Oregon Fishing Reports for November 17th

Willamette Valley/Metro – There are no options on the Columbia River, you won’t see any quality reports in this section until mid-February at the earliest for the Columbia River section.

Hatchery coho options are next to nil on the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers. Wild coho are certainly an option, and numbers aren’t all that bad for those that enjoy catch and release opportunities. Both rivers have come up in recent days, but not out of the realm of possibility. It will be a bit challenging finding wild fish on the Sandy as they move through the system so rapidly, but the Clackamas may provide some opportunity in the deeper pools when flows settle down. Eagle Creek did boast a run of around 5,000 returning adults.

The Willamette remains a good option for catch and release sturgeon fishing. That should stay the case through the weekend, but high water is certain to follow, making boating conditions a bit hazardous after the weekend if the river prediction comes to fruition.

From the Hagg Lake Facebook page – Henry Hagg Lake is one of the lucky recipients to receive a surplus of trout in the tune of 2 truckloads from the O.D.F.W.. Today the lake was stocked with 30,000 fingerlings and 8,000 legals ranging from 8″ to 14″. Buy a parking pass and try your luck at catching one. Saturday’s weather looks promising!

Northwest – Most river systems are done for the year. Tillamook remains the strongest option, with the Wilson and Kilchis putting out the best numbers for late-run fall Chinook. The Tillamook Bay fishery is extremely spotty.

The Kilchis River should be an option over the weekend, but the Wilson likely won’t fish until early next week, Sunday at the earliest. Don’t expect explosive results as this fishery has already shown its face; it’s a sub-par return of fall Chinook this season.

It’s still too early for winter steelhead, but not out of the realm of possibility. Smaller systems such as the Necanicum and North Fork Nehalem will be the best early season options, but no steelhead reported yet. Both systems were too high to fish at this writing (Thursday).

No ocean fishing, but bay crabbing remains an option on Tillamook, Nehalem and Netarts Bays. Note the central coast closure as outlined here. Let’s hope it doesn’t continue to creek to the north so we have some options for Thanksgiving snacks! The lower Columbia remains the best option for coastal crab.

Southwest Sport Ocean Salmon

The Elk River Terminal Area Chinook Salmon season will be open from Nov. 1-30 within the described boundaries with a limit of 2 Chinook per day but no more than 1 non fin-clipped Chinook per day and 10 non fin-clipped seasonal aggregate limit combined with the Elk River, Sixes River, New River, and Floras Creek.

On black Friday, Nov. 24 with the help of FREE FISHING. On Friday and Saturday (Nov.25) you won’t need a license, tag or endorsement to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon that is open to fishing.

Look for recent rains to bring Chinook into the Chetco, Elk and Winchuck rivers.

Trout anglers in the Rogue should be very excited with releases of excess rainbow trout recently. Most Rogue lakes have been freshly stocked for the fall months. Waterbodies offering fresh opportunity include Lake Selmac, Applegate Reservoir, Lost Creek Reservoir, Agate Lake, Willow Lake and Medco Pond.

CHETCO RIVER: Chinook, rains late this week are expected to increase river flows significantly.

Chinook salmon fishing is still open in the Coos Basin although majority of the fish have move up river to spawn.

ELK RIVER: Chinook, most anglers are fishing the estuary. Rains late in the week should improve fishing conditions in the river.

Rogue River, lower: Anglers plunking off gravel bars in the lower river have been doing well for steelhead and coho. Rains late in the week will raise flows and probably make for some tough fishing conditions.

Steelhead fishing has continued to be good in Grants Pass at Griffin Park, Schroeder Park and near the footbridge area by Reinhardt Park. Steelhead anglers should be aware of spawning Chinook, and avoid spooking fish off their redds.

UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM: Chinook fishing in the estuary has slowed. Bank anglers in Half Moon Bay and the boat basin have also seen a decline in catch rates. There have been reports of folks catching fish throughout the main.

From our friend Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com

As of 11/16

Ocean waters are closed to Dungeness crab Oct. 16 – Nov. 30.
Areas closed to crab harvest, including bays and estuaries:
Tahkenitch Creek (north of Winchester Bay and Reedsport) north to Cape Foulweather (north of Newport).
North jetty of Coos Bay south to the California border.

Areas open to crab harvest:
North jetty of Coos Bay north to Tahkenitch Creek.
North of Cape Foulweather to the Columbia River.

Call the Shellfish Safety Hotline before harvesting​ 1-800-448-2474​

The Oregon Department of Agriculture’s (ODA) shellfish biotoxin hotline is toll free and is updated immediately when shellfish toxins reach the alert level. The hotline is your best source for up-to-date clam, crab, and mussel closure information. ​

Chinook salmon fishing is pretty much over except for the late-run fish in the smaller to mid-size streams along the southern Oregon coast.

Additional good news for Winchester Bay crabbers is that the Coast Guard Pier is slated for major renovation which should be completed by mid-March. When completed and the actual cost of the renovation is revealed, those unhappy with the Douglas County Parking Pass will have much less reason to gripe.

The coastal salmon lakes should have fresh salmon entering them after last weekend’s rains. All three lakes were producing a few fish each day last week, but salmon numbers should be much better with additional rainfall.

A few winter steelhead should be entering the Umpqua River which always seems to receive its winter steelhead a month earlier than other area streams. The earliest catches seem to occur between Family Camp and Elkton.

Crappie fishing at Tugman Park on Eel Lake has come to a screeching halt. The fish were becoming fewer and the bites even more tentative, but I think the main reason for the bite stoppage is that the crappie moved.

