Sound Fisheries Policy is Under Attack!

By Bob Rees

Besides walking Capitol Hill on the legislation on sea lion predation on our Northwest stocks of salmon and steelhead, myself (Bob Rees) representing the Association of Northwest Steelheaders, and two representatives from the NW Guides and Anglers Association chatted with Oregon and Washington house and senate staff about H.R. 200 and the damaging implications on sound saltwater fisheries management. Please consider taking action TODAY, as H.R. 200 is a bad bill for our ocean fisheries and is up for a floor vote early next week.

Purpose: Contact U.S. House of Representatives: Oppose H.R. 200

Background: H.R. 200, “Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act,” [is/may be] headed to the House floor for a vote as early as next week. Anglers invested in good ocean management oppose this legislation because it would undermine the Magnuson-Stevens Act’s mandate for science-based fisheries management that’s brought dozens of fish species back from the brink of collapse.

Additional information on H.R. 200 is available on the Network’s website. Full analysis of this legislation can be found here.

What anglers can do to help: Tell Congress: oppose H.R. 200. Our fisheries need science-based management for our fishing communities to thrive. ACT NOW!

You can use this action alert or contact your Representatives office directly (find your Representative here.)

Talking points for Congressional phone call:

  • Rep. Don Young’s H.R. 200, “Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act,” is the wrong foundation for reauthorizing Magnuson-Stevens!
  • H.R. 200 would:
  • Represent a significant step backward and hinder federal fisheries managers’ ability to rebuild and maintain sustainable fish stocks.
  • Threaten the law’s strong foundation and weaken many conservation measures, such as the requirement to use science-based fishing catch limits that prevent overfishing.
  • Broaden the categories of data deemed to be “best available science” to include information provided by sources untrained in scientific survey methods and data gathering, which creates uncertainty in the future management of our fisheries.
    • Congress should focus on legislation that builds upon the Magnuson-Stevens Act’s success and strengthens it to meet the new challenges our oceans and fisheries face.
    • Please oppose H.R. 200.

 

Sample email to Congressional member:

Subject: Support Science-Based Fisheries Management: Oppose H.R. 200

Text: Please oppose Rep. Don Young’s H.R. 200, the “Strengthening Fishing Communities and Increasing Flexibility in Fisheries Management Act of 2017.”

This bill takes the wrong approach to reauthorizing the landmark Magnuson-Stevens Act, which brought science-based decision-making to fisheries management and brought many of our fishing communities back from the brink of collapse.

H.R. 200 would:

  • Represent a significant step backward and hinder federal fisheries managers’ ability to rebuild and maintain sustainable fish stocks.
  • Weaken some of the most important measures adopted during previous reauthorizations and creates exemptions that have the potential to render other management measures meaningless.
  • Threaten the law’s proven management measures and its strong accountability requirements—including the requirement to use science-based fishing catch limits.
  • Threaten the scientific integrity of the stock assessment process.

Congress should focus on legislation that builds upon the Magnuson-Stevens Act’s success and strengthens it to meet the new challenges our oceans and fisheries face. H.R. 200 is the wrong approach. Please oppose it now.

Thank you.

Additional talking points for H.R. 200:

  • H.R. 200 contains provisions that would:
    • Roll back the law’s successful rebuilding requirements, including by establishing broad loopholes that effectively remove reasonable time limits and allowing short-term economic concerns to trump the long-term economic and ecological health of the nation’s fish and fisheries.
    • Allow economics to factor into setting catch limits.
    • Extend state management into federal waters and exempt the Gulf of Mexico red snapper fishery from accountability when it exceeds catch limits.
    • Broaden the categories of data deemed to be “best available science” to include information provided by sources untrained in scientific survey methods and data gathering.
  • Strong fishing communities depend on healthy fisheries. Anything that undermines conservation provisions or promotes greater uncertainty in fisheries management jeopardizes the livelihoods of fishermen, seafood business owners, and coastal communities throughout the country.

 

  • To keep the Magnuson-Stevens Act strong, Congress must:
    • Maintain and defend the Magnuson-Stevens Act’s conservation requirements and strong science-based management;
    • Promote policies that support and strengthen our nation’s working waterfronts and community-based fishermen;
    • Transition to a more comprehensive fisheries management system that protects marine ecosystems; and
    • Strengthen assessment, monitoring, and enforcement mechanisms for implementing the law.
  • Congress has a history of passing bipartisan legislation that strengthens the Magnuson-Stevens Act’s science-based conservation principles, which keep our oceans and fisheries healthy and productive.
    • Anglers calls upon the House of Representatives to keep this tradition alive by voting against H.R. 200.
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Oregon Fishing Reports for June 22

Willamette Valley/Metro – Although spring Chinook fishing on the mainstem Columbia closed on the 15th, the summer Chinook season starts on June 22nd, and water conditions are looking favorable for a fair run through the 4th of July. Passage numbers at Bonneville are already climbing. Summer Chinook commonly run larger than their spring cousins, and action should be fair from Longview to Bonneville Dam using plugs and small spinners either on anchor or trolling.

Summer steelhead remain available too, and although we’re coming off of a good tide series, another strong outgoing tide happens towards the end of the month and should push steelhead towards lower Columbia River beach anglers, where catches should improve during peak migration. Small spin-n-glos tipped with coon shrimp often produce the best results for fish between 5 and 11 pounds.

