Oregon Fisheries Update September 18th – 24th, 2015

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Willamette Valley Fishing Report – Bonneville Dam counts are still going strong but anchor anglers and backtrollers are starting to see more sporadic instead of consistent action in the Bonneville and downstream fisheries right now. Action should remain good into mid-October but upriver fisheries are performing at a good pace, including the mouth of the Deschutes River. A fair number of 3-fish limits have been taken in the recent week.

Fall chinook counts are up at Willamette Falls and coho are showing in greater number. With the water temperature in the upper 60s on the lower river, catch-and-release sturgeon fishing should safely resume as long as anglers do so with tackle heavy enough to land fish quickly without completely exhausting them.

With level, flow and water conditions good on the McKenzie, trout fishing will be good as weather and water temperatures cool. Look for new insect life to appear as the season changes.

Despite increased water levels on the Santiams, there is still little to fish for here although a coho fishery is expected to develop in the coming weeks at the mouth of the river.

While rainfall had little effect on the Clackamas, coho have been entering the system for a few weeks and will be available to anglers. Spinners are used most often and for good reason – they catch these fish.

The coho season is just starting on the Sandy River and once there,  it’s easy to spot them in the low water. Try spinners or bait for them here.

North Coast Fishing Report – The Buoy 10 fishery continues to disappoint for those looking for a consumptive opportunity. Hatchery coho are next to non-existent and anglers remain frustrated at Chinook releases, especially to the diligent number of sea-lions working the Washington side above the  bridge. Due to the lack of boats fishing the area, all eyes are on you.

Nehalem Bay has recently been giving up some large fall Chinook. The first strong wave of fall running salmon have entered the bay with fish over 40 pounds reported recently. The jaws have been fishing well for those using herring but spinner trollers are taking fair numbers from Wheeler to the town of Nehalem and upstream. Bobber and egg tossers should find success over the weekend.

Upper Tillamook Bay as well as Bay City and the adjacent ocean waters out of the mouth produced very well early in the week. Herring trollers were working the ocean and jaws with good success although fish weren’t averaging very large. Upper bay spinner trollers were scoring good results with red/white Fatal Flash spinners working well in the morning and chartreuse/green dots working well throughout the day. Further offshore, few anglers are seeking coho in the any salmon fishery simply because they are not present in fishable numbers. Ocean crabbing is productive however with only a few softshells in the catch.

The Nestucca, Salmon and Alsea Rivers should produce good catches this weekend. Soft tides should keep anglers busy in the lower reaches of these estuaries and bay crabbing should also be productive.

Albacore may be an option although it won’t be the glassy calm waters that really make for an unprecedented experience that far offshore. Look to live bait to produce the best results this time of year.

Central & South Coast Reports – Despite occasionally spotty days ocean fishing out of Depoe Bay, overall results have been good for lingcod and rockfish.

Despite some commercial charters ceasing runs for tuna, sport boats are continuing to watch offshore conditions, hoping for some more successful albacore runs this season.

Salmon fishing has been slow off the central Oregon coast and remains that way this week. A good number of fish remain in the ocean wild coho quota.

Offshore anglers may once again fish all-depth halibut Friday and Saturday this week. Nearshore halibut remains open seven days a week.

Fishing for sea-run cutthroat trout is improving on most coastal streams. Conentrate on tidewater early, then upriver as the season progresses.

Chinook fishing has improved in tidewater on many Oregon Rivers, including the Siuslaw, Alsea and Coquille rivers.

Trollers at Winchester Bay and in the lower Umpqua River have been catching Chinook although crabbing in the bay has slowed.

Rogue Bay trollers have seen and improvement in catches with the Rogue River low and warm. Adult steelhead and half-pounders can be caught in the Agness area. Fishing is mostly slow in the middle river while the flies only section of the upper Rogue has been producing some summer steelhead.

With the ocean closed for salmon fishing as of September 7th out of the Port of Brookings, anglers here must wait for the Chetco Ocean Terminal Fishery to open October 1st to fish for ocean Chinook.

Central & Eastern – Water conditions have improved on the Deschutes now that White River is causing less turbidity on the lower river. This should improve odds for steelheaders targeting summers.

For anglers familiar with the Metolius River, it should reward with decent trout hatches this coming weekend.

Water levels at Clear Lake near Mt. Hood have fallen and are shockingly low now.

Boat ramps are still useable despite extremely low water at Green Peter Reservoir. Kokanee are being caught but not a lot and the ones landed this week have been small. It’s nearly time for these little landlocked sockeye salmon to spawn.

SW Washington- Although district rivers remain low, fall Chinook are present in most systems. The Lewis and Cowlitz remain the best bets for fresh fall chinook with some steelhead also available in the Cowlitz as well. Coho are due to show up in greater numbers next month but if the early, A-run is any indication of B-run returns, don’t have high expectations, they’re not coming.

Although the Wind River fishery is relatively quiet, the Drano Lake fishery is going quite well. Boaters averaged better than a fish per rod last week and this should be another good week as well. Both Chinook and steelhead remain present with about 1/2 of the steelhead being wild, requiring release.

Anglers remain focused on the remaining mainstem Chinook still making their way through the lower reaches. Consistency will slide however as the bulk of the run has passed through.

From WDF&W
The Columbia River ecosystem and its primitive inhabitant, the sturgeon, will be honored here Saturday, Sept. 19, at the 19th Annual Sturgeon Festival.

The free, one-day festival runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Water Resources Education Center, 4600 S.E. Columbia Way in Vancouver. The festival is hosted by the City of Vancouver in partnership with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

While sturgeon have top billing, the popular festival features a variety of entertaining and educational activities for all ages. Special events include the Birds of Prey Show, a live reptile display, and Eartha the Ecological Clown along with her personable cockatoo.