Oregon Fishing Reports for January 18

Willamette Valley/Metro – It’s been a chilly several days for metro steelheaders. The Sandy River in particular falls prey to bitter east winds from the Gorge, shutting down what bite was there, and making for uncomfortable conditions for those still in pursuit. There’s been a bit of a lull for action here, but a weather change will warm the water temperature and jump start the migration as we near peak season on this system. Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) reports, “The wind has been blowing constantly out of the east between 20 and 30 mph with gusts of upwards of 40mph. The winds will finally settle down with the next storm front coming in from the south. This next storm will bring in some needed rain, but won’t put much snow on the mountain. The forecast is for the river to jump a little over a foot over the next couple of days. The river could become muddy with little visibility if the forecasted rain does materialize. The fishing has picked up a little with a few more fish being taken.”

You can see more of Jeff’s report and an upcoming forecast for the Sandy River and Northwest Oregon by becoming a paid subscriber HERE. Paid subscribers get on average, about FIVE TIMES the amount of information for fifty cents a week!

The Clackamas has been slow as of late as well. Although bitter temperatures aren’t as prolific on this system, they still have an impact on migration and success rates. It’s been tough lately, but this system is due to kick out better fishing in the coming weeks. River levels are expected to jump-starting tonight and may be challenging on the rise, but produce good results when they start dropping over the weekend. Cold, dry weather isn’t conducive to steelhead success, but fortunately, that’s about to change.

Wilson River Steelhead

Reese Foxworthy of Clackamas with a mint-bright broodstock steelhead from the Wilson River caught in late December.

Plunkers working Meldrum Bar remain frustrated with slow catches. They have a front-row view to the sea lions carnage taking place in the Willamette right now however. The section 120 permit currently being utilized by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has accounted for the removal of 4 California sea lions so far, but mammals are only allowed for removal above the mouth of the Clackamas River. The effort to remove California sea lions in tributaries of the Columbia and the mainstem below the mouth of the Clackamas is currently stymied by the government shut down. Action plans aren’t likely to be adopted until 2020 anyway so relief is still about a year away.

Sturgeon fishing remains good in the Portland Harbor, cold weather doesn’t seem to stifle sturgeon success with fresh sand shrimp, frozen smelt, herring or anchovies a good option for anchor anglers.

The “Sultan of Sellwood,” John Shmilenko was fishing in earnest over the weekend, looking to achieve a lifelong goal of catching a January Willamette River spring Chinook. The odds are against him with the low run forecast this season, but that won’t stop the Sultan. He or she who marks the season’s first is showered with accolades and fame, for a short period of time anyway.

Northwest Oregon – Tillamook too has been slow as of late. Dropping flows and cold weather has slowed the bite on most river systems, even as we enter peak season. Of the few fish being caught right now, they are of quality size, mostly 3-salt returnees often tipping the scales at 12 pounds or better.

The Trask, Wilson and Nestucca have been the best prospects this week, but all have produced fair-at-best catches under the current weather pattern.

The Nehalem River often produces fair catches under these conditions. The big river clears up and steelhead feel more secure in such a larger river system that they are more apt to bite. Hardware and bobber and jigs or BnR Scampi can provide good sport under these conditions. The opportunity won’t last long however. The North Fork remains dismal.

Crabbing has been surprisingly good in Tillamook Bay recently.

Central and Eastern Oregon –  From our friend Tim Moran:

Metolius River –  It’s been a good so far this month on the Met. Trout and Whitefish are taking prince nymphs, red lightning bugs, San Juan worms, pheasant tails, small black and golden stones and red copper johns under and indicator or fished Euro style.  Fish these on 6 or 7X tippets.

Fall River – The river is producing for those willing to put in the time.   

Crooked River – Low and cold.  Fishing is slow with pockets of decent fishing.  Let the temps come up a little before heading out.

Columbia River above Bonneville Dam – Walleye are being caught in the river from Umatilla to Hood River.  Blade Baits and plugs tend to get their share of fish this time of year.

John Day and Grande Ronde Steelhead – Fishing is slow on both systems. Both have been low and fish are not available in numbers.

Best of luck to all this weekend!

Get Tim’s full report  by becoming a paid subscriber HERE.

From ODF&W

A few winter steelhead are entering the Hood River. While the run won’t peak until March, anglers can expect a few bright fish as early as this month.

Rainbow trout broodstock have been stocked in North and South Twin lakes recently, and anglers report excellent fishing in South Twin.

Trout fishing in the upper ends of the Deschutes and Crooked River arms of Lake Billy Chinook is typically good in the winter months.

For anglers willing to brave the winter weather, might have the place to themselves and a reasonable chance of catching a steelhead.

Ice fishers have found success at Kinney Lake catching rainbows up to 16-inches.

Some early steelhead are being caught in the Wallowa River.

Trout anglers should check out Willow Creek Reservoir, which typically stays ice-free and offers some good mid-winter trout fishing.

The Klamath River below Keno Dam remains the best bet in the Klamath Basin.

Yellow perch fishing has been fair on Dog Lake, where there are reports of 4.5 inches of ice. But it’s still early in the season, so please use extra caution when venturing out on the ice.

Fly-fishers can target redband trout on the Blitzen River throughout the year. Large streamers and other nypmhs work well anytime. There also are periodic hatches, so keep a selection of dry flies handy.

Ice fishing is underway on Pilcher and Wolf Creek reservoirs, where anglers are catching trout in the 10- to 15-inch range.

In the Hines District, anglers are taking advantage of good ice conditions on the Burns Gravel Pond, Chickahominy Reservoir and Malheur Reservoir. Anglers are reporting catches of some fish up to 18-inches on the Malheur R.

Southwest – From ODF&W

Half-pounders are worth targeting on the middle Rogue throughout the winter from Galice downstream to Graves Creek.

Winter steelhead season in the Umpqua is in full swing, although the rivers might a little high for the weekend.

Anglers are catching hatchery and wild steelhead in the Coos and Coquille basins.

