Portland/Metro - Portland area anglers remain perplexed as to why the Chinook fishing is so challenging. Action has picked up in recently, but numbers at Bonneville indicate the run is tracking at about a third of last year's total, although counts have picked up in recent days. Cooler days ahead may motivate biters by the weekend, the bite often stays solid into mid-October. The Bonneville area remains slow, although this reach of river just re-opened to boat traffic following the gorge closure due to the Eagle Creek fire.
First run coho are making a hard push in the lower Columbia, indicating that Sandy and Clackamas River coho are in route. Fishable numbers may be present now, but it's about to get a lot better in a week from now. When the first fall rain does hit, these two rivers should provide excellent opportunity.
Catch and release sturgeon remain an option near the mouth of the Willamette River.
The Tillamook Report - Blistering coho catches have forced a pre-mature closure of the "any two" salmon season south of Cape Falcon. Newport tagged excellent catches, but Depoe Bay, Pacific City and Garibaldi also produced well. This reach of ocean remains open for Chinook, but catches have been slow this week around most estuary entrances after a good late August push of fish. Undoubtedly, action will pick up again and the fall Chinook season will be well underway.
Tillamook Bay itself has been spotty with a few Chinook being taken at the jaws and in the Ghost Hole near low and high slack. The upper bay has also been producing an occasional fish, but softer tides this week should quell upper bay opportunity.
The lower reaches of the Alsea, Salmon, Nestucca, Nehalem and Tillamook Bay should all produce good opportunities this weekend as we enter the peak season for these fisheries. Chinook should take trolled herring in the deeper holes, as well as the bay entrance for those estuaries that don't have a deep channel.
ODF&W announced the closure of rockfishing in the nearshore this week. It's been a phenomenal season and catches have been blistering. The ever so successful deep-reef fishery is also in jeopardy, where anglers have access to giant lingcod in waters west of the 30-fathom line.
Nearshore halibut remains open, and another all-depth halibut opportunity is slated for September 15 and 16, with 18,000 pounds remaining on the quota.
The Astoria area - The coho bite in the lower Columbia has been epic this week. Anglers are still having to sort through a lot of wild ones to find hatchery keepers, but action is fast and furious, but not likely to hold up that much longer. Anglers fishing above the bridge have frequent entanglements with sea lions, while those below battle harbor seals. It's definitely peak season fishing, and some of the best in the region. There should be a few fin-clipped Chinook still available above Tongue Point this weekend.
Crabbing on the lower Columbia is also improving. It should remain good well into November.
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!