Oregon Fishing Reports for September 16th

Willamette Valley/Metro – After a slow start, trollers are starting to see much more consistent fishing from Bonneville to Warrior Rock right now. Regulations in place now don’t allow for any retention of Chinook downstream of Warrior Rock to protect sensitive stocks of tule Chinook. Those working Pro Trolls and spinners are producing fine results for upriver brights and with a cooling trend on the horizon, that will likely continue for the foreseeable future. Anchor fishing with wobblers is becoming a bit out-dated now as the Pro-troll technique continues to take the region by storm.

Coho are starting to show in the lower Sandy and Clackamas Rivers. If the first fall rains hit as predicted, anglers, both bank and boat, should have good opportunity for fresh-run coho in both of these rivers. Given the success of Buoy 10 anglers this week, there appears to be a wad of them ready to return.

Willamette River anglers don’t necessarily target coho in the mainstem, but spinner casters and plunkers sometimes find success at the mouth of the Clackamas or at Meldrum Bar. This week could provide some of that opportunity.

Northwest – Although action tapered only slightly, epic coho action was been the rule all week on the lower Columbia. Limits by 9:00 a.m. were common for anchovy and spinner trollers fishing near the Astoria/Megler Bridge this week, that’s likely to change in the near future as the region expects to receive it’s first fall rains as early as Sunday. Chinook fishing remains closed in the Buoy 10 area, and the retention restriction now goes all the way upstream to Warrior Rock near St. Helens.

Crabbing is good in the lower Columbia

Tillamook Bay anglers continue to struggle for consistent Chinook results. The ideal soft tide series produced better results than earlier in the week, but the mediocre bites have been short-lived. Most of the effort has been taking place in the lower bay, along the jetties and the south side of the south jetty is producing fair as well. Hatchery coho are oddly absent right now.

Nehalem Bay has produced some sporadic Chinook catches lately, and hatchery coho numbers seem a bit down here too. Like Tillamook, the main focus this week has been towards the jaws.

The Nestucca, Alsea and Siletz are producing some Chinook catches, but overall, action has been less than stellar. The current soft tide series should reveal a lot about how these fisheries are going to produce this season, and they have all been far from explosive lately. It remains a herring show in the lower reaches, but that should change as tides intensify.

Rain is expected towards the end of the weekend, but far from enough precipitation to start floating driftboats down north coast rivers. Regardless, a good deluge will be welcome, and should inspire a strong push of fish into most north coast estuaries. Coho should start heading up the Trask and North Fork Nehalem systems no matter how little rain we get, as long as there is a slight river rise. Mid-September should be peak season in the estuaries that harbor hatchery runs of coho.

Ocean crabbing is epic. If you can’t take a limit of crab, something is wrong with you or your gear. Bay crabbing is excellent as well, but limits will take a bit more effort, but still quite likely.

Another all-depth halibut opener on the 15th and 16th. Catches should be good, especially out of Newport.

Bottomfishing coast-wide closes starting Monday. It’s been an impressive year, but with poor ocean salmon success and an absence of albacore, the fleet had to focus on something in the salt. The deep reef option is up in the air, but a decision is forthcoming.

Southwest – From TGF’s friend Pete Heley (PeteHeley.com) – As of 9/13/17 Oregon’s recreational bottomfish season will close to all species but flatfish as of Sunday, Sept. 17 at 11:59 p.m. because the quotas for several species have been reached.

Several ocean fishing opportunities remain available, including: Flatfish, such as sanddabs and petrale sole (not including halibut, which are considered separately).
Crabbing in oceans and bays, which has been excellent lately. Tuna, which are starting to come closer to shore in southern Oregon now.
For more information on Oregon’s marine resources and fisheries, please see: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/

The nonselective ocean coho season closed last Thursday evening due to the quota being met. The 7,900 coho quota went quickly despite two of the six days being virtually unfishable.

The first two days of the nonselective ocean coho catch was included in the data for the week of August 28th through Sept. 3rd and the most productive ports were Pacific City with 1.20 salmon per angler trip and Newport with with 1.17 salmon per angler trip. The least productive port was Charleston with 0.15 salmon per angler trip. Winchester Bay averaged .32 salmon per angler trip.