Yellow perch are usually the first warmwater species to become active in late winter/early spring in Tenmile Lakes.

Late winter/early spring can typically be good for surfperch fishing on Coos County beaches, when surf conditions allow.

Reports of ice-fishers having some success on Diamond Lake. Always proceed with caution when venturing out on to the ice.

Bottomfishing has been good when the ocean lays down and anglers have been able to make it out.

Bottomfish anglers may now fish at all depths for the remainder of the year. Fishing for lingcod and rockfish has been good when the ocean is calm enough to fish. The daily bag limit for marine fish is 5 plus 2 lingcod. The retention of cabezon is closed until July 2019.

Anglers may also choose to fish the offshore longleader fishery outside of the 40-fathom regulatory line, which is open year round. The longleader fishery has a daily bag limit of 10 fish made of yellowtail, widow, canary, redstripe, greenstripe, silvergray, and bocaccio rockfish. No other groundfish are allowed and offshore longleader fishing trips cannot be combined with traditional bottomfish, flatfish or halibut trips.

2019 Stocking schedule

From Pete Heley at www.PeteHeley.com

The main outdoor-related topic of conversation continues to be the new licensing system the ODFW started this year. While the new system seems to be a major step backward from the previous system which was in effect through mid-December of 2018, the ODFW does seem to be doing a pretty good job of fixing the numerous “glitches” as they are pointed out. At some point, one would hope that the long waiting times to reach the help line would shorten greatly. Currently the recording on the help line states that it operates seven days a week – even though it is closed on Saturdays and Sundays – which is very bad news for somebody that needs to enter a SSN that is new to the system.

Trout plants in our area begin early next month, but many local waters are multi-species lakes and are open all year.

Some of the best multi-species lakes are: (1) – Eel Lake – has rainbow and cutthroat trout, landlocked coho salmon, bluegills, black crappie, largemouth bass and a few brown bullheads and smallmouth bass. Eel Lake is not frequently stocked with trout, but has fair numbers of native, searun and carryover trout. It’s warmwater fisheries typically get going in the late spring, but they caught a few largemouth bass last week. Landlocked coho in the lake are not legal to keep. The fishing dock in Tugman Park is one of the lake’s best fishing spots for warmwater fish.

Washington – No new info from WDF&W, but HERE is the December 24th report.

There is always more Oregon fishing information delivered earlier on our site, The Guide’s Forecast.  You can also sign-up for our free weekly emails here.

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Oregon Fishing Updates for Jan 12th

Willamette Valley/Metro –  Clackamas and Sandy River anglers are gearing up for better catches in the coming weeks. Steelhead on both systems are starting to show with more frequency with some quality fish over 10 pounds coming from both river systems recently.

For the Clackamas, anglers should focus on the river downstream of Barton Park. The Sandy should have hatchery fish from Cedar Creek to Lewis and Clark Park, with the best action happening from Lewis and Clark Park upstream to Oxbow Park. Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN guide service reports, “I hope that everyone is doing well and that you had the opportunity to get out and do a little fishing. My report is that the Sandy River is fishing slow. I had the opportunity to get out and fish last week and all I can tell you is that we had one take down on a plug and we couldn’t put in the boat. There is little boat action from Oxbow to Dabney Park. Just a heads up Dabney Park will be closed for the next couple of days due to a few trees that had blown over in the park and in the parking lot. The most action has been from fly guys in floating from Dodge to Oxbow Park with a few fish being caught and bank guys up near Cedar Creek area.”

You can see more of Jeff’s report and an upcoming forecast for the Sandy River and Northwest Oregon by becoming a paid subscriber HERE. Paid subscribers get on average, about FIVE TIMES the amount of information for fifty cents a week!

River levels have fluctuated within reason, keeping both systems fishable for the foreseeable future. The weekend should hold promise, although we’re still a few weeks away from more consistent catches. As a general rule, higher flows call for larger offerings, lower flows require a more subtle approach.

Plunkers working Meldrum Bar should see improved catches in the coming weeks with a few upper Willamette bound wild fish also in the mix.

Northwest Oregon – Despite some early hiccups, the online licensing system seems to be functional at the moment. Convenience is certainly a nice feature, as I had the pleasure of tagging my first steelhead of the year, a 10-pound hatchery hen taken from the Wilson River on Saturday. The fish took a yarnie and small egg cluster just downstream of the Wilson River RV Park in ideal (but cold) conditions in the late morning. There was surprisingly few boats on the river for a Saturday.

River hen from Saturday, January 5th” class=”wp-image-215645″/>

Bob Rees with a Wilson River hen from Saturday, January 5th

Effort on the Nestucca jumped last weekend, with numerous boats in pursuit of that river’s hatchery quarry, but success didn’t quite justify the effort although conditions were ideal for a float here as well. Quality hatchery fish are being caught on both the Wilson and Nestucca systems, but better success rates are just around the corner.

The Trask is also putting out a few fish, mostly wild, for those willing to work for them. Higher flows justify a float higher in the system, such as Stone’s Camp to the upper Peninsula drift, but it’s highly advisable that first timers go with someone in the know before attempting this float on your own. You’ll find fewer people fishing here, but far fewer hatchery opportunities as well.

Hatchery workers continue to report low run sizes for early season streams such as the North Fork Nehalem and Three Rivers systems. Steelhead in these systems will start to be more interested in the spawning cycle than feeding, further compromising catch rates. In another few weeks, they’ll be more “bitey,” but they won’t be a high quality eating fish as most of their energy will go toward gonad production. Late-spawning bright hens are often caught without any eggs, but their flesh is still orange however.

Crabbing remains fair in Netarts Bay, more challenging in other estuaries as fresh water inundates the larger river fed waterbodies.

No sign of subsiding seas, where ample numbers of lingcod and sea bass await motivated anglers. Commercial crab gear is now officially deployed and the fleet is picking their bounty. Early indicators show slower catches than last year, not a big surprise.

