Oregon fishing updates for August 18th

Willamette Valley/Metro – Chinook counts at Bonneville are starting to jump, the fall run salmon are en route. Still too early to expect consistent results, motivated anglers will start to show in numbers in the coming weeks. Based on catches from the estuary, it looks as if the run is going to come in as predicted. Wobblers have been a traditional winner, but Pro trollers have been all the buzz in recent years.

Low summer steelhead numbers remain alarming.

The Willamette is still a warm water fishery and the dog days of summer have hit the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers. Coho are still weeks away so Willamette Valley river fishers are chomping at the bit.

Northwest – The lower Columbia is in full bloom, with persistent anglers taking Chinook with some regularity. Consistency is not the rule however, there is no pattern for anglers to rely on. Chinook are taking herring, anchovies and on some days, spinners with regularity. Coho are rare in the river still, and the ocean coho quota is nearing its limit and the north of Cape Falcon ocean fishery is slated to close after the day of fishing on August 22nd.

The Nehalem summer Chinook fishery is at its peak right now, but most anglers are focused on the Columbia as this system’s Chinook run is sub-par this season. Action should last another week before a lull, and then fair numbers of fall Chinook should start showing by early September. Hatchery coho should start to show then too.

Tillamook Chinook action may still be weeks away, but fall run fish have been known to show by late August. It’s been quiet there as of late. Garibaldi is still putting out great numbers of rockfish however.

Tuna chasers are less than impressed, with many calling it their worst year ever. The fish are of a good grade however, just few and far between.

Most ocean caught crab remain in a soft shell state, but that should improve next month.

Southwest – From TGF’s friend Pete Heley (PeteHeley.com)

Salmon fishing in the ocean off Winchester Bay and in the Umpqua River below Reedsport has been fair at best, but last Tuesday (August 8th), anglers caught about 30 chinook on the Umpqua River below Reedsport and six chinooks were caught by bank anglers casting spinners at Half Moon Bay.

Very few reports from successful striped bass anglers on the Smith and Umpqua rivers – and fishing pressure and success appear to be down on the Coquille River as well.

Crabbing at Winchester Bay has been very good and fishing the South Jetty has been fair to good for bottomfish and striped surfperch.

A walk around Lake Marie convinced me that the largemouth bass population is definitely down from where it was several years ago. The most likely reason is that the bass fry spawned in at least some of the last several years did not reach sufficient size by late fall to survive their first winter.

Other local lakes that seem to have reduced bass populations include Perkins Lake and Elbow Lake. But the bass population in Lost Lake appears to have grown somewhat over the last several years.

Eastern – Regular contributor Tim Moran stated that with the impending “apoceclipse,” if you’re not already in Central or Eastern Oregon, you won’t be getting there anytime soon. We’ll have a report for you next week.

SW Washington -Cowlitz River – I-5 Bridge downstream: 12 bank rods released 1 adult Chinook. 2 boats/6 rods had no catch. Above the I-5 Bridge: 71 bank rods kept 6 adult Chinook and 5 steelhead and released 4 adult Chinook. 23 boats/65 boat rods kept 24 steelhead and 1 cutthroat and released 1 jack Chinook, 4 steelhead, and 2 cutthroats. Last week.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,640 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, Aug. 14. Water visibility is 13 feet and water temperature is 54.7 degrees F. Drano Lake – 48 boat anglers kept 17 adult and 3 jack Chinook and released 8 hatchery and 14 wild steelhead. Between 4 and 10 boats here last weekday mornings.

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Last week we sampled 594 salmonid anglers (including 173 boats) with 22 adult and 4 jack fall Chinook, 18 steelhead but no coho. All of the adult Chinook were kept. All of the steelhead were released as required. 13 of the fish were wild, 5 hatchery, and 0 unknown origin.

Bonneville Pool – 1 boat/4 anglers kept 2 adult Chinook.

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.

