Willamette Valley/Metro – Bonneville plug pullers are starting to see their fishery wind down but should experience one last hurrah for chinook, both bright and coloring. With cooling waters, action should remain more persistent throughout the day. On good coho years, there is often a successful troll fishery in the gorge although successful anglers keep it pretty tight lipped. It should be worth exploring this season with early November a peak period.
Steelhead counts are dwindling as are fall Chinook numbers. But coho, they are going strong. Since counts fall behind when fish traffic is heavy, data hasn’t been updated since October 5th when the total on that date was nearly 12,000. Something between 200 and a 1,000 a day have been passing since then so that equals a lot. The passage is nearly equal to that of last year at this time and much better than 2012. The ODFW announced earlier this week, “Effective Wednesday, October 15, the daily bag limit for coho salmon increases to three fish on the Willamette mainstem above Willamette Falls, and the Molalla, Santiam, Yamhill, South Yamhill and Tualatin rivers. Prior to the rule change, the limit was two coho per day.”
Coho taken in the Willamette above the falls or in any of the above-mentioned tributaries do not have to be fin-clipped.
McKenzie River levels have yet to show any impact from precipitation. This isn’t unusual following a dry spell as the ground will soak up rain for a while before it starts to effect river flows.
Over 3,000 summer steelhead had been counted at Foster Dam on the South Santiam as of October 14th. While this is off about 30% from last year’s run, there are still a catchable numbers of fish in the river.
Level and flows on the Clackamas improved somewhat October 14th with showers starting up on that date. If you aren’t deterred by fishing amongst other anglers, Bonnie Lure has good numbers of coho for those who and hike down to the river from there.
Sandy River levels rose just a bit starting October 12th at which the river picked up about six inches of depth measured at the town of Sandy. Coho numbers are decent on the Sandy River and the improvement in flow should have a positive effect on the fishes’ inclination to bite or strike.
Northwest – Chinook action in the Tillamook district remains largely focused in the middle and upper estuary of Tillamook Bay itself. The predicted rainfall was greater than anticipated, making it a possibility for driftboating possibly into the weekend but rivers still only came up about a foot. None-the-less, a slug of fresh fish entered the Wilson and driftboaters did really well here on Thursday. The Trask will be a primary target but the Wilson should produce some new fish as well.
The Nehalem system has a lot of wild coho present but they could all escape upstream on the current rain freshet. Trollers working the bay this week did fairly well on wild coho.
The Nestucca and Salmon Rivers are slowing although there should be more chinook to enter the Nestucca Basin over the next few weeks. The Nestucca looks like it may come up enough to spur some upstream opportunities.
There is still some effort for coho in the Columbia River Estuary but this fishery should finally fade. Throw in the fact that the gillnet fleet will be fishing multiple days per week and it seems even more challenging. Most coho have moved into the tributaries by now but action should hold up through the weekend.
Crabbing is good in the lower Columbia but challenging in other north coast estuaries. That likely won’t change in the coming weeks.
The ocean will be a poor option for all effort well into the weekend.
Southwest- High winds and an angry ocean has kept boats in port this week. Most charter operations are taking some time off with operations to resume as the weather allows.
From Cape Falcon south to Humbug Mountain, Chinook salmon fishing remains open through the end of October. Catches have been slow and spotty when boats have been able to get out at all.
The 2014 albacore tuna season has been a very productive one. It ranked third highest overall recreational landings on record. That said, it may or may not be over. If warm water remains offshore when boats are again able to launch, they plan to go.
Razor clamming is closed from Heceta Head near Florence south to the California border to because of elevated bacteria levels.
Nearshore halibut fishing is still open off the central coast with the 29% of the quota yet to fill. The South Coast fishery endures despite the quota filling weeks ago as it absorbs additional poundage left over from earlier seasonal halibut quotas elsewhere on the coast.
Most of the crabbing in Winchester Bay is taking place in the Half Moon Bay area and crabbers are doing well. Since the coho quota filled, far fewer boats are trolling for salmon in the bay.
The most productive area for salmon trolling at Coos Bay remains the Highway 101 Bridge to the mouth of the Millicoma River although action has slowed.
Trollers using anchovies on Rogue River Rigs have been making good catches of a mix of Chinook and Coho. Skinny water is challenging steelheaders on the middle Rogue now that Chinook fishing is closed above Hog Creek. The seasons have definitely changed as it is cold water being released from Lost Creek Lake which has lowered water temperatures, slowing results in the flies-only area of the upper Rogue.
Eastern – Steelheading is fair to good on the lower Deschutes with the bulk of the run yet to enter. While it can be crowded, drift fishing near the mouth can be effective.
Now is a good time to hit East Lake for brown trout but be certain to check the weather report. It can make a trip pleasurable or miserable at this time of year.
Odell has continued to produce 25-fish limits of kokanee on most days. We say “most days” because it does fish better when the weather is pleasant.
SW Washington – The Cowlitz is producing very well for coho anglers and with the recent rains, good action should continue for these late run fish. The Lewis is also an option with some coho and sea-run cutthroat trout an option as well. Both of these systems should be peaking for the next 2 weeks.
The Klickitat fishery is beginning to pick up more momentum as coho numbers continue to impress passing downstream facilities. Plug trollers working these impoundments are also taking a few quality steelhead.
Soapbox Update: Do you have your seats secured for the Association of NW Steelheaders 26th annual Hall of Fame Banquet on November 15th? This is the big one with lots of great auction items and a great program that highlights all the good things our association does for NW sports anglers. Go to the Steelheaders web site and secure your seats now. The Association would also LOVE to have any wonderful donations you’re able to provide. You can contact ANWS through the web site with all your creative ideas. Thank you!