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Oregon Fisheries Update November 17, 2017

Courtesy of

by | Nov 17, 2017

Willamette Valley/Metro – There are no options on the Columbia River, you won’t see any quality reports in this section until mid-February at the earliest for the Columbia River section.

Hatchery coho options are next to nil on the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers. Wild coho are certainly an option, and numbers aren’t all that bad for those that enjoy catch and release opportunities. Both rivers have come up in recent days, but not out of the realm of possibility. It will be a bit challenging finding wild fish on the Sandy as they move through the system so rapidly, but the Clackamas may provide some opportunity in the deeper pools when flows settle down. Eagle Creek did boast a run of around 5,000 returning adults.

The Willamette remains a good option for catch and release sturgeon fishing. That should stay the case through the weekend, but high water is certain to follow, making boating conditions a bit hazardous after the weekend if the river prediction comes to fruition.

Northwest – Most river systems are done for the year. Tillamook remains the strongest option, with the Wilson and Kilchis putting out the best numbers for late-run fall Chinook. The Tillamook Bay fishery is extremely spotty.

The Kilchis River should be an option over the weekend, but the Wilson likely won’t fish until early next week, Sunday at the earliest. Don’t expect explosive results as this fishery has already shown its face; it’s a sub-par return of fall Chinook this season.

It’s still too early for winter steelhead, but not out of the realm of possibility. Smaller systems such as the Necanicum and North Fork Nehalem will be the best early season options, but no steelhead reported yet. Both systems were too high to fish at this writing (Thursday).

No ocean fishing, but bay crabbing remains an option on Tillamook, Nehalem and Netarts Bays. Note the central coast closure as outlined here. Let’s hope it doesn’t continue to creek to the north so we have some options for Thanksgiving snacks! The lower Columbia remains the best option for coastal crab.

Southwest Sport Ocean Salmon

The Elk River Terminal Area Chinook Salmon season will be open from Nov. 1-30 within the described boundaries with a limit of 2 Chinook per day but no more than 1 non fin-clipped Chinook per day and 10 non fin-clipped seasonal aggregate limit combined with the Elk River, Sixes River, New River, and Floras Creek.

On black Friday, Nov. 24 with the help of FREE FISHING. On Friday and Saturday (Nov.25) you won’t need a license, tag or endorsement to fish, crab or clam anywhere in Oregon that is open to fishing.

Look for recent rains to bring Chinook into the Chetco, Elk and Winchuck rivers.

Trout anglers in the Rogue should be very excited with releases of excess rainbow trout recently. Most Rogue lakes have been freshly stocked for the fall months. Waterbodies offering fresh opportunity include Lake Selmac, Applegate Reservoir, Lost Creek Reservoir, Agate Lake, Willow Lake and Medco Pond.

CHETCO RIVER: Chinook, rains late this week are expected to increase river flows significantly.

Chinook salmon fishing is still open in the Coos Basin although majority of the fish have move up river to spawn.

ELK RIVER: Chinook, most anglers are fishing the estuary. Rains late in the week should improve fishing conditions in the river.

Rogue River, lower: Anglers plunking off gravel bars in the lower river have been doing well for steelhead and coho. Rains late in the week will raise flows and probably make for some tough fishing conditions.

Steelhead fishing has continued to be good in Grants Pass at Griffin Park, Schroeder Park and near the footbridge area by Reinhardt Park. Steelhead anglers should be aware of spawning Chinook, and avoid spooking fish off their redds.

UMPQUA RIVER, MAINSTEM: Chinook fishing in the estuary has slowed. Bank anglers in Half Moon Bay and the boat basin have also seen a decline in catch rates. There have been reports of folks catching fish throughout the main.

From our friend Pete Heley at

As of 11/16

Ocean waters are closed to Dungeness crab Oct. 16 – Nov. 30.
Areas closed to crab harvest, including bays and estuaries:
Tahkenitch Creek (north of Winchester Bay and Reedsport) north to Cape Foulweather (north of Newport).
North jetty of Coos Bay south to the California border.

Areas open to crab harvest:
North jetty of Coos Bay north to Tahkenitch Creek.
North of Cape Foulweather to the Columbia River.

Call the Shellfish Safety Hotline before harvesting​ 1-800-448-2474​

The Oregon Department of Agriculture’s (ODA) shellfish biotoxin hotline is toll free and is updated immediately when shellfish toxins reach the alert level. The hotline is your best source for up-to-date clam, crab, and mussel closure information. ​

Chinook salmon fishing is pretty much over except for the late-run fish in the smaller to mid-size streams along the southern Oregon coast.

Additional good news for Winchester Bay crabbers is that the Coast Guard Pier is slated for major renovation which should be completed by mid-March. When completed and the actual cost of the renovation is revealed, those unhappy with the Douglas County Parking Pass will have much less reason to gripe.

The coastal salmon lakes should have fresh salmon entering them after last weekend’s rains. All three lakes were producing a few fish each day last week, but salmon numbers should be much better with additional rainfall.

A few winter steelhead should be entering the Umpqua River which always seems to receive its winter steelhead a month earlier than other area streams. The earliest catches seem to occur between Family Camp and Elkton.

Crappie fishing at Tugman Park on Eel Lake has come to a screeching halt. The fish were becoming fewer and the bites even more tentative, but I think the main reason for the bite stoppage is that the crappie moved.

Anglers targeting surfperch, because inshore bottomfishing is off limits, need to be cautious as stormy weather has created hazardous beach conditions.

Eastern – Sorry, no Eastern Oregon news as of late, paid subscribers may check back tomorrow to see if our friend Tim Moran has any updates. Thank you!

SW Washington – Here’s what WDF&W provided in this week’s report:

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br. downstream: 27 bank anglers with 1 adult coho kept and 1 released. I-5 Br. upstream: 70 bank anglers with 41 adult coho kept and 1 adult Chinook and 24 adult coho released. No bank anglers were sampled.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 1,751 coho adults, 170 coho jacks, 38 fall Chinook adults, 32 cutthroat trout, and five summer-run steelhead during six days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. During the past week, Tacoma Power employees released 97 coho adults and 26 coho jacks into the Cispus River near the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek, and they released 112 coho adults and 20 coho jacks at Franklin Bridge in Packwood. Tacoma Power released 832 coho adults, 58 coho jacks, five fall Chinook adults, and nine cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released 439 coho adults, 32 coho jacks and two cutthroat trout into Lake Scanewa near Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 6,740 cubic feet per second (cfs) on Monday, November 13. Water visibility is five feet and water temperature is 51.3 degrees F.

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