Central and Eastern Oregon –  From ODF&W

A few winter steelhead are entering the Hood River. While the run won’t peak until March, anglers can expect a few bright fish as early as this month.

Rainbow trout broodstock have been stocked in North and South Twin lakes recently, and anglers report excellent fishing in South Twin.

Trout fishing in the upper ends of the Deschutes and Crooked River arms of Lake Billy Chinook is typically good in the winter months.

Anglers have been catching some steelhead on the Grand Ronde, John Day and Wallow rivers. Keep an eye on ice conditions and water levels and try to hit the rivers as water levels begin to fall after rain events.

Ice fishers have found success at Kinney Lake catching rainbows up to 16-inches.

Trout and whitefish fishing will be good on the Wallowa River throughout the winter.

Trout anglers should check out Willow Creek Reservoir, which typically stays ice-free and offers some good mid-winter trout fishing.

The Klamath River below Keno Dam remains the best bet in the Klamath Basin.

Rainbow trout are being caught in the Ana River.

Anglers are targeting hybrid bass on Ana Reservoir.

Yellow perch fishing has been fair on Dog Lake, where there are reports of 4.5 inches of ice. But it’s still early in the season, so please use extra caution when venturing out on the ice.

Ice fishing is underway on Pilcher and Wolf Creek reservoirs, where anglers are catching trout in the 10- to 15-inch range.

In the Hines District, anglers are taking advantage of good ice conditions on the Burns Gravel Pond, Chickahominy Reservoir and Malheur Reservoir. Anglers are reporting catches of some fish up to 18-inches on the Malheur R.

Southwest – From ODF&W

Beginning Jan.1, there will be a new steelhead bag limit on rivers where wild steelhead harvest is allowed.  Check the 2019 Sport Fishing Regulations for details.

Half-pounders are worth targeting on the middle Rogue throughout the winter from Lathrop downstream to Graves Creek.

The first winter steelhead of the season has shown up at Cole Rivers Hatchery on the Rogue. While the fishing will really heat up in February, there are early fish in the system and each rain pulse will put fish on the move.

There are winter steelhead throughout the mainstem Umpqua and the river might just come into shape for the weekend.

Anglers are catching hatchery and wild steelhead in the Coos and Coquille basins.

Reports of ice-fishers having some success on Diamond Lake. Always proceed with caution when venturing out on to the ice.

2019 Stocking schedule and STOCKING MAP

From Pete Heley at www.PeteHeley.com

Crabbing at Half Moon Bay continues to be better than expected.

The South Jetty continues to fish well when conditions allow anglers to fish it.

Recent rains have ensured that virtually every coastal stream has fair numbers of winter steelhead in them.

Tenmile Lakes seem to be the best winter largemouth fishery, but it is winter – a bass of less than three pounds was the heaviest bass landed in a recent bass tournament.

It will be several more weeks before lakes in our area start receiving trout plants – but if someone needs a quick “fix”, they might consider Junction City Pond, an eight acre pond located on the west side of Highway 99 just south of Junction City.

There is always more Oregon fishing information delivered earlier on our site, The Guide’s Forecast.  You can also sign-up for our free weekly emails here.

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Oregon Fishing Reports for January 5

Willamette Valley/Metro – Anglers are reminded to purchase their 2019 Oregon fishing licenses and tags before heading out on their next fishing, crabbing or clamming adventure. It’s easy to forget the new year requirement, especially if you haven’t been out for a while.

Flows on the metro rivers are finally starting to subside, with steelhead season underway on both the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers. The Sandy saw a fair amount of effort over the last few days, with a few wild steelhead falling to anglers working jigs or casting flies. There have not been any measurable numbers of broodstock fish returning just yet, but it’s good to go out and get the kinks worked out before the main run shows later into January through February.

The Clackamas remains a fair bet, but like the Sandy, more reliable numbers will show come February. Clackamas anglers should focus their efforts downstream of Eagle Creek. As flows drop, so should the size of your offerings, be it bait or soft beads. Both should produce consistent results when fish show up.

Plunkers should have a fair option as Willamette flows drop at Meldrum Bar, just downstream of the mouth of the Clackamas. Bright colors and well scented lures such as spin-n-glos work best under these conditions. Tipping offerings with sand shrimp is also a good idea in more turbid water.

Sturgeon will remain a great option in the Portland Harbor with frozen anchovies, herring or smelt working best. Fresh sand shrimp are always a good option.

District lakes remain a good winter break option for youngsters to participate in. Be sure to bundle them up well so they don’t have bad memories of what winter fishing is all about. Better winter steelhead fishing is just around the corner.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN guide service reports, “Hello all,  I hope that everyone was able to survive New Years Eve. This week’s report has some positive news. I floated the river on the 1st and we had one take down on a plug. We floated the river from Oxbow to Dabney and the river was at perfect height and color. The river took a hugh jump on Saturday and climbed to 13.84ft and the next couple of days, the river dropped with cool weather and on the 1st, the river was running at 10.85ft. Just before the jump in the river, the lower river had produced a few nice natives and one good-sized hatchery fish. There is fish spread throughout the river.

You can see more of Jeff’s report and an upcoming forecast for the Sandy River and Northwest Oregon by becoming a paid subscriber HERE. Paid subscribers get on average, about FIVE TIMES the amount of information for fifty cents a week!

Northwest Oregon – Some fine broodstock steelhead showed up for a few select anglers on the Wilson River on recently. Water conditions were ideal and fish into the mid-teens were caught. It’s a good sign for this early in the season as interest and success will grow into late February here. Pro guide Rob Gerlitz (503-812-4950) is averaging 2 to 4 chances on every trip, bobber-dogging soft beads for winter steelhead. Here is one of Rob’s clients with a Wilson River broodstock fish from January 3rd:

Don Van Wormer of Portland with a Wilson River broodstock steelhead from 1/3/19

The Nestucca wasn’t as productive, but both broodstock steelhead destined for the upper reaches of the Nestucca, and early season returnees headed for Three Rivers make the Nestucca a fair bet over the holiday break too.

