WillametteValley/Metro- Some anglers are beginning to findsturgeon in shallow water in the gorge. Some quality keepers are available.Frustrated by season cutbacks, anglers continue to witness high interceptionrates of Stellar sea lions predating on oversize sturgeon at Bonneville Dam.
Dailywinter steelhead counts are on the upswing once again with about 3,500 upstreamas of the latest data. Boat pressure is increasing around the Sellwood Bridgeas hopefuls troll herring for springers. Salmon are taken nearly every dayalthough the fish per rod average is less than impressive. Flows and turbidityare predicted to remain stable, enabling anglers a continued opportunity forthe region’s highest quality fish.
TheMcKenzie has been steadily dropping but may experience a slight rise from rainthis week.
North Santiam flows are expected to be decent until the next heavy rain. Wildsteelhead numbers are improving.
Wintersteelhead are scattered in modest number on the Clackamas. Spinners or bobber& Jig have drawn strikes.
Sandy steelheadershave taken fish over the past week at Dodge and Oxbow parks. Sidedrifters inthe lower reaches are finding more consistent action as the late run fish makea stronger showing.
Unlikemost Willamette Valley lakes which are open year-around, Henry Hagg Lake opensfor the season on Saturday, March 3rd. Hundreds of enthusiastic anglers areexpected to participate in this productive metro fishery. A nice batch ofholdover trout are expected.
Northwest – Water levels on the larger north coast systemsremained high over the weekend but anglers willing to work with thoseconditions found some success on the remaining hatchery steelhead streams usingeggs or shrimp for bait.
Smaller systems fished well with the Necanicum a late seasonfavorite for anglers looking to tangle with primarily wild fish. On Friday,Lori Howe of Raleigh Hills hooked into an exceptional steelhead on the blackpirate hot shot, only to lose it in a submerged root wad after an epic battle.The Necanicum is wrought with wood debris with multiple hazards including 2downed trees near the Necanicum Junction which are impassable. Willing anglersneed to drag their boats about 40 feet over a gravel bar to get downstream pastthe obstruction.
The North Fork Nehalem and Kilchis Rivers are reportingprimarily wild fish present. The hatchery runs on these systems is finished.
The mainstem Nehalem remains too high and off-color forproductive fishing although steelheaders working tributary mouths may find somesuccess.
Water levels are expected to rise again before the weekendbut by Saturday, most systems should be fishing well. Large broodstocksteelhead, tipping the scales to over 20 pounds, have been taken in the WilsonRiver recently. The late run broodstock fishery and a quality wild steelheadfishery peaks in March, making the north coast a favored target for WillametteValley veterans.
Crabbing remains good in Tillamook and Netarts Bays. Anglersworking the jetties are taking more consistent numbers of rockfish and anoccasional lingcod. Smaller tide exchanges produce the best results but thoseare at night this weekend.
Southwest– Ocean conditions aren’tboat-friendly this week although there may be a brief window of opportunity onSaturday according to offshore forecasts. When conditions allow, bottom fishingis good for rockfish and lingcod.
Crabbing has been poor offshore due to rough ocean conditions.
Crabbing improved in Winchester Bay but may be negatively impacted byprecipitation this week. Sturgeon fishing has slowed around the 101 Bridge.South Umpqua steelheaders have been doing well for hatchery steelhead butrising waters will hamper efforts this week.
Lower Rogue spring chinook anglers areenthusiastic now that fish have started to enter the estuary. Unfortunately,river levels are forecast to spike with rainfall. Levels are predicted to bedropping over the coming weekend but the water will be a little high. The upperRogue may be the best bet for winter steelhead.
Good numbers of herring were taken over the lastweekend in Brookings harbor. The run is late this year and is usuallyshort-lived. The Chetco River will be high but dropping in the weekend to come,creating winter steelhead opportunities for plunkers.
Elk and Sixes rivers are on the rise with rainthis week but should fish well for winter steelhead as the water drops andclears.
Eastern– The Crooked River remains a best bet for trout on the East side.
Steelheading should beproductive in the Grande Ronde but water levels are high this week.
SW Washington – Late season steelhead are making a strongershowing on the Kalama. The Cowlitz is another option but the bulk of that runhas passed. The Lewis River is also a fair option for mostly wild fish withspring chinook still likely a month away.
Spring chinook are starting to show in better numbers for DavisBar trollers. Numbers should start to build with peak opportunity the firstweek in April. Larger fish tend to show earlier in the run however.
The Washougal River has slowed for hatchery steelhead but a fairrun of wild fish should show through March.