Anglers targeting surfperch, because inshore bottomfishing is off limits, need to be cautious as stormy weather has created hazardous beach conditions.

Eastern – Sorry, no Eastern Oregon news as of late, paid subscribers may check back tomorrow to see if our friend Tim Moran has any updates. Thank you!

SW Washington – Here’s what WDF&W provided in this week’s report:

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br. downstream: 27 bank anglers with 1 adult coho kept and 1 released. I-5 Br. upstream: 70 bank anglers with 41 adult coho kept and 1 adult Chinook and 24 adult coho released. No bank anglers were sampled.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 1,751 coho adults, 170 coho jacks, 38 fall Chinook adults, 32 cutthroat trout, and five summer-run steelhead during six days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 97 coho adults and 26 coho jacks into the Cispus River near the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek, and they released 112 coho adults and 20 coho jacks at Franklin Bridge in Packwood. Tacoma Power released 832 coho adults, 58 coho jacks, five fall Chinook adults, and nine cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released 439 coho adults, 32 coho jacks and two cutthroat trout into Lake Scanewa near Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 6,740 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, November 13. Water visibility is five feet and water temperature is 51.3 degrees F.


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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The Lay of the Land

By Bob Rees

The rain has set in. Maybe it’s not officially winter just yet, but cold, damp and darkness is in the air, and we’re all supposed to have our freezers full of fish, and turn our attention to terrestrial species. My elk hunt starts on Saturday, November 4th, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting to finally shake the salt from my skin and get to the more sparsely treed region of the state, where one can see wildlife across the landscape, not really possible in the Tillamook State Forest, given its dense Doug fir stands.

I’m 22 years into my Oregon professional guiding career and even though I’ll be 350 miles away from “work,” I’m pretty sure I’ll still be looking at the hydrograph and wondering when I’ll get back on the water in pursuit of late-season Chinook. Frankly, these days however, I’m a bit more motivated by any opportunity to pursue lingcod or sea bass, a perfect fish and chips winter treat. Due to a quota that most would say was prematurely attained, the soonest that would happen would be January 1st.

It’s a bit odd, bizarre in fact, bottomfishing is closed, ocean salmon fishing is closed, ocean crabbing and halibut fishing is closed. Here we have one of the world’s greatest producers of protein, and we have nothing to harvest. I’m not arguing the management strategy, but it’s noteworthy in one of the best managed fisheries in the world, we still have a set of complex regulations to maintain healthy stocks of fish for future generations of fishers.

Maybe more bizarre, was my presence at the Longview coal terminal rally on Thursday (November 2nd). Still at stake is the concept of siting a coal terminal on the banks of the lower Columbia, so we can export cheap coal to China and other Asian countries, as a source of energy. I think the quote of the day was, “We can no longer plead ignorance as to the effects of coal on our ecosystems!”

An October 3rd article in The Guardian talks about the current state of our oceans and how carbon emissions are not something we wait for to intensify, we’re already feeling the effects, even in my home state of Oregon. The article states how juvenile oyster spat are already dying at alarming rates due to acidifying oceans, and if it wasn’t for some quick solutions thanks to science, there likely wouldn’t be an oyster industry on the Pacific Coast. The article also states that 70% of the world’s fish populations are currently being over-exploited as we speak. It seems we’re still far from solving the crisis on a world-wide scale, no matter how well our US fisheries are managed.

As we plied the waters of the lower Columbia, taking a television reporter and cameraman to visit the site where the coal terminal is likely to be constructed, it was also odd seeing empty fishing shacks, and having the boat trailer parking lot all to ourselves. Even the fish think it’s time to go terrestrial.

Fishermen are retreating to their wood stove stoked homes, hopefully with enough cash flow to carry them through the winter months. It seems it’s getting more difficult to make a living as a fisherman, and depending on what piece of legislation progresses in Congress, it may become even more difficult.

We’ve been reporting on Congressman Don Young’s HR 200. Anytime you see the word “flexibility” in the title however, you may want to be skeptical. Flexibility is best left to fisheries managers, not politicians. Congressman Garret Graves Bill would wrestle management away from the federal government, and hand it over to the states. Local control always sounds better, but provisions in this bill would allow for overfishing, putting future fisheries, both recreational and commercial, at risk.

It’s hard to wrap our minds around why we should care about these attacks on the Magnuson Stevens Act here on the Pacific Coast, but the fact of the matter is, it opens a door, sets a precedent, as to how fisheries can be managed in other regions of the county. Just imagine, what if we were allowed to continue to harvest lingcod, seabass and cabezon after the mid-September closing. With great ocean weather this fall, and abundant and willing stocks of bottomfish, we’d put a significant dent in the population and future recruitment would be compromised.

In all that we don’t know about our fishery abundance, it’s been an appropriate trend to manage more conservatively, not liberally, and it’s served us and the resource well. In years of clear abundance, we have ample opportunity. In years of declining abundance, it’s best to get ahead of the curve, and stave off longer rebuilding timelines that would be required to ensure a future for our fisheries. That trend started 2 decades ago, now is not the time to turn back the clock.

Lauryn Neely with a honeymoon Chinook from Tillamook Bay in late October (guide Bob Rees)

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Oregon fishing reports for November 4th

Willamette Valley/Metro – With salmon and sturgeon fisheries on the mainstem really winding down, Columbia River anglers will be hard-pressed to find excitement until late March, when the season’s first spring Chinook should start to arrive in abundance. Until then catch and release opportunities will remain the best bet, and given the results of the all-out catch and keep fishery we just completed, many anglers won’t be motivated.

