Willamette Valley/Metro – Spring chinook are becoming more newsworthy as three springers have now been confirmed not far from the Portland/Metro area. With more low, clear water conditions happening, more opportunity will present itself in the coming week on the larger bodies of water here locally. No, there have not been any springers pass by Bonneville Dam…yet.
The cool waters of the lower Willamette are moderating in flow. Some winter steelhead are being caught by boat and bank anglers on the lower river. Catch-and0release sturgeon fishing remains good.
McKenzie River water levels are dropping but fishing here is slow.
North and South Santiam water levels have been dropping over the past week. It’s too early in the year for these rivers to offer much in the way of fishing, however.
The Clackamas River is running low although steelhead have been caught as recently as Wednesday this week. Even Eagle Creek produced fish over the past weekend.
Sandy water levels are reported as very skinny. Steelheading is fair but will improve with more water. Smelt dipping will be allowed two days in March.
Northwest – Steelheaders are contending with low, clear water conditions on all north coast streams except the mainstem Nehalem. Catches have been sporadic but anglers have to be sneaky in order to score success on most of these smaller systems.
The Nehalem, Nestucca, Wilson and Trask will remain top options but you’ll want to fish low in these systems and hope for tidal fish to be on the move. Broodstock fish should start to make a stronger showing, especially on the next rain freshet but spawned out, earlier returning steelhead will likely begin to make up the bulk of the catch.
The ocean has produced some great catches recently with a rare calm sea situation allowing saltwater anglers non-typical access to big blue. Be cautious of the 2015 regulations, they could catch you by surprise. You can likely find what you need from this ODF&W web page: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/fishing/saltwater.asp
Ocean conditions should allow for boats to launch over the coming weekend. Crabbing is slow offshore but bottom fishing is good.
Razor clamming is closed from the California border to Heceta Head near Florence because of elevated levels of naturally-occurring bacteria.
While this is not the time of year when it’s usually productive, south coast beaches have turned on again for surf anglers who are taking decent numbers of redtail surf perch.
Steelheading is not living up to angler expectations on the Alsea. Many are trying but very few are catching anything.
The Umpqua mainstem is producing fair to good numbers of winter steelhead, most of which are wild. Similar results are reported from the North Umpqua. While the South Umpqua is a good bet for fin-clipped fish, it’s still early to expect good results here.
Crabbing and fishing for rockfish has improved at Coos Bay. The Coos River system is running too low to fish well for winter steelhead.
Winter steelhead are being caught in fair to good number on the lower and middle Rogue River although prospects are expected to improve with rain. It’s too early for the upper river to reliably produce winters.
Bottom fishing has been good for boats launching out of the Port of Brookings. Steelheading has slowed on the Chetco with water levels low.
The Elk and Sixes have fallen to levels too low to fish well.
Central & Eastern – Deschutes water levels are high, apparently from snowmelt due to warmer temperatures on the east side.
Winter trout fishing is very slow at Fall River.
A few trollers have been trying their luck for kokanee at Green Perter Reservoir with mixed success.
SW Washington- Like many Oregon streams, the early season component of the hatchery steelhead run is fading as the full-blown spawning season is underway. It will still be a few weeks away but broodstock returns should be favorable as we progress into late winter.
The Cowlitz River is beginning to slow for steelhead but the Lewis, Kalama and Cowlitz should all see late returns of steelhead well into March. Spring chinook won’t start showing for several weeks either.
Smelt seasons were set on Wednesday and managers are taking a conservative approach to this year’s run. Managers anticipate another good return, like the previous 2 years but when dealing with a listed species, precautionary approaches are important. Here are the Cowlitz options:
Washington Tributary Recreational Smelt Fisheries
Adopted a smelt season as follows:
Season: Saturday February 7 and Saturday February 14, 2015
Open hours 6 AM to noon.
Area: Cowlitz River (bank only).
Gear: Dip net.
Limit: 10 pounds per person.