On a somewhat brighter note, the bank salmon fishery at Winchester Bay is becoming more productive with several fish or more landed each day by bank anglers using spinners.

Crabbing continues to be very good in the ocean near the Umpqua River Bar when reachable and in the lower Umpqua River near Half Moon Bay.

California’s Pacific Halibut season ended on Sepember 10th when the state’s entire quota of 34,580 pounds was met.

Eel Lake continues to produce good crappie fishing, but the best catches are now being made by boat anglers fishing areas of the lake away from the fishing dock at Tugman Park.

There has been no reports of striper fishing success on the Smith and Umpqua rivers, but that is to be expected as striper anglers tend to be a very close-mouthed group.

Eastern – From our friend Tim Moran

Deschutes River – Fall fishing is here (even though it’s technically still summer) and the trout fishing on the big ‘D” is good and will only get better! lot’s of caddis, aquatic moth and BWO’s and the rain that’s forecast for this weekend will only make fishing better as may fly hatches between showers can really set these fish off!

John Day River – flows are low enough now that you can walk the river in many places (like right down the middle). This is great cast and blast fishing and dove hunting…just make sure you’re on public land or have a ranchers permission to hunt.

Metolius River – It’s September…probably the best month of the year to fish the Met. Smoke comes and goes but the river is open and the summer crowds are gone! Fall Drakes, PMD’s and Mahogany Dunns are all coming off right now and this is the best time of the year to get em’ on dries!

Cascade Lakes – Brown trout at Wickiup will start to stage in the arms for their fall spawn as well as to dine on kokanee and their eggs.

SW Washington – From the WDF&W web site:

Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Bridge downstream: 19 boats/56 rods kept 12 adult and 2 jack fall Chinook, 2 steelhead and 2 coho and released 20 adult and 2 jack fall Chinook and 1 steelhead. 2 bank anglers had no catch.

From the I-5 Bridge upstream: 10 bank anglers kept 2 adult and 2 jack fall Chinook. No boats were sampled.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 3,220 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, September 11. Water visibility is 13 feet and water temperature is 54.9 degrees F. River flows could change at any time so boaters and anglers should remain alert for this possibility.

Drano Lake – 45 boat anglers kept 16 adult and 1 jack fall Chinook, 1 adult and 1 jack coho, and released 2 adult Chinook and 3 steelhead. There were 39 boats here last Saturday morning.

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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Note the Signs

By Bob Rees
The Guide’s Forecast

By now, most fishermen have heard the most recent fish tale out of Puget Sound; the escapement of who knows how many Atlantic salmon into the “wild” waters in our own backyard. Of course this isn’t the first time such a mishap has happened, and it won’t be the last one either.

Frankly, I’m a bit surprised that as iconic and important as salmon are to the world, there hasn’t been more attempts to foul up one of the most revered fish species on the planet. Of course there have been other attempts, such as genetically engineering “Fraken-salmon” for the commercial market, and let’s not forget the maybe not so tragic escapement of Pacific Salmon in South America. It’s gotten avid anglers in the Pacific Northwest pretty excited to fish new waters. No doubt this invasive species will wreak consequences in some fashion in South America however. There are no free lunches in fishing.

There’s also been some good things come from our policy-makers, indicating that they are indeed paying attention as to what’s happening on the salmon-scape in our region. Back in 2013, some members of Oregon’s Coastal Caucus (legislators that represent Oregon’s coastal community) introduced HB 3177, requiring genetically modified fish to be labeled as such if produced or imported into the state of Oregon. Another positive initiative was to ban the harvest of krill in Pacific Coast waters, both federal and state. This too was precedent setting as we become more knowledgeable as to how our ecosystems function (or dysfunction) when we remove such a keystone species such as krill.

As we’ve witnessed time and time again, we don’t have much maneuverability to make mistakes with so many other factors coming down the pipeline. We make enough just in the course of managing our salmon runs in-season.

