Willamette Valley/Metro – Although not many had high expectations of good fishing for the surprise Saturday opener on the mainstem Columbia, persistent anglers found fair numbers of fish from Longview to Multnomah Falls on Saturday. Trollers took to the water in the gorge, where catches often are the most productive in the lower river if the fish are there. Numerous boats tallied keepers, with most agreeing it was the best fishing of the season. That of course is no surprise as test netting on April 8th showed a strong influx of fish. The April 15th test netting showed that the river had a LOT of spring Chinook present, counts should jump soon.
Also no surprise is the lack of fish over Bonneville Dam. With water temperatures still cold, and flows high, fish are slow to pass the facility. Fishery managers struggled with the additional day of opportunity on a joint-state call last week, but Oregon fishery managers felt assured that buffers put in place would be sufficient to bring the sport quota closer to its allocation without compromising upriver fisheries and conservation goals. More opportunity isn’t likely until early May, when managers have a better idea as to how the run is performing compared to pre-season expectations. If the latest test net results are any indication, the run looks to be coming in fairly strong.
The Willamette River was a chocolatey mess all week, but may improve over the weekend. Anglers should find good success when it does clear as spring Chinook action should be approaching the peak period.
The Sandy and Clackamas Rivers will experience a lull in action, but both should start producing a few spring Chinook and summer steelhead in the coming weeks.
Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920), of O2BFISHN Guide Service reports, “This week report is a mixed bag of fish. Reports of summer steelhead showing up as well as springers and some late native winters. Beads and small jigs have been the ticket for most fish. For springers small bait when the river is low on the clear side, use of prawns, shrimp and eggs about quarter size.”
Northwest Oregon – Tillamook steelheaders have seen the last of their winter fish come and go. Prior to the recent river rise late last week, anglers reported good catches on the Wilson and Nestucca Rivers. One guide reported a double digit day on the Wilson last Thursday, boating 5 keepers with just one other boat on the water. The river went out again the very next day.
Winter steelhead season is all but over in Tillamook County, but the season’s first spring Chinook should hit the deck (or bank) any day now. The first fish is often landed on the Trask River in high water years.
Summer steelhead will return to the Wilson and Nestucca Rivers, but peak for that run is still six weeks away.
Bottomfishing was an option for cautious anglers at mid-week, with good lingcod and sea bass fishing had by those that ventured out of Garibaldi. Seas are expected to remain uncomfortable into the weekend.
Morning minus tides may offer up some clamming options in Tillamook and Netarts Bays this week and weekend. Razor clam diggers may also find some success along Tillamook and Clatsop County beaches on the morning tide.
Sturgeon seasons are crafted – Oregon and Washington fishery managers inked a series of catch and keep sturgeon dates from mid-May through early June. Open dates are:
May 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 28, 30, June 2 and 4.
Managers modeled more open days this year than last, since catch rates aren’t as explosive in May as they are in June. Of course those dates are subject to change if anglers achieve the quota sooner than expected.
Central and Eastern Oregon – Our friend Tim Moran reports:
This weekend is the traditional opening for trout in Oregon (even though most lakes and streams are now open year-round) Some of the favorite haunts do open this weekend but keep in mind ODFW has thrown a curve ball in 2018. Many of your favorite lakes including Crane Prairie, Wickiup and Odell open this year on SUNDAY April 22nd. Don’t be the guy out there trolling around on Saturday or all you will get is a ticket and probably a “voluntary” boat inspection!
Wickiup Reservoir – Wickiup has had very good opening day and early season fishing for large kokanee for a few years now. It will not put out the numbers that other lakes do but the average fish the last two years has been around 16 inches with brutes to 24 inches. This is where I’ll be for a week! Brown trout will be on the prowl too. Fish the sides of channels and over the flooded plains and stumps on the left towards the dam. We are fortunate to have such a great trophy fishery for brown trout and leaving these behemoths to spawn will ensure their future – besides kokanee taste a lot better!
Crane Prairie – Crane almost always fishes good on the opening. You can fish worms or power bait floated off the bottom in the channels or suspend worms or dragon fly nymphs off the bottom in the coves near any areas with lots of sunken woody debris.
Odell – Odell is another kokanee factory and lots of people fish it for the sheer numbers. Kokanee to 16 inches are rare but limits are not. Fish it with two shallow rods out the back like you would at Wickiup and then stage your next two rods with either down riggers or lead.
South Twin – It’s open all year now but always draws a crowd on opening day. The boys from Central Oregon Fishing Report in Bend fished it last week and did very well suspending worms off the bottom. You can find them on FaceBook and watch their video. Power bait usually is very good too. This is a great place to get your kids out and get them into fishing and camping!
