Willamette Valley – For the 4th consecutive week the Columbia River Technical Advisory Committee met and downgraded the run size for returning fall Chinook. The current “estimate” is now 713,000. Rest assured, there will be more downgrades. As for fishing, anglers remain enthused and catch rates somewhat respectable for a diminishing run. It does appear however, that the fishery is tanking fast and it’ll take more luck than skill this week to produce results, a good precursor to spring Chinook season. The gorge remains the best bet with a weekend check of nearly 2 Chinook per boat. Downstream fisheries aren’t producing nearly that well.
There’s no steelhead or salmon fishing going on in the lower Willamette unless you count spinner flingers at the mouth of the Clackamas River. And we do, sometimes. A better bet is the bass fishing which is worthwhile.
While the McKenzie was effected by rainfall this week, it by no means was a blowout. The level just came up and the time to fish it is as it’s just coming down.
Along with this nice shower in the valley, the Cascades got a shot as well, which has impacted some of the valley rivers. The North Santiam would be one of those although the South Santiam, which has steelheaders fishing now, was virtually unaffected.
Waters of the Clackamas have been rising and are expected to rise into the weekend. It is hoped that fishing will be good and that coho are in the mix.
The Sandy River got a pretty good wallop between rainfall and the effect precipitation has in the mountains as it’s headwaters are at the base of a glacier on Mt. Hood. That said, fishing is expected to be better as the water drops and clears.
Northwest Oregon – Chinook are in sparse number on Tillamook Bay but it appears the flop in the south of Cape Falcon fishery for coho in July is producing abundant wild coho catches in Tillamook right now. Too bad the season is closed and the bulk of the hatchery run has headed upstream.
Tillamook Bay boats are focusing on the lower bay with fair success coming from jetty trollers. The ocean is still producing some Chinook and large numbers of coho (which must be released). Crabbing remains excellent outside, but will close after October 15th. The ocean forecast is too volatile to predict future opportunity. Be sure to check the bar report from the US Coast Guard.
Nehalem Bay Chinook success is waning as is common this time of year. There are wild coho here too but like all other north coast systems, there is no consumptive opportunity for wild coho this fall. The North Fork Nehalem does have hatchery coho with the bulk of them staging at the hatchery itself.
The Salmon and Nestucca systems are tapering but bank anglers should have a chance at fresh fish just upstream from tidewater.
The Alsea and Siletz Rivers have fresh Chinook available and bobber tossers are starting to come into their own here.
Bay crabbing on all north coast estuaries is fair and should be good into the weekend.
Razor clam digging and mussel gathering are both closed along the entire Oregon Coast, hopefully, that won’t last long.
Central & South Coast Reports – Offshore bottom fishing has been almost everything it should be. There are lots of rockfish and lingcod but the ocean has been so rough most of the time that boats haven’t been able to get out.
Another bonus involved with finally getting out on the ocean is remarkable crabbing. There have been multiple reports of pots coming up with near limits, limits and “had to throw as many back as we kept” over limits. It’s only open through October 15th, so get yours!
Rainfall over the past weekend caused the Siuslaw to raise in level and flow. Anglers optimism is high that, as waters recede, there will be salmon upstream.
We detail the regulations for Siltcoos Lake which were amended this year but weren’t published in the regulations booklet. Conditions are right for the wild coho fishery to get under way soon.
‘Descenders’ are devices used to release deep-water rockfish (such as those species caught out of season or protected) and do so by returning them to the depths rather than floating on the surface. Get one without charge at many south coast sporting good vendors.
Author, publisher and blogger, Pete Heley, (peteheley.com) tells us that crabbing has really improved at Winchester Bay and that legal males are hard and full of meat. Heley also reminds us that while the ocean closes this month for crabbing that bays are open for Dungeness year-around.
Fishing has been slow for the most part for Rogue Bay trollers although the bite has turned on every so often. The Rogue has been little effected by precipitation, which means that Chinook will remain in the bay. It also means that the Rogue is going to remain low and clear for a while, giving fish little incentive to move upstream. Fishing has slowed on the middle and upper river.
Trout fishing has been picking up a little and shoud improve even more as weather and water temperatures cool.
Central & Eastern – Deschutes River fly fishers report that fishing for redsides has been steady. While it is hoped that more are on the way, steelhead remains slow to fair.
Trout are being caught at Fall River, one of the trout streams that fishes in the fall.
Some eastern rivers fish well anytime of the year. The Metolius is such a river due to being spring-fed. Everyone who fishes it (flies only, of course) says it is quite challenging but will produce for those who get to know it.
Miller Lake is reported as poor to slow. It is producing trout only on occasion.
SW Washington – The Cowlitz remains the best option for district anglers but with the regulations in place, requiring wild Chinook to be released, it’s tough to find a take-home fish. Sea-run cutthroat and coho are also being caught, but overall, catches remain less than stellar for the effort being put forth.
North Fork Lewis bank anglers are catching a few fish, far from what anglers are used to for this time of year.
Drano Lake anglers are still posting good catches of mostly steelhead but good numbers of Chinook as well. This fishery doesn’t have much time left on it however.