Oregon Fishing Update for Jan 21st

Willamette Valley – Conditions on the lower Willamette have changed little in that it is still high and muddy. This means sturgeon fishing is expected to be good but with the extra water comes debris washing downstream. Use caution if boating.

Waters of the McKenzie are on the rise and with the exception of a few slight increases and decreases over the coming week, it is expected to remain too high to fish.

The Santiams have too few winter steelhead to yet create a fishery, even if they were in good enough shape to fish.

Clackamas water levels are forecast to be fairly high into the coming week but the river could continue to produce winter steelhead if the color is good.

While the Sandy has been a productive winter steelhead fishery, the combination of natural elements over the week to come is expected to keep it high and off-color.

NW Oregon Fishing Reports- NW stream conditions have been out of reach for steelheaders this week. Even the smaller systems have been relatively high and out of shape, keeping anglers home instead of out in the weather. Predictably, even if they were fishable, anglers would likely find a lull on most of the early season producers as that run is slowing.

Larger systems, especially those with broodstock programs (The Wilson and Nestucca Rivers) should continue to produce fair results when river systems fall back into shape but that may not be until Sunday or Monday at the earliest. Like the systems that see the bulk of their hatchery returns by mid-January, these systems too will suffer a lull until the peak of the native and broodstock run in late February and March.

Offshore swell is predicted to remain significant, keeping Bottomfishing and ocean crabbing off the table for the foreseeable future.

This weekend’s minus tides would have been a good idea for razor clam diggers but a high ocean swell will keep clams from feeding near the surface; it’ll be a waste of time.

Bay crabbing won’t be overly productive either as a gale force wind is predicted and the estuaries are full of freshwater.

Central & South Coast Reports – The Fish and Wildlife Commission met on Monday in Salem to announce the rules for bottom fish would remain mostly unchanged in 2016.

An online meeting will be held by the ODFW to determine halibut fishing rules in the coming year. Visit their website for details on how to voice your opinion.

While the ocean and bays are open for crabbing coast-wide, we advise crabbers to stick to deep bays in the coming week. These will be most productive and offshore conditions are predicted to be rough.

The lower Rogue is expected to get walloped by a storm front in the next few days which will keep it high into the coming week. This makes the Grants Pass stretch and the upper Rogue better bets for steelheaders.

Winter steelheading has ceased due to high water on the Chetco River but is expected to resume in the coming week. This sort of prediction relies on both weather and river forecasts to remain accurate. Prior to the current freshet, fishing was quite good here, though.

Reports from Diamond Lake Resort indicate the warmer temperatures and rainfall have put a stop to ice fishing here.

Central & Eastern – Winter fishing in large lakes on the east side usually means trolling in frigid weather. So it has been at Lake Billy Chinook although catches have been decent.

Early trollers at Odell Lake have been trying for kokanee with mixed results although deep trollers have taken lake trout.

Fly anglers targeting trout have been catching some on the Metolius River.

SW Washington Fishing Reports – Prior to the high water, anglers noted an up-tick in winter steelhead production on the Cowlitz River. It’s likely this system will produce fair results when flows subside with the bulk of the fish returning a bit later than history dictates on the Cowlitz.

The Kalama should also fish fairly when flows subside, even though success in recent years for winter steelhead has been dismal.

A series of Razor Clam digs is slated to begin this week. Although the swell will likely impede success, the lower gradient on the Long Beach Peninsula doesn’t preclude digging success like it does on the Oregon side.

Webinar - Building Your Own Gear with Pro Guide Chris Vertopoulos - January 29th