The Willamette however, will remain a sturgeon catch and release mecca. Well, mecca may be a strong word, but given the fact this system is a few degrees warmer than the Columbia, it will certainly hold fish in good numbers, well into the spring months. Sand shrimp and smelt will remain a top bait for the few that will participate.

Sandy River anglers will still finding quality coho in the upper reaches of the river. Cedar Creek will remain a top prospect, but the hatchery just processed over 1,000 adults. The bulk of the run has entered the hatchery.

The Clackamas is producing a rare coho, with much of the catch being wild these days. Eagle Creek may still offer a late season hatchery fish, but the fishery is winding down quickly given the recent high water event.

Northwest – Following some great Chinook fishing last week, the Tillamook Basin has slowed, especially Tillamook Bay itself, as the strong push of Chinook have entered Tillamook’s tributaries, the Wilson and Kilchis in particular.

Success in those tributaries hasn’t been particularly productive however, many of the motivated biters were culled in the bay fishery. Persistent high water conditions will bring better success to Wilson and Kilchis River anglers, we may get that scenario this weekend. Chum salmon numbers in the Kilchis and Miami should be building.

The Nestucca hasn’t been particularly productive either lately. Not a surprise given how late we’re getting into the fishery.

The Siletz has finally slowed, at least the lower reaches. Driftboaters had pretty good action following the last big rain freshet.

Crabbing remains surprisingly good, especially in Tillamook Bay. The lower Columbia is also a very strong option. This weekend’s rain shouldn’t damper optimism, but strong tides over the weekend won’t do you any favors.

The ocean looks to be calm over the ocean, but what would you fish/crab for? It’s all closed. Razor clam digging may be fair along Clatsop beaches however.

Updated 11/01/2017 (ODF&W)
Crabbing is CLOSED from the north jetty of Coos Bay (including inside Coos Bay) to OR/CA border due to elevated domoic acid levels

Ocean season is also currently closed (October16-November 30)

Open in bays, estuaries, beaches and jetties from the north jetty of the Coquille River (Bandon) northward to Columbia River

More information from Oregon Department of Agriculture

Oregon’s recreational bottomfish season is closed inside the 40 fathom regulatory line and all 2017 sport halibut fisheries are closed for the remainder of the year.

Many local reservoirs are scheduled to receive additional fingerling (sub-legal 5-inch), legal-size (8- to 10-inch), and larger (12- to 16-inch) rainbow trout in the coming weeks:

Hyatt Lake has just gotten 500 larger (14-inch) rainbow trout, as well as 80,000 additional fall fingerlings (4- to 5-inches).

Willow Lake near Butte Falls will receive 2,500 legal-size and 500 larger (14- to 16-inch) trout for anglers to enjoy this weekend.

Applegate reservoir has been producing trout on trolled wedding ring/worm combos and from the bank. It is also scheduled to receive an additional 1,000 larger (12-to 14-inch) trout by this weekend and 5,000 legals next week.

Lost Creek reservoir and Fish Lake both received recent stockings throughout October, and are great destinations this fall.

Fishing for Summer Steelhead on the Rogue has been good between Grants Pass and Shady Cove.

Fishing for trout in Diamond Lake continues to be excellent. Fall trout fishing at Diamond can be great.

Look for recent rains to bring Chinook into the Chetco, Elk and Winchuck rivers.

Recent rain has moved Chinook throughout the Chetco River and into the Elk River.

Trout fishing at Diamond Lake is still very good when the weather is favorable. Fly-fishing has been productive on the south end of the lake.

From our friend Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com

The recreational harvest of bay clams is OPEN along the entire Oregon coast from the Columbia River to the California border. The recreational harvest of razor clams is OPEN from the Columbia River down to Cascade Head (north of Lincoln City). The recreational harvest of razor clams is CLOSED from Cascade Head (north of Lincoln City to the California Border for elevated levels of domoic acid. This includes all beaches and all bays.

Tahkenitch Lake received salmon earlier than usual this year, but so far the catch has consisted almost entirely of jack salmon.

Tenmile Lakes also received its initial coho salmon earlier than usual and with the exception of salmon hooked near Lakeside Marina located where Tenmile Creek leaves South Tenmile Lake, the catch has been almost entirely in Templeton Arm.

Water temperatures along the Oregon coast are close to ideal for rainbow trout and they are biting well in recently stocked lakes.

In a conversation with Rob Gensorek of Basin Tackle in Charleston, he related that the last striped bass he caught out of the Coquille River, a 19.85-pound fish, had swallowed a largemouth bass of nearly three pounds.

A fish kill reported on the beach at Lincoln City was determined to consist of yellow perch and largemouth bass that had left Devils Lake via the “D” River during high water and perished when they reached saltwater.

Pete Heley works part-time at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from ‘A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.

Eastern – From our friend Tim Moran.
Deschutes River – The River between Warm Springs and Maupin is still kicking out some Steelhead. Fly guys are fishing mostly with nymphs or jig flies under an indicator (bobber). Throwing steel is a good option too and spinners and wobblers should take fish. Cover a lot of ground and you’ll likely find the biters. Trout fishing is mostly a nymph show. A jimmy legs with a small mayfly nymph 20 to 30 inches behind it is a good choice.

