Willamette Valley/Metro – After an all-out effort for the 2018 Willamette Salmon Quest, well over 30 boats participated in the signature Steelheader’s event tallying about a fish per boat average. Jerry Toman took first place with five spring Chinook taken in the Oregon City area, a rare success story given the poor water conditions we’re currently experiencing. Catch rates throughout the lower Willamette were pretty similar to the previous week, but effort was about half with water conditions deteriorating.
High flows from the snowmelt inundating the Columbia have backed up the Willamette River, causing lake-like effect and quelling the bite. Spring Chinook bite better in faster flows, which are a rare find right now throughout most of the lower river. The water has warmed dramatically as well, slowing the bait bite and even hardware isn’t producing all that well.
Mason Waddle, 10, of Longview, Washington won the Jake Stoneking Memorial award, given to the youngest angler to land a fish in the tournament. He was fishing with the Sultan of Sellwood, John Shmilenko and John’s wife Patti when the fish took a spinner near the Sellwood Bridge.
Despite good water conditions for shad, the fish haven’t shown up in fishable numbers just yet. When flows improve, effort and catch are likely to follow.
Spring Chinook passage at Willamette Falls and Bonneville Dam are still lagging, but has improved recently. It may be because of fluctuating water conditions. Regardless, the run is tracking behind expectations for this early, but adult returns have been running oddly late in recent years. Tens of thousands of spring Chinook are still due back to both river systems.
Oddly, the spring Chinook creel census on the Clackamas yielded no salmon catches, but steelhead catches remain better than a fish every 5 rods, but the bulk of the catch are wild, spent winter runs headed back downstream. Summer steelhead are available in catchable numbers however.
From Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920), of O2BFISHN Guide Service – This week report is very promising if you’re looking at chasing springers. There was a good bite over the weekend in the lower river. The river is above normal levels from Tippy Canoe down to the mouth. They are releasing so much water from Bonneville that its backing up the lower Sandy to almost flood stage levels. The Sandy has fish all thru out the entire river. Dodge has good numbers of both springer and summer steelhead.
Northwest Oregon – Spring Chinook catches remain sporadic, and the high tide exchange through the weekend should prove productive for upper bay anglers. Troll spinners and backtroll plugs on the outgoing tide, and troll herring at high tide around the mouth of the Wilson and at the Memaloose Boat Ramp hole.
Trask River bobber tossers are catching some spring Chinook at the hatchery hole, but the crowd can create some tension. The Trask itself is almost too low to float. The Wilson and Nestucca both have some summer steelhead available.
The halibut opener out of Garibaldi didn’t go all that well. Most coastal ports were down overall but limits weren’t unheard of. Bottomfishing hasn’t been overwhelming either, but that’s likely to change for the better in the near future.
Astoria area – The sturgeon opener was depressing, a fair amount of effort for little catch. High flows are likely to blame, coupled with the fact that the winter smelt run was sub-par, which likely kept big numbers of sturgeon for foraging in the lower Columbia this spring.
Southwest – From ODF&W
There were several reports in the last couple of weeks of rockfish “boiling on the surface,” however they were hard to catch. There appears to be plenty of feed in the water, mainly crab larvae, which makes the rockfish a bit tougher to catch as they currently have plenty of food available. Reports indicate that lingcod are on the bite, with some good size fish still being caught.
The longleader gear fishery outside of the 40 fathom regulatory line has been authorized to continue in April through September. Recent catches from the offshore longleader trips often consist of a nice grade of yellowtail, widow and canary rockfishes. Reminder that the Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area is closed to all bottomfish trips, including longleader trips.
The Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation area, approximately 15 miles west of Newport, is closed to bottomfish (groundfish) and halibut fishing year round.
Central Oregon Coast Subarea (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain)
Spring all-depth season: Remaining fixed open dates are: May 24-26, Jun 7-9, and June 21-23. If enough quota remains after the fixed dates, available back-up dates are: Jul 5-7 and July 19-21. Quota = 135,742 lbs.