This should be a great weekend as it looks like the weather is turning just in time. Best of luck to everyone!
Southwest – From ODF&W
Weather this last couple of weeks has prevented most anglers from fishing for bottomfish. Reports from the last week prior to the series of systems moving through indicated that the lingcod bite had slowed somewhat, but many anglers were still able to get their limits. Rockfish fishing had been a lot more hit and miss with anglers spending more time to catch close to their limit. Reminder that as of Sunday, April 1, the bottomfish fishery is restricted to inside of the 30 fathom regulatory line.
The longleader gear fishery outside of the 40 fathom regulatory line has been authorized to continue in April through September. Recent catches from the offshore longleader trips often consist of a nice grade of yellowtail, widow and canary rockfishes. Reminder that the Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area is closed to all bottomfish trips, including longleader trips.
The Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation area, approximately 15 miles west of Newport, is closed to bottomfish (groundfish) and halibut fishing year round.
River conditions are almost perfect on the lower Rogue, and spring Chinook fishing has started to turn on.
Winter steelhead fishing on the middle and upper Rogue continues to be fair to good.
The North Umpqua is looking really good for steelhead fishing, which should be good through the end of the month.
The Smith River is one of the few places in Oregon to find striped bass. Patient and persistent anglers can look for the bite to pick up as spring progresses.
Fishing for bass and other warmwater fish has been getting better, especially on warm afternoons. Consider Agate Lake, Emigrant Reservoir, Expo Pond, Lake Selmac and Reinhart Park Pond.
Anglers have reported catching rockfish and lingcod inside the Umpqua jetty and in Coos Bay near the north jetty and other submerged rock structures.
From Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com
There was some good news last week regarding ocean salmon fishing. The ocean chinook season, which normally runs from March 15th through October 31st, but this year was only slated to run from March 15th through April 30th has been extended to its normal October 31st closing date.
The ocean finclipped season will start on June 30th and run through September 3rd – if the 35,000 finclipped coho quota has not been reached.
The ODFW forecast for coho is down this year for both the Oregon coast and Columbia River, – largely due to poor ocean feed conditions.
Commercial troll fishing for Chinook will be open intermittently along the whole Oregon coast from May through the summer. In 2017, all commercial salmon trolling was closed south of Florence.
Winchester Bay’s South Jetty continues to provide fair fishing for striped surfperch, greenling and rockfish and good fishing for lingcod. Muddy Umpqua River water can best be dealt with by fishing near high tide when the clearer ocean water is most evident.
Trout plants this week in the Florence area include Alder Lake (850 legals, 511 trophies); Dune Lake (850 legals, 711 trophies); Perkins Lake (325 trophies); Siltcoos Lagoon (881 trophies); Siltcoos Lake (1,000 trophies) and Sutton Lake (1,500 trophies) Trout plants in Coos County include South Tenmile Lake (3,000 legals); Powers Pond (3,000 legals; and Lower Empire Lake (2,000 trophies). Upper Empire Lake is slated to receive 2,000 trophy rainbows next week. Garrison Lake, in Port Orford, was also stocked (3,000 legals, 200 trophies).
Recent cool temperatures has put the “kibosh” on warmwater fishing success. Spawning crappie have yet to show up at the upper end of Loon Lake or the lower end of Eel Lake.
If and when the Umpqua River clears and drops there should be fishable numbers of shad in the river.
SW Washington – From WDF&W
Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Br downstream: 120 bank rods kept 2 adult spring Chinook and 2 steelhead. 17 boat rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook. Above the I-5 Br: 146 bank rods kept 14 adult spring Chinook and 20 steelhead and released 2 steelhead. 199 boat rods kept 3 adult spring Chinook and 49 steelhead and released 4 steelhead. Most of the spring Chinook were checked at the barrier dam; steelhead at the trout hatchery.
Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 775 winter-run steelhead, 39 spring Chinook adults and two jacks during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 40 winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released 14 winter-run steelhead and one spring Chinook adult into the Cispus River, near Yellow Jacket Creek. Tacoma Power also released 33 winter-run steelhead and one spring Chinook adult into Lake Scanewa near Randle.
River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 6,340 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, April 16. Water visibility is 6 feet and the water temperature is 44.6 degrees F.
Kalama River – 33 bank anglers released 1 steelhead. 7 boat anglers had no catch.
Mainstem Lewis River – 15 bank rods released 1 adult spring Chinook. 1 boat angler had no catch.
North Fork Lewis River – 20 bank rods had no catch. 17 boat rods kept 3 adult spring Chinook and released 2 steelhead.
Wind River – 3 boat anglers had no catch.
Drano Lake – 4 boat anglers had no catch.
Klickitat River – 4 bank anglers had no catch.
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