NW Oregon Fishing Report for Jan 12

Despite some early hiccups, the online licensing system seems to be functional at the moment. Convenience is certainly a nice feature, as I had the pleasure of tagging my first steelhead of the year, a 10-pound hatchery hen taken from the Wilson River on Saturday. The fish took a yarnie and small egg cluster just downstream of the Wilson River RV Park in ideal (but cold) conditions in the late morning. There was surprisingly few boats on the river for a Saturday.

Bob Rees with a Wilson > River hen from Saturday, January 5th

Bob Rees with a Wilson River hen from Saturday, January 5th

Effort on the Nestucca jumped last weekend, with numerous boats in pursuit of that river’s hatchery quarry, but success didn’t quite justify the effort although conditions were ideal for a float here as well. Quality hatchery fish are being caught on both the Wilson and Nestucca systems, but better success rates are just around the corner.

The Trask is also putting out a few fish, mostly wild, for those willing to work for them. Higher flows justify a float higher in the system, such as Stone’s Camp to the upper Peninsula drift, but it’s highly advisable that first timers go with someone in the know before attempting this float on your own. You’ll find fewer people fishing here, but far fewer hatchery opportunities as well.

Hatchery workers continue to report low run sizes for early season streams such as the North Fork Nehalem and Three Rivers systems. Steelhead in these systems will start to be more interested in the spawning cycle than feeding, further compromising catch rates. In another few weeks, they’ll be more “bitey,” but they won’t be a high quality eating fish as most of their energy will go toward gonad production. Late-spawning bright hens are often caught without any eggs, but their flesh is still orange however.

Crabbing remains fair in Netarts Bay, more challenging in other estuaries as fresh water inundates the larger river fed waterbodies.

No sign of subsiding seas, where ample numbers of lingcod and sea bass await motivated anglers. Commercial crab gear is now officially deployed and the fleet is picking their bounty. Early indicators show slower catches than last year, not a big surprise.

There is always more Oregon fishing information delivered earlier on Bob’s site, The Guide’s Forecast.  You can also sign-up for a free weekly email here.

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