Shad fishing at Bonneville is nothing short of epic, it’s peak season and anglers trying for these fish should use Dick Nite spoons or small green grubs during sunny weather.

Meanwhile, Willamette River catches near the head of the Multnomah Channel near St. Johns have improved dramatically, with some big numbers being reeled in, in recent days. Pro-trolls with small spinners behind them are taking the best numbers. The fishery at Oregon City has improved recently too, with trollers taking spring Chinook mostly above the West Linn Bridge.

Shad catches at Oregon City are excellent too.

The Sandy and Clackamas fisheries remain challenging in the low, clear flows of each of these systems. The bite at the head of Multnomah Channel is an indication that more fish are headed towards the Clackamas system, but the fishing there has been extremely poor for Chinook, fair for steelhead.

Pro guide Jeffrey Stoeger of O2BFISHN (503-704-7920) reports, “I floated the river Friday and the river is very low, its running at 8.2 ft and could drop depending how warm it gets over the next couple of days. The river was very clear and hadn’t started to show color of glacial melting yet. My boat is a clackacraft and I slid through some very shallow water and  I didn’t have to get out to push or pull the boat. If you have a metal boat plan on banging your boat and having to get out and push it over a hand full of spots. In the next few days or weeks the river could become a hazard for those who plan on floating it.  I targeted the deep holes and tail outs for both steelhead and salmon and was not successful. I knew the water was low and was looking in spots that I know that usually held fish. I fished plugs, diver and bait, jigs and worms and no takers. I did see fish moving thru the river for the water is so low that the fish are blasting upstream. When I put in at Oxbow I did see a lot of fish rolling at the boat ramp. There were 3 guys that were pitching spinners and they had mentioned that they had caught fish there.” A more detailed report is available for paid subscribers.

Northwest Oregon – There were some spring Chinook taken in upper Tillamook Bay last week, but overall, fishing remains slow. In recent years however, late June proved to be the best action so this week and next could be the best of the season. Springers on Tillamook are some of the largest in the state, so it should be worth the effort.

River fishing for spring Chinook just got a bit more challenging on the Trask River, where managers closed a productive stretch at the Trask Hatchery to help ensure this year’s proper egg take. Catches have been slow in the district’s rivers, especially in the low, clear flows.

Summer steelhead remain a viable option in the Wilson and Nestucca Rivers.

Bottomfishing remains a staple this time of year, and anglers are starting to catch onto the benefits of the long-leader fishery. Although the rigging is cumbersome to figure out, a 10-fish bag limit makes the effort worthwhile. The Garibaldi Charter fleet has it figured out so booking a trip with them is a wise investment.

Nearshore halibut fishing is fair, and remains open 7 days per week inside of 40-fathoms.

Astoria area – Catch and release sturgeon fishing is excellent right now, using anchovies for bait. Most areas are producing, the green line is especially good from Astoria to Hammond.

Southwest – From ODF&W

Last week anglers reported having trouble finding fish at their usual spots, although Sunday seemed to have picked up some. Boats/anglers that put in the time have been able to come home with limits. Lingcod catches have been hit and miss. Reminder that as of April 1, the bottomfish fishery is restricted to inside of the 30 fathom regulatory line.

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 Central Coast nearshore halibut fishery opened on Friday, June 21-23 is the last set of fixed dates for the Central Coast spring all-depth fishery. Available back-up dates, if quota remains are: July 5-7 and July 19-21.

Sport salmon fishing for Chinook is open in ocean waters from Cape Falcon (just North of Nehalem Bay) to the Oregon/California border for two salmon per day (all salmon except coho). Minimum sizes are 24-inches for Chinook and 20-inches for steelhead.

Salmon fishing has generally been slow to date. Most open areas are seeing one Chinook landed for every four angler trips.  Spring Chinook fishing continues to be fair to good throughout the Rogue.  Fishing for early summer steelhead has been good on the middle and upper Rogue.

As the weather warms up (and I’d say we’re getting there), the Rogue River above Lost Creek Reservoir offers some of the best trout fishing in the Rogue Basin.  Anglers continue to report good catches of shad the Coquille Basin.  Trout fishing has been good in Tenmile Lakes, where some fish over 20-inches have been caught.

Largemouth bass fishing is picking up in Tenmile and Butterfield lakes.  Smallmouth fishing has been good in Lost Creek Reservoir and the mainstem Umpqua.

2018 STOCKING SCHEDULE

STOCKING MAP

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports – From our friend Tim Moran 

Deschutes River – As stated in last week’s edition, PMD’s and PED’s will be coming off with caddis for the foreseeable future.

Metolius River – The Green Drake hatch is happening from 2 to 5pm most days. Golden stones should make an appearance soon but until then go with a small nymph behind a GSF nymph when the trout aren’t rising.

John Day River – The JDR was up and down but mostly up and muddy and the bite was off. Until the weather stabilizes I’d go somewhere else.

Prineville Reservoir – Reports from Prineville are off the charts! Bank rods are scoring limits of rainbows to 20″.

East lake – The fly guys are getting fish on chironomids 16 to 20″ under an indicator.

Wickiup Reservoir – The kokanee are huge but numbers are not. You have to approach this more like a salmon trip – be ready for long stretches of inactivity and a few really nice fish.

Crane Prairie Reservoir – Fly fishing is good fishing the Deschutes and Quinn River channels with leeches, damsels and chironomids.