Posted in Oregon Fishing, Oregon fishing reports | Tagged | Leave a comment

Join us at SHOT this year!

Raising money for Tillamook County restoration projects isn’t a bad thing! That’s what we do at the Steelheaders, by putting on the 2017 SHOT tournament taking place in the heat of fall Chinook season!

Join us this year on October 5 – 7 for the Tillamook Hawgs and help make Tillamook County a better place to catch fish!

Sign up here, and mention you saw our outreach ad in The Guide’s Forecast, and you’ll be entered to win a free trip for you and a fellow SHOT attendee on the day before the SHOT tourney starts with pro guide Bob Rees!

Give it your best SHOT, and come have a great time with us!

 

REGISTER HERE!

Posted in Oregon Fishing | Leave a comment

Oregon Fishing Reports for August 11th

Willamette Valley/Metro – With steelhead season closed on the mainstem, and Chinook passage at Bonneville at its low point before the fall fish arrive, anglers in the Portland/Metro area are seeking thrills in other places, likely in the lower Columbia. There’s no real point in spending any time on the mainstem Columbia in the Portland area, just yet. That will soon change however.

The Willamette River remains a bass and pan fish mecca, with the Multnomah Channel producing some walleye.

The Sandy and Clackamas remain sparsely fished, yet overcrowded with swimmers and rafters trying to find respite from the heat. Summer steelhead remain a fair-at-best option in the upper reaches. Coho are still a month away.

Northwest – Ocean salmon fishing south of Cape Falcon (for Chinook) remains poor. Most charter boats and recreational anglers remain focused on ample numbers of sea bass and a rare lingcod. Albacore anglers out of most ports remain perplexed.

The Nehalem, while the best Chinook option on the north coast, save the lower Columbia, is not putting out great numbers of fish. Effort remains low for good reason.

The Columbia continues to draw the crowds, but despite a dynamite jump start to the season, action has tapered and although it appears the fish are present, they don’t seem very willing to bite. We should be entering peak season here.

Offshore from the mouth of the Columbia, coho action remains good, mostly for those fishing around green buoy 1 and the CR Buoy to the south. Chinook are showing in the catches, but catches are sporadic. The Long Beach Peninsula Chinook show was fair on Thursday.

There remains enough halibut quota for another summer opener along the Central Coast. That opener will take place August 18th and 19th.

Ocean crabbing remains excellent out of Garibaldi and south, but the crabs are still light following the big molt last month.

Southwest – From TGF’s friend Pete Heley (PeteHeley.com)

The catch total for the ocean fin clipped coho season that ended July 30th was 6,140 coho and 728 chinooks. The coho catch was only 34.1 percent of the quota and hopefully there will be some salmon added to the 6,000 coho quota to the ocean nonselective season which begins on September 2nd.

It seemed like there wasn’t going to be a thermal barrier at Reedsport this year that kept salmon entering the Umpqua River jammed up below Reedsport, but exceptionally high temperatures last week will likely create one.

Last Friday and Saturday marked the first two-day halibut opener of the summer season. Thanks to 6,078 pounds leftover from the spring all depth season, the summer all-depth quota was 66,281 pounds.

The commercial halibut fishery closed at midnight on Thursday, August 3rd because 98 percent of the 39,810-pound quota had been caught.

Crabbing in the ocean at Winchester Bay is very good and good in the lower Umpqua River for those using boats. Dock crabbing is fair and gradually improving. Some red-tailed surfperch were caught last week above Winchester Bay but the spawning run is almost over.

Some impressive fish that were brought into Ringo’s in the last month include a 13-inch crappie and a 16-inch yellow perch. While the crappie, which was caught near Coleman Arm was certainly impressive, the yellow perch, if it had been caught prior to early March when it most likely spawned, would almost certainly been a new state record since the longstanding state record is only two pounds and two ounces.

On an exploratory trip to Ford’s Pond in Sutherlin last week, my fishing partner landed several nice largemouth bass to three pounds on a buzzbait.

