Recent creel checks for boaters working the Gorge near Bonneville still show willing chinook falling to backtrolled plugs and boats on anchor. Although the quality of fish is quickly degrading, a late showing of bright fish at the mouth a few weeks ago could keep this fishery going into early November. Fish of any quality however will be increasingly more challenging to find.
Sturgeon action in the gorge continues to decline with bank anglers tallying just a keeper for every 10 rods. Boat anglers aren’t even producing that. The mainstem Columbia will slowly go to sleep over the next few weeks.
With little change in the water temperature or flow at Willamette Falls, fish passage has nearly ceased. Catch and release fishing in the lower Willamette has been very good reports pro guide Frank Russum (503-804-1622). Frank suggests for the purposes of good action, fish the lower Willamette versus the Columbia River Gorge.
Trout fishing has been very good on the McKenzie for a mix of rainbows and cutthroat. Fly anglers are occasionally surprised by steelhead hookups.
Trout fishing is fair on the North Santiam but closes after October 31st.
Fishing has been very slow in the low, clear water of the Clackamas.
A few coho are being hooked on the Sandy but many have been dark. Anglers are advised to stay clear of spawning chinook.
Northwest – Anglers on Tillamook Bay continue to produce reliable results for chinook throughout the estuary. With the strong tide series through the weekend, action should remain the best in the lower bay early on the incoming tide and move to the upper estuary as high slack occurs. The west channel is hit or miss but some chinook are still being taken there.
Lenora Lawrence of Oceanside took a 24-pound buck in the Ghost Hole on Tuesday. The fish took a whole herring in 12 feet of water on the early part of the incoming tide.
Spinner fishers on Tillamook are taking a mix of wild coho, which must be released, and chinook in the middle and upper bay. Tidewater bobber fishers on the Trask and Wilson Rivers should start to see improved catches this weekend. Precipitation is in the forecast but measureable rainfall will likely not be significant enough to jump-start the driftboat season.
The Nehalem remains an option for both chinook and coho although coho catch rates have dropped dramatically. Chinook fishing should be best from Wheeler upstream as strong tides should push fish well into the estuary. Only a few hundred fish remain on the wild coho quota but it is the only remaining wild coho fishery open on the north coast.
The Nestucca tidewater still holds fish but many are turning dark. Fresh fish may arrive on the current tide series however. The Salmon River run is about over but bobber fishers may see another batch of wild fish too.
Although effort is light and reports sparse, some late run coho may make a showing in the lower Columbia. These same coho should be available at SW Washington tributaries this week for anglers casting spinners or plunking eggs.
Trout season closes in many north coast basins after October 31st. Check regulations before heading out.
Crabbing will remain good in most estuaries but extreme tides will keep most keepers buried until the water velocity slows.
Southwest – The wild coho fishery is over in rivers on the southwest coast although the troll fishery at Tenmile Lake has yet to start producing.
Offshore bottomfish trips were postponed off the central coast early this week due to unfavorable ocean conditions but tuna remain on the radar with fish reported within 30 miles of port. October 31st is the last day nearshore halibut may be taken.
Winchester Bay has been rewarding to trollers targeting chinook and crab catches have improved over the past week. Crabbing has been excellent for boaters in Coos Bay around Charleston where chinook fishing has been good for trollers.
Fishing slowed in Rogue Bay and the lower river late into the past weekend. At last report, only a few coho, most of which were wild requiring release, and the occasional jack were taken. Steelheading remains worthwhile in the Flies-only upper Rogue.
While chinook fishing has been slow to get underway in the Chetco estuary, a 50-pounder was landed on Friday last week during a guided trip. Rain will energize this fishery, predicted to be about 35% greater than the 20-year average. The Chetco River is closed above mile 2.2 until November 5th.
Anglers awaiting rain are gathering at the mouth of the Elk although fishing has been slow with only a few jacks to show for their effort.
Trout fishing remains good at Diamond Lake for those fishing Power Bait in 15 to 20 feet of water. This coming weekend is the last chance to fish it.
Eastern – With steelhead scattered on the Deschutes, the better opportunity for the coming weekend is above Maupin. Expect to fish hard between hookups. Trout fishers are doing well by throwing nymphs.
Metolius fly fishers have been doing well for late-season bull trout.
Despite good water conditions, success on the Grande Ronde was limited until last week. With temperatures dropping and steelhead more receptive, action on the Grande Ronde, Imnaha and Umatilla should heat up. Although the fish are not large, their numbers can provide all day action for an angler versed in small stream tactics.
SW Washington – Coho remain available in the Cowlitz, Kalama and Lewis Rivers. Fishing has tapered but fresh fish should be available into early November. There are still some chinook being taken on the Lewis River but most are dark.
Two winter steelhead have already entered the fish trap on the Cowlitz River. Action is more likely to pick up around Thanksgiving.
The White Salmon and Klickitat Rivers are still good options for coho and an occasional chinook. The White Salmon will close to fishing early next week as the Condit Dam is slated for blasting. Be prepared for a quick closure notice.