Oregon Fishing Update October 30th – November 5th, 2015

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Willamette Valley Fishing Report – Dam counts at Bonneville are dropping off drastically but a few interested anglers remain engaged. Success will become more challenging with the deadline closure effective November 1st, to protect mainstem spawning Chinook and chum salmon. It’s been an incredible season.

While the Willamette has yet to feel much impact from rainfall this week, the brunt of the storm is forecast to drop the majority of precipitation on Friday, October 30th and Saturday, October 31st. High, off-color water is expected to improve catch-and-release sturgeon fishing.

McKenzie anglers will have to sit it out as the water rises. Fishing will resume as the river recovers from this freshet.

With little to offer when water conditions have been good, the Santiams will be on the rise into the coming week. Impost will be greater on the North Santiam than the South Santiam.

It’s getting late in the season for strong numbers of coho but it there are sufficient numbers in the lower Willamette, they will be running up the Clackamas as rain improves flow.

Similarly, the positive impact of the long-awaited rain expected to fall this weekend will largely depend upon how many Columbia coho remain to run up the Sandy River.

North Coast – With many north coast salmon fisheries winding down, Tillamook is one of the last “men” standing as far as viable fall fisheries. Tillamook remains good but overall production has slowed compared to the early season. A rise in river levels early in the week stimulated migration into local area rivers but flows have dropped again, making driftboating not all that attractive. Bank angling is a great option with fresher fish found on the Wilson but ample numbers of darker fish available on the Trask River. Chum salmon are showing in admirable numbers but regulations are restrictive so read up before venturing out.

The ocean Chinook fishery closes on October 31st. It’s been a productive fishery but the nearshore certainly out-performed offshore fisheries. Inshore fisheries are largely fueled by Oregon Coast chinook abundance while offshore catches largely come from California stocks.

The Alsea, Siletz and to a lesser extent, the Nestucca still have fair numbers of fish available but some are getting dark but fresh fish came in on the current tide series. Anglers will find better success in the upper reaches of tidewater and darker fish will be staginig for spawning higher in the watershed.

Crabbing should improve with a better tide series (weaker) this weekend. Crab populations seem to be quite healthy this fall, a nice change from last year’s sub-par success. The lower Columbia River is by far the best option.

Central & South Coast Reports – While bottom fishing is traditionally good at this time of year, the days when it’s possible to get out become more scarce.

October 31st will be the last day that anglers may legally fish for ocean Chinook. All-depth halibut is already done for 2015.

Anglers using various baits are still catching surf perch of Oregon beaches from the central coast to the California border.

Trollers on Coos Bay and the lower Coos River have continued to pick up Chinook on cut-plug herring. This fishery will be winding down in a couple of weeks.

Chinook fishing in Rogue Bay has been winding down but if rain over the next few days increases flows sufficiently, those fish will head upriver. This may create increased opportunity on the Grants Pass stretch. The Flies only restriction on the upper Rogue will come to an end on November 1st when lures and weights may once again be used.

Ocean bottom fishing has been good out of the Port of Brookings. Halibut fishing will end on the last day of October. The Chetco River has started to rise and it is expected that precipitation over the next few days will move Chinook upstream.

The upcoming weather front which is bearing down on southwest Oregon may bring sufficient rainfall to get the Elk River Chinook fishery underway.

Central & Eastern – Steelheading has slowed on the Deschutes River, in part due to the influx of Chinook looking for a place to spawn. Trout fishing is somewhat better than steelheading at this time.

East side rivers are starting to see fair to good numbers of steelhead with good reports recently from the Grande Ronde River.

A haven for smallmouth bass fishers just a few short weeks ago, anglers are shifting gears to fish for summer steelhead on the John Day River.

SW Washington – With the coho return next to dismal this year, district streams that were teeming with silvers last year at this time continue to disappoint. Catches remain low on the Cowlitz and Lewis but Chinook remain available on some river systems.

The Kalama remains an option for Chinook and a rare steelhead and should remain productive for several more weeks.

Anglers are still stretching out the productive Columbia River season with the mouth of the Klickitat still producing catches. When the Chinook run is this large, these fisheries remain viable well past their historic peaks.