Oregon fishing reports 5/31/12

Willamette Valley/Metro- The bonus 2-day mainstem Columbia River opener produced poorly for most anglers over the weekend. Bonneville Dam counts indicate the bulk of the spring chinook run has passed the area. Steelhead will remain the main focus for bank anglers but catches not likely to ramp up until late June.

The Willamette River remains challenging to spring chinook anglers. Salmon numbers over the falls indicate a steady flow of fish but results downriver continue to disappoint, except for the occasional flurry at Oregon City. Some fish are being caught from St. Helens and Kelly Point, all the way up to Willamette Falls but steady to good fishing has yet to be seen. As many fishermen contemplate the peak of the run, others are turning to other fisheries such as shad and catch and release sturgeon fishing, which continue to bend rods from the lower Multnomah channel to Oregon City. It’s as if the sturgeon anticipated the arrival of the shad and started staging in the feeding lanes two weeks before the first shad made an appearance. The dedicated salmon anglers who continue to work the lake line, sand bar, garbage hole and Meldrum have been having consistent run-ins with sturgeon. Right now, fishermen could hook a chinook, a steelhead, a sturgeon, a shad or even a sea lion, on the lower river. The shad are in their peak now, with hog lines and randomly anchored boats dotting the rivers length.

With the water level dropping over the past week, prospects for rainbows, cutthroat and summer steelhead are good on the McKenzie.

Fish the south Santiam for summer steelhead and the possiblity of a spring Chinook hookup as numbers are increasing.

Historically, this is an excellent week for anglers on the Clackamas River. Although steelhead fishing has been steady, the springer fishing has been inconsistent. With near optimum water conditions, anglers would be hard pressed to find a better alternative in the Willamette Valley. Summers are here in good numbers from the mouth to Rivermill and a few springers are being caught daily. Angling pressure has increased with the anticipation of the first red hot day and guides and anglers in the know will start stacking numbers as we approach peak time. Traditional springer haunts like Henry’s, Bud Stones, Riverside Park and Carver will kick out springers from now through the end of June if the water stays up. Summers will be spread further up river with the best holding water ranging from Carver up to McIver Park.

The Sandy River appears to be having a better year all around than the previous two, with both springers and good numbers of summer steelhead available for bank anglers and boaters alike. Good catches of summer steelhead are coming from Cedar creek and Revenue Bridge, but fish should be well distributed throughout the system. With very little “salmon” holding water below Dabney Park, anglers might better focus their efforts from Oxbow Park down To Dabney for salmon. The deeper holes with depths of eight feet or more will dole out the springers on a more consistent basis, while steelhead will be found in the quicker moving water of 3 to 8 ft.

Northwest – After a less-than-impressive week of salmon fishing despite a good tide series, salmon fishing on Tillamook Bay remains fair at best. Fishing is due to pick up for Tillamook Bay anglers however with early June often supporting some of the best catches of the season. Anglers will have the choice to work the upper bay on the extreme minus tides in the morning or the troll herring on the soft afternoon tides along the jetty. Both should produce good catches this week. There are still a few days left to register for the Tillamook Estuary Project’s Bounty on the Bay fishing tournament at http://www.tbnep.org.

No measureable precipitation is in the forecast, keeping driftboaters from becoming inspired for a float in pursuit of salmon or a rare summer steelhead on the north coast. The Trask will remain a top prospect however with the tidewater stretches likely to produce the best results under these conditions.

Bottomfishing out of Garibaldi remains excellent with good ling-cod catches still coming from Three-Arch Rocks off of Oceanside. Nearshore halibut remain scarce however but the offshore forecast for this last 3-day spring all-depth opener (Thursday – Saturday) should produce easy limits for smaller sized flatfish.

Southwest – Over the past weekend, charters out of central Oregon ports provided mostly limits of rockfish and ling cod with about half the anglers taking nearshore halibut on Sunday, May 27th.

Ocean chinook fishing was not productive over the past weekend with most boats failing to connect.

Beaches on the south coast are producing good catches of pinkfin surf perch, some limits and often in just a couple of hours.

Trout season is open in the southwest with most ocean tributaries producing sea-run cutthroat trout. Bait is allowed in tidewater with lures and flies effective above.

Winchester Bay is producing limits of pinkfin surf perch which are entering on their spawning run. With the water level of the mainstem Umpqua dropping, spring Chinook fishing is good will improve around Elkton. Springers are also being taken in the lower North Umpqua.

Charters out of Gold Beach took limits of halibut on two of three days during the all-depth opener last week. Rockfish and ling cod results have been excellent with a 70-pound nearshore halibut bonus taken on Memorial Day. Spring Chinook catches have been spotty on the lower and middle Rogue but have been improving over the past week on the upper river as flows have moderated.

Fishing for sea-run cutthroat trout has been good in tidewater on the Chetco River.

The Pacific halibut fishery south of Port Orford has been producing fish.

Fishing was great last week for large Diamond Lake trout but midges are starting to hatch which can be problematic for unprepared anglers. The bite has waned as trout gorge on these bothersome bugs.

Eastern – Salmonflies and Golden Stones are thick on the Deschutes from Warm Springs down. The fishing is reported as excellent but usually tapers off as redsides become stuffed with insects.

Crooked River is in excellent shape and is fishing well with multiple hatches taking place every day.

The Wallowa River fished well at the opener and is in good shape. Warm weather will raise levels, however. Wallowa Lake is fishing week for fly anglers using nymphs or streamers.

SW Washington – The Cowlitz remains the best option for spring chinook anglers and catches of summer steelhead are starting to improve. Salmon are starting to concentrate in greater numbers between the hatcheries.

On Tuesday, fishery managers closed the Lewis River to the retention of all spring chinook (hatchery and wild) due to low returns back to the hatchery. The river remains open to summer steelhead.

Wind River and Drano Lake anglers are seeing a slowing of action as dam counts slow. Effort will re-focus in the upper reaches of these drainages where managers have increased the daily bag limit because the respective hatcheries have exceeded their egg take needs.

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