Oregon Fishing Update
– To date, just over 200 adult spring Chinook have passed Bonneville Dam. Although managers remain hopeful, they are far from extending the sport season with passage so low. With the run mostly comprised of later returning 4 year-old fish, passage was forecasted to peak later than previous years.
On par with last year, sturgeon catch and effort is once again gaining momentum in the Columbia and the gorge is getting most of the attention. Boat anglers averaged good catches over the previous catch and keep opener and shaker action is picking up as well. Portland to Longview boats also showed improvement with better than 1 keeper per boat for the few anglers out there pursuing them. Smelt remains the top bait. The estuary fishery remains slow for sturgeon at this time.
Captain Jack LaFond (800-270-7962) reports, "Upriver, Walleye fishing below the John Day Dam has been fair to spotty, but now that the full moon is waning the bite should pick up. Water temps are good, spills at the dam are strong and that helps to concentrate the fish to known current breaks."
Chinook numbers at Willamette Falls are encouraging but not impressive. Springers are crossing in double digits with modest improvement as the total for the year as of April 12th reached 126. Water temperatures remain at 51 degrees as of the latest data on April 14th. Improvement is overdue.
The lower Willamette is running high at this writing. Catches were slow but steady last week for anchor fishers soaking prawn rigs and for trollers dragging plug-cut herring in the Portland Harbor.
Bait fishers are hooking numerous smolts in the Clackamas and fishing for steelhead remains the best bet on the river. Spring Chinook are present in low numbers however, the cool water is keeping them from making a big push into the river. Algae growth has started to be a problem here.
Sandy anglers are taking a few summer steelhead and fewer springers but prospects will improve later in the season. Late winter steelhead are still in the mix but the bulk of the catch are natives. The river was high and roiled over the weekend with conditions showing improvement this week.
Many anglers are geared in anticipation for the weekend trout opener. In preparation, many lakes have been stocked with catchable rainbows.
In the Northern Willamette watershed, Benson Lake, Bethany, Blue Lake, Commonwealth Lake, Dorman Pond, Haldeman Pond, Harriet Lake, Hartman Pond, Henry Hagg Lake, Mt. Hood Pond, Roslyn Lake, Salmonberry Lake and Trojan Pond will be planted with hatchery trout this week.
Scheduled to be stocked in the Southern Willamette watershed is Alton Baker Pond, Blue River Reservoir, Carmen Reservoir, Clear Lake, the Coast Fork of the Willamette River, Cottage Grove Reservoir, Detroit Reservoir, Dexter Reservoir, E. E. Wilson Pond, Fall Creek, Foster Reservoir, Green Peter Reservoir, Junction City Pond, Leaburg Lake, Upper McKenzie River, Middle Fork Willamette River, Roaring River Park Pond, Salmon Creek, Timber Linn Lake and Waverly Lake.
Northwest Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Steelhead catches once again turned on for North Coast anglers over the weekend. The slight rise in river levels drew in good numbers of late winter run fish and the Nestucca and Wilson produced the best numbers. The Wilson rose just under a foot through the weekend and gave the necessary color to the river to stimulate a bite. Most anglers agree, it was one of the best winter steelhead seasons in a long time.
Chinook were rumored to have been hooked in the lower drifts of the Wilson but no confirmed catches were reported. As area rivers drop, the Trask and Wilson should be fair prospects for a short while longer when the river becomes too clear again.
In Tillamook Bay, sturgeon fishing has slowed but some fish remain in the west channel. Spring Chinook have been hooked in the upper and lower bay for the few boats participating in the fishery. These early fish tend to be the larger 5-year olds often exceeding 20 pounds.
Crabbing remains poor in the local estuaries.
The ocean remains volatile but a short break in the weather may afford some bottomfishing opportunity over the weekend. Afternoon winds from the NW may curtail effort but indicate a more typical weather pattern that produces the necessary upwelling effect for the out-migrating smolts that are now exiting coastal estuaries.
A pod of killer whales was witnessed at the mouth of Tillamook Bay earlier this week.
Alder Lake, Big Creek Reservoirs # 1 and # 2, Buck Lake, Cleawox Lake, Dune Lake, Elbow Lake, Erhart Lake, Georgia Lake, Hebo Lake, Lost Lake (Clatsop County), Lost Lake (Lane County), Mercer Lake, Munsel Lake, North Georgia Lake, Olalla Creek Reservoir, Perkins Lake, Siltcoos Lake, Spring Lake, Sutton Lake, Thissel Pond and Vernonia Pond will receive hatchery trout this week.
Southwest – Offshore bottom fishing was good over the weekend out of central and South coast ports. Ocean conditions this week are conducive to offshore bottomfishing. Surf perch fishing from ocean beaches is rewarding anglers with decent catches.
South coast spring Chinook are running a little late but offshore boats are marking salmon which should be entering rivers in the coming weeks.
Spring Chinook fishing has been slow in the lower Umpqua, but a few are being taken daily.
The lower Rogue River has been improving for Chinook with about every other boat landing fish last week. Levels increased, peaking on April 15th but the water will continue to drop into the coming weekend and with improving temperatures, prospects are good for springers.
South Ten Mile Lake, USFS Lake, Ben Irving Reservoir, Clearwater #2, Cooper Creek Reservoir, Galesville Reservoir, Hemlock Lake, Herbert’s Pond, Lake of the Woods, Lemolo Reservoir, Loon Lake, and Plat I Reservoir will be stocked with trout for the weekend.
Diamond Lake, scheduled to receive 20,000 trout this week, will not be stocked until mid-May when the lake is expected to be free of ice. Rotenone will be used in September to rid the lake of trout-competitive tui chub.
Eastern – Although the Umatilla River opened April 16th for spring Chinook, no fish have currently passed Three Mile Dam. Steelhead fishing closed on eastern Oregon rivers on April 15th.
Pro guide Bill Kremers (541 754 6411) reports on trout fishing in detail for Central Oregon lakes in the full length version of our report. Bill cites excessive snow will delay the trout opener on many lakes but most reservoirs will enjoy ample water supply this season.
Century Gravel Pit, Fall River, Haystack Reservoir, Shevlin Pond and Sprague Gravel Pit will be planted with rainbow trout.