Willamette Valley/Metro- Columbia River Gorge anglers lit up the summer steelhead over the weekend with some boats reporting double digit opportunities. On average, boaters working the swift water took a whopping 2.4 steelhead per boat with the bulk of those fish of wild origin. The action is good but be prepared to release fish; only steelhead and adipose fin-clipped chinook jacks may be retained through August 1st.
August 1st marks the opener of the mainstem for chinook with or without an adipose fin-clip. Although action won’t heat up for several more weeks, steelheaders that incidentally hook an adult chinook will be allowed to retain it. Steelhead action, particularly in the gorge, is likely to remain excellent as peak passage at Bonneville is still to come.
Chinook and steelhead numbers at Willamette Falls have moderated to a little over 100 per day for each species. Over 41,000 springers and about 20,000 summers have been counted this season. Fly fishers are doing well on the Middle Fork for trout and steelhead.
The entire McKenzie River is in excellent shape and fishing well. Results are best on days with cloud cover or early and late when it’s sunny.
The North Santiam is expected to show a marked improvement in steelhead results in late July and early August.
Clackamas anglers are taking a few summers with first light fishing most productive.
A few steelhead and springers are being hooked at first light on the Sandy. The upper reaches between Dodge Park and Cedar Creek are producing the best for anglers using small baits or spinners.
Northwest – Boaters taking advantage of calm seas out of Garibaldi are coming up empty in pursuit of coho. Action was good several days ago but quickly dropped off when water temperatures cooled. Clear, blue water in the mid-50’s exists offshore but seems barren of life. Offshore crabbing is productive however although many of the large keepers are only half full.
Tuna action was good several days ago too but the temperature shift has them far offshore. Some anglers are reporting going as far west as 70 miles to find consistent fishing. Temperature fingers are always changing however so don’t expect that run to be a staple in the coming weeks. We’re entering the prime albacore season.
Salmon boats out of Astoria are finding the same results. Action is slow although a few fish are available to the north of the mouth of the Columbia. Reports of excellent catches Columbia River bound chinook off of Vancouver Island indicate the huge Columbia run is likely to come to fruition.
Sturgeon fishing remains open in the lower Columbia below Wauna through Sunday. After that, catch and release is still an option and action should continue to be good. Quality keepers are still falling to sand shrimp in the Taylor Sands area but softer tides may produce better results in the deeper water.
The famed Buoy 10 fishery will open on August 1st and although there likely won’t be many coho around, anglers targeting chinook near the mouth of Young’s Bay should catch a few Rogue River strain chinook destined for the terminal fishery just upstream. Trolled herring took fair numbers on the opener last year. This fishery likely won’t get more consistent for another few weeks. Crabbing remains slow in the lower river.
Southwest – Boats launching out of central Oregon ports are reporting an improvement in coho catches but wild fish predominate. Bottom fishing has produced good catches of rockfish and a few lings even with the recent 20-fathom restriction.
Ocean beaches are providing good results for surf perch, particularly near the mouths of coastal rivers.
Fishing for chinook and coho out of Winchester Bay has remained very slow but is due to improve in the next few weeks. Summer steelheading is worthwhile on the North Umpqua while smallmouth bass anglers are enjoying an increase in catches on the South Umpqua as the water drops and warms.
Ocean trips out of Gold Beach have been productive for rockfish and lingcod. The lower Rogue produced limits of chinook in the middle of last week; water temperatures were cool. As the water warmed, action shut down on the river and boats were again fishing the bay. Upper Rogue anglers are catching a mix of springers and summer steelhead.
Albacore anglers have taken fish inside 20 miles of shore out of the Port of Brookings over the past week. Some good-sized halibut have also been landed as these fish may be taken south of Humbug Mountain through October.
Chinook catches are improving offshore. Sea-run cutthroat catches have been good in Chetco River tidewater for those drifting bait.
Eastern – Few summer steelhead are being taken on the lower Deschutes but with the water temperatures high, early and late day fishing will yield the best results. Trout anglers are doing well matching the caddis hatch. Upper Deschutes fly fishers are doing well using duns, caddis patterns and terrestrials.
Good catches of chinook over the past weekend caused an abrupt July 23rd closure of the fishery on the Imnaha.
The Wallowa River will remain open for chinook until further notice. Fishing for rainbows and bull trout has been quite good here.
SW Washington – The Cowlitz remains the best option for inland steelheaders. Good numbers of summer runs have been handled at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery Separator. Early morning anglers will produce the best results.
The Kalama and North Fork remain very slow.
WDF&W is reporting the likelihood of record numbers of summer steelhead handled in the month of July. Unfortunately, the department can’t be credited for the good success rates as the bulk of these fish are destined for Idaho and Oregon tributaries.
New salmon regulations go into effect on many district streams beginning August 1st. Be sure to check local listings.