Eastern – From avid angler Tim Moran:

Deschutes River – a few more Steelhead have trickled in and the guys who are willing to put in the time are getting a few.  The pressure is light so you have a shot at the ones that are there.

Owyhee River – the flows are finally down to a manageable 246 CFS which means fishing is good but these giants can be might selective.  Bring lots of small PMD’s in various stages, caddis, trico and spinner patterns and be ready to keep trying flies until you find “the one!”

Clear Lake – This is a great place to beat the heat and get in some fishing too!  Clear lake has good populations of brook trout, rainbows and cutthroat trout and they are usually willing to hit nymphs and wet flies under an indicator and dry’s on top in the evening or you can row and troll spinners, small flatfish or flies and have great action.

Davis Lake – morning and evenings are very good fishing top water poppers for bass!  Lot’s of guys fish the reeds out in front of the Lava Campground but if you have a boat go explore the less pressured areas.  The big bass are everywhere!

Next weekend will be a good one to stay close to your home waters and fish or get your gear ready for hunting season as central/eastern Oregon will be filled with wackos camping out for the eclipse. What ever you do have a great weekend!

SW Washington – From the WDF&W web site:

Cowlitz River – Above the I-5 Bridge – 26 boats/75 rods kept 26 steelhead and released 26 cutthroats. 84 bank rods kept 19 adult spring Chinook and 6 steelhead and released 3 adult and 3 jack spring Chinook and 1 cutthroat. I-5 Bridge downstream – 3 bank and 2 boats/6 rods had no catch.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 3,160 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, August 7. Water visibility is 12 feet and water temperature is 58.3 degrees F.

Drano Lake – 4 boats/8 anglers kept 3 adult and 2 jack fall Chinook and released 2 steelhead. 27 boats trolling were observed here last Saturday morning.

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – During the first 6 days of the fall sport season on the lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam, we sampled 400 salmonid anglers (including 90 boats) with 4 adult and 2 jack fall Chinook, 11 steelhead, and no coho. Effort is relatively light with just over 100 boats and 141 bank anglers counted during last Saturday’s flight. 3 (75%) of the adult fall Chinook were kept though anglers may retain any fish. All of the steelhead were released as required. 6 of the fish were wild, 4 hatchery, and 1 unknown origin.

Always more information at The Guide’s Forecast

Posted in Oregon Fishing, Oregon fishing reports | Leave a comment

Respect the Resource; It’s Harvest Time!

By Bob Rees

It’s smoldering hot in my home town of near Portland right now. I’m chomping at the bit to head back to the coast, where cooler breezes and biting salmon are about to grace my vessel, as I ply the lower Columbia for a small fraction of the 900,000 Chinook and coho that are due here over the next 6 weeks. It’s Buoy 10 time, and rods are already buckling.

After two decades of full-time guiding, I find it more rewarding to guide the peak part of the season, and spend my other 10 months in pursuit of better policy to ensure there is a future for fishermen, women and children. Can’t say I have my 8-year old fully invested in how fun fishing is, but hopefully that changes later this month. I hope to get her, her first Chinook salmon, the King of all salmonids.

Katri Rees, with a Washington caught rainbow trout from spring of 2017

With my guiding schedule dramatically cut back, I find myself more appreciative of the resource, and of my clientele base. Just last month, I left the Astoria area with a nice paycheck for a day’s work, and an overwhelmed family that left well worn out from fighting huge sturgeon all day. It was an experience that they’d never had before, and likely won’t ever have again. I built my business, and a house and other assets, on the backs of the Columbia’s salmon and sturgeon. As I left Astoria, I was taken aback by the privilege I had to make a living off of this natural resource, especially after never killing a sturgeon on the day’s catch and release fishing trip.

So many of us owe this resource a great amount of respect for how it has built our communities and sustained our families, and I’m just not so sure everyone appreciates it as we should. Sure, there are plenty of people that understand what we have here in the Pacific Northwest is unique; for many of us, it’s why we live here.