And speaking of in-season management, admittedly, after conducting wild coho salmon spawning ground surveys in the early 90’s, I NEVER thought I’d see the day again when we could have a consumptive opportunity to keep wild coho again. Through proper management, and a little bit of forgiveness from Mother Nature, we just completed a nearly 7,900 harvest of coho in the south of Cape Falcon ocean fishery that abruptly closed on 9/7. The sport fleet caught almost as many coho in 6 days (September 2 – 7), as we did in 5 weeks of June/July fishing (June 24 – July 31). The early closure will be a blow to coastal ports, but it was also a boon for those that marketed it.

It’s going to be tough to turn back those incidentally caught wild coho while we pursue Chinook but Oregon’s anglers wouldn’t have it any other way. We worked hard and have invested much to witness the rebounding of the magnificent and resilient salmon, we’re not going to let our hard work and money go to waste, we want a future for this species and our opportunity.

It’s for this reason, I remain perplexed as to why some Congressmen are opting for amendments to the Magnuson Stevens Act as it remains a target for some user groups to gain more opportunity at the cost of the rebuilding timeline for the species. It’s a pretty heated topic as you may read in Charles Witek’s blog piece here. I can’t say I’m intimately familiar with the whole story, but it certainly has the community riled up, and I just don’t think this is something anyone in Oregon would tolerate, no matter what you have to win or lose.

In the batter’s box is a September 12th hearing on MSA reauthorization in Congress. Given the make-up of the “witnesses,” it seems a bit stacked to be too hopeful that sound policy will prevail. Here are the hearing details.

Maybe not so ironic is the fact that this hearing is happening in the fall, a period of time when most anglers have a bounty of species preserved for the upcoming winter months. Guides and charters have hopefully had a successful season, and those of us punch-drunk for fall hunting seasons (yours truly included) aren’t paying as much attention to fish politics as we should be when our issues can easily go sideways. Let’s hope the only gutting going on this month is upon our fish and wildlife, not proven laws and policy such as the Magnuson Stevens Act.

As we whack, stack and vacuum pack away our fall bounty, we need to be cognizant of our days ahead. Here in the Pacific Northwest we’ve enjoyed a mediocre return of salmon coming off of some pretty impressive years, but we’re clearly in a downturn. Summer steelhead returns are in the tank, fall Chinook numbers are way down from last year, and the assumed prediction, and tuna are only found in scarce number. And as the west burns up under forest fire, and the gulf coast states get pummeled by wind and rain, let’s not forget who’s in charge here; it’s not us, and as much as we try, we continue to fall even harder. Let’s see if we can buck the trend on Magnuson Stevens reauthorization.

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Oregon Fishing Reports for September 8

Willamette Valley/Metro – Trollers and wobbler fishers that have long awaited the September season for fall Chinook on the mainstem Columbia are sorely disappointed with this season’s results from Bonneville to Longview. In what has been an epic fishery the last few years, success rates are poor and the dam counts at Bonneville equally disappointing. It’s a fishery many have come to depend on, but it’s just not there right now, and likely will remain challenging until the water temperature changes. So far, not so good. There was a flurry of activity reported in the Kalama to Longview reach on Thursday however, but keep in mind, the traffic was heavy too.

Some guides have switched over to sturgeon fishing, and although it’s not epic, it’s keeping bend in the rods. Kelly Point Park has been good for sturgeon action, but the fish aren’t all that big either.

The Willamette River may harbor some Clackamas bound coho right now, but those interested in pursuing them will most likely be fishing at the mouth of the Clackamas River. It’ll be slim pickings however, the run forecast itself isn’t all that impressive.

The Sandy River and Troutdale area are inundated with firefighters and anglers are asked to take a pass on the Sandy this week. Hopefully, firefighters get the Eagle Creek blaze under control in the near future. Coho should be staging at the river mouth, ready for their next opportunity to swim upstream.

The Clackamas should start to see coho too, but not in any big number. Catches in the Buoy 10 fishery are just starting to improve, but remain inconsistent. I’m guessing the early “A” run coho may have been over-predicted as well. You’ll have to work hard for your catches, and not just because there aren’t many around, we don’t have favorable water conditions either. Good luck, you’ll need it.