Early season favorites such as the North Fork Nehalem remain disappointing. Hatchery workers have only seen around 100 fish to the trap so far this year. We’re in peak season for this system, so it’s as good as it’s going to get for fresh fish anyway.

Seas remain too rough for a bottomfishing option and the commercial crabbing fleet has dropped their gear for the season opener. Bottomfishing will be excellent when seas subside.

Whale watching is in full bloom right now. It’s a magnificent time of the year to visit the ocean beaches.

Lower Columbia River – Crabbing remains excellent if you get to the middle of the Columbia north of the buoy line on Desdemona Sands. That may change when the commercial crabbers drop pots in just a few days.

Steelheading in Clatsop County remains poor.

Central and Eastern Oregon –  From ODF&W

A few winter steelhead are entering the Hood River. While the run won’t peak until March, anglers can expect a few bright fish as early as this month.

Rainbow trout broodstock have been stocked in North and South Twin lakes recently, and anglers report excellent fishing in South Twin.

Trout fishing in the upper ends of the Deschutes and Crooked River arms of Lake Billy Chinook is typically good in the winter months.

Anglers have been catching some steelhead on the Grand Ronde, John Day and Wallow rivers. Keep an eye on ice conditions and water levels and try to hit the rivers as water levels begin to fall after rain events.

Ice fishers have found success at Kinney Lake catching rainbows up to 16-inches.

Trout and whitefish fishing will be good on the Wallowa River throughout the winter.

Best bet in the Klamath Basin is the Klamath River below Keno Dam.

Rainbow trout are being caught in the Ana River.

Anglers are starting to target hybrid bass on Ana Reservoir.

Yellow perch fishing has been fair on Dog Lake, where there are reports of 4.5 inches of ice. But it’s still early in the season, so please use extra caution when venturing out on the ice.

There is currently enough ice for ice fishing to be underway on Pilcher and Wolf Creek reservoirs.

From our friend Tim Moran:

Metolius River – Colder temps mean smaller windows but there are always a few fish to be had here in the winter. Bull trout continue to be the story on the Met. I’ve seen some recent fish tipping 12 lbs.

John Day River – I haven’t heard anything lately on the JDR. Fish are spread throughout but I’m guessing that like every other river in the basin, this one is not going to see the same numbers as years past. Definitely would be worth it though on a cloudy day!

Crooked River – Temps this week will keep the fish lethargic until the afternoon but we should get some decent fishing from 1 to 4 pm. Small dries with a small nymph dropper and double nymphs set up Euro style should take fish.

Fall River – The temps this week are cold and the ice will be forming in your guides so sleep in a little and have breakfast before you head out. Fishing will be best from 11am to 4pm.

This is the time of year where the best news is.. there isn’t much pressure on your favorite streams so get out there and get em!

Southwest – From ODF&W

Beginning Jan.1, there will be a new steelhead bag limit on rivers where wild steelhead harvest is allowed.  Check the 2019 Sport Fishing Regulations for details.

Half-pounders are worth targeting on the middle Rogue throughout the winter from Lathrop downstream to Graves Creek.

The first winter steelhead of the season has shown up at Cole Rivers Hatchery on the Rogue. While the fishing will really heat up in February, there are early fish in the system and each rain pulse will put fish on the move.

There are winter steelhead throughout the mainstem Umpqua and the river might just be coming into shape for the weekend.

On the North Umpqua, winter steelhead picks up in January, though some fish are already being caught.

Anglers are starting to catch hatchery steelhead in the Coos and Coquille basins, but look for another rain to bring more fish into the river.

And on the ocean, bottomfishing should be decent if the ocean lays down.

Bottomfish anglers may now fish at all depths for the remainder of the year. Fishing for lingcod and rockfish has been good when the ocean is calm enough to fish. The daily bag limit for marine fish is 5 plus 2 lingcod. The retention of cabezon is closed until July 2019.

Anglers may also choose to fish the offshore longleader fishery outside of the 40-fathom regulatory line, which is open year round.

2019 Stocking schedule and STOCKING MAP

From Pete Heley at www.PeteHeley.com

The fish trap just below Eel Lake on Eel Creek was checked last week and had about 35 adult cohos and 50 jacks in it, most of which were quite dark. These salmon had to ascend Tenmile Creek for about three miles before heading up Eel Creek (which was virtually dried up a month ago). The salmon in the Eel Creek trap did not have to continue up Tenmile Creek, but easily could have reached the lake – an indication that some non-hatchery cohos did enter Tenmile Lakes this year.

Although the season is winding down, there are still some late-run fall chinook in the Elk and Sixes rivers and Floras Creek should have a few chinooks in by now as well. A 45-pound fall chinook was reported caught on the Chetco River two weeks ago.

Recently, the key to success on these streams has been hitting them when stream conditions are such that they are at their most fishable. The same can be said for any winter steelhead stream.

Wild (unclipped) steelhead will be legal to keep on several south coast streams with a daily limit of one unclipped steelhead and a seasonal limit of three unclipped steelhead. These streams are the Elk and Sixes rivers, Pistol and Winchuck rivers.

Crabbing has been surprisingly good in the lower portions of Coos Bay and the Umpqua River.

The ocean has been open to recreational crabbing since December 1st, but weather and bar and ocean conditions have not allowed many crabbers to try it.

There is always more Oregon fishing information delivered earlier on our site, The Guide’s Forecast.  You can also sign-up for our free weekly emails here.

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Oregon Fishing Reports for Dec 29

Willamette Valley/Metro – Anglers are reminded to purchase their 2019 Oregon fishing licenses and tags before heading out on their next fishing, crabbing or clamming adventure. The new online licensing system makes it pretty easy to get the appropriate paperwork without even having to go to a retail store for purchase.

High water and inclement weather didn’t inspire many steelheaders for the brief window of opportunity anglers had over the weekend for holiday chrome. Early season steelhead are hard enough to come by, let alone catching them in less than ideal conditions.