So, how do we thank this incredible resource for all it has given us? Like any addiction, admitting there is a problem is the first step.

These resources are now clearly finite. The only animal on the planet that is thriving is human beings, somewhere, a balance has to be stricken. Regulation is our biological back-stop to ensure we have a resource for the future. The United States may be the only country in the world where we have the luxury of not needing to exploit our fishery stocks in order to feed our nation. That’s a luxury certainly not all of the world’s population can adhere to. Although I don’t have time to back up my assumptions with statistics, I think those that are paying attention to world-wide trends would call this common sense.

Wikipedia offers some pretty incredible statistics on how US fisheries perform, but most notable is the fact that Congress identified overfishing as a problem as early as 1871, but it wasn’t until a century later that it enacted the Magnuson Stevens Act, enabling the federal government to actually start managing our nation’s fish stocks. (And I thought Congress was dysfunctional in today’s world…).

Yes, that’s right, intensive management of our fisheries went unchecked for over a century. Obviously, that’s not true for all fisheries as many, more accessible stocks have seen their first major crash (salmon, halibut, sardines, and the list goes on…) many decades ago. Thankfully, we learn from our mistakes and historical policy-makers that have cared about the communities they represent, have taken appropriate action. Shout out to Warren Magnuson, a Washington state representative and senator and Ted Stevens, an Alaska senator that both served many decades in Washington DC. That’s right, a Democrat and a Republican that saw eye to eye on the need to manage billion dollar industries for the sake of a finite resource. I guess things operated differently in D.C. during their tenures.

After several decades of fisheries management success, both industry and the conservation community are on board with business as usual. Of course there is always justification for tweaks to a law that hasn’t been reviewed for over a decade, but the success speaks for itself. It seems on almost an annual basis, we’re seeing depressed stocks of fish rebuild faster than statistical models had predicted. A welcome bit of news compared to how climate models are indicating the opposite for how our ecosystems are reacting, and how terrestrial and wetland species are in rapid decline.

So, as we enter the season’s and state’s (Oregon and Washington) most productive fishing period, let’s appreciate what we have by not taking more than we can use, not let any get freezer-burned and go to waste, and appreciate the laws we have in place that are meant to keep this resource thriving, for future generations to enjoy.

In the northwest, we have a highly capable group of fishery managers and in most cases, a motivated bunch of lawmakers that understand the value of our fisheries, let’s keep it that way. Enjoy the abundant salmon return this season, but view it as a privilege, not a right, and we are the guardians of this resource for our 8-year old daughters and granddaughters, and theirs after that.

Posted in Oregon Fishing | 1 Comment

Oregon Fishing Reports for Aug 5

Willamette Valley/Metro – Counts at Bonneville remain depressed for Chinook and relatively speaking, depressed for steelhead as well. Neither is unexpected. Anglers are less than motivated, with the hot weather, hot water and mediocre fishing at best. Of the few summer steelhead being caught, a hatchery fish is a bit of a rare occurrence. That won’t change anytime soon, but at least if you catch a wild Chinook, you can retain it. Catches for both Chinook and steelhead were best in the gorge. It’ll be another 3 weeks before viable numbers of salmon show on the mainstem Columbia in the metro area.

The Willamette is now a bass and panfish show, that won’t change anytime soon.

The Clackamas and Sandy Rivers are an oasis for rafters and swimmers. Summer steelhead and a rare spring Chinook may bite in the upper reaches, but anglers will again be challenged this week. Early mornings offer you your best chance.

Upstream, the Santiam systems are yielding very few summer steelhead. Spring Chinook action remains fair at best, with most Chinook well colored up. The numbers are there, they are just less than motivated to bite under current water and weather conditions.