Northwest – A swift and sad end to the non-selective South of Cape Falcon coho season as the closure is now in effect. Anglers must release all coho in the ocean, it was good while it lasted. It’s what we’ve all been working hard for, a return to the good old days when we didn’t have to look for fin-clips. Now it’s time for a reprieve so this iconic species can continue to replenish itself. Fishing was best out of Newport, but we didn’t have anything to complain about at Depoe Bay, Pacific City or Garibaldi either, except we wish it could last a while longer.

Chinook have been scarce in most north coast estuaries recently. Tillamook Chinook have been rare as of late, despite a good rush of them just a week ago. We’re due for another surge as the season is just getting underway.

The Nestucca, Salmon and Alsea have all slowed from a week ago, but again, action should pick up anytime now.

The Buoy 10 fishery is booting out great numbers of coho, but some guides are having a hard time landing keepers. It’s different by day and by guide, but no one is disputing the great action on the afternoon incoming tide. Action has been great, but plan on weeding through a bunch of fish before you find enough keepers to satisfy your creel. Some Chinook are still being caught (and released). Sea lions have ALL angler-hooked fish wrapped up above the Astoria/Megler Bridge. If you really want your blood to boil, fish there, you’ll NEVER land one. Chinook fishing above Tongue Point is surprisingly slow. It’s a fin-clipped only fishery now, but any Chinook is hard to catch so good luck with that!

Numbers aren’t in yet, but the halibut action was likely good over the Labor Day weekend. The nearshore fishery remains open, but the limited quota likely won’t last that much longer.

Albacore action remains perplexingly disappointing. It certainly won’t all of a sudden light up, this season is a wash.

Ocean crabbing remains excellent and the quality of crab is improving. Bay crabbing is good too, in most estuaries that is.

Southwest – From TGF’s friend Pete Heley (PeteHeley.com) – The second ocean coho season opened last Saturday and this one was nonselective – meaning both clipped and unclipped coho salmon 16-inches long or longer were legal to keep. Since previously unkeepable unclipped coho were dominating recent salmon catches the fishing should remain very good.

Coho salmon are starting to make up an increasing portion of the Umpqua River salmon catches and bank anglers at Winchester Bay are buying almost as many pink spinners preferred by coho as the green and chartreuse spinners preferred by chinooks.

Crabbing is still very good for boat crabbers in the ocean off Winchester Bay and in the lower Umpqua River. Boatless crabbers are still doing fair to good off the Old Coast Guard Pier and off “A” Dock and Dock 9. Complaints about crabs not being full have almost disappeared.

There are still good pinkfin catches being made from area beaches. The South Jetty continues to fish well with most of the catch being greenling and striped surfperch – neither of which have any minimum size restrictions.

Eastern – Deschutes River steelheaders remain unenthused. There are catchable numbers of fish in what is typically peak season, but success and traffic is noticeably down. On the upside, walleye, bass and steelhead are all options in the Deschutes right now.

And did you see this press release:

LA GRANDE, Ore. – Dry conditions in Eastern Oregon and declining water levels in Thief Valley Reservoir have prompted local fish biologists to remove daily bag and possession limits on the reservoir starting Wednesday, Aug.16 until Sept. 30, 2017.

Size and harvest method restrictions are also lifted so anglers will be able to take any size fish with a rod, a net or by hand.

Thief Valley Reservoir on the Powder River is currently holding significant water, but the storage level is declining at a rate that would have it at ‘dead storage’ level by the middle of September. ODFW biologist Tim Bailey said that removing the bag limit now will give anglers a better opportunity to harvest trout that will die later when the reservoir is drained.

“When the water level reaches ‘dead storage’, large numbers of trout get trapped in isolated pools,” said Bailey. “Most fish will be stressed in the warm, turbid water and die. Conditions when the reservoir is at ‘dead storage’ are also not conducive to the harvesting of fish.”

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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!