SW Washington – From WDF&W

Salmon/Steelhead

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br. downstream: 6 bank anglers had no catch. Above the I-5 Br: 17 bank anglers released 2 cutts. 25 boat anglers kept 2 adult spring Chinook and 11 steelhead. Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 83 spring Chinook adults, 40 summer-run steelhead, and one winter-run steelhead during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. Tacoma Power also released ten spring Chinook adults into Lake Scanewa near Randle. River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 5,100 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, June 18. Water visibility is 15 feet and the water temperature is 49.9 degrees F.

Kalama River – 6 bank anglers had no catch. 6 boat anglers kept 3 steelhead.

Lewis River (North Fork) – 15 bank anglers had no catch.

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Megler-Astoria Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam – Up to 2 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Release all sockeye. Fishing at night is permitted in Washington waters. Release all adult Chinook through June 21 and July 5-31.

Sturgeon

Bonneville and The Dalles pools – During the one-day retention fishery last Friday, boat anglers averaged just over a legal kept per boat from each pool. Bank anglers averaged a legal kept per every 7 rods in Bonneville Pool and one for every 4 rods in The Dalles Pool.

Trout

Tacoma Power released 5,200 rainbow trout into Mayfield Lake. No report on angling success.

Shad Bank anglers just below Bonneville Dam averaged 4 shad per rod based on mainly incomplete trips while boat anglers averaged just over 8 fish per rod based on completed trips this past weekend. Nearly 2.6 million shad had been counted at Bonneville Dam through June 17.

There is always more Oregon fishing information delivered earlier on our site, The Guide’s Forecast.  You can also sign-up for our weekly emails here.

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Let’s Talk About Fish and Fishing!

By Bob Rees

Do you want the good news, or the bad news? OK, bad news first.

How would you feel about DRASTIC AND DRACONIAN CUTS to hatchery production for spring Chinook, summer steelhead and rainbow trout in the Willamette River and Willamette Valley, courtesy of the US Army Corps of Engineers? Yeah, I thought so.

It’s still a reality folks, we have to fight for what we’ve paid for, what we’ve sacrificed for, and what we were promised. It’s a constant battle, and that’s why it’s important to be a member of an organization such as the Association of Northwest Steelheaders. This time, the US Army Corps is talking about cutting signature trout production in many Willamette Valley lakes by ONE THIRD! Trout fishing is considered a “gateway” fishery for Oregon’s anglers, often turning them into salmon and steelhead anglers and future conservationists. Is this the future we want for our children? They call it MITIGATION for a reason, Oregonians are OWED this, for the massive dam facilities that have KILLED the production of our wild trout and salmon in the region.

And summer steelhead in the North Santiam? GONE!

Spring Chinook? How about nearly HALVING the production, from 605,000 smolts to 360,000? Can you imagine making spring Chinook success half of what it is today? NO THANK YOU!

Don’t let this one slip by, critical decisions will be made by July 1st and the US Army Corps of Engineers hopes you’ll just let them slide by. Make these calls TODAY:

The message for the US Army Corps of Engineers would be, “Maintain your mitigation obligations for our trout, salmon and steelhead hatcheries in the Willamette Basin, our community and our children depend on it!. Fully fund trout, spring Chinook and steelhead production in the Willamette Valley!”

The message to the US Congressional offices would all be the same, they are on the same page as us so thank them, and ask them to continue to dog the US Army Corps of Engineers to meet their mitigation obligations. ”

Thank you for holding the US Army Corps of Engineers feet to the fire! They have a social and economic obligation to continue salmon, trout and steelhead production in the Willamette Basin. It’s critical to our communities, and our children that this opportunity is maintained, especially since the dams in the upper Willamette cut off wild production in our rivers and lakes!”

It’s a sad fact that we have to continue to fight this fight, but if we want to maintain our opportunity, a phone call from just a few concerned organizations isn’t going to get the job done!

Call NOW to SAVE OUR FISHERIES!

US Army Corps of Engineers, Portland Branch: 503-808-4700 Comment page is here. Reference KEVIN BRICE AND COLONEL  DORF.

US Congressman Peter DeFazio: 202-225-6416

US Congressman Kurt Schrader: (202) 225-5711

Senator Ron Wyden: (202) 224-5244

Senator Jeff Merkley: (202) 224-3753

Our fisheries are in the state they are in because our policy-makers haven’t heard from enough of us. Organizations like the Association of Northwest Steelheaders, the NW Guides and Anglers Association, The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association and the Coastal Conservation Association are always working on your behalf, but we can’t do this alone. We plead with you, make these calls and make a difference. NOW!

Are you mad now? You should be…

But, here’s the good news, hopefully we can get over the bad.

The Association of Northwest Steelheaders and members of the Northwest Guides and Anglers Association are hosting what we hope will be its first (of an) annual Summer Steelhead Camp! The camp will be an overnight excursion to an island on the lower Columbia River, complete with camp out and plunking trip for summer steelhead on June 29th and 30th. This may be the event of the summer, and will only cost adults $60 and children $40. We’ll camp under the stars and tell fish stories and learn about the great conservation programs the Steelheaders are involved in. Most important, we’ll provide an intimidation free fishing experience for beginners; women, children and men are all encouraged to come, especially FAMILIES!

