Oregon Fishing Forecast - April 11, 2018
Portland/Metro - Now with the Columbia closed, effort will shift to the Willamette River but recent rains have put the Willamette out as far as turbidity, for the near future. On the Willamette, this year's catches are tracking ahead of last year's, but behind the 5-year average, which was to be expected. The middle reach of the Willamette, from downtown Portland to Milwaukie, continues to produce the best catches for those trolling herring. Anglers will be lucky to get back on the water by the middle of next week given the upcoming weather forecast.
The Columbia closed with a thud. Catches had just begun to improve until upper basin water releases cooled the bite. The Westport area was putting out good catches and anglers fishing in the I-5 reach were seeing some improvement as well. Anchor anglers seemed to be out fishing trollers for the last few days of the season. Due to the uncertainty of the run, managers are taking a precautionary approach and likely won't look at additional opportunity until after peak passage day, which should happen in about 3 weeks from now. If the run comes in as predicted, there should be a catch balance remaining for the sport fleet to mop up.
The Clackamas River will remain out of reach for a while longer, but when it does come back into shape, late running winter steelhead should be available. Although clearly a down year, opportunity should exist into May, with some summer steelhead in the mix. Better spring Chinook fishing likely won't happen until May.
The Sandy is also blown out and may stay that way until after the weekend. Anglers here are catching mostly wild winter steelhead requiring release, but a few summer steelhead and spring Chinook should start showing in the catches.
Trojan, Harriet and Salmonberry Lakes, as well as Haldeman Pond will all be stocked with trout this week.
The Tillamook Report - Rain pummeled the north coast as well, but storms have subsided and rivers should be fishable by Friday. Late run winter steelhead should be available on most systems, although some rivers and river reaches closed on April 1 so check regulations before going out.
The Nestucca, with the Wilson a distant second, should produce fair catches for end-of-season steelhead. Anglers are likely to find a mix of both returning spawned out fish, as well as a rare fresh one. Some summer steelhead should start to show in both of these systems as well.
No word on the season's first spring Chinook, but it could be any day now. Action won't improve until mid-May however.
Surf perch fishing is often productive this time of year but swell heights are forecast to be too high for safe fishing conditions. Needless to say, bottomfishing will not be an option either for the foreseeable future.
Many district lakes received large plants of rainbow trout last week and this week. Action should be good when the weather cooperates.
Sturgeon season forthcoming? Managers are scheduled to meet this week to discuss catch and keep sturgeon options for the lower Columbia River. We'll provide the info when it comes in.
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!