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Oregon Fishing Reports for September 1st

Deschutes River – the trout fishing is holding up but with the forecast of hat weather this weekend it will be an early – late show. fish a caddis or hopper pattern with a a small nymph below it or go deep with some split shot and a stonefly and small caddis pupa trailer. As last reported the steelhead fishing is pretty good given the dismal run. The guys at Deschutes Anglers Fly Shop report almost zero pressure and good fishing as a result.  Swing or skate flies early in the morning or fish spinners and spoons through the riffles.  Cover lots of water and you’ll hang a fish or two!  I’d fish early for steel then grab breakfast up in Maupin and a nap….then go after the trout from 6pm to dark.

 

John Day River – the flows are low enough now  that you can walk in and walk the river in many places (like right down the middle).  Throw streamers and poppers towards any areas that have a littel current and depth and you’ll find lot’s of biter’s.  The smallies will be all kegged up in these areas and you can catch several from the same hole. Cottonwood canyon is a great access point and this is good hot weather fishing!

 

Prineville Reservoir – fish early for trout and warm water species before the “bikini hatch” in the afternoon!  Trout fishing has been good this year in the reservoir with most guys trolling small spoons, spinners and hoochies tipped with worm and your favorite scent.  Depth will be important so if you’re fishing with 2 or more rods, stage them and experiment until you find fish.

 

Davis Lake – Bass fishing should be great this weekend.  Fish early – like sun up with poppers or big buggers around the reeds and anywhere vegetation has created a big matt on the surface.  The bass will be holding wherever there is shade and cover.  Try the creek channels for trout.  There are still some big ones in the lake.  I like to slow crawl a damsel nymph with a prince nymph 16″ behind it.

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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Today’s Greed Compromises Tomorrow’s Opportunity

Today’s Greed Compromises Tomorrow’s Opportunity

As a steward and consumer of recreational fisheries resources, of course I am going to advocate for a recreational priority, and not just for the economics of a fragile resource.

Recreational fishing often has a lighter touch on the resource, from an extraction and consumption point of view. We don’t use trawls to harvest our catch and we often just catch our quarry individually, instead of en masse.  When your resource is of finite quantity, there are justifiable reasons to employ a softer touch method of harvest.

Now although I don’t know the intricacies of other sportfisheries across the nation, I have met enough qualified anglers to at least be educated on what’s right and what’s wrong in the different coastal regions where sport and commercial fisheries collide. It’s my understanding that the gulf coast states are quite embattled in the red snapper allocations between the sport and commercial fisheries. The commercial fleet has better access to that particular stock of fish due to their geographic location and accessibility. The sport fleet had a paltry 3-day season, which is nothing short of shameful given the economics such a fishery can produce.

I don’t know enough about this fishery to offer, let along understand, any solutions to such a quandary, but what sticks out is the absurdity of sportfishing advocate groups supporting The Modern Fish Act, which as defined by the law if passed, would legally allow ACL’s (Annual Catch Limits) to be ignored for the benefit of one sector. This article printed in the Mongabay publication states, “Under the proposed Modern Fish Act, a loophole would be introduced: annual recreational catch limits would no longer be required for stocks whose fishing rates were being maintained below their federal target, and ACLs would be removed for fisheries in which overfishing is not occurring.” While that may sound like a good thing for recreational fishers, the article goes on to say, “If you stop setting those levels just because the fish are doing better, you’re going to end up back where you were [with a depleted fishery]. The Modern Fish Act is basically saying ‘hey, the diet worked, problem solved, let’s go back to eating pizza every day’.”

I’m not sure I could reference any anglers in the Pacific Northwest, at least any angler that I prefer to associate with, that would think that if we opened up a consumptive fishery for wild coho salmon on the north Oregon coast, knowing that it would further degrade the possibility for a quicker, and more robust recovery that would offer greater benefits to all users in the future, that we should relax scientifically based information that compromises the rebuilding of said stock of fish. With all the regulation sport anglers have come to endure over the past 2 decades, if there’s one thing we’ve become unified on, it’s that extraordinary measures are necessary to ensure a resource for future generations of anglers, and we’re willing to be sidelined to ensure that possibility. There have been many examples to prove this.

