Willamette Valley/Metro- The Willamette River continues to disappoint spring chinook fishermen. Although the count over Willamette Falls isn’t too far off schedule, the bite has yet to pick up over the last week. However, there are a few fish to be caught and anglers shouldn’t discount the possibility of a fish or two coming to their bait. Oregon City has had the best bite as of late, but the sea lions are in fierce competition for your fish. Expect spring salmon to be available through May, but it’s likely the run is on the downhill side of the peak. Catch and release sturgeon fishing is steady to awesome, but few anglers are participating. With the water temperature in the low 50s, smallmouth bass fishing is well underway and fishing should only improve through the spring and summer.
Over on the Clackamas River, the summer steelhead are making a pretty decent showing. Gear and fly anglers alike are scoring and the action should continue to improve through June. A few springers have been taken here. Expect the effort to increase in the coming weeks as fishermen begin to target the salmon over the steelhead. The river below Carver has the best salmon water, while the stretch between Rivermill Dam and Carver will deliver more steelhead.
The first spring chinook was confirmed on the Sandy River on Monday. The lucky angler was John Gallagher of Portland and he hooked the 16 pound hatchery salmon on a metallic blue plug. The peak of the spring chinook run should show by late May. There are summer steelhead available here as well and anglers can expect their numbers to increase through June.
The weekend past was the traditional Oregon trout opener. McKenzie anglers were successful with nymphs mimicking large stoneflies as well as hare’s ears and Prince nymphs. Hatches of March Browns and caddis in the afternoon has added some alternate possibilities. Both the lower river and the stretch above Leaburg Dam are in excellent condition for fishing. Expect to see a significant Stonefly component on the McKenzie over the coming weekend.
With chinook and steelhead counts picking up at the Falls, numbers of fish are improving on the Santiams. The North Santiam has been productive to Jefferson and the action will move upstream this week.
The ODFW will hold free family fishing events on Saturday, May 4 at Shorty’s Pond in Molalla, Vernonia Pond and Reinhart Park Pond in Grants Pass. On Sunday, May 5, take the family to Alton Baker Canoe Canal in Eugene. All events start about 9 AM with volunteers to offer tips, loan out rods, reels and tackle and provide bait.
Northwest – With low, clear water conditions, anglers remain focused on saltwater options on the north coast. Spring chinook are certainly an option in Tillamook and Nestucca Estuaries but few are being caught. Offshore will remain the best option but the weather forecast still calls for strong late morning or early afternoon trade winds which will make ocean travel uncomfortable.
A rare spring chinook is being reported out of Garibaldi but effort this week was focused on upper Tillamook Bay, where strong tides offered up some fair opportunity for spinner and herring trollers as well as plug pullers. Very few reported success however. Softer tides this week will re-focus effort in the lower bay and stronger numbers should begin to show.
Clammers were out in force, both on the beaches for razor clams an in the estuaries for a multitude of species. Digging for both was productive last weekend but not again until the next minus tide series.
Ocean trollers continue to report good success for California stock chinook out of Garibaldi. Trolling herring or spoons deeper than 150 foot in 300+ foot of water is giving up limits of 10 to 15 pound chinook. It’s clear that there are a lot of chinook in the ocean.
Crabbing remains fair as there is a lot of commercial effort still out there. As long as the price for fresh crab remains high, so will the effort.
Bottomfishing slowed somewhat out of Garibaldi for an unknown reason. Anglers are restricted to fishing in shallower depths with the spring time restrictions in place; check regulations for details.
Halibut becomes an option out of some coastal ports but may likely be more productive when the all depth fishery opens up.
Southwest- Boats out of Newport and Depoe Bay are limiting on lingcod while the rockfish bite has been spotty. Inshore halibut opens May 2nd with the spring all-depth halibut fishery opening May 9th through 11th.
Southwest beaches were once again kicking out good catches of redtail surf perch as ocean swells and breezes mellowed out.
Spring Chinook fishing slowed on the Umpqua mainstem as the water has dropped and cleared. Smallmouth bass are being caught with this fishery improving as the water temperature rises. Springers are entering the North Umpqua now and a few have been taken here.
Spring Chinook catches stalled on the lower Rogue in low, clear water. Success rates for salmon have been dwindling on the middle river as well although late winter steelhead catches have been fair. Rain will reverse fortunes here. Upper Rogue fishers are just starting to see springers.
Catches of rockfish greatly improved out of the Port of Brookings late last week when the ocean laid down with many black rockfish over four pounds landed. These results will be typical on calmer days. Ocean Chinook may be kept south of Humbug Mountain starting May 1st.
With the ice gone at Diamond Lake, boaters used night crawlers to take good-sized trout recently, the largest of which topped seven pounds.
Eastern – Redside action has been decent on the Deschutes with hatches occurring from mid-day through the afternoon. Look for spotty, sporadic Blue-Winged-Olive hatches as well as Caddis and Mayflies. Fish nymphs in the absence of bugs popping. The Pelton to North Reservation boundary which opened on April 27th has been fishing well.
Green Peter trollers are taking fine numbers of kokanee averaging 10 inches. Smallmouth are biting with the water temperature climbing into the mid-50s.
The Snake River opens to spring Chinook May 4th from Dug Bar to the deadline below Hells Canyon Dam for one hatchery adult per day.
SW Washington- With most district streams becoming low and clear, salmon and steelhead fishing remains challenging on the Lewis and Kalama. The Cowlitz will remain the region’s top bet but even that isn’t a great one.
With spring chinook now pouring over Bonneville Dam, interest and success is climbing in the Wind River and Drano Lake fisheries. Good catches can be expected this week for those trolling plugs, herring or shrimp. With no effort taking place downstream of Bonneville, success will likely be good.