Productive Early Season for Steelhead Fishing in the NW

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Willamette Valley/Metro – Winter steelhead passage has picked up slightly at Willamette Falls. Options for fishing the lower Willamette include bank fishing for winter steelhead and catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon.

The McKenzie River will blow out with storms this week and is historically slow to recover.

The Santiam system is also due to rise rapidly over the coming weekend as storms pass over western Oregon.

Winter steelheading has been slow to fair on the Clackamas and Sandy although it is still early in the season. Look for numbers and results to improve into February and even March.

Northwest – It’s been a productive early season for steelheaders but good action is about to wane as this component seeks out spawning grounds to mate. It won’t be long and these fish will be exiting in masse and become easy targets. The Highway 30 streams as well as the Necanicum, North Fork Nehalem, Kilchis and Nestucca systems all get early plants of these steelhead.

It will still be several weeks before broodstock steelhead enter in masse but savvy anglers are scoring early season results for these high-quality products. The Wilson and Nestucca are your best options but there will be better days ahead as we forge into spring. None-the-less, action should be good for those that play the rain freshet to their advantage.

Offshore options have not been good ones lately but there was a fair amount of public input on the nearshore rockfish fishery at the Salem level. And how about those barbless hooks on the Willamette still…..mindboggling……..

Southwest- When boats were able to get out of Depoe Bay and Newport earlier this week, limits of ling cod were the rule.

Starting this Thursday, Jan. 15, the bag limit of seven rockfish will remain the same but only three may be blue rockfish.

Despite concern heard from some offshore fishers that all red rockfish will be off limits, vermilion rockfish may still be retained in 2015.

Razor clamming is closed from the Oregon/California border north to Heceta Head (north of Florence) due to elevated levels of a naturally-occurring biotoxin.

Crabbing has been slow in Winchester Bay, Steelheading has been slow to fair in the mainstem, North and South Umpqua rivers.

Rain this week will do nothing to improve the already-slow crabbing at Coos Bay. Winter steelhead have been entering the Coos River system with best fishing in the tributaries.

The Coquille River system has been providing decent numbers of winter steelhead. Prospects remain good as the river recovers from storms due over the coming weekend.

Steelheading has been best on the lower Rogue although fish are distributed through the middle river and to the upper stretches. Winter steelheading is expected to have benefitted from freshets in the week to come with better numbers of fish moving upstream as a result.

Boats launching out of the Port of Brookings have experienced excellent results for ling cod and good catches of rockfish. Chetco steelheading has been fair this week. The river will be unfishable over the coming weekend but is expected to be good in a week or so.

Diamond Lake is expected to produce well as soon as it freezes over, allowing for anglers to do some ice fishing.

Eastern – Trout fishing has been decent for fly anglers on the lower Deschutes. A few summer steelhead are also being taken.

Lake Billy Chinook is producing kokanee.