On years of large returns, early spring chinook can be taken by Meldrum Bar plunkers about this time of year. Although a large return isn’t predicted for 2010, it should be one of the better returns in recent years. Steelhead should still be available for plunkers when the flows drop a bit more. The faster the flow, the closer to shore fish will migrate.
ODF&W’s 2010 trout stocking schedule is now available from their web site. Although the bulk of the stocking effort won’t take place until March, some bodies of water are already being stocked with quality trout. Holdover fish are also available in many ponds and lakes.
McKenzie anglers are catching cutthroat trout but steelhead have been elusive with the water high.
The entire Santiam system is high, forecast to rise this week and will be unfishable by the weekend.
The Sandy is high but has good color with fishing slow to fair. A mix of wild and hatchery fish are in the river with jigs most effective.
Clackamas levels have been very high. Eagle Creek drops and clears rapidly. Now that there are winter steelhead showing, expect it to be crowded most days.
Northwest – North Coast steelheaders will again be denied access to the larger systems in the district. Smaller systems like the North Fork Nehalem, Necanicum and Three Rivers in Tillamook County are options although even those streams have been running bank full. Three Rivers was once again putting out fair numbers of steelhead prior to the high water as fish are being recycled.
Small streams in the Astoria area such as the Klaskanine, Big Creek and Gnat Creek will begin to fade as fish start their winter spawn. As fish stake out their spawning territory however, they become more aggressive. Fresh fish may still be available for another week or two but spawned out fish will soon make up the bulk of the catch.
Although the Dam Hole on the Trask fished well recently, high water has this river along with the Wilson and Nestucca high into the weekend. Anglers may still be willing to target steelhead in the slower flows using large baits to entice swift moving fish. Hatchery and wild adults should be well distributed in the high water.
Another low tide series begins this weekend, making for good opportunity for sturgeon anglers on Tillamook and Nehalem Bays. Effort has been low indicating only fair catches.
Offshore weather forecasts indicate poor conditions for surf clam diggers, crabbers and offshore anglers. Don’t attempt a bar crossing.
Southwest – As of the latest ODA update, clams are safe to harvest south of the Necanicum River to California and the entire coast is open for the taking of mussels.
Following huge tide swings last weekend, tidal movement will be comparatively tame in the coming week.
The Umpqua, currently high and roiled, should drop and clear sufficiently to fish later this week.
The Coquille system has been an extraordinary producer of winter steelhead but got hammered by recent storms, putting it out of shape. South Fork Coquille anglers did not see the dropping and clearing predicted early this week but conditions are gradually improving and a few winter steelhead are being caught. The East Fork has been non-productive recently.
The Rogue was running high and muddy over the weekend. Hopefully it will clear with a break in the rain this week. Once the river is fishing again, 2010 regulations allow the retention of one wild steelhead 24 inches or longer on the Rogue and up to five per year. Plunkers using Spin ‘N’ Glos will be the first to connect with chrome winters.
Chetco water levels are dropping and it should be fishing well. Prior to the rise in water level, it was hot one day, cool the next but the freshet surely brought in more fish. Ocean conditions are once again predicted to be too rough to allow for offshore fishing this coming weekend.
There are bright and dark chinook along with winter steelhead on the Elk and Sixes thanks to a very late run here. A greater number of chinook than steelhead on the Sixes were caught on Monday this week, 15 and seven, respectively.
Eastern – The Metolius is putting out a few rainbows and the occasional bull trout.
Although ice may still hamper Grand Ronde steelheaders, there are plenty of fish available for those willing to brave cold conditions. The action may also heat up if air temperatures continue to rise.
John Day Pool anglers are still catching fish however effort has dropped off significantly.
SW Washington – Steelhead counts at district facilities have improved in recent weeks. Many Columbia tributary hatcheries are now slightly above 2008 adult returns.
The Cowlitz, Kalama and Lewis Rivers should all be producing fair when water levels drop back down to fishable levels. North Fork Lewis anglers reported fair catches around the salmon hatchery.
Smelt often enter the lower Columbia during periods of warmer water temperatures this time of year. Some anglers are reporting seeing a few fresh smelt available for sale but no confirmed catches have occurred according to sources.