The Clackamas has shown some early results for steelhead, but in recent years, it’s been the Sandy that has produced the most robust steelhead catches. Flows peaked on Monday, but if the weather trend remains accurate, anglers could feasibly see some good water conditions prior to the weekend. Both the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers should have steelhead available. Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN guide service reports, “I hope that everyone had a great Christmas and was able to spend time with family and friends. I was visiting the river and the water was ideal and was holding steady. The current water height is 10.46 ft and is forecasted to jump up to 10.73 ft by Sunday. The water temp is at 42.5 degrees and should stay at current temp until the weather either drops or warmer weather drives the temp up or down. There were good numbers of people on the river with sleds in the lower river and lots of drift boats and rafts from Oxbow down.  There were a few fish caught over the  last couple days in mid river Oxbow Park area.” Clackamas River anglers should focus their effort downstream of Eagle Creek, while Sandy River steelheaders should work the water from Dodge Park downstream. Bait such as egg clusters or sand shrimp often produce the best in higher flows, while jigs and soft beads produce better in low flows. Soft-bead side-drifting is still popular in high water, anglers just use a larger sized offering in cloudy water conditions.

You can see more of Jeff’s report and an upcoming forecast for the Sandy River and Northwest Oregon by becoming a paid subscriber HERE. Paid subscribers get on average, about FIVE TIMES the amount of information for fifty cents a week!

The Willamette is high and colored, and will remain that way for a short while. Once flows crest, and the river comes down and starts to clear, likely by the weekend, plunkers working Meldrum Bar should have a better chance at December steelhead destined for the Clackamas River. Like the smaller systems, use bright colored spin-n-glos and tip your gear with egg clusters or shrimp tails.

The Portland Harbor will continue to produce good sturgeon catches, but it might be best to wait for wood debris to wash through the system for safer boating conditions. Sand shrimp and frozen herring would be best.

Although there may not be any active trout stocking going on this week, there should be ample numbers of stocked trout still available in multiple water bodies over the holiday break for kids and families to catch. Check the ODF&W web site for recent stockings and opportunities.

Northwest Oregon – The North Fork Nehalem continues to disappoint. The fishing hotline reports a slow start, but this will be peak week for fresh fish in the system. Many of the early season stocks on the Nehalem, Three Rivers and a few on the Wilson have not shown strong returns in recent years. These systems still provide the best Christmas break option for steelheaders however.

The Wilson River will remain the best option over the break, with a mix of a few early season returnees, but what most are hoping will be a good return of broodstock fish. Some broodstock fish have already been caught, along with some early wild returning fish, but action improves dramatically by late January. There were fair numbers of fishermen, and some quality broodstock fish taken Thursday morning, including this nice 16-pounder by pro guide Rob Gerlitz (503-812-7701).

Russell Crape of Bay City with a large broodstock steelhead from 12/27, Wilson River, Oregon

Lower Columbia River – Crabbing remains epic for boats that can fish the deeper water off of Chinook. Commercial gear may go in as early as January 1st so success will likely slow.

Gnat and Big Creek as well as the Klaskanine and Necanicum Rivers have been slow for steelhead despite good water conditions and timing. It’s been a challenging start to the steelhead season.

Central and Eastern Oregon –  From ODF&W

While winter conditions are limiting access and opportunities to many popular lakes and ponds, many of the areas rivers offer good trout fishing opportunities throughout the winter, including the Crooked, Deschutes, Fall and Metolius.

Anglers report good trout fishing in the Metolius River.

Snow gates on Cascade Lakes Hwy west of Mt. Bachelor and on the road to Newberry Crater are closed for the winter, limiting access to some popular locations.

Anglers have been catching some steelhead on the Grand Ronde, John Day and Wallow rivers. Keep an eye on ice conditions and water levels and try to hit the rivers as water levels begin to fall after rain events.

Trout and whitefish fishing will be good on the Wallowa River throughout the winter.

Ice conditions are still iffy on many waterbodies – recent rains haven’t helped. Always use caution when venturing out on the ice.

Best bet in the Klamath Basin continues to be the Klamath River below the powerhouse.

The Ana River offers fair to good fishing throughout the winter.

Anglers are starting to target hybrid bass on Ana Reservoir.

Southwest – From ODF&W

Bottomfishing should be decent if the ocean lays down.  Ocean salmon fishing is closed.

Beginning Jan.1, there will be a new steelhead bag limit on rivers where wild steelhead harvest is allowed.  Check the 2019 Sport Fishing Regulations for details.

There are winter steelhead throughout the mainstem Umpqua and the river might just be come into shape for the weekend.

On the North Umpqua, some of the best winter steelhead fishing of the year can occur in late December. The runs usually peaks then, and the largest steelhead are usually the first to arrive.

Anglers are starting to catch hatchery steelhead in the Coos and Coquille basins.

Arizona Pond has been stocked recently – just in time for the school winter break.

Half-pounder steelhead are worth targeting this time of year on the middle Rogue from Lathrop downstream to Graves Creek.

2018 STOCKING SCHEDULE and STOCKING MAP

There is always more Oregon fishing information delivered earlier on our site, The Guide’s Forecast.  You can also sign-up for our free weekly emails here.

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Oregon Fishing Reports for December 22

Willamette Valley/Metro – With the season’s first flood event at hand, anglers will be anxious to try their hands at Steelheading in the “Metro Two,” otherwise known as the Clackamas and Sandy Rivers. Both rivers jumped to flood stage but will recede to questionable levels by the weekend. Regardless, any staging steelhead should be entering both of these systems, but despite improving water conditions, it’s still early for the bulk of these fish to return this early in the season.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920)  of O2BFISHN Guide Service reports “The Sandy is high and little muddy. The forecast is for the river to drop and possibly be fishable by the weekend. It will depend on how much rain we get and if the freezing level drops below 3000ft. I was informed that early in the week before the river blew up that there was confirmed a nice native winter that was in low teens had been caught and released.”

