Willamette Valley/Metro – There remains no activity on the lower Columbia River.
The Willamette River is still harboring sturgeon, and in good numbers. Few still pursue them however, despite the good action and quality size. We’ve become a keeper society. We hope to have more information on 2018 catch and keep seasons by next week.
Plunkers working Meldrum Bar should also start to find a few more steelhead, although wild fish are likely to be more common than hatchery fish this time of year.
Nicer weather has metro steelheaders wondering what they can do on their favorite stream systems. Although still many weeks away from substantive opportunity, that won’t stop the die-hards, especially in a moderate weather pattern.
Both the Sandy and Clackamas are unlikely to yield impressive results this early in the season, but you can’t catch any from your couch. Stick with the lower reaches of the river, there are fish present. The Sandy will get the worst of the east winds this week, and it can be bitter cold on that river under these circumstances. Veteran steelheaders know better by now.
Northwest – River systems in the northwest district have finally come down and are all in fishable condition. There remains a few Chinook, but steelhead are on the minds of many. Although not present in big numbers, catchable numbers are here, and it will only get better from here.
Gnat Creek, Big Creek, the Klaskanine and Necanicum Rivers will offer the best options on the far north coast, with hot spots likely closer to the hatcheries than downstream. The Klaskanine and Necanicum should have fish that are more dispersed since there is no hatchery present.
In Tillamook County, the North Fork Nehalem and Three Rivers will likely produce the best results for small stream fishermen, but the Wilson and to a lesser extent, the Trask and Nestucca should boot out a few hatchery and a rare wild steelhead this early in the season. Trask fish are likely strays from the Wilson.
The Siletz remains on the slow side, but should pick up next month. The Alsea system has some fish available. It often peaks right around Christmas and that won’t likely change this year.
Chinook fishermen are still plying Tillamook Bay in hopes of a December Chinook. They are rare, but persistent effort does pay off. And by persistent, I mean many days of effort. A few are still being caught in the Ghost Hole. The Wilson has a few Chinook as well, and the Kilchis even fewer.
The ocean was surprisingly pleasant on Thursday (12/7). Too bad bottomfishing options are so limited. Locations where bottomfishing might be good are far enough offshore to cause a problem when the east wind is blowing. Nearshore crabbing is fair at best; another surprise given how productive October was. Four pots yielded only 20 keepers just to the south of Tillamook Bay for us today (Thursday). There were a couple of dandy’s however.
Southwest – From Pet Heley at www.PeteHeley.com
As of Dec. 1st, recreational crabbing in the ocean is now legal – subject to the existing closures along the Oregon coast. There is some confusion because the commercial crabbers have not started their season yet. The commercial crabbers voluntary delay is due to low meat content in ocean crabs.
Because of rough ocean and bar conditions, most recreational crabbing in southern Oregon is taking place in the first 1.5 miles of the Umpqua River above the ocean and in Coos Bay.
As of last weekend, all the crabbing docks in Winchester Bay were producing crabs, but the most dock last week was the old Coast Guard Pier – which happens to be the “dock-crabbing” option that is closest to the ocean and true saltwater.
Looking for a really good “outdoors-related” job? The new Office of Outdoor Recreation will hire a director in the coming months – and the pay scale tops out at more than $97,000 per year. Check out the Parks and Recreation website for more information.
The hunting and fishing regulation booklets for 2018 are now out and 2018 licenses and tags can now be purchased. Changes from last year, of which there are relatively few, are highlighted in bright yellow. One ironic note regarding the 2018 regulations for Diamond Lake is that it is illegal to keep tiger trout or brown trout.
Salmon fishing is just about over. Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile are still producing some cohos but most of the recent catches seem to be salmon that have been in the lakes awhile and the numbers of newly-arriving salmon has been disappointing. The same can be said for the late-run chinook salmon runs on the Elk and Sixes rivers.
Winter steelhead fishing is going well on most streams and the portion of Tenmile Creek downstream of the Hilltop Drive Bridge in Lakeside became legal on Dec. 1st. However, Eel Creek, the stream’s major tributary, does not open until January 1st.
Rains late this week are expected to increase river flows significantly. Anglers need to pay extra attention to water levels and floating debris this year due to impacts from the Chetco Bar fire. Anglers will want to check flows and USFS road closures before fishing the river.
A few anglers have been fishing the East Fork Millicoma and South Fork Coos rivers in search of the first returning winter steelhead. Anglers fishing the South Fork Coos River above Dellwood will need a permit from Weyerhaeuser, which they can pick up at the Weyerhaeuser Coos Bay office. In the Coos Basin 1 additional hatchery steelhead may be retained per day for a total aggregate of 3 adult fish harvested daily.
Galesville Reservoir should have good numbers of trout from previous stockings. In addition to trout, the reservoir was stocked with coho smolts until 2015. Many people mistakenly think these fish are kokanee. The coho smolts should be adipose fin-clipped, and please remember to release the ones less than 8-inches long.
In Galesville Reservoir, all landlocked salmon are considered trout and are part of the five-per-day trout limit, with only one trout over 20-inches long allowed for harvest.
Eastern – Avid angler Tim Moran reports:
Deschutes River, same story – there are steelhead around and they’re worth targeting above Maupin. The wind could be a big problem or fog if there’s no wind.
Owyhee River Fishing has been pretty good on the river this past week. Metolius River from the guys at the Fly Fisher’s place in Sisters – The river is fishing well from Allingham to Gorge mostly in nymphs, although a friend told me the fish were rising to BWO’s yesterday afternoon about 1 PM.
Bull Trout fishing is still good with some very big fish coming to streamers down near the hatchery and 99. Grande Ronde River is holding up well. Steelhead will continue to be the ticket until it gets too cold to fish.
Crooked River – From Flyfishers Place – Also good. Water temps are getting cold now so the fish are a little more lethargic, but a well drifted nymph and correctly weighted leader is still very effective to put up some numbers.
SW Washington – From WDF&W
Cowlitz River – I-5 Br. downstream: 7 bank rods had no catch. Upstream from the I-5 Br: 54 bank rods kept 8 adult coho and released 7 adult coho and 1 cutthroat. No boat anglers were sampled.
River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 12,100 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, December 4. Water visibility is two feet and water temperature is 47.5 degrees F.
Kalama River – 7 bank anglers had no catch.