Steelheader Ty Campsey and his daughter with beach caught salmon from the lower Columbia River

These clinics are a big hit, this overnight camping trip will be an even bigger hit, so register ASAP if you’re interested in learning (and hopefully catching) the summer steelhead of the lower Columbia River. More details are on our web site by clicking HERE!

COME HAVE FUN WITH THE STEELHEADERS!

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Oregon Fishing Reports for June 16th

Willamette Valley/Metro – Catches of spring Chinook have often improved on the Willamette during the middle of June in recent years. Anglers have been looking forward to this time frame and early reports are indicating that fresh fish are moving through the system here. The head of the Multnomah Channel seems to have improved for spinner trollers, likely taking a mix of Willamette, Clackamas and Columbia River spring Chinook. Spinners are the go-to option with the water temperature well into the 60’s right now. Oregon City has shown signs of recent improvements as well. Shad are plentiful.

The Columbia River remains fair at best with an average of about 1,500 Chinook per day passing the Bonneville facility. Summer steelhead numbers are improving here as well and shad fishing is off the hook around the shad rack just a short distance below Bonneville Dam. Chinook action is likely to remain consistently fair, summer steelhead action should continue to improve, and shad fishing will remain excellent in the coming weeks.

With Willamette River flows on the decrease, effort is on the increase for shad anglers at Oregon City as well. Catches are good and a few spring Chinook are also falling to spinner trollers, especially those working the Willamette Falls reach. Many more spring Chinook are likely to pass the falls in the coming weeks. Summer steelhead numbers remain depressed.

The Sandy and Clackamas Rivers both took a slight jump with the weekend precipitation, but the bite remained challenging on both river systems. The Sandy remains the best bet of the two, but spring Chinook should start trickling into the Clackamas in better numbers. Summer steelhead remains the best bet here though.

From Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920), of O2BFISHN Guide Service – “This week’s report has most guys fishing the upper river because of low water levels. The river is running at 8.24 ft and the water temp is about 56 degrees and should hold until we get the next rain. The weather is supposed to stay on the cool side until the weekend when the temp should hit the low 80’s. The river is running clear and will stay that way until we hit a long stretch of warm weather to cause the glacial melt to color up the water. There has been 6 hatchery springers return up to Cedar Creek Hatchery as well as summer steelhead. These Chinook were destined for bull run but decided to make there way to the hatchery. More of Jeff’s report in the full version of the newsletter.

Trout fishing will remain a strong option when schools let out this week. Check the ODF&W web site for recently stocked locations, they should continue to pay good dividends.

Northwest Oregon – Spring Chinook fishing remains painfully slow on Tillamook Bay. There is hope for a late-season rally, but this fishery has fallen on challenging times in recent years. Regardless, it’ll remain the best bet for coastal spring Chinook for the rest of the month.

District rivers also saw a slight bump, but remain at summer low levels, making fish timid and unlikely to bite. The Trask will remain the best bet for spring Chinook seekers, while the Wilson and Nestucca may harbor fair numbers of summer steelhead that can be taken at first light.

Bottomfishing remains excellent for sea bass with a few lingcod mixed in. Nearshore anglers are finding some halibut as well, but the deep water fishery remains best out of Newport. Crabbing seems to be improving in the ocean, but still slow to go in Tillamook County estuaries.

Astoria area – Sturgeon anglers had another productive Saturday last weekend, it seems unlikely another opener will happen. Catch and release fishing will likely remain excellent however.

There are some spring Chinook and summer steelhead coming from the Columbia upstream of Tongue Point. Stronger tides produce the better catches, which we’re seeing a return to this week. Summer steelhead action should improve from here on out.

Bank anglers should find catchable numbers of spring Chinook at Big Creek, especially given the favorable weekend precipitation.

Southwest – From ODF&W

Reports from the last couple of weeks have been that rockfish continue to be slow. Lingcod success is marginal, limits are being caught but it takes a lot of time and work. Reminder that as of Sunday, April 1, the bottomfish fishery is restricted to inside of the 30 fathom regulatory line.

Recent catches from the offshore longleader trips often consist of a nice grade of yellowtail, widow and canary rockfishes.

The Central Coast nearshore halibut fishery opened on Friday, June 1June 21-23 is the last set of fixed dates for the Central Coast spring all-depth fishery. Available back-up dates, if quota remains are: July 5-7 and July 19-21.

Sport salmon fishing for Chinook is open in ocean waters from Cape Falcon (just North of Nehalem Bay) to the Oregon/California border for two salmon per day (all salmon except coho). Minimum sizes are 24-inches for Chinook and 20-inches for steelhead. Salmon fishing has generally been slow to date. Most open areas are seeing one Chinook landed for every four angler trips.

Spring Chinook fishing continues to be good for boat anglers on the lower Rogue, and with water temperatures dropping over the weekend the bite could really turn on.

Water levels on the lower Rogue are ideal for swinging flies or tossing spinners for an early summer steelhead.

Even with effort picking up at Diamond Lake catch rates continue to be good.

Anglers continue to report good catches of shad the Coquille Basin.

Trout fishing has been good in Tenmile Lakes, where some fish over 20-inches have been caught.

Bass and other warmwater fishing has been picking up, in the words of one biologist, “everywhere.”

Largemouth bass fishing is picking up in Tenmile and Butterfield lakes.

Both shad and smallmouth bass fishing are picking up in the mainstem Umpqua.

