Willamette Valley/Metro- The Columbia River below Bonneville Dam is still kicking out good numbers of shad. Sturgeon fishing is best described as average and fishing for summer steelhead, although there is some effort, has yet to take off.
A few straggler shad are still lingering below Willamette Falls. Fly fishermen are the primary pursuers this late in the game, looking for something to bend rods and to a lesser degree, stocking up on crab bait.
Approaching the sturgeon opener this week, a few devout anglers are preparing to catch and keep possibly their last keeper sturgeon. The open dates for the Willamette below the I-205 Bridge at Oregon City/West Linn are Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July 11th-13th. If the quota isn’t caught, the ODFW will allow a second three day opener July 18-20th.
Smallmouth bass are the best available fish to target mid-summer on the Willamette River and it’s rarely crowded. Rocky shorelines, back channels and behind Islands are the areas to target.
The lowest water levels seen in years combined with bright, hot days recently has slowed trout fishing on the upper McKenzie River. With a few Golden Stones lingering and trout responding to nymphs, there are still fish to be caught. Dries have been effective in the evenings.
Steelheading has been slow on the Santiams. The North Santiam water level is low and gradually dropping while the South Santiam is low but stable. The occasional spring chinook is being taken. Smallmouth are being caught in fair to good number at Foster Reservoir.
The Clackamas River has been busy with rafters, tubers and swimmers so far this month. This activity coupled with the warm weather and gin clear water make steelhead and salmon fishing tough at best. A few local anglers targeting summer steelhead and late spring chinook have been having minimal success. It’s imperative to get on the water at first light, or fish the last couple of hours of daylight for any success.
On the Sandy River the same holds true as does on the Clack, but the water has some color to it due to the melting glacier. Slightly larger baits and presentations are called for in the silty water. A handful of anglers have been fishing the Oxbow Park area with marginal success, picking up the odd summer steelhead and rare late spring chinook.
Northwest – Salmon anglers continue to look to the ocean for the best opportunity in the district. The Columbia remains king as coho are showing with more regularity and chinook remain available to the north of the mouth of the Columbia. With the recent NW winds, temperatures have cooled and mackerel are more scarce. Anchovies remain abundant and if you can find actively feeding birds, there is likely feeding salmon below. This is your best bet at success.
Anglers targeting salmon out of Garibaldi are also finding success but have to work harder to achieve success. Chinook are not nearly as abundant as they are out of the Columbia but a good grade of coho are available for those that put in the time. Ocean crabbing is only fair with some starting to molt.
Catch and release sturgeon fishing on the lower Columbia is excellent. Sand shrimp is hard to find but anchovies make for an excellent bait in the deeper water. Most of the fish are in the keeper range or larger but juveniles seem largely scarce from the population; hence the concern by state fish and wildlife officials.
Beach plunking for summer steelhead is fair even though it should be peaking now. Passage at Bonneville continues to track less than half of last year’s counts.
Bay crabbing, even in the lower Columbia is fair at best. The last of the razor clam tides is done; razor clam season closes on July 15th, to re-open on September 30th.
Also closing on July 15th is the expanded areas for bobber and bait fishing on the Trask River and Three Rivers. Outside of these boundaries, anglers may still target fin-clipped chinook and steelhead. Summer steelhead numbers are finally improving on the Wilson River although low water tactics are still required.
Southwest- Launching out of Oregon ports was not possible much of the time over the past week as high winds buffeted the coast. Offshore conditions are forecast to improve somewhat for the weekend. There have been discussions of an albacore hunt.
Surf perch fishing has been good coast-wide although catches fell off as the wind came up over the past week.
All depth halibut season is closed for now with the spring quota filled but will re-open for the summer season August 2 & 3.
Hatchery coho catches have been good out of Newport whenever boats have been able to get out. Herring are being successfully jigged up in Yaquina Bay.
With the Umpqua River mainstem running low and water temperatures high from summer weather, smallmouth bass fishing has been good. Better quality fish may be caught early mornings but action will hold up throughout the day on this easy-to-drift coastal river. Use caution above Yellow Creek, however.
The few chinook are being caught by trollers in Rogue Bay are either late springers or early fall fish. Those catching them don’t really care which. A 40-pounder was taken over the past week. The lower Rogue is slow, as is the middle river. Upper Rogue anglers are still catching fish with a mix of chinook and summer steelhead available.
Boats launching early mornings out of the Port of Brookings have been experiencing chinook fishing from good to excellent. The window of opportunity has been small, however, with wind chasing boats inland in a couple of hours. Coho catches have been decent as have rockfish. Consequently, local bait supplies have been limited.
Eastern – The Metolius is running very clear but is producing decent catches of trout including browns and the occasional bull trout.
Wallowa River level and flow are excellent for fishing. Trout are responding to various nymph patterns in larger sizes.
Fishing has been good on the Williamson River with large Mayflies hatching recently.
Kokanee fishing has been worthwhile for good-sized fish with best results coming to trollers in the morning.
SW Washington- With summer steelhead number on the Columbia slight, opportunity in the district is limited. The Cowlitz will remain a top tributary option with the Lewis a distant second. Anglers are still about 6 weeks away from realizing any fall chinook options but that time period can’t come soon enough.
Also challenging due to low summer returns, the Klickitat River is perplexing anglers and will likely continue to do for the rest of the season.
Trout fishing even becomes more challenging in the summer temperatures but district lakes still offer up some opportunity in the early morning and late afternoon for those in the know.