Both systems have integrated more wild fish into the hatchery broodstock, more mimicking the wild return, which starts in earnest around mid-February. Anglers shouldn’t expect good fishing until at least mid-January, but since a fair number of wild and some hatchery fish have already been caught on the Clackamas, when flows subside, fish will be around.

The Willamette River will be up and turbid for the foreseeable future but plunkers working Meldrum Bar won’t have a fair crack until next week at the earliest. Boaters should be aware of floating debris coming from upstream areas following this high water event. That shouldn’t impact sturgeon fishing in the Portland Harbor when it’s safe to boat again however.

A pile of trophy trout will be stocked in local area lakes like Huddleston Pond and lakes around Corvallis. These bodies of water may be the only bodies of water with any visibility over the weekend and trout to 8 or 9 pounds make for good prospects for those that can tolerate the weather. Check the ODF&W stocking tab from their web site if you plan on heading out.

You can see more of Jeff’s report and an upcoming forecast for the Sandy River and Northwest Oregon by becoming a paid subscriber HERE. Paid subscribers get on average, about FIVE TIMES the amount of information for fifty cents a week!

Northwest Oregon – Early season returns on the North Fork Nehalem and Three Rivers on the Nestucca system continue to disappoint anglers. Saturday anglers still arrive with enthusiasm, but it’s quickly gut-checked by Sunday as low success rates are realized. Regardless, these two systems remain some of the best options in Tillamook County, especially coming off the major rain event at mid-week. They may be the only weekend options until dryer conditions come about.

That said, the Wilson River was producing fair steelhead catches prior to the high water with cookie-cutter 6 – 7 pounders taken on bait and soft beads over the weekend. The Wilson and other larger Tillamook area rivers will be a bit high to fish over the weekend, but that is often when the best fishing actually occurs. Look for willing fish in the softer pockets and shallower water under these conditions.

The Dam Hole on the Trask River is also a high water favorite, but often produces only catch and release wild fish results with fewer anglers in pursuit.

Seas remain angry, it’s a pity sport crabbers haven’t been able to take advantage of wide-open opportunity during the month of December. The commercial fleet may drop gear as early as December 28th if conditions are right.

Lower Columbia River – Tides and weather may be ideal for weekend crabbing in Astoria. Success should be excellent for top-notch holiday horderves.

The Highway 30 streams and Necanicum River should have steelhead available this weekend but the early season show has been disappointing.

Central and Eastern Oregon –  From our friend Tim Moran

Metolius River – If I could only fish one river in the winter it would be this one. Fishing with nymphs was good last week and that should continue.

John Day River – Steelhead are moving through the river and I’ve heard of fish to Clarno.

Crooked River – Flows are better and the ice is gone so the fishing has come back.

Fall River – the Fall River has been consistently good this year.

South Twin Lake – I have seen a few pics and reports from South Twin. Bait guys have taken fish from the bank.

Lake in the Dunes – This is a pay to play fishery in SE Oregon. It fishes well in the winter as the small lakes are fed by underground springs.

From ODF&W

Steelhead are spread throughout the lower 100 miles of the Deschutes with anglers reporting fair fishing in the Warm Springs, Trout Creek and Maupin areas.

Anglers report good trout fishing in the Metolius River.

Steelhead are have been entering the lower sections of the John Day.

Persistent anglers have been catching some steelhead on the Grande Ronde and Wallowa rivers.

Southwest – From ODF&W

Bottomfishing should be decent if the ocean lays down.

There is snow in the forecast and that could limit access to some higher elevation lakes. Check ahead for road conditions, and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather.

Lost Creek Reservoir will be the premiere trout destination in the Rogue Valley throughout the winter.

Anglers are catching some winter steelhead on the upper mainstem Umpqua. Rain in the forecast should have river levels coming up, making the river a tempting target for the weekend.

Arizona Pond will be stocked this week – just in time for the school winter break.

Half-pounder steelhead are worth targeting this time of year on the middle Rogue from Lathrop downstream to Graves Creek.

2018 STOCKING SCHEDULE and STOCKING MAP

From Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com

With the commercial crabbers currently under a voluntary closure through at least December based on low meat content in the northern and southern sections of the Oregon coast, it’s good news for recreational sport crabbers – especially along the central Oregon coast where the meat content of recently tested crabs is just fine.

SW Washington – No new info from WDF&W, but HERE IS the December 7th report.

There is always more Oregon fishing information delivered earlier on our site, The Guide’s Forecast.  You can also sign-up for our free weekly emails here.

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Oregon Fishing Reports for December 15

Willamette Valley/Metro – Anglers continue to wait for metro angling opportunity, the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers are still weeks away from kicking off.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920)  of O2BFISHN Guide Service reports “Well, this week we saw the first real good rainfall of the year. The river is slowly climbing with this week long of rain. The forecast is for the river to max out about 12.2 ft by the weekend and then will begin to drop over the week and level out about 10ft. The river was low and clear for most of the week running at 8.6 ft and was ideal for fishing. With this large bump, it will bring in some fresh and new fish. There were a few fish caught last week and it was in the upper river because the lower river had lots of wind and made it difficult to fish.” PS I have had some readers call about booking trips with me and I had saved your info to my phone and my phone crashed and I lost your contact info. So please call me so I can get your info to book our trips and put it on my new list of contacts.

You can see more of Jeff’s report and an upcoming forecast for the Sandy River and Northwest Oregon by becoming a paid subscriber HERE. Paid subscribers get on average, about FIVE TIMES the amount of information for fifty cents a week!

This is the time of year when the 2019 salmon predictions are just coming out, with stakeholders meeting early this week to discuss what the options may be for spring, summer and likely fall Chinook. The numbers released were not surprisingly optimistic, but they are not disastrous either. Managers are likely to take a precautionary approach with this year’s fisheries, but undoubtedly, anglers are going to have to work hard for success.

