Oregon Fisheries Update September 4th – 10th, 2015

Willamette Valley Fishing Report –Not uncommon, the wobbler fishery from Portland to Longview is sporadic. Hardware dunkers did well on Sunday and early last week but the bite has since dried up, even though fish are still clearly present. This is certainly a fishery that no one can count on, even during peak season. Boaters adopt the 5 X 5 rule; Five foot dropper lead line and 5 foot leader to your favorite wobbler. Chinook counts at Bonneville are tracking well ahead of last years total but coho numbers are lagging.

The big news this week is the restoration of fishing as usual with the lifting of the closure on the lower Willamette and 2 PM restrictions ended state-wide. Catch-and-release sturgeon fishing has resumed.

McKenzie fly anglers have been doing well for most of the season and as fall approaches, fishing here is expected to show additional improvement.

Even rain falling at last has done nothing as yet to rev up fishing on the Santiam system. With many excellent alternatives, fishing elsewhere is a good choice at this time.

Fresh water in the Santiam at this time of year has anglers’ hopes high for this year’s coho run. There have been no substantiated catches yet but it won’t be long.

Similarly, coho will be entering the Sandy River soon although it is generally a week or two later than the Clackamas coho run.

North Coast Fishing Report – Buoy 10 anglers continue to be frustrated with the release of chinook, especially hatchery chinook, which are numerous in the closed area. The coho bite had been solid for three days but fell flat on Wednesday. The incoming tide continues to produce the best action on both sides of the river but as the tide strength wanes this weekend, the outgoing tide bite may improve.

Boats have not been going offshore, mostly due to the wicked series of storms that have kept bar conditions unsafe and ocean condition unpleasant. That should change next week however. The North of Falcon coho fishery goes to any 2 salmon, wild or hatchery, chinook or coho, starting Friday, September 4th.

The South of Falcon any 2 salmon fishery also opens on September 4th, we just need cooperating ocean conditions to score good results. Although too early to tell, I’m calling the coho returns of 2015 over-predicted. Ocean success has been sporadic all season and large numbers of coho should be present in the lower Columbia by now to meet the pre-season prediction that we’re all hoping for.

There have been good catches of fall Chinook on Tillamook Bay, mostly in the upper reaches where strong tides have pushed Trask and Tillamook River bound salmon into that area. Spinners are the most common ally on the outgoing tide but herring can be a big producer on the flood.

The Nehalem is also producing improving Chinook action in the Wheeler and Nehalem reaches but effort should re-focus towards the jaws when bar conditions allow and the tide series softens this weekend.

Estuary crabbing is improving and will continue to do so into the fall months. Fresh salmon carcasses will produce the best results.

Central & South Coast Reports – Anglers have plenty of choices for fishing over Labor Day weekend with the non-selective ocean coho fishery opening on Friday September 4th. Scheduled to run the entire month of September unless the quota fills, coho do not have to be fin-clipped to keep.

All-depth halibut fishers get another shot at deep water flatties on Friday and Saturday, September 4th and 5th.

Tuna are being taken within 20 or 30 miles out of many Oregon port. As warm water moves nearer or further away, albacore move with it.

Surf perch fishing is good now and should continue to produce fish in the coming weeks. There’s no hotspot for these fish as they’re available off most ocean beaches.

Chinook fishing has picked up on the lower Umpqua River. A salmon fishing derby will take place this coming weekend, Call 541-271-3144 for details and information.

Catches of Chinook salmon are good on Coos Bay where they’re being taken by both moochers and trollers using herring.

Chinook fishing has been good one day, slow the next on Rogue Bay. With rainfall, Chinook are starting to head upriver with some being taken recently on the middle river. Upper Rogue anglers continue to catch Chinook and steelhead. Be aware that Chinook fishing is now closed from Fishers Ferry boat ramp and the ramp at Dodge Bridge on the upper Rogue and it is flies only as of the morning of September 1st.

The 12th Annual Slam’n Salmon Ocean Fishing Derby starts Friday, September 4th at the Port of Brookings-Harbor. Call 541-469-2218 or Email events@port-brookings-harbor.com for details.

Central & Eastern – The emergency temporary regulation which had rivers closing at 2 PM daily has been lifted. Fishing returns to one hour before sunrise and may continue until one hour after sunset.

Among the new regulations proposed by the ODFW in an effort to ‘streamline’ them was the elimination of the slot limit on the Deschutes River. This proposal has been withdrawn, due in no small part to people who fish it regularly speaking up to officials in opposition. Regulations on the lower Deschutes will remain the same in 2016.

Another proposed regulation, to open the Metolius above Allingham to year-around fishing, also bit the dust and we’d like to think it was also the voices of anglers which motivated this decision.

Trout fishing is reported as fair at Crane Prairie Reservoir.

With kokanee averaging 12 inches and fishing reported as good, Lake Billy Chinook would be a decent choice for the upcoming holiday weekend.

Although fishing is fair, kokanee are quite small in the low waters of Green Peter Reservoir.

SW Washington- District streams saw a hydrologic bump following the storm front but given the lands were so parched from a long, dry spell, it didn’t raise water levels all that much. None-the-less, it should have stimulated some chinook activity in some district streams but most SW Washington anglers remain focused on the peak season opportunities on the mainstem Columbia. Chinook catches have been good for wobbler workers but the bite is far from consistent.

Wind and Drano Lake anglers are switching from a summer steelhead focus to a Chinook one and they aren’t disappointed with the results. With high numbers of adult Chinook passing Bonneville in recent days, action should continue strong. A higher component of hatchery steelhead are showing in the fishery too so you have choices to make.