2018 STOCKING SCHEDULE

STOCKING MAP

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports – Tim Moran is back, and we’re thankful for that! Tim writes: ”

Deschutes River – There are still some big bugs around and fish are going for them on occasion.  It’s mostly the slightly smaller golden stones so fish a golden stimulator or similar pattern.

Metolius River – The Met is really picking up.  The Green Drake hatch is on and it has been very good from 5pm until dark.

John Day River – The water has dropped into shape for summer (unless you get a wicked thunderstorm) and bass fishing is in full swing.  It’s good from Cottonwood to the forks so pick your favorite stretch  and get after them.

Lava Lake – Fishing has been really good for the fly guys.  Small buggers, prince nymphs and chironomids, and damsel nymphs have all been getting fish.

Grande Ronde River – the lower river is very good for Smallmouth the river around Troy is fishing well for trout to 18 inches.  Flows are stable.

Antelope Flat Reservoir – ROAD TRIP!!  Sources tell me that fishing is very good here for hold over trout to 16 inches and ODFW stocked it with 3 to 5 pound trophies recently!

It’s going to be a warm beautiful weekend so mow the lawn today and go fishing!

More of Tim’s report available for paid subscribers!

SW Washington – From WDF&W

Not much from WDF&W this week, but if you’re good at deciphering numbers, go here to get your info.

There is always more Oregon fishing information delivered earlier on our site, The Guide’s Forecast.  You can also sign-up for our weekly emails here.

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World’s Oceans Day, Let’s Honor Our Greatest Resource

By Bob Rees

It’s always a mixed bag of emotions when I fly east to Washington DC. I’m headed east to talk about a range of fishery related issues I work on, on behalf of the Association of Northwest Steelheaders and the Northwest Guides and Anglers Association and with the National Wildlife Federation.

 

Flying over the Pacific Northwest offers a different perspective than many get. I see an array of rivers constricted for our power needs, a patchwork of land mass segmented and irrigated for our agricultural needs and maybe a sign of change as a network of giant wind turbines twist in hopes of securing a cleaner future for our citizens and environment.

 

Just like the wildlife that used to thrive on these terrestrial lands, we get the Full Monty on how we’ve “managed” this landscape. Nearly one-third of America’s Wildlife are at risk of extinction, so clearly, we’re failing.

 

But what about the 2/3 of Earth that we don’t get to see the effects of our past and current policies? Most of the world doesn’t see the rolling plastic bags across the ocean floor, the Pilot Whale that just died with 17-pounds of plastic in its stomach, the destroyed rocky reef habitat due to poor fishing practices, bleached coral reefs or the depleted stocks of fish that once ruled the oceans. I know… Happy Worlds Oceans Day, right?

 

We all know change isn’t going to happen overnight, and events such as World’s Oceans Day is a good place to start to raise awareness as to polices that have contributed to the decline of the World’s greatest asset, our oceans.

 

As hopeless as it seems to fix stupid, my wife will tell me, “All we can do is clean up our side of the street.” Although she uses it on a more relational level, it obviously has application to policies and practices associated with our oceans throughout the World.

 

I’m not a worldly traveler, but I’ll express my biased opinion that I think the United States does a pretty good job managing our fisheries through the Magnuson Stevens Act, water pollution through the Clean Water Act, ocean dumping laws through an array of laws and educating our people on our impacts to the environment. Not all countries have that luxury. It’s not all peaches and cream however.

 

Recent legislation was introduced that would allow states to manage their nearshore saltwater fisheries instead of the guidelines outlined in Magnuson Stevens that are credited with rebuilding 41 stocks of fish that were severely depleted just 20 years ago. I’m all for utilization of our natural resources to the extent that we don’t compromise the future of the species or our reliance on it, but we’ve already learned our lessons from our past performance, and they were hard lessons to learn from.

 

HR 200 and the Modern Fish Act are anything but modern. They are actually draconian initiatives that over-step proven management that have allowed us access to fisheries that have been closed for long periods of time. Why wreck a good track record when we’re headed in the right direction? We know our oceans have future challenges ahead, and we certainly know our impact upon them.

 

Part of the problem are a lack of monitoring programs for the sportfleet in the gulf coast states. We have to hold our own community accountable for take, just as we hold the commercial sector in their take. I guess we have it good on the west coast; our fresh and saltwater fisheries are closely monitored to ensure we don’t over-due it so future generations of anglers have the same or better opportunity than we do.

 

On the west coast, we’re starting to manage down, as salmon stocks begin to feel the full brunt of the drought of 2015, the El Niño event during the same time frame, and the warm water blob that took us all by surprise. Although this year and 2019 appear to be tough ones on salmon returns, it looks like we’ll have an improvement for the future.

 

The Columbia remains near flood stage for our outmigrating juvenile salmon and steelhead, the warm water blob seems to have dissipated, and the trade winds are whipping up the ocean once again, providing the essential nutrients from off the Continental Shelf for the baby salmon now entering the ocean. Let’s hope the resiliency gene still runs strong in these salmon and steelhead.

 

No level of global effort can undue the damage we’ve left for our children to deal with. Most of us are just trying to quell our future impacts on the ocean; we haven’t got to the public conversation on how to reverse our impacts just yet. If there’s one global sentiment that we earthlings collectively subscribe to, it’s that our children are our greatest gift. How will they view the legacy we’re leaving behind?