Spring Chinook, no matter what the returns are, come with low expectations and high reward. It often takes several fishing days before an angler gets an opportunity for a fish, but anglers are willing to put in the time for the reward that follows. Willamette fish are the first to enter the Columbia. Termed “snow-bellies,” the glaring white undersides of these fish indicate their final destination versus the “dusky chinned” upper Columbia bound springers that also carry a deeper red flesh, more savory for sure.

This year’s predicted Willamette River spring Chinook return is just over 40,000 adults to the mouth of the Columbia River. The 2018 actual return was 37,400 so anglers should expect catch rates similar to what was experienced last spring. The Columbia River spring Chinook forecast is for just over 99,000 returning adults, far from the lowest on record, but one of the lowest in the last 15 years. This will certainly limit opportunity as managers need to ensure proper escapement to upriver spawning grounds and tribal fisheries which are governed under U.S. law.

The summer Chinook run is also depressed, with just about 36,000 fish predicted to return. This fishery peaks in late June and early July, and there’s likely to be some opportunity, but far from robust.

Seasons will be crafted in January and February, but likely not adopted until March. Until then, these fisheries will prosecute under permanent rules so check regulations if you’re so inspired to angle for sparse numbers this early in the season. It’s a very rare year when spring Chinook are caught before February.

Northwest Oregon – It’s a sad day when crabbing outshines fishing opportunities in Tillamook County, but winter steelhead continue to be elusive in the early-season streams. The North Fork Nehalem continues to report slow fishing, with very few fish in the holding trap. This is the week when we should start to see winter steelhead pop in this system, as well as Three Rivers, a tributary to the Nestucca system.

The Wilson, Nestucca and Trask Rivers should also have a few winter steelhead available, but catches will remain sparse for a few more weeks.

Paul Curran of Beaverton with a large north coast steelhead taken on a soft bead.

Paul Curran of Beaverton with a large north coast steelhead taken on a soft bead.

Crabbing in Tillamook is excellent and great tides will persist into the weekend. The expected rain shouldn’t damper success too much, but it may become a factor the following week. Netarts remains a good option too.

Lower Columbia River – Crabbing remains an excellent prospect on the lower Columbia River and with the commercial season further delayed, success should remain good for several more weeks.

Central and Eastern Oregon –  From our friend Tim Moran –

From ODF&W

While winter conditions are limiting access and opportunities to many popular lakes and ponds, many of the areas rivers offer good trout fishing opportunities throughout the winter, including the Crooked, Deschutes, Fall and Metolius.

Anglers report good trout fishing in the Metolius River.

Snow gates on Cascade Lakes Hwy west of Mt. Bachelor and on the road to Newberry Crater have been closed for the winter, limiting access to some popular locations.

Winter conditions are limiting access and opportunity at many area lakes and reservoirs. Many are iced over but the ice is too thin for ice fishing.

The Ana River is spring-fed and with its constant water temperature is a great late fall and winter destination.

Southwest – From ODF&W

There is snow in the forecast and that could limit access to some higher elevation lakes. Check ahead for road conditions, and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather.

Lost Creek Reservoir will be the premiere trout destination in the Rogue Valley throughout the winter.

A few winter steelhead are beginning to slip into the Umpqua and look for numbers to increase throughout December.

Arizona Pond will be stocked this week – just in time for the school winter break.

Half-pounder steelhead are worth targeting this time of year on the middle Rogue from Lathrop downstream to Graves Creek.

This is probably the last week to target hatchery coho on the upper Rogue.

2018 STOCKING SCHEDULE and STOCKING MAP

From Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com

Quite a few lakes in western Lane County will receive their first trout plants for 2019 during the first week in February and 2019’s first trout plants for Coos County will take place in Mingus Pond and Powers Pond during the fourth week in February.

Some cohos are still being caught in Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes and a few of them are not dark. Most of the Tenmile Lake coho run is still in the lagoon where some of them are turning dark.

Small to mid-sized streams along the south coast offer anglers their best chance for late-run fall chinook.

By mid-December most of the streams in our area will have some winter steelhead in them, but Eel Creek, the major tributary of Tenmile Creek does not open for hatchery steelhead until January 1st.

Recreational ocean crabbing has been legal since December 1st and fairly productive when conditions allow ocean access.

Dock crabbing has been fair, at best.

There is always more Oregon fishing information delivered earlier on our site, The Guide’s Forecast.  You can also sign-up for our weekly emails here.

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Oregon Fishing Updates for Dec 7

Willamette Valley/Metro – Cold weather has gripped much of the Portland area, causing steelheaders to re-think their outing strategies, especially since it’s still early in the season. Steelhead are certainly present in the Sandy and Clackamas systems, a bitter east wind keeps Sandy River anglers especially cold given its proximity to the Columbia River Gorge. Catches have been light. Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHIN Guide Service reports, ”

Late morning and afternoon temperatures moderate, and better inspire steelhead to bite in the broken surfaced waters of the Sandy and Clackamas systems. The prolonged cold and dry spell calls for smaller, more subtle tackle to entice strikes. Single soft beads have really taken hold in recent years, and is the perfect go-to bait under the conditions we’ll be experiencing into next week. The river is forecasted to rise next week.

Peak season won’t happen for another 4 to 5 weeks on the Sandy and Clackamas systems, but quality steelhead can be found this time of year, with few other anglers competing for them.

Steelhead plunkers working Meldrum Bar should also start to see some action in the coming weeks. No one is certain of the number of steelhead returning to the Clackamas or upper Willamette Basins this year, but with the recent issuance of the section 120 permit for the removal of problematic sea lions in the Willamette Falls area, wild winter steelhead headed for the upper Willamette River will get a reprieve this year. A more comprehensive bill in Congress may be moving this week.

Sturgeon fishing remains good in the lower Willamette, with frozen anchovies, smelt or herring working well, fresh sand shrimp is always good too.

The Willamette and Columbia River spring Chinook forecasts are due out next week, anglers are always optimistic, but we’ll get the reality check by mid-month.

There should still be ample numbers of trout in the district’s lakes. Check the ODF&W web site under stocking schedule to see where the most recent stockings were.

