Willamette Valley/Metro – Still nothing to fish for in the mainstem Columbia. There’s always rumors of spring Chinook here or there, just non substantiated just yet. It’ll be running a bit turbid downstream of Kelly Point Park for a while.
The lower Willamette is high and predicted to continue rising over the weekend. It is hazardous to boat in these conditions and fist-timers or novices shouldn’t try it. It will fish eventually but for now, no spring Chinook have been reported.
Waters of the McKenzie can be beautiful. The typical mountain stream, surprising with every bend. That’s not what it is now and will not be for a while due to high water.
The Santiam system has once again blown out but we wouldn’t bother if conditions were perfect. At least not for a while!
Clackamas water levels have been rising all week and are approaching Alert Level. Fortunately, the river should nearly be nearly at or just past cresting as you read this. Steelheading has improved prior to this mega-freshet. Our Man on the Sandy River, pro fishing guide Jeff Stoeger (http://guideoregon.com/) tells us that water levels are high, rising and unattractive, but there’s hope it’ll fish by mid-week.
Northwest – Trailers have been evacuated at the Wilson River RV Park if that’s any indication as to how our coastal streams are performing right now. They are already on the drop however and may fish as early as early as Saturday, depending on the size of the watershed. The Wilson and Nestucca may take until Sunday to clear.
Look to our full version for a more detailed forecast for each river system for the weekend drop.
Smaller systems will fish sooner, particularly the North Fork Nehalem, Necanicum and Three Rivers, which may have a mix of spent steelhead, along with a few bright wild fish. For the most part however, these systems will not produce abundant numbers of steelhead until next year.
A few boats skated into the ocean earlier this week, they were rewarded with good catches of lingcod, sea bass and crab. The ocean option doesn’t look feasible for the foreseeable future.
Southwest – Author and avid blogger, Pete Heley (peteheley.com) chimes in from Roseburg about crabbing closures along part of the Oregon coast. The reason is the same as for previous closures – elevated levels of domoic acid and expresses concern that such an emergency closure could happen at any time along a certain section of the Oregon coast.
The crabbing closure affects the recreational crabbing from the North Jetty of Coos Bay northward to Heceta Head, about 14 miles north of Florence. Word is that commercial crabbing is also getting shut down in this area.
While surf perch fishing doesn’t pop into mind from Februaries past, it’s certainly darned good now. Up and down the coast, anglers with mostly medium spinning gear are casting from beaches to catch these fish.
Be sure to check the sport fishing regulations pamphlet or look up the regulations online regarding new bottomfishing rules for 2017.
Proposed dates for halibut fishing were announced this week with an improvement in quota for all-depth anglers.
One new rule which can’t be overemphasized is the mandatory requirement to have a descending device onboard the vessel when fishing for Pacific halibut as well as bottomfish, and to use when releasing any rockfish species when fishing outside of 30 fathoms.
The lower Rogue really got walloped by the latest storm, raising levels near Agness to nearly 19 feet and pushing flows to 60,000 cfs. Yeah, it’s a mess tight now but winter steelheaders can anticipate improved action when the water drops and clear. Some long-time Rogue salmon fishers are hoping all this water will equate to a better spring Chinook season.
Fishing for winter steelhead was producing decent numbers and a few jumbos prior to the latest deluge. Waters are approaching 20,000 cfs at this writing, making the conditions unfishable at this time.
Anglers are still ice fishing at Diamond Lake where catches are said to be fair to good.
Eastern – Trout, kokanee and Chinook catches have been slow at Detroit Lake. Water temperatures are cold, however, with fishing expected to improve along with warmer temperatures.
SW Washington – I think the WDF&W district report sums it up best:
Cowlitz River – 8 boat and 51 bank anglers had no catch.
Smelt numbers appear to be down this year. Some folks are speculating that there will be no sport dipping season this spring.