Captain Bill Kremers with a May 2018 Halibut out of Newport, Oregon

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Oregon Fishing Updates for June 9

Willamette Valley/Metro – Fishing on the Willamette and Columbia remains challenging, and the Columbia is slated to close on June 6th, but managers met on Tuesday to discuss more options. Managers extended the season through the 15th of June, full details are here. The best reach remains the Longview to Astoria reach and the current tide series produces good catches for bank anglers.

Shad are pouring into the Columbia River, where Bonneville is starting to tally 6 digit passage counts. It’s peak season for these fun fish, too bad they don’t taste better. They make for great sport and crab bait however.

The Willamette is also teeming with shad and anglers fishing in swift water are finding good success in the low flowing Willamette. Falls counts remain low, but June could see a surge in action, the lower Willamette has produced some great late-season catches in recent years. Spinners are often the key in the warmer water, and that should be the case this year as well.

The Clackamas continues to be a disaster. For the 4th week in a row, there were no spring Chinook creeled in the Clackamas. Clackamas River fish production has taken place in the Columbia River Gorge in recent years, and it’s clearly having an impact on return rates. The agency hopes to change that management decision for future broodstock. Summer steelhead interest is low, but catch rates indicate about a fish for every 10 rods of effort.

Trout fishing is in full swing in most area lakes. Water temperatures and freshly stocked trout should inspire parents to take their kids fishing when school lets out. Check the ODF&W web site for details about your favorite body of water.

From Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920), of O2BFISHN Guide Service – “Well this week we saw the river finally had dropped almost back to normal river flows. The Columbia River has dropped 6ft over the last couple of days, as they stopped spillage over Bonneville. The river is running at 8.2 ft and has stayed at level over most of the week. The river has great color and should stay that way depending on how much rain we get over the weekend. The forecast is for 3/4 of a inch of rain starting Friday night and going into Sunday morning. If you plan to float the river, be prepared to bang and hit some rock for the river is very low for floating it.”

Northwest Oregon – Tillamook spring Chinook are starting to show with more regularity, but action is far from consistent. Soft tides this weekend should bode well for lower bay trollers using herring on the inside of the north jetty. The ocean looks to be friendly as well. Fin-clipped only Chinook may be retained in the spring control zone outside of Tillamook Bay.

District rivers are running low, clear and warm. This will make early mornings the best option for anglers and using light leaders and small baits will be key for those willing to persist. The Trask will remain the best bet for spring Chinook, and the Wilson for summer steelhead.

The soft tides should make for safe bar crossings (although always check last minute conditions) for the June 7 – 9 all-depth opener. Nearshore is open 7 days per week, but catches are sparse.

Bottomfishing out of Garibaldi will likely remain slam dunk, although lingcod success is sporadic this time of year.

Astoria area – Managers met on Tuesday to discuss the sturgeon quota. Action was good on Saturday, but only fair on Monday. The bite is picking up, making it difficult to keep a lid on run-away catches. The managers decided on 1 additional day, Saturday, June 9th, with the same regulations adopted from the previous season, see press release hyperlink from the spring Chinook section on the Columbia above.

Spring Chinook and summer steelhead are being taken upstream from Astoria, but soft weekend tides will limit catches.

Crabbing and rockfishing along the jetty remains poor.

Southwest – From ODF&W

Bottom Fishing

Reports from the Central Coast last week were that rockfish continue to be slow. Lingcod success is marginal, limits are being caught but it takes a lot of time and work.

Recent catches from the offshore longleader trips often consist of a nice grade of yellowtail, widow and canary rockfishes.

The Central Coast nearshore halibut fishery opened on Friday, June 1. Early reports from the first weekend indicate that fishing was sketchy. The wind and drift speed caused issues. This Thurs-Sat (June 7-9) is the next set of fixed dates for the Central Coast spring all-depth fishery. Currently 68 percent of the quota remains for that fishery.

Sport salmon fishing for Chinook is open in ocean waters from Cape Falcon (just North of Nehalem Bay) to the Oregon/California border for two salmon per day (all salmon except coho). Minimum sizes are 24-inches for Chinook and 20-inches for steelhead.

Spring Chinook fishing has been good for boat anglers on the lower Rogue. Yes, for yet another week fishing continues to be hot at Diamond Lake. Anglers continue to report good catches of shad the Coquille Basin. Trout fishing has been good in Tenmile Lakes, where some fish over 20-inches have been caught.

Bass and other warmwater fishing has been picking up, in the words of one biologist, “everywhere.” Largemouth bass fishing is picking up in Tenmile and Butterfield lakes. Both shad and smallmouth bass fishing are picking up in the mainstem Umpqua.