Northwest – The Buoy 10 season started off with a bang. Actually, before the August 1st opener, action for Chinook above the bridge was dynamite too. Of course before August 1, you had to look for fin-clipped only Chinook. Regulations relax on August 1st, now, we just have to get an other influx of fish. Action in the estuary dramatically dropped off in recent days, but Chinook should be pouring in within the week.

Coho action outside of the mouth of the Columbia River remains good, with the best action coming SW of the river mouth. The bite to the north, off of the Long Beach Peninsula remains only fair.

Bottomfishing off of the south jetty out of Astoria should be productive this weekend, Black sea bass make up the bulk of the catch.

The all-depth halibut season opens the next two days. Anglers that know their spots are likely to score good results. Of course when we say “all-depth,” we mean all depths, so those that were versed in the nearshore fishery also have a reasonable chance at fish.

Freshwater fishers in pursuit of summer steelhead on the Wilson or Nestucca systems have a hard row to hoe. Low, warm water and an invasion of swimmers will certainly put fish down. If you’re really into it, troll flashers and worms in tidewater for sea run cutthroat trout. August has been a historical boon for this fishery.

Chinook anglers on Nehalem Bay continue to struggle for consistent results. We’re nearing peak season here, and although action is far from fast and furious, it’s about as good as it’s going to get right now, which ain’t sayin’ much. Wheeler has been the most productive reach, but the reach in front of the city of Nehalem should also start producing results.

The South-of-Falcon fishery is closed for coho, but remains open for Chinook. Too bad Chinook appear to be non-existent. It should improve as we near the end of the month.

Ocean crabbing remains excellent… for soft-shelled Dungeness.

Southwest – From TGF’s friend Pete Heley (PeteHeley.com)

The finclipped ocean salmon season ended on July 31st with only a fraction of the 18,000 coho quota retained. Through July 23rd, 22.5 percent or 4,055 of the coho quota had been kept and those coho made up 87 percent of the retained ocean salmon catch through July 23rd. Through July 23rd, Winchester Bay, Charleston and Bandon had kept salmon averages of .42, .51 and .27 respectively.

Garibaldi continues to lead in retained chinook salmon, but those were early season chinooks and only a half dozen chinook have been added to their season total in the last two weeks. As for ocean salmon fishing, only chinook salmon of 24-inches in length or longer will be legal to keep until the nonselective ocean coho salmon season begins on September 2nd.

The Umpqua River has been offering fair fishing for chinook salmon below Reedsport, but there have been few anglers casting spinners from the bank at Winchester Bay. Crabbing in Half Moon Bay and in the ocean near the Umpqua River Bar has been very good.

A series of high tides brought a fresh batch of female red-tailed surfperch into the Umpqua River last week and quick boat limits were the rule. Last week the most unusual catch made by an Umpqua River pinkfin angler was a 30-inch zebra shark which bit a sand shrimp about two miles upriver of the Umpqua River Bar.

The fisheries in some of our local coastal waters have undergone significant changes during this highwater year. A surprising number of winter steelhead were caught out of Clear Lake in Coos County this last spring and since the south end of Clear Lake is connected to the north end of Saunders Lake, steelhead from Tenmile Creek could conceivably reach Saunders Lake.

Yellow perch have become well established in Butterfield Lake. They possibly had a helping hand from an ignorant, law breaking, but well-meaning angler, but may have also reached Butterfield by swimming south from Beale Lake during high water. In 50 years of fishing Butterfield Lake, the bass have tended to be small and thin. Dwayne’s lunker bass, which he released, was clearly a most welcome exception.

Eastern – Avid angler Tim Moran reports:

Deschutes River – With the hot weather more bass than steelhead are being taken at the mouth and the first few miles upstream.  Steelhead counts at the dam are weak so if you go fish for steelhead early and then take your 5wt. and fish for trout and bass after about 9am.

Wickiup Kokanee are still available and they are right out in front of Gull Point in 30 to 40 ft. of water. I’d fish early and late for them during the hot spell and chill with a cold one at camp or in the lake in the afternoon.