Northwest Oregon – Steelhead season is underway on the north coast, with fish reported from the North Fork Nehalem, Wilson, Three Rivers and Kilchis River systems. It’s off to a slow start, but that’s not uncommon for early December. Steelheading should start in earnest this week, with success likely from the aforementioned river systems. The North Fork Nehalem and Three Rivers often provide the best access and success for early season steelhead.

Dropping flows will call for more subtle offerings and boaters are likely to encounter spawning Chinook coho and chum salmon too. Please avoid any harassment of these sensitive stocks of spawning fish, it’s been a tough year for them. The season does remain open in Tillamook Bay itself, but few are participating.

East winds often spell calm seas for bottomfish and crab this time of year. There was a small window early in the week, but seas are forecasted to increase into the weekend. Sport crabbing in the ocean re-opened on December 1st, bottomfishing and crabbing should be excellent if the weather cooperates.

Lower Columbia River – The lower Columbia remains excellent for crabbing, limits are common.

Gnat and Big Creek, as well as the Klaskanine and Necanicum Rivers should have winter steelhead present.

Central and Eastern Oregon – From Friend Tim Moran

Baby it’s cold outside! Single digit temps ant night in central and eastern Oregon have slowed the fishing and fishermen to a trickle. Those that are getting out are fishing mainly 4 streams.

Metolius River – Small olive and golden stone nymphs and a small trailer nymph are the go to’s here. I use 5X fluorocarbon tippets on the lower fly because if you go smaller you’ll run into a big bull and that will be that!

John Day River – There are fishable numbers of Steelhead in the John Day and most fall to swinging flies. This is a great spey rod stream and there are miles of great runs and pools.

Crooked River – Flows are low and with the single digit temps at night, the river is iced up in many spots. The fish are very sluggish in the cold water.

Fall River – the Fall river is actually fishing pretty good in the cold temps the spring fed stream is always cold and it moves enough to stay in liquid form most of the time. 11am to 4pm is going to be your best bet.

From ODF&W

Anglers are reporting fair fishing for lake trout on Crescent Lake, trout fishing on the Fall River has been good, and anglers are catching some bull trout on the Metolius River.

Steelhead are spread throughout the lower 100 miles of the Deschutes with anglers reporting fair fishing in the Warm Springs, Trout Creek and Maupin areas.

Snow gates on Cascade Lakes Hwy west of Mt. Bachelor and on the road to Newberry Crater have been closed for the winter, limiting access to some popular locations.

Persistent anglers have been catching some steelhead on the Grande Ronde and Wallowa rivers.

Fishing on the Klamath River below Keno Dam has slowed.

The Ana River was stocked in late October and fishing has been fair.

Most Lake County waterbodies are frozen or are starting to freeze over.

Southwest – From ODF&W 

There is snow in the forecast and that could limit access to some higher elevation lakes. Check ahead for road conditions, and be prepared for sudden changes in the weather.

Lost Creek Reservoir will be the premiere trout destination in the Rogue Valley throughout the winter.

Steelhead fishing continues to be good on the lower Rogue thanks to an exceptional run of half-pounders and adults running upriver this fall.

Umpqua River anglers might consider the upper mainstem for hatchery coho.

Recent heavy rains have improved chinook and steelhead prospects on the Chetco, Elk, Pistol and Winchuck rivers.

Winter steelhead season is coming, and it’s not too soon to check your gear and be monitoring water levels.

2018 STOCKING SCHEDULE and STOCKING MAP

From Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com

We’ve had enough rain to get coho salmon into the three coastal lakes that allow fishing for them. Recently, Siltcoos Lake has been providing the best salmon fishing.

Tenmile has also been giving up fair numbers of decent-sized yellow perch and some of the more serious bass fishermen have been having fair, if inconsistent success, on largemouth bass.

South coast streams such as the Elk and Sixes rivers both have good numbers of chinook salmon in them and anglers familiar with these rivers adjust their fishing plans almost daily as the Elk River tends to clear more quickly than does the Sixes.

Recreational ocean crabbing is now legal and while crabbing in Oregon’s bays and the lower portions of Oregon’s coastal rivers is definitely slowing down, some decent catches are still being made.

SW Washington – From the December 4th WDF&W report:

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Grays River – 9 bank anglers released 2 steelhead.

Skamokawa Creek – No anglers sampled.

Elochoman River – 38 bank anglers kept 6 steelhead and released 4 steelhead, 2 coho and 11 coho jacks. 1 boat/2 rods had no catch.

Abernathy Creek – 4 bank anglers had no catch.

Mill Creek – No anglers sampled.

Germany Creek – 6 bank anglers had no catch.

Cowlitz River –

I-5 Br downstream: 14 bank rods kept 1 coho jack and released 1 steelhead. Above the I-5 Br: 6 bank rods had no catch. Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 691 coho adults, 273 coho jacks, 26 cutthroat trout, three fall Chinook adults and four summer-run steelhead adults during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. During the past week, Tacoma Power released 106 coho adults and 45 coho jacks into the Cispus River near Randle and they released 179 coho adults, 61 coho jacks and one cutthroat trout into Lake Scanewa in Randle. Tacoma Power released 34 coho adults and 44 coho jacks at the Franklin Bridge release site in Packwood and they released 189 coho adults, 119 coho jacks, one fall Chinook adult and five cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton. River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 4,740 cubic feet per second on Monday, Dec. 3. Water visibility is 11 feet and the water temperature is 49.8 degrees F. River flows could change at any time so boaters and anglers should remain alert for this possibility.

Kalama River – No anglers sampled. Lewis River – 2 bank anglers had no catch. 2 boats/4 rods had no catch.

East Fork Lewis River – 7 bank anglers kept 1 coho. 1 boat/2 rods had no catch.

Salmon Creek – 41 bank anglers released 1 steelhead.

Wind River – No anglers sampled.

Klickitat River –No anglers sampled.

There is always more Oregon fishing information delivered earlier on our site, The Guide’s Forecast.  You can also sign-up for our weekly emails here.

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