The one that most recently sticks out in my mind is when the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife opened up the conversation about the Coastal Multi-species Conservation and Management Plan of anadromous fish along the Oregon Coast. It could be argued that these runs of fish may represent the last significant stronghold of wild salmonids that could last into the future. With sparse populations of humans, relatively speaking, and few barriers to fish passage, again, relatively speaking in comparison to inland waterways, we have a real chance at recovering these wild runs of salmon and steelhead. Some even remain abundant to this day!

During the lengthy public process that the department went through, the original proposal offered up a rare opportunity to harvest wild steelhead on the Trask River. An initiative that I thought would never come back. After losing harvest access to 5 of the 6 wild stocks of salmon (wild steelhead, wild chum salmon, wild spring Chinook, wild coho and wild cutthroat trout) when I first started my guiding career, a return to catch and keep fisheries was nothing but a pipe dream. I’ve certainly been thankful for return opportunity for wild cutthroat trout (which I call a youngster’s gateway drug), and wild coho salmon, which has salvaged more than one poor Chinook season for me, our fisheries management is proof-positive that we can return to a more responsible harvest regime without compromising the recovery of sensitive species of fish.

Nobody is sure how, if passed, the Modern Fish Act may affect west coast fisheries, but how dare you bring such an archaic concept to the federal table. I guess this is one time where we can be thankful for Congressional dysfunction.

I continue to be proud that the northwest sportangler understands and advocates for sound management of our iconic stocks of fish. No one wants to be sidelined for opportunity many of us consider our God-given right, but more importantly, all of us want the same opportunity we’ve enjoyed in our lifetime to be handed down to the next generation of sportangler. This resource is finite, we know that now. To squander away future opportunity for short-term gain is a non-starter for us on the west coast, your politics are not welcome here.

Charlie Foster with an ocean caught coho salmon outside of the Columbia River. Charlie released several wild ones before getting this hatchery fish.

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Oregon Fishing Reports for August 25th

Willamette Valley/Metro – Rumors of wobbler fishers and Pro Troll draggers catching fish in the Portland/Metro area are likely true. Although the fishery is just getting underway, it’s due to really light up this week and peak in the next two weeks. Dam passage at Bonneville is starting to climb and will only go up from here. From the gorge to Longview, these are the weeks anglers have been waiting for, a predicted run of around 600,000 fall Chinook and we’re just on the leading edge of what is likely to be a very good season. The run is tracking behind last year, but it’s early, and given the activity in the estuary, and the accuracy of the spring and summer predictions, they’re likely to show.

Summer steelhead numbers on the mainstem remain abysmal.

It’s still too early for coho to make a good showing in the Sandy or Clackamas Rivers. Coho have yet to show in any great numbers in the estuary, it’ll likely be another 2 weeks before we see catchable numbers in any local rivers.

Bass, panfish and walleye remain an option in the Willamette River and Multnomah Channel.

Northwest – The Buoy 10 fishery witnessed great catches on the eclipse, but ever since, has produced fair at best results. The early morning tide on Thursday did show signs of an improving Chinook bite, it should be a productive weekend for Buoy 10 anglers. Opportunity should exist for both the morning and evening tide. Coho have yet to show in any great number. The Buoy 10 line bite was far from impressive for coho in recent days, despite ideal tides for the boundary fishery.

The ocean north of Cape Falcon is now closed for all salmon fishing. That should make Buoy 10 catches for coho a good option when they start to show.

Tillamook Bay is starting to produce catches of Chinook, both in the upper bay and in the adjacent ocean waters. The tide series begins to weaken by Sunday, which is likely to damper upper bay opportunity and bolster lower bay and ocean catches. Some of the largest Chinook of the season get taken this time of year. Hatchery coho should also begin to show, both inside and out. Anglers can retain bay caught coho as long as they have an adipose fin-clip. Any coho caught in the ocean must be released until the September 2nd opener.

Nehalem Bay remains super slow for most, but there are some fish being caught around Wheeler and Nehalem. Trollers are complaining about seaweed interfering with their trolling technique however. September should prove a better option for fall run Chinook, the summer run was not impressive.