This is a great time to wet wade the Crooked fiver.  It is cool coming out of the bottom of Prineville Dam and the rainbows and white fish will be active.

A word of warning to anyone who is going to catch and release trout during these heat spells. Fish early in lakes and then shut it down.  Once the water temps get into the 70’s on the surface trout survival goes into the tank.

Have a great weekend everyone – hope to see you on the water!

Eastern Oregon is experiencing some heat-related water problems as Brownlee Reservoir now has a toxic algae bloom.

SW Washington – From the WDF&W web site:

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – Above the I-5 Br: 61 bank rods kept 7 adult spring Chinook and 2 steelhead and released 1 adult and 1 jack spring Chinook. 52 boats/157 rods kept 48 steelhead and released 1 jack spring Chinook and 10 cutthroats. Below the I-5 Br – 1 boat/2 rods and 1 bank angler had no catch.

Mainstem Lewis River – 2 boat anglers kept 1 steelhead.

Drano Lake – 22 boat anglers kept 2 adult Chinook and 6 steelhead and released 13 steelhead and 1 adult Chinook. ~12 boats here on weekdays and ~25 boats here last Saturday morning.

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Last week we sampled 1,042 salmonid anglers (165 boats) with 23 adult and 2 jack summer Chinook, 85 steelhead, and no sockeye. 8 (35%) of the adult summer Chinook and 45 (53%) of the steelhead were kept. Any Chinook (adipose fin clipped or not) may be retained beginning tomorrow (August 1). All steelhead must be released during the month of August.

Hanford Reach Summer Chinook/Sockeye Fishery – Effort has been slow but did pick up slightly this past week. There were an estimated 37 boats fishing for summer chinook salmon in the Columbia River between Highway 395 and Priest Rapids Dam during the week.

WDFW staff interviewed 9 anglers from 7 boats with 1 hatchery jack chinook harvested and 4 wild adult chinook caught and released. For the season there have been 2,366 angler trips for summer chinook/sockeye with 115 adult hatchery chinook, 42 chinook jacks, and 885 sockeye harvested. Area fisheries will continue to be open to fishing for hatchery summer chinook through August 15. On August 16, the fall fishery will open.

Always more information at The Guide’s Forecast.

Posted in Oregon Fishing, Oregon fishing reports | Tagged | Leave a comment

Oregon Fishing Reports for July 21st

Willamette Valley/Metro – Portland area anglers don’t have a lot to pursue in the dog days of summer. Summer Chinook counts at Bonneville are dropping fast, and although the summer steelhead passage is on the improve, numbers are far shy from previous years, as in 1/3 of last year’s tally as of this date. Some steelhead are being caught however.

Warm water anglers are taking advantage of the water conditions on the Willamette. Spring Chinook action is finally tapering.

Rafters and swimmers are dominating the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers. Only early morning casters stand a chance.

Below, With ocean salmon still slow, these two anglers targeted lingcod and came up big on July 17th. These large lings were taken just outside of the mouth of the Columbia River.

Northwest – The salmon bite off of the mouth of the Columbia has finally picked up again. Coho are falling to the SW of the river mouth and Chinook action is fair as well. Both species should start showing in greater numbers as we near early August.

The sturgeon fishing remains very impressive downstream of Tongue Point.

Nehalem Bay trollers are catching a few summer Chinook in the Wheeler area. Catches are light, just as expected.

A friendly ocean has inspired tuna chasers to go an ungodly number of miles offshore for the albacore. Action has been good out of Garibaldi and Astoria however, and tuna should get closer as the season progresses.

Ocean crabbing remains excellent from Garibaldi southward, but soft-shells are the rule. Bay crabbing remains fair.

There are some nice sized halibut coming from the nearshore fishery, mostly between Manzanita and Nehalem Bays.

