery coho have shown lately and Chinook are making just a fair showing throughout the bay. Stronger tides this weekend and the progression of the early run Chinook to the Tillamook and Trask Rivers should provide some opportunity for upper bay trollers. The Ghost Hole has been consistent for the first two hours of incoming tide. Coho are also in the West Channel for those wishing to spinner cast.

The Nehalem continues at a ho-hum pace but some large fish are coming from this fishery. It should be the start of peak season for this system and some hatchery coho are falling to trollers in the bay as well. Stronger tides this week should make Wheeler and the water in front of Nehalem more productive. The North Fork Nehalem hatchery isn’t reporting any coho as of September 6th.

The Nestucca and Salmon Rivers have fair numbers of fish present although it’s clear that the run isn’t what it’s been in recent years. None-the-less, we’re nearing peak season and catchable numbers are present. Upper tidewater anglers should find some success this week as tides intensify.

The Alsea has yielded some large fish lately and it’s been a sporadic but overall good week for those working the lower reaches of the estuary. Herring trollers have been doing well. The bobber bite has yet to pick up but by early October, fair numbers should be receptive to eggs and shrimp cast under bobbers.

The Siletz River is starting to see catchable numbers of Chinook too. Morning outgoing tides should produce some fish for boats anchored up using plugs to attract fish. Trolled spinners should also become effective.

Crabbing in the ocean remains excellent. Bay crabbing is more challenging but persistent fishers can still score good results, especially if you’re able to crab with fresh salmon carcasses.

Tuna chasers remain perplexed. There’s been some good ocean options, the fish just aren’t cooperating.

ODF&W announced that the all-depth bottomfish opener will proceed as hoped. This will allow for some large lingcod to be taken, starting October 1st. Sea bass will be easy targets as well.

The nearshore halibut fishery remains open, thanks in part to a shift in halibut quota from the all-depth allocation to the nearshore one. Hopefully, it remains open through the rest of the month.

Central & South Coast Reports – Albacore tuna moved nearer shore – slightly – his week, allowing boats to make multiple trips despite windy conditions. From the reports that came in, it appears that sport boats did as well or better than charters this week!

Author of several fishing books, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) tells us in this week’s report,
“To keep the nearshore fishery, open a little bit longer ODFW, NMFS, and IPHC have agreed to transfer 6,000 pounds into the nearshore fishery (5,000 pounds from the summer all-depth and 1,000 pounds from the Southern Oregon Subarea).”

Chinook fishing has been good in the ocean out of Winchester Bay and some are being taken inside the bay as well. Conversely, bay crabbing cannot compare to offshore crabbing in terms of numbers or quantity.

Coos Bay Chinook fishing reports have been good. Recently, high winds offshore have been hampering bay and ocean efforts.

With the Rogue River once again at low water level, the troll fishery in the bay has started picking up again. Steelhead are making their upstream run, providing action for anglers in the Grants Pass stretch and for those in the flies-only upper Rogue River. Chinook may not be taken from Fishers Ferry Boat Ramp to Cole Rivers hatchery

The ocean off the far southern Oregon coast is closed for salmon fishing.

It’s time to tune up tackle for sea-run cutthroat trout, which some say are always available but are entering now from the ocean. This is just the beginning.

Central & Eastern – Trout fishing remains good on the Deschutes but as soon as we say that, someone writes to inform us, “Those are redsides!” Yeah, those trout. Summer steelheading has picked up.

Trout fishing is expected to be good for versatile fly anglers who can be ready for whatever they find on the wing or riverbank as hatches will be variable with the weather (think BWO).

While Green Peter is well known for producing limits of smallish kokanee, they are a little bit bigger at this time of year.

Despite fall approaching, the John Day River has continued to produce scores of smallmouth bass and occasionally, some big ones.

SW Washington – Fair fishing for Chinook on the Cowlitz this week. Chinook are starting to show in greater numbers but aren’t all that receptive to anglers offerings. Coho are still weeks away from making a stronger showing, if you can call it that given this years adult return predictions.

Drano Lake is offering up some of the districts best opportunities for Chinook right now. Still, only about 1 in 3 boats is scoring any kind of results here. B-run steelhead are making a poor showing here.

The Klickitat is starting to show signs of improvement. Lower river anglers are scoring some fish but action should start to improve this week.