John Day River – flows are low and the water has cooled about 20 degrees but there are a few bass around still and Steelhead will make a showing soon. I’m heading that way for a duck and goose hunt this weekend so I’ll have a better report next week.

Metolius and Crooked Rivers – These are two of the best winter trout fisheries in the state. The flows are usually good all winter and the trout stay active. Fish small nymphs in the morning and switch to 18 to 22 BWO’s or midge patterns if you start to get some activity. I love fishing a standard Adams on these rivers with a tiny dropper 16″ behind. The Metolius Bull Trout are in the river all winter and if stalking big fish is your game this river is great all winter.

Cascade Lakes – Fishing on the Cascade Lakes is all but done for the year but if you got out on Crane last week you know the fishing was amazing. i had three friends who crushed it, catching several 18 to 24 inch Cranebows. They were catching fish on everything from pulling leech patterns to throwing Rapalas and panther Martin spinners. The fish were up on the flats cruising for food. I wish i would’ve been out there!

Won’t be too much to report on until the steelhead show further east and Diamond Lake freezes over.

Have a great weekend everyone!

SW Washington – From WDF&W:

Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Br. Downstream: 4 bank rods released 2 cutts. Upstream from the I-5 Br: 22 bank rods kept 14 adult coho and released 7 adult Chinook and 1 jack and 6 adult coho. No boats were sampled last week. Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 4,418 coho adults, 512 coho jacks, 398 fall Chinook adults, 12 fall Chinook jacks, 97 cutthroat trout, and 120 summer-run steelhead during seven days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 4,700 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, October 30. Water visibility is five feet and water temperature is 51.5 degrees F.

Kalama River – 8 bank anglers kept 1 adult coho.

Mainstem Lewis River – 4 bank rods had no catch.

North Fork Lewis River – 44 bank rods kept 3 adult coho and released 1 adult coho. 27 boat rods kept 7 adult Chinook and 18 adult coho and released 2 jack and 8 adult Chinook and 3 adult coho.

Klickitat River – 9 bank anglers kept 4 adult coho.

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Last week we sampled 170 salmonid anglers (including 66 boats) with 7 adult coho and 1 jack and 2 adult Chinook. All of the coho and the jack Chinook were kept; one of the adult Chinook was kept and the other released.

Lower Columbia mainstem above the Wauna powerlines – Catch rates improved somewhat but effort dropped with 381 sturgeon boats and 243 bank anglers tallied on Saturday’s flight. Over 1,000 boats and 500 bank anglers were counted during each of the previous 2 retention days. Still have 2/3 of the guideline (something like 834 fish) left.

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 report for Oct 28th

Willamette Valley/Metro – With the Chinook fishery over on the mainstem Columbia, the recent catch and keep sturgeon fishing opportunity swiped all the recent attention. Following poor catch rates last Saturday, fishery managers opted to give anglers another day of opportunity. That day will be this Saturday, October 28th. Only 200 fish were caught last Saturday. Preliminary reports from today’s fishery indicate another abnormally slow day.

The Willamette is off-limits to catch and keep, but catch and release opportunities remain incredible.

Metro rivers are dropping fast with the good weather. The vast majority of hatchery coho however have entered their hatchery facilities, and won’t be very available to anglers. A few late season fish, and a stronger influx of wild coho should still provide some sport. Winter steelhead are still months away.

Trout remain a good option for some district lakes. Check the trout stocking schedule here.

Northwest – Tillamook Bay remains a fair option for late season Chinook. Like the metro rivers, rivers have been swollen, and are just now coming into shape. Chinook catches on Thursday, the first day of the North Coast Rendezvous, were fair for those trolling Pro Trolls and spinners, and herring.

Most other North Coast systems are now well seeded with Chinook. Your favorite system may have restrictions, requiring review. The Nestucca and Nehalem Rivers are two examples. Be sure you know before you go. Paid members will get the popular river-by-river Forecast on which rivers offer you the best opportunities.

The Nehalem Bay Chinook fishery is over, even coho up the North Fork Nehalem have been elusive, and maybe even a poor showing, given the current good water conditions. Few fish are being caught.

With the strong influx of freshwater, bay crabbing has gone downhill. Netarts Bay remains the only option, at least until the bulk of the freshwater exits the system.

Like most systems, the Siletz is just starting to fish, anglers are hopeful there’s still a few around.

Southwest – From our friend Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com

Although ocean crabbing is closed, crabbing is still quite good in the lower tidewater areas of virtually every decent-sized river along the entire Oregon coast. As the amount of freshwater increases in these rivers, the crabs will move closer to the ocean.

Ocean salmon fishing will close one hour after sunset on Tuesday, October 31st. Salmon fishing in the rivers is still open, but the catch is increasingly coho and the majority of them are wild, unclipped, unkeepable fish.

There still seems to be a lot of confusion over what constitutes a jack salmon. Simply put, a jack salmon is a sub adult salmon that needs to be at least 15 inches in length, but less than 20-inches in length if a coho and less than 24-inches if a chinook.

Trout fishing is still fairly good in the Coos County lakes that were recently planted as well as some of the larger local lakes. The upper end of the south arm on Eel Lake has fair numbers of decent-sized rainbows with a few smaller cutthroat trout. Bradley Lake will get the Oregon coast’s last trout plant this year – this week.

The crappie have started moving into Streeters Canal on the east side of Silver Lake in southwest Washington.

The sad news for jetty anglers is that bottomfishing is still closed inside of 40 fathoms and will remain so until 2018 when a new quota takes effect.