Spring Chinook and summer steelhead fishing is challenging in the Tillamook area systems, low, clear water isn’t helping matters. Steelhead remains your best option on the Wilson and Nestucca systems.

Southwest – From Pete Heley

On a Tenmile Creek float last week, we caught dozens of yellow perch, but none over eight inches in length. The fishing for largemouth bass was disappointing with no bass landed weighing more than a pound. Tenmile Creek is free of logjams this year, but is quite narrow in a number of spots – to the point where passage via a pontoon boat is very difficult. A float tube or a kayak is a much better choice.

As for fishing at Winchester Bay, the South Jetty is fishing well for assorted bottomfish, the Triangle is fishing well for the same marine species with a smaller average size. The latest stats on the ocean fin-clipped coho fishery run through July 9th and 1077 finclipped quota, or six percent of the 18,000 quota of finclipped cohos have caught and kept. The ocean finclipped coho season will end July 31st unless the quota is reached earlier.

Winchester Bay has been the busiest port and has produced the most keeper coho. Garibaldi is the second busiest port and has produced the most kept chinooks – but has recently fished very poorly with only .18 kept salmon per angler for the season. Starting on September 2nd there will be an ocean coho season where both clipped and unclipped coho salmon may be kept with a quota of 6,000 cohos. There have been catches of 25+ tuna taken this last week out of both Charlston and Winchester Bay.

The pinkfin run on the lower Umpqua River above Winchester Bay continues with the fishing getting ever more inconsistent. A recent tidewater trip for Umpqua River smallmouth revealed a surprising amount of fishing pressure. Fishing Guide Jaimie Standifer reported good fishing for chinook salmon last week on the Umpqua River near Reedsport.

SW Washington –

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – Below the I-5 Bridge: 29 bank and 1 boat/3 rods had no catch. From the I-5 Bridge upstream: 184 bank rods kept 23 adult and 2 jack spring Chinook and 9 steelhead and released 2 adult and 2 jack spring Chinook, 3 steelhead, and 2 cutthroats. 67 boats/193 rods kept 65 steelhead and 1 cutthroat and released 1 steelhead and 17 cutthroat.

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – Last week we sampled 978 salmonid anglers (149 boats) with 42 adult and 6 jack summer Chinook, 67 steelhead, and no sockeye. 24 (57%) of the adult summer Chinook and 42 (63%) of the steelhead were kept. Anglers averaged a steelhead caught per every 14.6 rods. In comparison, anglers averaged a fish per every 6.1 and 7.6 rods during the same time in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Tri-cities Area Summer Chinook & Sockeye Fishery

With the closure of the Upper Columbia River for the retention of sockeye, angler effort has been low. This past week, July 10-16, there were an estimated 62 boats fishing for summer chinook salmon in the Columbia River between Highway 395 and Priest Rapids Dam. WDFW staff interviewed 19 anglers from 8 boats with a reported harvest of 1 adult hatchery chinook and 1 wild chinook and 1 sockeye were caught and released. For the week an estimated 8 adult summer chinook were harvested. For the season there have been 2,291 angler trips for sockeye/summer chinook with 115 adult hatchery chinook, 23 chinook jacks, and 885 sockeye harvested. Area fisheries will continue to be open to fishing for hatchery summer chinook through August 15.

Sturgeon

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Marker 82 line downstream – We sampled 16 sturgeon anglers (including 4 boats) with 9 legals released.

Shad

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – We sampled 20 shad bank anglers with 27 fish kept.

Walleye

Lower Columbia mainstem below Bonneville Dam – 3 walleye anglers (1 boat) had no catch.

Trout

Recent plants of rainbows, including some over 5 pounds each. No report on angling success.

From The Guide’s Forecast.  Always more Oregon fishing information here.

Posted in Oregon Fishing, Oregon fishing reports | Tagged | Leave a comment

Stuck in the Matrix of Proper Fisheries Management

There are so many lessons to learn, if you just pay attention.

