Oregon Fishing Forecast - April 27, 2017
Portland/Metro - After enjoying a prolonged spring Chinook season (due to poor catch rates), sport anglers on the Columbia River saw their fishery close last Sunday. Managers will discuss the status of the catch this week. The reopener on Thursday and Friday was productive, but catches tapered when Bonneville Dam started spilling more water by Saturday.
Passage at Bonneville is on the uptick, but still far from peak passage. Managers will assess the entire run size after the peak passage day happens, likely sometime in the second week of May. High flows and cold water has certainly stymied upstream migration.
Drano Lake and the Wind River in SW Washington should start picking up now that passage at Bonneville is improving.
Focus will now shift to the Willamette River, where the run is likely to peak in the next several weeks. Trollers working from the Multnomah Channel at Coon Island, upstream to Milwaukie are finding fair results. A rise in river levels this week will likely slow the bite, and anglers will have to wait until next week before catches improve again. Sea lions are again working the Oregon City area, frustrating what few anglers are hooking fish there.
Clackamas and Sandy River anglers are only finding a rare late season steelhead. Given the summer steelhead projections for the Willamette and Columbia River systems this year, they are likely to be scarce in these systems as well. Spring Chinook action is also likely to be subdued until mid-May, especially given the amount of snow-melt yet to come.
Haldeman, Henry Hagg, Salmonberry and Trojan Pond are all scheduled to receive trout plants this week. With the Willamette out of shape, anglers will find good trout opportunities for themselves.
The Tillamook Report - Steelheaders are only seeing their opportunities wane and spring Chinook action isn't likely to improve for at least two more weeks. The Trask will start to see the earliest catches of spring Chinook, but the Wilson and Nestucca will see numbers increase later in May. Summer steelhead are also available, albeit rare, on these two rivers as well.
Many lakes on the coast received trout plants last week, action should be good for those putting in the time. Another round of plants is due the first week of May. Rivers remain closed because large numbers of salmon and steelhead smolts are making their way downstream en route to the ocean. Inexperienced anglers often mistake these young fish for trout, hence the prolonged spring closure on north coast rivers.
There may be some offshore opportunity for bottomfishers by the weekend. Both lingcod and sea bass should be readily available. Ocean crabbing will be fair for sport legals well into spring.
The first halibut opener takes place from May 11 - May 13. It's best to make sure your equipment is in proper working order before you venture out. Although Garibaldi was a challenging port to catch halibut out of last year, halibut are highly migratory, making it a strong option for this year, as it's productive more years than not. The nearshore season (inside of 40-fathoms) won't open until June 4.
For a more detailed report, go to www.TheGuidesForecast.com
Bob Rees is a sixth generation Oregonian and a 20-year veteran fishing guide of Oregon's Northwest region. Bob Rees' column, The Guide's Forecast, has been a trusted fishing resource for over 16 years and will appear in the Thursday edition of the Portland Tribune. He welcomes the opportunity to partner with the Portland Tribune to bring the sport fishing community timely and accurate fishing information so you can catch more fish!