Anglers await for more spring Chinook news

Willamette Valley/Metro – Anglers anxiously await more spring chinook news and plunkers as well as boaters ply the waters in hopes of an early prize. The season’s first spring chinook made itself visible at Bonneville Dam on February 8th. The mainstem Columbia season is projected to run through April 10th.

Lower Willamette sturgeon fishing is slower this week than last. Herring and squid are still taking fish but so is smelt. Following high water, there may be some spring Chinook action in the near future. We’ll let you know when it happens.

McKenzie River level and flow are conducive to fishing but catch-and-release trout fishing here has been slow.

The Santiam system is in decent shape but there haven’t been sufficient numbers of winter steelhead over Willamette Falls to create a fishery here yet.

Northwest – Early indications following the high water indicates that there are good numbers of steelhead around and as expected, a number of spent fish with some fresh wild fish available too. With larger, more productive rivers just coming on line at this writing, we won’t know more until the next issue but check the Forecast section for the region you’ll be fishing in for an accurate assessment of what lies ahead for your favorite stream. This is in the paid member’s only section.

The Wilson and Nestucca as well as the Siletz will remain top options for those seeking hatchery fish options. Wild steelhead should be available in nearly every system.

Rough weather kept recreational boats at bay for the week but conditions may improve by the weekend. Rockfish and lingcod await anglers.

Crabbing remains poor both in the ocean and local estuaries. It’s clearly a down-cycle for the crustaceans.

Southwest- Offshore conditions are forecast to be favorable through the weekend and into the coming week for those looking to launch for ocean bottom fishing or crabbing.

While boats out of Depoe Bay and Newport are regularly scoring limits of ling cod, catches of rockfish have slowed somewhat.

Surf perch fishing has been worthwhile at various south coast beaches including those around Coos Bay, Bandon and Gold Beach.

The Reedsport Fly-fishing Expo, sponsored by the Lower Umpqua Fly-casters will be on Saturday, February 28th from 9 AM to 3 PM at the Reedsport Charter School. A dozen tyers will give demonstrations, a film will be shown and door prizes are available. A pretty good deal since admission is free.

Crabbing has been poor at Winchester Bay as it is still suffering from turbidity from rain last week.

Coos Bay crabbers are starting to score once again now that the waters are recovering from last week’s storms.

Catches of winter steelhead are good on the lower and middle Rogue River. Winters are into the upper river as well and are being caught in fair to good number now.

Steelheading has slowed on the Chetco River with waters dropping low and turning clear.

Eastern – Crescent Lake is producing Mackinaw trout for trollers using downriggers.

Trollers at Green Peter have been picking up a few kokanee but they have been running small.

SW Washington- District steelheaders remain less than motivated although streams are just now coming into shape. The Cowlitz will remain a top option until spring chinook arrive but the North Fork Lewis and Kalama will also get some pressure. The early season return proved much better than last year’s return.

Smelt dippers most often took limits during the last open season on Saturday. The final opener for the Cowlitz will be this Saturday and dipping will likely remain good. No license is required to catch these fish but you do have to adhere to a 10-pound limit, which is about ¼ of a 5 gallon bucket full.

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