SW Washington – Salmon/Steelhead

Lower portions of Abernathy, Cedar (North Fork Lewis tributary), Coal, Germany, Goble, Mill (Cowlitz Co.), Mulholland, Skamokawa creeks and the Coweeman and Elochoman rivers – Re-open to fishing for hatchery steelhead and hatchery salmon beginning November 1.

Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Br. downstream: 19 bank rods kept 2 adult coho and released 3. 16 boat rods kept 4 adult coho and released 2 adult Chinook and 3 adult coho. Above the I-5 Br: 98 bank rods kept 2 jack and 28 adult coho and released 1 jack and 43 adult Chinook, 10 jack and 15 adult coho, 3 steelhead, and 1 cutthroat trout. Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 2,564 coho adults, 636 coho jacks, 292 fall Chinook adults, nine fall Chinook jacks, 53 cutthroat trout, 12 summer-run steelhead and one winter-run steelhead during seven days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 7,910 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, Oct. 23. Water visibility is 12 feet and water temperature is 51.8 degrees F.

North Fork Lewis River – 44 bank rods kept 1 jack and 2 adult coho. 4 boat rods kept 2 adult Chinook. Colvin Creek to the overhead powerlines below Merwin Dam remains open to fishing through October 31. It will re-open for salmon and hatchery steelhead Dec. 16.

Lower Wind River – No report on angling success. Oct. 31 is the last day to fish for salmon.

Drano Lake- 4 bank anglers kept 1 adult coho. 6 boat anglers kept 5 adult Chinook. Beginning November 1, open to fishing for 7 days per week.

White Salmon River – No report on angling success. Oct. 31 is the last day to fish from the county road below the former location of the powerhouse upstream.

Klickitat River – 26 bank anglers kept 1 adult Chinook and 3 adult coho and released 1 adult Chinook.

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Last week we sampled 240 anglers (including 68 boats) with 1 jack and 40 adult Chinook, 43 adult coho but no steelhead. Under permanent rules, closed to fishing for salmon and steelhead from Beacon Rock to Bonneville Dam effective November 1.Oct. 31 is the last day of the 2017 creel census program. The program will resume in February 2018.

Bonneville Pool – 3 boat anglers had no catch.

Sturgeon Lower Columbia mainstem from the Wauna powerlines upstream to Bonneville Dam – Sturgeon fishing was about as lousy as the weather last Saturday. We sampled 688 anglers (including 129 boats) with 11 legals kept. There were 155 vehicles from the sturgeon deadline just below Bonneville Dam downstream to Hamilton Is. There was a mass exodus there by late morning.

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The Streets of San Francisco

By Bob Rees

After guiding for about 60 days straight, I decided it was time for a vacation. After all, I hardly had any time with my daughter all summer, and my wife was headed to Chicago for her I won’t say how many year class reunion. I can entertain my 8-year old on the water, but one on one, stuck in Oregon City, I was needing some help; California Great America and Six Flags Amusement Parks, here we come!

Of all the years and all the months I could have picked however, I picked the one where wildfires were taking out entire neighborhoods and compromising my weekend with my daughter. I know, compared to the tragedies of those that lost their homes and vineyards, I had nothing to complain about. My sympathies to those left homeless.

Our trip started out flying into the bay area, obviously. I have been there before, and even though my view was somewhat obstructed by the smoke, the bay delta tells quite a story from 10,000 feet above. The landscape modifications, the loss of wetlands, and the sheer number of people that live in this area has certainly taken a toll on the regions once abundant (maybe 200 years ago), fish and wildlife species. Now, the delta is laden with invasive species, a once freshwater ecosystem is now saltwater because of the water extraction that goes on in the basin, and freshwater sportfishing opportunities are dwindling by the day it seems. Some of my fishing customers that I have the longest history with come from the bay area. Most of my guide friends know them already, the Slusher brothers, so passionate about fishing they’ll come visit every year just to have some semblance of hope that wild salmon still do exist in nature.

After a good dose of human density and concurrent road rage associated with human density, we finally made our way to Santa Clara, ready to recreate at Great America. I had been there as a kid, I may have been more excited than my daughter in going back. Although far from my idea of pure entertainment, we enjoyed our day riding roller coasters and attempting to win prizes worth a fraction of what I was paying trying to win the darn things. All part of the program however.

After continuously checking the air quality to the north of San Francisco where day 2 was supposed to be at Six Flags, I was pleasantly surprised that the destination was actually a possibility. The winds clearly shifted direction, so to the north we traveled, in anticipation of more fun and adventure. This is where I was a bit awestruck.

Somehow, we spent a good part of an hour in the “Ocean Discovery” section of the park, visiting the lone walrus, a couple dozen penguins, and a handful of harbor seals and California Sea Lions. Although the walrus and penguin exhibits were fun to look over, I had rides on my mind. And from the lack of density of other visitors, I think everyone else did too. I had to call it quits when my daughter asked if we should buy a pound of smelt to feed the seals… I had to tell her I had done enough of that this summer, except with sport-caught salmon. They were plenty “full.” Call me shallow.

As we continued around the park, viewing the menus of the different junk shacks to eat at, I came to the realization about just how few people know about where their seafood comes from, and how come we still have seafood to harvest (leave out the last remaining California salmon mind you). I couldn’t bring myself to look at the Seamoore Cott’s Fish and Fries menu, but I’m sure I didn’t have an appetite for it, especially after going on Medusa.