Do you ever drive across a river, and wonder how many salmon or steelhead swam up it before European settlement? (I just drove across the Columbia River, once home to 17 million wild salmon and steelhead).

How about picturing your neighborhood about 150 years ago, when deer, elk, black bear and cougar were once abundant?

Do you ever feel like you’re always choosing the wrong grocery line, when trying to figure out which one is the fastest?

How about driving down the highway, in stop and go traffic, so you can observe the immense amount of plastic cast aside along the median where it is certainly destined for our waterways in the future.

I might be a little sensitive this week, given the news of the one trillion ton iceberg that just broke away from the Antarctica Peninsula. Then, there was another story on the sixth great extinction also underway. Match it up with my evening entertainment being the Matrix trilogy, and it’s certainly cause for thought this week.

What in the name of Sam Hill are we doing to our planet?

Sure, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are incredible numbers of volunteers (and inmates) that are picking up plastic garbage along our roads and beaches. There are incredible organizations that are doing restoration work and advocating for improved ecosystems. And there are good pieces of legislation being introduced both at the state and federal level that bring about more abundant fish and wildlife, and a better environment for them to live in, but like that grocery line, you just have to feel like you’re beating your head against the wall sometimes.

I know it all starts with making the change for ourselves, but it will have to be a monumental societal shift in order to preserve what we have left, compared to historical abundance. My wife got a hold of one of those Netflix documentaries that tells about the corporatization of our livestock market. I don’t know if I can bring myself to watch it, I like bacon and ribeye steaks too much, but when she started practicing what she preached, I had to take note. I haven’t quite got her convinced to put in for an elk tag, but thankfully I drew one this year! She said she can get behind consuming wild fish and game, whew!

The only species expanding their range on planet earth is humans. While that may be great for humanity, how is that for ecology? What do fish and wildlife managers do when certain populations of animals or fish get to be “too” abundant? Of course they open up seasons to reduce the population to manage what they feel may be a future disaster. Does anybody else think that these natural cycles are part of a natural plan? Yea, maybe too much Matrix this week…

It’s really a little bit hypocritical of me to criticize a system that has benefited me so greatly. It wasn’t that long ago and we had a four coho limit at Buoy 10. Those were the days! And it is certainly pleasantly surprising that Oregonians can still keep 12 Dungeness crab per day per person. A 25 albacore tuna per person limit? Has anybody ever actually achieved that? Four of us caught 40 one time; you’ve never seen so many avid anglers so anxious to hand off a rod to somebody else, when the next albacore hit. I put up 83 pints of canned albacore that week.

We really do live in amazing times, but really, how long can they last? Thankfully, fishery managers have learned over time that adaptive management measures are a necessary tool in our ever-changing world.

The Magnuson Stevens Act  is one of those tools that incorporates adaptive management. Given the challenges of fisheries management over such a broad body of water, it’s pretty darn amazing that we’ve experienced the successes that we have. That’s why most fisherman we’ve talked to about MSA, don’t have much to say about a law that is effectively working. Fisherman worth their salt know that populations of fish fluctuate year to year, and we have to be prepared to adapt with the populations. I knew when I first entered the business of fish guiding, there was a risk associated with becoming dependent on a natural resource. I left full-time guiding three years ago now, due to the restrictions implemented with the loss of a catch and keep sturgeon season.

For many in the industry, both on the sport and commercial side of things, fishing is our life, and other options are few, especially when the vast amount of your professional life is on the ocean, versus behind a computer.

Congress is going to be taking a finer look at MSA fisheries management next week, when the House Subcommittee on Water, Power & Oceans will be conducting on oversight hearing on the MSA titled: “Exploring the Successes and Challenges of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.”  The hearing will take place next Wednesday, July 19th at 2:00pm EST, 1324 Longworth House Office Building, Washington D.C. 20515. Let’s hope they have our future in mind, can’t say I’m all that optimistic.

Posted in Oregon Fishing | Tagged | Leave a comment