Willamette Valley/Metro – Visibility has been the biggest problem for trollers on the lower Willamette. Fish checkers at various locations reported one to three fish for the day on Monday this week. A few springers have been landed in the area from Sellwood to Ross Island on prawns or herring but a flasher is a must in the off-color water. Wrapped plugs have taken a few at Oregon City as well as prawns and eggs. The river is clearing however.
McKenzie River levels are still a little higher than they were a month ago at this time but it is clear, dropping and quite fishable. Anglers will find trout amenable to March Brown dries or similar nymphs and emergers. Summer steelhead are trickling in.
Snow fell above Detroit last week and the runoff with warmer weather will keep water levels high on the North Santiam. This will make conditions on the upper river hazardous for boating. A majority of the thousands of springers and summer steelhead which have been counted at Willamette Falls are headed here, however.
Expect higher than average water levels on the Clackamas this week. Steelheading has been tough this season but Alex Wilson, age 7 of Milwaukie caught his first steelhead on April 20th, fishing plugs near Carver, weighing in at about 6 pounds. The best chance of a hookup will be around Estacada, however, on spoons, spinners or corkies. Springers have also been hooked on the lower Clackamas, often by those targeting steelhead.
Sandy water levels are returning to normal with visibility improving this week. A few summer steelhead have been landed recently although spring chinook fishing has been slow but is expected to improve with the peak of the season approaching.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host a free family fishing event scheduled for Vernonia Pond from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May3. More than 2,000 rainbow trout will be planted prior to the event.
Northwest – With spring chinook peak still weeks away, district anglers are scratching for opportunity. Steelhead season is virtually over with mostly spent fish in the systems with a rare summer fish around on the Wilson and Nestucca Rivers.
The current minus tide series won’t bode well for bar crossings but the offshore forecast is looking quite positive for bottomfishing opportunities. Garibaldi and the south jetty out of the mouth of the Columbia are two of the best options. Crabbing is likely to be best in the ocean and not all that good for that matter.
Razor clam diggers will likely find good results with the calming ocean. Estuary diggers could also find some good opportunity in the morning tide series.
Southwest- While the all-depth halibut season opens off the central Oregon coast May 8-10, and every other Thursday through Saturday following, nearshore fishing won’t open until July 1. Once nearshore efforts begin, fishing will be allowed seven days a week until either Oct. 31 or a quota of 22,274 pounds. Halibut fishers south of Humbug Mountain are allowed to start fishing inside the 40-fathom line on May 1.
As expected at this time of year, fishing for surf perch from south coast beaches has been steadily improving.
Bottom fishing has been good for rockfish out of Yaquina Bay with boats limiting early. Ling cod limits have been difficult to fill over the past week. Conditions are forecast to be favorable for those hoping to cross the bar this week.
Boats launching out of Reedsport for ocean chinook have been doing fairly well whenever ocean conditions have allowed offshore trolling. Crabbing is fair in the Winchester Bay. While still early, spring chinook are entering the Umpqua mainstem and have been hitting plugs. South Umpqua steelheaders have been picking up some good-sized hatchery fish.
Offshore chinook fishing has been worthwhile for boats launching out of Charleston although the wind has created challenges at times. Crabbing remains slow in Coos Bay while clamming has been excellent on minus tides.
Lower Rogue water levels crested early this week and are forecast to continue dropping through the weekend to come. Steelheading has been winding down for a while and is of little interest while spring chinook fishing has been quite good at times. The bite has slowed as low water conditions return but boat and bank anglers have continued to hook up occasionally. There are a few springers in the middle Rogue now amidst dark or spawned out winter steelhead. While few of the winters on the upper Rogue are worth keeping, there are enough of them to provide action. A few springers have been landed including a bright hatchery hen on Monday this week. It appears dam removal was a positive decision.
Boats launching out of Brookings may start fishing nearshore halibut on May 1st. To avoid confusion (and potential fines), nearshore halibut is allowed inside 40 fathom or 240 foot depths while those angling for rockfish and lingcod may venture no deeper than 30 fathoms or 180 feet.
Eastern – The Deschutes opened from Pelton Dam to the Northern Reservation Boundary over the past weekend to reward fly anglers with water which had been undisturbed for months. Nymphs have been more effective than dries but that situation could reverse with dry, warm weather.
Crooked River flows have leveled off at 350 cfs, still considerably higher than this time last month although it continues to fish well.
Odell Lake gave up some nice Mackinaw along with a few limits of kokanee at the opener over the past weekend.
Kokanee fishing was excellent on the opener on Saturday, April 26th but slowed for most anglers on Sunday.
SW Washington- The Cowlitz remains the best lower Columbia tributary for spring chinook and steelhead. Spring chinook catches will be peaking for the next 2 weeks. The Kalama and Lewis are experiencing very poor results with just 12 chinook reported between the two hatcheries; it’s a disaster on these systems and closed to retention for chinook.
Expectedly, the Wind River and Drano Lake fisheries are well underway with one chinook reported for every 5 and 6 boats respectively on these systems. The fishing will only get better as we near peak passage sometime in early May.