How do you engage the vast majority of society in critical fisheries issues when they don’t even know where their food comes from? And from the head count at the walrus exhibit, I don’t think many people, park-goers for sure, even care.

As a battery of bad bills remains queued up in Congress, thankfully, commercial fishermen and sport anglers are paying attention to what’s happening. Rollbacks in the conservation gains we’ve made under the bi-partisan supported Magnuson Stevens Act are under threat. While some sport angling groups in the Gulf States support these rollbacks to gain more access to certain stocks of fish, it’s bad business for those that support a legacy of opportunity for our future fishermen.

We’re still working on a bill that can pass the litmus test for both conservation and opportunity, but those can be hard to come by in today’s Congress. If not for the fishermen, who would pay attention to our fisheries that have come back from our overfishing days just 3 decades ago? Certainly not my fellow theme park goers, and most of America for that matter.

And for your entertainment pleasure, here’s a few words from Slusher Brother Rich, long-time friend, client and all-around super dude:

Fish Do Not Care About Borders

It seems that humans are the only members of the animal kingdom who care about drawing arbitrary lines on a map and then making a big deal about who should or shouldn’t stand on either side of those lines. While fish are not afflicted with this trait, they are often the victims of it. The fish are unaware of the differences in rules, regulations, politics, etc. when they change GPS coordinates.

I am a native (Northern) Californian who for 63 years has fished extensively in California, Oregon and southern Washington. On my sojourns north, I have been (falsely) accused of introducing Tui Chub into Diamond Lake, littering highways, catching all of your fish, and even buying up all of the local gasoline. I thank heaven that I have an iron-clad alibi for the day Mt. St. Helens erupted. As for driving up real estate prices, to those looking to buy, I am sorry and to those who are selling, I say “you’re welcome”. In all honesty, my accusers (who were probably transplanted Californians) can be counted on one hand.

My point being is that those “comments” came from humans obsessed with lines drawn on a map. Fish swimming in the oceans, bays, and rivers in Washington, Oregon, and California are happily unaware of any such delineations. The problem is, that each State, County, and City that they pass through may have different ideas as to how to treat them, and those ideas may sometimes be at odds with each other.

I believe that it has been documented that certain salmon caught in the ocean in Oregon were destined for the Klamath River system in California. Sturgeon tagged in the Columbia River have been observed in San Francisco Bay and the Delta. (Most likely there are SF Bay sturgeon in the Columbia River but it is unknown whether any of them are responsible for driving up real estate prices.) Fishing regulations for salmon and sturgeon are significantly different in Oregon and California, but each affects the other.

I have fished long enough to witness the decline in fisheries in both California and Oregon. Sturgeon, Striped Bass, and Salmon populations in the San Francisco Bay and Delta are fractions of what they were in the 1960’s. I used to fish for salmon at the mouth of the Klamath River in the ‘60’s during August and September. The number of boats and fishermen crammed into a small space were equivalent to what the peak of the Buoy 10 season looks like today. The amount of salmon caught supported a small shore-side cannery and fish smoking business. A small Coast Guard station was needed to keep the boaters safe. Today, it is a ghost town and the number of salmon swimming upriver are a small remnant of that era.

Rich Slusher of the bay area with a Sacramento rainbow.

The decline on the Klamath and other nearby systems has paralleled similar (if not as severe) to declines in Oregon and Washington as well. These declines did not begin or end at State, County, or City borders, but have impacted the fisheries as a whole. It is up to us “humans” to erase those lines on the map and look at an all-inclusive (California included), collaborative, solution to the problems.

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Oregon Fishing Reports for October 20th

Willamette Valley/Metro – Chinook and coho counts at Bonneville have dropped below 500 fish per day. That said, persistent anglers are still catching both species on Pro Trolls and spinners from Bonneville to Longview. One recent participant stated the bite is over after 8:30 a.m. however.

Anglers are pretty excited about the October 21st sturgeon opener. Some anglers are going out to find where the best pockets of fish are for the opener. Here is the link to the official ODF&W press release, you’ll need to pay attention to the regulations, especially if you’ve already tagged a sturgeon or two from earlier this year.

Coho seekers remain focused on the Sandy River, although some anglers dispute rumors of good fishing. I don’t doubt it, they are coho afterall. Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) reports that some nice bright hatchery coho have come from the river since the recent rain freshet. One fish pushing the scales at 12 pounds! The best fishing will take place above Dodge Park, and especially at the mouth of Cedar Creek.

The Clackamas is a bit slower, as it seems fewer fish are returning here. That said, action can still be had above Barton Park, but that will likely change over the weekend, when we get a fairly significant rain system come in.

8,000 trout have been stocked in Henry Hagg Lake this week. That should make for a good fall fishery. Another 800 will go to Mt. Hood Community College Pond for a fishing event this weekend.

Northwest – Chinook anglers working the Tillamook area are still finding fair numbers of fish in the Ghost Hole and at Bay City. Pro Trolls still rule the day, but plug cut herring  are taking a few fish as well. High tides will be in the afternoon this weekend, but given the weather forecast, there may not be many willing to fish. Blustery winds and plenty of rain may not make it so fun.

Plenty of wild coho and a few smaller Chinook are still coming from the Nehalem system. The coho and Chinook are running about the same size so be sure to check for the proper characteristics to make sure you have the right flavor. Chinook are certainly hard to come by though.

The Siletz is still the central coast favorite, but the Alsea is starting to put out more bobber and bait Chinook. The rain system this weekend could be a game changer, the driftboat fleet may finally get a chance at them.