The Nestucca and Salmon River estuaries should start to see Chinook nosing in, maybe as early as this weekend. The Siletz is also not far behind and should provide fair opportunity by early September.

Crabbing is picking up in north coast estuaries, and the ocean remains full of keepers. Ocean crabbers estimate about 1/2 of the catch are made up of more full-bodied crabs, but the other half remain in a soft-shell state. That should improve into September.

Razor clam diggers that hoed the sands south of Tillamook Head were rather disappointed during the recent minus tide series. Catches were sparse for most. The beaches north of Tillamook Head, often the more productive, should open around early October if the toxin levels remain acceptable.

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

Winchester Bay salmon fishing is still inconsistent, but seems to be gradually improving. A fair number of chinook salmon are being caught in the Reedsport area, but the “per boat catch rate” is not impressive. An increasing number of boats are fishing near the Umpqua River Bar but anglers doing so need to know the regulations.

Large schools of albacore tuna were reported last week moving north at about 14 miles per day. If the pattern continues, they should be arriving off Winchester Bay about the time you read this.

Fishing for redtail surfperch along pretty much all of our area beaches has been very good.

Lake Marie received 800 15-inch trout this week and with the leftover trout from previous plants, fishing should be very good. Several Coos County lakes will receive trout plants during the second week of October. The exceptionally high water this year has changed many area fisheries.

Horsefall Lake almost certainly received some warmwater fish from large shallow privately-owned lakes adjacent to its north shore such as Spirit Lake and Sandpoint Lake. Hardly any area water has undergone more changes than Siltcoos Lagoon. This relatively small section of an old channel of the Siltcoos River never seemed to have yellow perch (which exist in the river), but used to a fair population of largemouth bass and good-sized bluegills.

Eastern – The Deschutes River, despite all its woes, is producing a few steelhead. The river is oddly barren of anglers, clearly struck with the fear of poor catch results. One guide boat reported a double-digit opportunity day this week. Although rare, this fishery is nearing its peak and the run isn’t extinct. Use caution in handling fish however. The trout fishing is good early and late with caddis patterns.  Bring lots of colors and sizes.

Diamond lake –  Fishing has been really good!  Fish floating baits a couple cranks off the bottom.  fish shallow early and move out into deeper water when the sun hits the water.

Lake Billy Chinook – word is the Kokanee fishing is pretty good here.  Most guys use down riggers or lead line but you can get to them with 3 ounces of lead too.  They’re running 10 to 13 inches and hitting all the Koke stuff so bring lots of gear and change up until you get bit.  Smallmouth fishing is another option and they’ll take 3″ soft plastics or small crankbaits near the endless rocky shoreline.

Bull trout should start staging in the Metolius arm too.  troll chrome/ silver and black Yozuri’s, Rapalas and flat fish that imitate Kokanee.

A group of hardcore Kokanee fishers are camped at Odell and they report slow fishing.  I’d try Wickiup and fish the channel in the Deschutes Arm.  The fish at Wickiup tend to school up and are easier to find them wide open Odell this time of year.

SW Washington – From the WDF&W web site:

Cowlitz River – Below the I-5 Br.: 2 bank rods and 1 boat/2 rods had no catch.

Above the I-5 Br. – 37 bank rods kept 2 adult Chinook and 3 steelhead and released 3 adult Chinook. 10 boats/26 rods kept 2 adult Chinook, 7 steelhead, and 1 cutthroat and released 2 jack Chinook, 1 steelhead, and 10 cutthroats. Salmon are being caught at the barrier dam; steelhead around the trout hatchery.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 3,240 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, Aug. 21. Water visibility is 13 feet and water temperature is 55.2 degrees F.

Mayfield Lake – Salmon season begins September 1. Daily limit 6, no more than 2 adults may be retained. Only hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho may be kept.

Drano Lake – 29 boat anglers kept 7 adult and 1 jack fall Chinook and released 1 adult Chinook and 1 steelhead. Release all steelhead through September. ~25 boats here last Saturday morning.

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