Oregon Fishing Update for the First Week of December

Willamette Valley/Metro – Fish passage is nil at Willamette Falls, in part due to the high, muddy water in the lower Willamette. It’s due in at least one other part to the calendar which indicates it’s still early for seasonal, migratory fishes. There have been a few bell-ringers at Meldrum Bar, but just a few. Far more sea lions; at least something is getting a jump start on the winter steelhead run.

It’s not that the McKenzie River isn’t a good winter fishing stream, quite the contrary. There will just be too much of it this weekend for fly fishing.

It’s been a tough winter for the North Santiam, what with the poor summer steelhead return and all. Now there’s still too much water to fish it. One darned thing after another.

Clackamas River winter steelheaders. There, we said it. There were a far greater number of them on the Clackamas River this week than there were winter steelhead but that’s gradually changing for the better.

Jeff Stoeger tells us that the Sandy is producing early steelhead mainly in the lower river. Fishing should get better. Waters of the Sandy River have been roller-coasting over the past 10 days or so but catch a moment when the water is dropping and catch it when there’s marginal visibility and maybe, just maybe, catch a fresh winter steelhead.

Northwest – Tillamook area anglers are having a hard time finding consistent success. Chinook are still present in light number on the Kilchis, the Wilson has been running too high for optimum yield, and all other larger systems are devoid of fish.

Smaller streams such as the North Fork Nehalem however do have fishable numbers present, but they don’t seem to be biting all that well. The Necanicum will be much the same.

Further south, Three Rivers should be getting fair numbers of steelhead back to the system, with fair bank access available too. Peak action should happen in the next 3 weeks.

Seas remain rough, crabbing remains closed south of Tillamook Head (most of the coast) and razor clam digging is closed too. How much Christmas shopping can one do on a weekend?

Southwest – A meeting will be held at ODF&W headquarters in Salem on Friday, December 2nd at 2PM, during which the public may comment on future rockfish regulations. To attend, follow online or comment, click here.

While there are some late-season coho swimming around in the Alsea, no one has yet reported taking a winter steelhead here.

Trollers at Siltcoos Lake are taking wild coho on occasion, mostly in the tributaries.

Pete Heley reports from Reedsport and reminds us that all ocean crabbing is closed, although getting out to fish or crab has been difficult with rough ocean conditions. All Oregon bays remain closed for crabbing.

According to reports this week, the Coos River has yet to start producing winter steelhead. We think this is unlikely.

There is a little action on Rogue Bay for Chinook but this run is nearly history. On the middle Rogue, anglers are taking the occasional late summer steelhead but the better fishing remains on the upper Rogue.

During the month of November, Chetco River Chinook fishers took fine numbers of salmon with some running 40 pounds. Winter steelheading has started.

Today, TGF received reports of snow on the ground at Diamond Lake, which triggered the thought of ice fishing which isn’t happening yet.

Eastern – Thank goodness that fishing for redsides has been marginally productive on the lower Deschutes because fishing for summer steelhead is slow.

According to reports over the past week, Fall River has been fishing well. This is one of Oregon’s rivers which provides a winter fishery.

Detroit Lake has been producing fish for trollers.

Despite freezing temperatures and snow on the ground at Lake Billy Chinook, trollers were working the waters this week and catching some fish.

SW Washington – District anglers are still catching a few fish on the Cowlitz but overall, action is poor and winter steelhead have yet to make a good showing.

The Kalama and Lewis Rivers were running too high to fish with confidence, but should be dropping into better shape by the weekend with freezing levels dropping. Of course, when temperatures plummet, so does fish activity.

It will be another week before clam diggers have any opportunity on the Washington coastline. Action should be good on the next tide however, closer to December 10th.

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