And yes, the Trask, Wilson and maybe even the Kilchis should start to see some fair Chinook catches following the weekend deluge. The Wilson will likely offer up the best opportunity, but fish can sometimes be picky about biting on a rising river so make your plans accordingly.

Bay crabbing is of course still good, but check the weather before making a commitment.

The ocean is going to get impressive, don’t even think about it.

Southwest – From our friend Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com

The Coos County trout plants for last week were changed from what was originally scheduled. The changes involve Butterfield Lake, Saunders Lake and Upper and Lower Empire Lakes. Butterfield should offer better trout fishing than Saunders. Powers Pond was slated for 1,300 14-inch rainbows last week and Bradley Lake was to receive 800 and is also scheduled for the Oregon coast’s last trout plant this year – an additional 800 14-inchers during the last week of October.

Diamond Lake has been fishing very well and ODFW creel surveys estimate about three and a half fish per angler are being caught and one fish per hour which is higher than this time last year. Anglers are also catching larger fish, with the average fish size at just over 15 inches. Best success comes with trolling lures and bottom fishing with PowerBait while fly-anglers are having good luck on the south end of the lake.

Crappie and some bluegill are still biting for anglers fishing off the fishing dock at Tugman Park on Eel Lake. Two weeks ago, anglers were reeling in their crappies really slow in the hopes that a lunker largemouth would grab them.

Ocean crabbing closed at midnight on October 15th – but remains open in the lower tidewater portions of all of Oregon’s coastal rivers and that includes Coos Bay all the way down to the most western tips of both jetties. Crabbing has been very good and will remain so until we get quite a bit more rain.

Ocean salmon fishing will close an hour after sunset on October 31st. However, through the end of October, salmon fishing is restricted outside 40 fathoms – as one would expect, there has not been much ocean salmon fishing pressure since only chinook salmon of more than 24-inches in waters less than 240 feet deep are legal.

Ocean bottomfishing is now open in waters deeper than 240 feet but only for some mid-depth fish species and I strongly urge anglers intending to bottomfish to check out the new regulations on the ODFW website. Important new info would include the use of a leader of at least 30 feet in length between the lure or bait and a non-compressible float. By non-compressible, I’m pretty sure the ODFW is ruling out hollow or inflatable floats.

Eastern – Our friend Tim Moran is in Mexico this week for tarpon and bonefish. Look for an Eastern Oregon update next week.

SW Washington – Mainstem Grays River from the Hwy. 4 Bridge upstream to the South Fork and West Fork Grays from the mouth upstream to boundary markers 300 yards below the hatchery road bridge – Under permanent rules, closes to all fishing from Oct. 16 through Nov. 30. These areas will reopen to fishing for hatchery salmon and hatchery steelhead beginning December 1.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Bridge downstream: 25 bank rods released 1 cutt. 19 boat anglers kept 6 adult coho and released 2 adult Chinook and 4 adult coho. Upstream from the I-5 Br: 26 bank rods kept 4 jack and 1 adult coho and released 16 adult Chinook, 2 adult coho, and 1 cutt. 11 boat rods kept 4 jack coho, 1 steelhead, and 5 cutts and released 1 jack and 7 adult Chinook, 2 jack and 2 adult coho, and 2 cutts.

North Fork Lewis River – 7 bank anglers kept 1 adult coho. 2 boat anglers had no catch.

Drano Lake – 3 boat anglers had no catch. Klickitat River – 32 bank anglers kept 10 adult Chinook and 3 adult coho and released 1 adult Chinook.

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Effort and catches are still holding up, at least until the rain forecasted for later this week. Over 300 boats were counted during last Saturday’s flight. Boat anglers averaged an adult Chinook per every other boat last week.

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 report, October 13th

Willamette Valley/Metro – Columbia River anglers must be highly motivated to pursue salmon downstream of Bonneville Dam. Although the Chinook run is largely over, persistent anglers are consistently catching coho downstream of Rooter Rock. Pro Trolls with spinners remain the top option.

Anglers that wish to fish the catch and keep sturgeon fishery have 2 options: October 21st, and October 26th. The Willamette will remain closed to catch and keep due to success rates which would likely compromise future opportunity.

Although overcast skies and showery weather improved opportunity for coho anglers on the Clackamas and Sandy Rivers, anglers remain challenged. Fish are still largely hiding in deep pools, still reluctant to bite. Cedar Creek hatchery on the Sandy is showing promise for a good return.

Northwest – Tillamook anglers have found recent success, at least those willing to run Pro Trolls and small spinners. Far from limit fishing, guides are taking fish daily with some fish still reaching the 30-pound class. Trolling herring is not nearly as popular as it used to be.

Precipitation was welcome in Tillamook County, but far from inspiring Chinook and coho to make a river run into their natal systems. It will take much more of a deluge to stimulate district rivers.

Chinook action on the Nehalem is largely over. There will be a few stragglers, but wild coho will continue to dominate the catch.

The Siletz continues to see a strong return, and Pro Trolling with spinners has caught on there as well.

Ocean crabbing closes starting October 16th. Bay crabbing should remain productive, especially on the lower Columbia.

And speaking of the lower Columbia, although few are fishing it, it is starting to put out better numbers of B-run coho. Upper Blind Channel does have some fish available, but it’s anyone’s guess as to if they’ll stick around if any measureable precipitation hits.

Razor clam success was hot and cold; the best digging taking place on the early part of the minus tide series. Most would say however, limits are more challenging to come by.

