Willamette Valley/Metro- Action on the Columbia remains disappointing although catches are starting to pick up slightly. A larger number of 4-year olds are starting to show, indicating the run is getting closer to peak as these fish make up the bulk of the returning adults. Managers will meet by phone again tomorrow, to consider another sport extension. An extension is likely as sport angler impacts remain low. Catches should ramp up significantly in the next opener, if it happens.
This will be the week that fishing takes off on the Willamette. The water is finally cleaning up nicely with a turbidity level of 14 as of Monday, April 9th. A few fish were caught at the Head of Multnomah Channel on Monday, with 4 making the chalk board at Fred’s Marina. Sellwood reported a few fish as well. As the week presses on, catches will increase and Oregon City will begin to produce. Flashers and green label herring are the go to, either rigged whole or plug cut. Prawns will start to see more action as the water warms and clears up a bit.
The McKenzie remains a little high but is dropping in to shape this week. Pack March Brown and Stonefly nymphs, attractors for cutthroat and include to March Brown dies for fair weather hatches.
Flows are around 4,200 at Mehama on the North Santiam making the river floatable below that point. There are decent numbers of wild winter steelhead in the system.
The Clackamas River has been fishing very well for steelhead. Traditionally, late March and all of April see the best catches of steelhead with winter broodstock, wild winter and early summers all hitting the boat decks and beaches. As of late, reports have a strong showing of early summers in the mix. Bobber and jigs work great this time of year and roe side drifted from a boat will get you fish.
One avid angler reported fishing the Sandy River last Friday and had pretty decent success boating seven steelhead while drifting from Oxbow Park downstream. Since then however, it has slowed a bit but it’s still worth going. As with the Clackamas, bobber and jig and side drifted roe will produce but plugs and spoons are likely producers as well.
Trout fishing is now in full swing in the valley lakes and ponds with most popular spots being well stocked. Worms and Power Bait often produce the most consistent results.
Northwest – Steelheaders working the north coast streams are still scoring fish although a higher percentage of the catch are beginning to color. The wild component of the run seems to be making a bigger showing but action will continue to taper into the coming weeks. A few summer steelhead should begin to show on the Wilson and Nestucca Rivers however and spring chinook are just around the corner.
The Trask will remain a fair target for late returning wild fish and is likely to produce the earliest spring chinook of any Tillamook County stream.
Spring chinook fishing opened on April 1st on the north coast but don’t expect to see the best action until mid-May.
Although effort was largely by the commercial troll fleet, there were some chinook caught offshore out of Garibaldi last weekend. These stocks are largely from the Sacramento and Klamath River Basins but will feed all summer off the coast of Oregon, making them easy targets for the sport and commercial fleet in calmer seas.
Tides were favorable for sturgeon over the weekend and a few keepers were caught in Tillamook Bay. Most anglers were more motivated for bottomfish however as Garibaldi and Depoe Bay produced outstanding catches of sea bass and lingcod. Crabbing was fair too. Doug Firstbrook of Nehalem produced his 2 lingcod limit on one cast west of Three Arch Rocks off of Oceanside on red and yellow feather jigs. The best action took place between 100 and 145 foot of water.
Southwest – Ocean conditions allowed charter boats to make trips early this week. Anglers have been taking mostly limits of rockfish and lingcod despite the depth restriction of 30 fathoms or less. Ocean crabbing is still slow, however.
Crabbing has remained slow on Winchester Bay as it has not yet recovered from the recent freshet. The Umpqua River is dropping this week but has been plagued by muddy conditions. The spring chinook fishery was just getting underway when the last storm hit but when conditions allow, there will be some in the river.
Coos Bay crabbing slowed after the last round of storms left the bay muddy but it should clear up this week with milder weather.
The Coquille, Chetco, Elk and Sixes rivers are closed to fishing.
High water has made some changes to the Rogue River so boaters are urged use caution on the water. The water dropped and cleared sufficiently for a few springers to be taken late last week and through the past weekend. Fishing was good with many springers landed on Monday this week. Spring chinook fishing will only improve along with the weather as the water temperature rises. Springers are upriver now and there’s a chance to hook one as high as Grants Pass. Winter steelhead may still be targeted and caught on the upper Rogue. The Applegate is now closed to fishing.
Diamond Lake opens April 28th but with three feet of ice and snow covering the lake currently, it may be another ice-fishing opener this year.
Eastern – The Crooked River water level has returned to normal and is fishing well. Take a variety of seasonal nymphs and dries.
Metolius fishers are once again seeing Blue-Winged Olives hatching afternoons now that the water has dropped back into shape.
Green Peter trollers have been taking very few kokanee this early in the year.
SW Washington – Although most district anglers will remain focused on spring chinook on the mainstem Columbia, steelhead and early spring chinook are in fair numbers on the Cowlitz, Kalama and Lewis Rivers.
The Cowlitz and Lewis Rivers will likely receive the higher returns of spring chinook in the coming weeks but all three systems should produce a mixed bag of late winter and early summer run steelhead. As flows drop, so should the size of your offerings.
Drano Lake and Wind River fishers will be watching Bonneville Dam counts as they are likely to jump in the coming weeks. Until they do, effort and catch will be low in these popular fisheries. Early season anglers can have some pleasant and productive days however.