Managers are finally expected to set the salmon and sturgeon seasons this Thursday at Oregon City but public testimony is not likely to be taken.
Lower Willamette water temperature is gradually increasing which should improve sturgeon prospects for those who aren’t targeting early spring chinook. Springer fishing will remain open seven days a week for a daily bag limit of two hatchery fish.
The McKenzie is low but trout fishing is fair on nymphs. Most steelhead available are runbacks.
North Santiam steelheading has been slow with the steady flows at Minto and Packsaddle offering the most promise.
Jigs nave been hooking a few steelhead on the Clackamas as have drifted eggs. The river will be dropping and clearing this week. Eagle Creek put out some winter steelhead over the past weekend to hardware and fly fishers.
Bait has been most effective on the Sandy where fishing is fair to good for a mix of wild and hatchery steelhead.
Scheduled to be stocked with trout are Mt Hood Pond, West Salish Pond and Creswell Pond.
Northwest – After a long period of low water conditions, steelheaders welcomed the recent rain freshet just prior to the weekend. Boaters reported good action on larger streams like the Wilson and Trask with only fair action reported for the Nestucca system.
Despite persistently good conditions on Sunday, action had slowed significantly. Anglers are catching a mix of wild and broodstock steelhead with an occasional spawned out fish still present. River levels will once again drop to low levels by the weekend and a poor tide series will cause success rates to continue to drop. Most systems see a temporary downturn in activity in mid-February but better prospects will come around again by early March.
Smaller systems like the North Fork Nehalem, Three Rivers and the Necanicum River will remain poor prospects until a few wild fish enter on the next significant rain event. Spawning cutthroat trout will readily take bait this time of year but must be released unharmed.
Sturgeon fishing has dried up on Tillamook Bay and a poor set of tides will put this option further out of reach.
Crabbers took to north coast estuaries this weekend with mixed reports coming in. Most crabbers did only fair with the ocean being the best option, just too rough to access last weekend. The East wind forecasted for this week typically knocks down nearshore swells making crabbing and inshore reef fishing a good option. Watch the weather closely before heading out and be prepared to turn around and cancel the trip pending bar crossing conditions.
Alder Lake, Big Creek Reservoirs 1 & 2, Cleawox Lake, Dune Lake, Munsel Lake and Olalla Creek Reservoir are scheduled to be planted with hatchery trout.
Southwest – Steelheaders have continued to take fish on the mainstem and North Umpqua. The venerable pink worm has been effective over the past week.
Productive for several weeks, steelhead action on the Coquille has cooled.
Coos Bay has been fair to good for crabbing and should only improve this week. Steelheading on the Coos River has been a challenge but drifted bait put some fish on the bank recently.
Expect water conditions and steelhead fishing to be fair to good on the Elk through the weekend.
Anchor fishers have been running plugs with consistent success in the lower Rogue as conditions have improved. The middle Rogue has been producing multiple hookups on winters bound for the Applegate River. Springers are due in March.
Just over 4,000 cfs on Tuesday this week, the lower Chetco is forecast to be around 3,000 cfs by the coming weekend and continue to drop into the coming week. Bank and boat anglers will find success in these conditions. Long, skinny steelhead are returning to the ocean after spawning and should be released. They’re not worthwhile table fare.
While ocean conditions are predicted to be marginal in the coming weekend, boats should be able to make early morning forays for rockfish and ling cod before the seas get too rough. Limits are the rule and crabbing has been good.
Lake Selmac is scheduled to be planted with hatchery trout.
Eastern – The Deschutes has been fishing fairly well as redsides are responding to March Brown dry patterns fished tight to the bank.
Sturgeon anglers fishing the Columbia River reservoirs east of Bonneville Dam continue to eat away at their respective quotas. Fair weather will likely result in fair catches this weekend with the Bonneville Pool scheduled to close on February 21st with the increased quota of 1,400 keepers expected to be reached.
SW Washington – District rivers remain void of any big numbers of steelhead but broodstock fish should become available in the coming weeks. The Kalama holds the most promise.
Spring chinook should begin to arrive in the coming weeks with catches peaking in mid-April. The Cowlitz and Lewis Rivers will be the best options this season.
Persistent smelt dippers did take some fish on the Cowlitz last weekend. Limits were hard to come by but dippers willing to invest in several hours of effort did produce fair results.