Southwest – From our friend Pete Heley Coos County lakes that received trout plants this week include Bradley Lake with 800 14-inch rainbows and Butterfield Lake with 600 14-inchers. Powers Pond and Saunders Lake each received 1,300 14-inch rainbows and Upper and Lower Empire lakes each received 2,000 14-inchers. With the exception of Bradley Lake, which is scheduled to receive 800 additional 14-inch or one-pound rainbows the last week of October, this week’s trout plants will be the last trout plants along the Oregon coast this year.

Avid trout anglers with the means and ability to travel might consider Nevada’s Pyramid Lake which opened on October 1st. Located in western Nevada about 40 miles northeast of Reno, the 120,000-acre lake has offered sensational fishing for Lahontan cutthroat trout ever since the stocking program was changed due to Robert Behnke discovering pure Lahontan cutts in a small Pyramid Lake tributary.

As this column is being written, there have been no coho salmon yet reported in Siltcoos, Tahkenitch or Tenmile lakes. Siltcoos offers returning coho salmon the easiest lake access. Once the salmon actually get into the river they can reach the dam and accompanying fish ladder fairly easily, but many of the salmon may not ascend the fish ladder if there isn’t much water flowing through it.

Once rainfall allows the dam gates on Siltcoos River to be opened, coho salmon enter the upper Siltcoos River in earnest – as well as a few sturgeon, striped bass and unfortunately a few seals.

Closed areas include Maple Creek as well as the portion of the Fiddle Creek Arm above the bridge on Canary Road on Siltcoos. As for Tahkenitch, the outlet arm is closed below the Highway 101 Bridge. The channel connecting North and South Tenmile lakes is closed to salmon fishing.

This Saturday there is a bass fishing tournament scheduled on Siltcoos Lake and if there is any rainfall preceding the tournament, it could be crowded. But most salmon anglers will most likely wait and see if any salmon are incidentally caught during the tournament by bass anglers.

Good numbers of salmon are being caught by bank anglers at Winchester Bay. Dwayne Schwartz, who I fish with often, finally landed a limit of fin clipped cohos last Saturday after catching nine consecutive wild cohos. Smallmouth bass fishing on the Umpqua River is still very good with an increased chance at larger bass. The bass fishing starts about nine miles above Reedsport and actually improves as one moves farther upstream. As for the Coquille River, the same techniques fool the smallies, but the slightly murkier water allows crankbaits to be effective. A few anglers opt for larger crankbaits in the hope of incidentally hooking a striped bass.

The fishing dock in Tugman Park on Eel Lake continues to produce good crappie fishing, but very few decent-sized fish. In an attempt to find some larger crappies last weekend, I fished the upper lake for about three hours with Dwayne Schwartz in his bass boat.

Although we landed a number of small largemouth and smallmouth bass and more than a dozen rainbow and cutthroat trout to nearly 17-inches, we couldn’t hook a crappie or bluegill until we got within 100 yards of the fishing dock – and then we got bit on virtually every cast for more than 20 minutes with the largest fish being Dwayne’s very plump 11-inch crappie that missed weighing a pound by only an ounce or two.

Eastern – From our friend Tim Moran: Deschutes River – October is a great month to fish the big “D”. Lot’s of guys are chasing deer, Elk, upland birds and ducks this time of year and with counts over Sherars Falls up my favorite area above the Falls comes into play and is much easier for the bank guy to navigate than Macks Canyon. You can swing flies through the riffles and tail out or you can fish a big nymph or jig fly under and indicator with an egg bead below and catch em too.

Metolius River – Fall Drakes, PMD’s and BWO’s are all coming off right now.

Fall River – Fishing for trout on the Fall is great right now.

The Cascade high lakes are just about done for all but the most hard core guys.

SW Washington – Mainstem Grays River from the Hwy. 4 Bridge upstream to the South Fork and West Fork Grays from the mouth upstream to boundary markers 300 yards below the hatchery road bridge – Under permanent rules, closes to all fishing from Oct. 16 through Nov. 30. These areas will reopen to fishing for hatchery salmon and hatchery steelhead beginning December 1.

Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Bridge downstream: 33 bank rods kept 5 adult coho and released 1 adult Chinook and 2 chum. 11 boat rods kept 2 adult coho and released 2 adult Chinook and 2 adult coho. Above the I-5 Bridge – 73 bank rods kept 1 jack and 7 adult coho and released 25 adult Chinook, 11 jack and 2 adult coho and 4 cutts. 4 boat rods had no catch.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 3,520 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, Oct. 9. Water visibility is 11 feet and water temperature is 54.3 degrees F.

Lewis River (mainstem) – 5 boat anglers had no catch.

Lewis River (North Fork) – 26 bank anglers kept 4 adult coho. 13 boat anglers kept 1 jack and 4 adult Chinook, 2 adult coho and released 1 steelhead.

Klickitat River – 33 bank anglers kept 6 adult Chinook and 1 adult coho.

Yakima River – Fall Chinook continue to trickle into the Yakima River. There was a push of coho into the river last week. WDFW staff interviewed 165 anglers this past week with 14 adult salmon, 1 jack, and 1 coho harvested (25 hours per fish). Most of the harvest has been recorded in the areas just downstream of the Grant Ave bridge. There were an estimated 545 angler trips for salmon in the lower Yakima River with a total of 3,134 angler trips for the season. An estimated 188 adult Chinook, 18 jack Chinook, and 2 coho have been harvested this season. Fishing should peak these final two weeks of the season.

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