Willamette Valley/Metro – Turbidity levels on the Willamette remain at good levels, allowing the spring Chinook fishery on the mainstem to prosecute. Effort has been on the increase, and out of 1,658 angler trips, 23 springers were retained, and another 12 were released. Low success rates aren’t uncommon for this time of year, but a 66% mark rate (hatchery fish) is. Wild fish are making an uncommonly strong showing for this early in the season, that is likely to change. Sturgeon fishing remains best downstream of downtown Portland.
Columbia River salmon anglers are also starting to find some springers destined for the upper basin. These fish are often discernable by dark blotchy skin on their chins and underbellies. Still weeks away from peak migration, a third springer has finally bypassed Bonneville Dam. An angler’s best chance remains downstream of St. Helens, where Willamette bound springers are also likely to show.
Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920), of O2BFISHN Guide Service reports, the Sandy River is starting to slow for hatchery steelhead, and fair numbers of spring Chinook likely won’t show for many more weeks. The upper reaches, particularly around Cedar Creek will continue to offer up the best chances for a late hatchery fish. Wild steelhead, and some large ones, will not dominate the catches on this system.
The Clackamas is producing slow, but steady results. Fish are well distributed throughout the system but despite entering the peak season for this river, effort remains low which is indicative of success rates. River levels bumped again at mid-week, but should provide good opportunity by the weekend.
The Association of Northwest Steelheader’s 3rd annual Family Fish Camp was a success at Camp Angelos, and interested newcomers will have many different options to recreate under guidance from ODF&W in the coming weeks. The next family fishing event will take place in Canby Pond on April 7th. Search “Workshops and events” at www.myodfw.com.
Northwest – Steelheaders working the top two Tillamook systems (Wilson and Nestucca Rivers) continue to pull some nice hatchery broodstock fish from the district. Quality wild steelhead are also available in most north coast streams and a continuation of good water conditions should allow for good success rates for the upcoming week. The Nehalem should also be a good option, especially as other systems become lower and clearer with the forecasted weather pattern.
Surf perch fishing is turning on along many coastal beaches and is a great way to introduce newcomers to a productive fishery. Anglers must use extreme caution however, using proper safety gear as sneaker waves can be a hazard.
Jetty anglers are finding good success targeting nearby lingcod this time of year, with some reaching over 30 inches in length. The ocean was calm last week, allowing easy access to ample numbers of lingcod and seabass over nearshore reefs. Ocean and estuary crabbing has been challenging. Offshore anglers will have access to the all-depth fishery until the end of the month.
An aggressive trout stocking schedule begins in many lakes across the district this week, in preparation for spring break. You can check stocking schedules from the ODF&W web site.
Razor clam digging was pretty good for the very few that went digging at mid-week. The tides don’t have to be minus to get a limit, it just sounds better.
Southwest – From ODF&W
This last weekend provided some phenomenal ocean conditions allowing many anglers to get out for some bottomfish fishing. Lingcod limits were easy to come by, with reports of some larger males being caught relatively shallow. Rockfish limits have been taking a little more work, with many anglers reporting success. Other species showing up on bottomfish trips include kelp greenling, with some petrale sole mixed in.
In the flatfish fishery, creels typically include sanddabs, sand sole and Petrale sole. Creels from the Offshore longleader trips often consist of a nice grade of yellowtail, widow, and canary rockfishes.
Pete Heley from PeteHeley.com writes “As Winchester Bay’s offshore bottomfish season approaches its seasonal closure (the last day is March 31st), the fishing continues to be almost unbelievable.”
Galesville Reservoir is scheduled to get 2,000 trout this week, including 50 lunkers that at 7 to 15 pound as well as good numbers of trout from previous stockings.
Recent rains should make for some good fishing throughout the North Umpqua. The first confirmed catch of spring Chinook has been reported on the North Umpqua.
Winter steelhead fishing continues to be good in many rivers. Some hot spots include the Chetco, Elk and Illinois.
Eastern – Nothing from our friend Tim Moran this week, but we got this kind report from Hugh A. giving Tim some news for a change. Hugh writes, “Tim, I fished Billy Chinook on Sunday March 11. We were fishing Rapals and Herring. Boated 2 Bulltrout. One was 25 inches approx. 8 lbs. Released one at 20 inches. Both fish were caught with trolling herring and 8 inch protroll echip flasher. Thanks for your work!”
SW Washington – From WDF&W
I’m thinking maybe the reporter got furloughed this week? The WDFW report simply states:
Not hot but at least we sampled a couple fish.
235 salmonid boats and 218 bank anglers were counted during last Saturday’s flight