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Oregon Fisheries Update December 22nd

Dec 21, 2017

Willamette Valley/Metro – With little to fish for on the mainstem Columbia and Willamette Rivers, anglers are biding their time for more abundant winter steelhead runs, and a reasonable chance at a spring Chinook, which won’t come for at least another 2 months.

The Willamette River spring Chinook prediction is in, calling for nearly 56,000 salmon to return to the mouth of the Columbia, of which some will be caught in the Columbia itself before entering the Willamette. Last year, the run was under-predicted, and came in at just over 50,000 fish, a respectable number, but far from a robust 100,000 like we’ve seen in some years past.

Save the date: And speaking of 100,000 spring Chinook, the Association of Northwest Steelheaders will be launching their Quest for 100k campaign, an effort to return 100,000 of the region’s most prized possessions each year to the Willamette Basin. Tickets are free for the January 9th event, starting at 6:30 p.m. The launch presentation will take place at Camp Withycombe in Clackamas, get your tickets NOW, and get your tickets HERE.

Steelheaders working the Sandy River are finding a few early season biters downstream of Dodge Park. The bulk of the run is still 6 weeks away.

Clackamas River anglers found willing fish as temperatures warmed early this week. Catches are still light however and a warming trend coupled with a rain event rose river levels significantly earlier this week. Both the Sandy and Clackamas should be fishable by the weekend.

Christmas break broodstock trout to 10 pounds will be stocked at Henry Hagg Lake, Blue Lake near Fairview, Mt. Hood Community College Pond, Huddleston Pond, and Canby Pond. The limit is one trout per person over 20 inches.

Northwest – Fishing on the north coast is still quiet, but fish seem to be staging in the lower reaches of many of the rivers. The rain event earlier this week should stimulate most of the districts early season prospects with the North Fork Nehalem, Three Rivers near Hebo, and the Wilson River likely to fish good Friday and through the weekend. Some broodstock fish should begin to show on the Wilson, but most of the early season fish are made up of cookie cutter 6 to 8 pound fish.

The Trask, mainstem Nehalem and the Nestucca should have a few wild steelhead available, but that fishery won’t peak for several more weeks either. There is an occasional hatchery steelhead being taken at the mouth of Three Rivers or Three Rivers itself near Hebo.

Soft tides this weekend should be good for estuary crabbers. Tillamook and Netarts Bays should produce the best results, and the ocean weather may also lay down, enabling another shot at the ocean bounty before the commercial fleet starts soaking pots in mid-January, the fleet just got delayed again, until January 15th. Tomorrow (Friday, 12/22) would be your window.

Bottomfishing remains closed until January 1st so don’t let calm seas tempt you.

Southwest – From Pet Heley at

It appears that the three coastal coho lakes are receiving very few fresh salmon and the fishing is basically for salmon already in the lake that have not yet ascended the lakes’ tributary streams where they are off limits to anglers. Yellow perch are available in all three lakes as are rainbow and cutthroat trout with most of the trout coming out of Siltcoos and Tenmile lakes.

Anglers fishing Tenmile Creek for winter steelhead have encountered a few coho salmon which are illegal to keep or even target. It will happen more often when Eel Creek opens to steelhead angling on January 1st.

Jetty anglers tired of only being able to keep only striped are looking forward to January 1st when they, once again, can keep lingcod, rockfish and greenling, but the primary catch on most jetties will still be striped surfperch.

Anglers fishing the surf along area beaches have enjoyed fair to good perch fishing, but the fishing success has varied greatly.

Recreational crabbing continues to be superb along the open portions of the Oregon coast. Pretty much all of Coos Bay has been productive, but most of the crabbing pressure has been between Empire and Charleston.

The best crabbing has been in the ocean and it has been almost unbelievable. Many crabbers who have ventured only a short distance out into the ocean have reported catching their boat limit of crabs before completing the first pull of their gear.

From ODF&W

With the Chetco, Elk and Winchuck rivers running low and clear, anglers may want hit Garrison Lake for some trout fishing.

Expo and Reinhart ponds will be stocked this week in time for Christmas.

Winter steelhead should be arriving to Coos and Coquille rivers.

Winter steelhead fishing is picking up on the Umpqua.

Trolling for wild coho and holdover rainbow has yielded some quality fish in Tenmile Lakes.

Eastern – No central or eastern Oregon fishing report this week, it’s bitterly cold out there!

SW Washington – Under permanent regulations, December 31 is the last day to fish for steelhead and salmon in Mill Creek (Cowlitz River tributary) and salmon in Abernathy, Blue, Cedar, Coal, Germany, Goble, Mill (Cowlitz Co.), Mulholland, Rock Creek (Skamania Co.), Salmon (Clark Co.), Skamokawa creeks, the Elochoman, Grays (including West Fork), Coweeman, East Fork Lewis, and Washougal (including West/North Fork) rivers plus Drano and Mayfield lakes.

Cowlitz River – From the I-5 Br. downstream: 8 bank rods had no catch. Above the I-5 Br: 14 bank rods kept 3 adult coho and released 1 adult coho, 1 steelhead, and 5 cutts. 1 boat angler had no catch. Last week,

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 12,300 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, December 18. Water visibility is five feet and water temperature is 46.4 degrees F.

Lewis River (including North Fork) – Starting January 1, the adult salmon daily limit will be one hatchery Chinook. All other permanent regulations are in effect.

Columbia River mainstem – Starting January 1, anglers may retain up to two hatchery adult Chinook per day on the mainstem Columbia from the I-5 Bridge downstream. Upstream of the I-5 Bridge will close to fishing for salmon.

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