2018 STOCKING SCHEDULE

STOCKING MAP

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports – 

SW Washington – From WDF&W

No updated report, here is the one from last week:

Salmon/Steelhead Cowlitz River – (I-5 Br downstream) – 7 bank rods and 1 boat rod had no catch. Above the I-5 Br. – 64 bank rods kept 12 adult and 1 jack spring Chinook. 12 boat rods kept 2 adult spring Chinook and 1 steelhead. Last week Tacoma Power employees recovered 34 winter-run steelhead, 134 spring Chinook adults, six spring Chinook jacks, and nine summer-run steelhead during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released one winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released three winter-run steelhead into the Cispus River near Yellow Jacket Creek. Tacoma Power also released five spring Chinook adults and one spring Chinook jack into Lake Scanewa near Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 6,320 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Tuesday, May 29. Water visibility is 14 feet and the water temperature is 48.7 degrees F. From the Lexington (Sparks) Road Bridge upstream to 400 feet or boundary markers below the barrier dam – From June 1 through July 31, barbed hooks will be allowed for salmon, steelhead, and cutthroats. Starting June 1, the area that is closed to fishing below the Cowlitz River barrier dam will expand from 100 feet to 400 feet to help increase the number of spring Chinook arriving at the salmon hatchery. We had projected that 5,000 spring Chinook would return to the river this year, but they’re tracking well below that now. Expanding the area that’s closed to fishing will help ensure we can meet hatchery broodstock goals and continue to move fish to the upper Cowlitz watershed for fishing opportunities and reintroduction efforts. The no-fishing zone will be posted with signs until further notice.

East Fork Lewis River from the mouth to 400 feet below Horseshoe Falls (except closures around various falls) and the Washougal River from the mouth to Salmon Falls Bridge – Under permanent rules these areas will be open to fishing with bait for hatchery steelhead beginning the first Saturday in June.

Kalama River – 9 bank and 3 boat anglers had no catch.

Lewis River (mainstem) – 5 bank rods had no catch. 11 boat rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook.

Lewis River (North Fork) – 33 bank rods kept 7 adult spring Chinook and 1 steelhead. 8 boat rods had no catch.

Wind River (mouth) – 3 bank rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook. 96 boat rods kept 32 adult and 2 jack spring Chinook and released 1 adult spring Chinook.

Drano Lake – 145 boat rods kept 53 adult and 2 jack spring Chinook and released 7 adult spring Chinook. Klickitat River from the mouth (Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge) upstream to the Fisher Hill Bridge and from 400 feet upstream from #5 fishway upstream to the boundary markers below the salmon hatchery – Effective June 1, the salmon daily limit is 6 hatchery Chinook of which no more than two may be adults. In addition, up to 3 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Wild chinook must be released. Open 7 days per week.

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to Bonneville Dam – Last week we sampled 495 anglers, including 74 boats, with 32 adult and 1 jack spring Chinook and 16 steelhead. 23 (72%) of the adult Chinook and 14 (88%) of the steelhead were kept. Fish were caught throughout the river.

There is always more Oregon fishing information delivered earlier on our site, The Guide’s Forecast.  You can also sign-up for our weekly emails here.

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Oregon Fishing Reports for June 2nd

Willamette Valley/Metro – Portland area action is fading, with the Willamette remaining high and the Columbia experiencing extreme snowmelt as well. Options opened up last Friday however, with the re-opening of the Columbia River salmon season and steelhead available too.

Trollers working Davis Bar on the Columbia, as well as other known hot spots aren’t faring well for the amount of effort being put in. High and somewhat off-color water is quelling success rates, but anchor anglers are catching a few throughout the river. The most productive reach is around Puget Island, near Cathlamet on the Washington side of the river. Action will most likely remain good well into June, for both spring Chinook and summer steelhead in full migration.

Shad are also starting in on the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Successful shad anglers need flow and sunny weather to score. Flow is a hard thing to find on the Willamette, but you can troll for shad too, with a high degree of success. Anchor anglers fishing near Bonneville are sure to score high numbers of this fun catching fish, perfect for crab bait or the garden, not so much for table fare, they are an invasive species after all.

Tributary fisheries are improving, with the Sandy the more likely option for spring Chinook. The Clackamas has some spring Chinook available, but the better target is summer steelhead. Both the Clackamas and Sandy Rivers are dropping and clearing, which will concentrate fish more, but make them more reluctant to bite as well.

From Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920), of O2BFISHN Guide Service – I hope that everyone had a great Memorial day weekend. I want to thank all the men and women who had served or is serving our country for there great sacrifice. The fishing report is not to talk about. The major action for springers has been at the mouth of the Sandy for the fish are moving into the sandy to get out main current of the Columbia. The Columbia is still running at flood stage levels for the snow melt in Canada has started early and the snow pack was well above normal stages. The lower sandy is a lake for there is a lot of sled action, for Lewis and Clark is the only boat ramp open because Chinook boat ramp is closed because of flooding.

Northwest Oregon – Spring Chinook fishing remains challenging in Tillamook Bay, but the last few years, June was by far the better month. That will likely be the case this year but weekend tides dictate an upper bay effort where action should be fair. Spinners and plugs will offer up the best opportunities on outgoing tide, trolled herring at high tide.

The Trask, Wilson and Nestucca should all have spring Chinook available, but the Trask will remain the best bet since it gets the most hatchery plants. The Hatchery Hole will be a bank angler’s favorite, but it will be crowded. Eggs and sand shrimp fished under bobbers will remain the best baits. Summer steelhead are in the Wilson and Nestucca systems.

Trout fishing in north coast streams opened on May 22nd. There are some nice cutthroat trout available.

Bottomfishing remains excellent, but lingcod are somewhat challenging. The next halibut opener is June 7 – 9 although Pacific City and Garibaldi haven’t been producing limits recently. The nearshore halibut opener is June 1st, where fish often cruise in the early season, but still remain challenging to find on a consistent basis. The mouth of Nehalem Bay is a fan favorite. Anglers must fish inside of the 40-fathom line for nearshore halibut.