Summer all-depth season: opens Aug. 3-4, every other Friday and Saturday, until Oct. 31 or quota attainment, whichever is earlier. Quota = 53,866 lbs.
Nearshore season: Opens June 1, seven days per week inside of the 40 fathom regulatory line, until Oct. 31 or quota attainment, whichever is earlier. Quota = 25,856 lbs.
Southern Oregon Subarea: opened May 1, seven days per week until Oct. 31 or quota attainment, whichever is earlier. Quota = 8,982 lbs.
Sport salmon fishing for Chinook opens this Saturday, May 19 in ocean waters from Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA border. The bag limit is two salmon per day (all salmon except coho). Minimum sizes are 24-inches for Chinook and 20-inches for steelhead.
Fishing continues to be hot at Diamond Lake.
Anglers are reporting good fishing at recently-stocked Lemolo Reservoir.
Both shad and smallmouth bass fishing are picking up in the mainstem Umpqua.
Many waterways open reopen to trout fishing on May 22.
From Pete Heley at PeteHeley.com
Some boat crabbers are making fair catches of Dungeness crabs near Charleston in Coos Bay and in Half Moon Bay in Winchester Bay.
Spring chinook fishing on the Umpqua remains very slow with just enough salmon being landed to keep some anglers fishing A few salmon have been hooked by bank anglers casting green or chartreuse spinners at Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point in Winchester Bay.
There are boat anglers trying every day, but so far only three redtail surfperch have been reported caught above Winchester Bay. The run is definitely late and could start at any time.
Although they are seldom reported, a few striped bass are being caught on the Smith River.
The hottest fishery in our area is for shad – and excluding a few short term lulls, for the last two weeks it has been red hot.
As usual, most of the bass fishing pressure in our area is occurring on Tenmile Lakes. Black crappies are starting to show up at the fishing dock at Tugman Park on Eel Lake – with a few bluegills and smaller bass as well. Loon Lake is fishing fair for crappies, bass and trout and very good for bluegills.
Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports – From our friend Tim Moran:
Wickiup Reservoir – Wickiup is picking up! Fishing was good mid-week and pressure was low. Reports were of 5 fish limits with fish to 20″.
Crane Prairie – Cranebows are coming to those who work at it.
Odell – Odell is hot right now! Limits are coming to those who figure out the daily pattern.
This is the BIG ONE – I was on the Big D yesterday and fishing was very good! We got all of our fish on the surface with salmon/golden stone imitations. Two of us hooked over 40 fish with the largest being a 23-inch brute that took me into my backing three times.
Good luck to all…I will be digging clams!
SW Washington – From WDF&W
Cowlitz River from I-5 Br downstream- 199 bank rods kept 1 steelhead and released 1 adult Chinook and 1 steelhead. 49 boat rods kept 3 adult Chinook.
Cowlitz River upstream from the I-5 Br: 133 bank rods kept 18 adult and 1 jack Chinook and 1 steelhead. 34 boat rods kept 3 adult Chinook and 3 steelhead.
Kalama River – 92 bank anglers kept 2 adult and 1 jack Chinook and 2 steelhead and released 1 steelhead. 51 boat anglers kept 7 adult Chinook and 1 steelhead.
Mainstem Lewis River – 5 bank rods and 1 boat angler had no catch.
North Fork Lewis River – 29 bank rods kept 1 adult Chinook. 6 boat rods kept 1 adult Chinook.
Lower Wind River – 15 bank rods kept 1 adult Chinook. 683 boat rods kept 184 adult and 8 jack Chinook and released 7 adult Chinook and 1 steelhead.
Upper Wind River – 1 bank angler had no catch.
Drano Lake – 39 bank rods kept 2 adult Chinook. 697 boat rods kept 230 adult and 2 jack Chinook and released 11 adult Chinook.
Klickitat River – 25 bank anglers kept 2 adult Chinook