Oregon Fishing Forecast - November 30, 2017
Portland/Metro - Although the Columbia is kaput for the season, the Willamette is yielding good catches of sturgeon for those interested in this great catch and release fishery. Sturgeon as long as 5 feet are not uncommon, but the action is good throughout the Portland Harbor. Smelt and sand shrimp are the preferred baits.
The Willamette and Columbia River spring salmon forecasts are due out in a few weeks. Historically, catchable numbers of fish were available by early February, but a lack of the larger and earlier returning 5-year olds has squashed early opportunity. Salmon won't start showing in catchable numbers until mid-March.
Plunkers are working Meldrum Bar for early run winter steelhead, and a few have been reported recently. Rumors have the tally at about three steelhead for the season, of which all were reported as wild, requiring release. Hatchery fish won't likely show in better numbers until mid-February, but January fish aren't uncommon.
Nearly a dozen sea lions are reported at Willamette Falls already. It's going to be a hard year for wild steelhead if the sea lions aren't removed from the area.
The Clackamas likely has a few steelhead, but like the Sandy, catchable numbers of hatchery fish won't show until mid to late January. There should be some wild coho for those seeking catch and release opportunities.
The Tillamook Report - Tillamook rivers are finally back in shape, but results from the early part of the week weren't impressive. Late season Chinook numbers have been lacking, but opportunity does exist on the north coast, where it doesn't anywhere else this time of year.
The Kilchis and Wilson remain top targets for late run fall Chinook, with the Wilson fishing best earlier this week. The Kilchis was slow despite perfect conditions on Monday.
This time of year, Chinook become quite receptive to plugs as they become more territorial during their spawning run. Fresh fish should be available on the Wilson through mid-December, but as flows drop, fish will hunker down in the deeper holes, requiring special techniques to present your offering appropriately. Backbounced eggs and plugs will become effective by the weekend.
The Trask and Nestucca appear to be done for the year. The Nestucca below Three Rivers, Three Rivers itself and the North Fork Nehalem should have winter steelhead available this week. Some steelhead have already been tallied at the NF Nehalem, and anglers are likely to catch them by this weekend.
Crabbing has become quite popular on Netarts Bay so success rates have dropped. Bay crabbing remains fair on most north coast systems, and by the weekend, bigger tides will provide a stronger salt water influx, which should also draw crabs in, eager to feed on dying salmon carcasses.
The Astoria area - Extreme tides will be a problem for lower Columbia River crabbers this weekend, but if you pay attention to your gear, you should come up with good numbers of keepers.
Despite good clam tides this weekend, the surf is expected to be big and will likely keep razor clams down, out of digger's reach.
The minus tide series is also good for mussel gatherers, but again, a high surf poses extreme danger. We advise against it.
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!