Astoria area – Sturgeon fishing remains challenging on the lower Columbia, with plenty of keepers remaining in the quota. The best action is taking place above Tongue Point using sand shrimp as bait.

Bottomfishing along the south jetty out of Astoria is oddly slow.

Although on the backside of the most productive tides, razor clam digging should be good along Clatsop Beaches into the weekend.

Southwest – From ODF&W

June 2-3 is Free Fishing Weekend and you won’t need a license, tag or endorsement to fish anywhere in Oregon that’s open to fishing. Rockfish, halibut, ocean salmon, clams – take your pick! ODFW and its partners also will host several free trout fishing events throughout the state to help you and your family or friends get started.

Reports from the Central Coast last week were that rockfish were off the bite. Those that were caught had stomachs full of crab larvae. Lingcod success is marginal, limits are being caught but it takes a lot of time and work. Reminder that as of Sunday, April 1, the bottomfish fishery is restricted to inside of the 30 fathom regulatory line.

This past weekend, many anglers took advantage of the three day weekend and nice weather window to fish for halibut. Mixed reports of success, as there was very little drift at times.

Sport salmon fishing for Chinook is open in ocean waters from Cape Falcon (just North of Nehalem Bay) to the Oregon/California border for two salmon per day (all salmon except coho). Minimum sizes are 24-inches for Chinook and 20-inches for steelhead.

Salmon fishing has generally been slow to date. Most open areas are seeing one Chinook landed for every four angler trips.

Trout fishing has been picking up on the upper Rogue where the salmonfly hatch is still underway.

It may sound as if we’re repeating ourselves but fishing continues to be hot at Diamond Lake.

Anglers have been finding smallmouth bass, shad and striped bass in the Coquille Basin

Bass and other warmwater fishing has been picking up, in the words of one biologist, “everywhere.”

Largemouth bass fishing is picking up in Tenmile and Butterfield lakes.

Both shad and smallmouth bass fishing are picking up in the mainstem Umpqua.

2018 STOCKING SCHEDULE

STOCKING MAP

Central and Eastern Oregon Fishing Reports – From our friend Tim Moran:

Tim is in Mexico… again. We’ll get his report upon his return. Good luck Tim!

SW Washington – From WDF&W

Salmon/Steelhead Cowlitz River – (I-5 Br downstream) – 7 bank rods and 1 boat rod had no catch. Above the I-5 Br. – 64 bank rods kept 12 adult and 1 jack spring Chinook. 12 boat rods kept 2 adult spring Chinook and 1 steelhead. Last week Tacoma Power employees recovered 34 winter-run steelhead, 134 spring Chinook adults, six spring Chinook jacks, and nine summer-run steelhead during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released one winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released three winter-run steelhead into the Cispus River near Yellow Jacket Creek. Tacoma Power also released five spring Chinook adults and one spring Chinook jack into Lake Scanewa near Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 6,320 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Tuesday, May 29. Water visibility is 14 feet and the water temperature is 48.7 degrees F. From the Lexington (Sparks) Road Bridge upstream to 400 feet or boundary markers below the barrier dam – From June 1 through July 31, barbed hooks will be allowed for salmon, steelhead, and cutthroats. Starting June 1, the area that is closed to fishing below the Cowlitz River barrier dam will expand from 100 feet to 400 feet to help increase the number of spring Chinook arriving at the salmon hatchery. We had projected that 5,000 spring Chinook would return to the river this year, but they’re tracking well below that now. Expanding the area that’s closed to fishing will help ensure we can meet hatchery broodstock goals and continue to move fish to the upper Cowlitz watershed for fishing opportunities and reintroduction efforts. The no-fishing zone will be posted with signs until further notice.

East Fork Lewis River from the mouth to 400 feet below Horseshoe Falls (except closures around various falls) and the Washougal River from the mouth to Salmon Falls Bridge – Under permanent rules these areas will be open to fishing with bait for hatchery steelhead beginning the first Saturday in June.

Kalama River – 9 bank and 3 boat anglers had no catch.

Lewis River (mainstem) – 5 bank rods had no catch. 11 boat rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook.

Lewis River (North Fork) – 33 bank rods kept 7 adult spring Chinook and 1 steelhead. 8 boat rods had no catch.

Wind River (mouth) – 3 bank rods kept 1 adult spring Chinook. 96 boat rods kept 32 adult and 2 jack spring Chinook and released 1 adult spring Chinook.

Drano Lake – 145 boat rods kept 53 adult and 2 jack spring Chinook and released 7 adult spring Chinook.

Klickitat River from the mouth (Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge) upstream to the Fisher Hill Bridge and from 400 feet upstream from #5 fishway upstream to the boundary markers below the salmon hatchery – Effective June 1, the salmon daily limit is 6 hatchery Chinook of which no more than two may be adults. In addition, up to 3 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Wild chinook must be released. Open 7 days per week.

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to Bonneville Dam – Last week we sampled 495 anglers, including 74 boats, with 32 adult and 1 jack spring Chinook and 16 steelhead. 23 (72%) of the adult Chinook and 14 (88%) of the steelhead were kept. Fish were caught throughout the river.

There is always more Oregon fishing information delivered earlier on our site, The Guide’s Forecast.  You can also sign-up for our weekly emails here.

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