Bob Rees’ Fishing Updates

NW Oregon Fishing Report

Posted by on May 18, 2019 in Fishing Report | 0 comments

Spring Chinook are in the Tillamook system although the Trask River bite has tapered. With dropping and clearing flows, Tillamook Bay itself will become the target for salmon, with big tides most productive in the upper bay, and during low tide exchanges, target springers along the jetty on the last half of outgoing. Mid-May has traditionally been the start of a peak 4-week season, but springers have made stronger showings later in the month of June in recent years. Spinners should work well in the upper bay on outgoing tide, trolled herring near high slack.

Halibut season opened fairly strong out of Newport, but Garibaldi produced fairly poorly last week, better on Thursday (today) however. Anglers may find better success in the nearshore fishery although the nearshore halibut fishing is often more spotty than the all-depth openers.

Bottomfishing remains excellent and ocean crabbing is good too.

Astoria sturgeon fishing is off to a fair start and will only improve in the coming openers.

Willamette Valley/Metro Area Fishing Update for May 11

Posted by on May 12, 2019 in Fishing Report, North Coast Fishing Report | 0 comments

Willamette Valley/Metro – With all systems go for Willamette Valley rivers, catch rates remained robust for the week, but the catch per angler dropped from the previous week, while effort increased. The most productive reach remained the mainstem Willamette from St. Johns Bridge to the mouth and the entire Multnomah Channel where just over 4,600 “angler days” yielded 651 spring Chinook (524 hatchery fish and 127 wild fish requiring release). The middle and upriver reaches also produced fairly, but it’s clear that the adult return this year is down from previous years.

Wild winter steelhead counts have now eclipsed over 3,000 returning adults, and spring Chinook passage is also now over 3,000 returning adults. Almost half of the passage is made up of wild spring Chinook, welcome news for a run that was on a strong downward trajectory. At least 27 California sea lions have been removed from the Oregon City area, certainly helping wild and hatchery fish pass the natural barrier.

Anglers are reminded that approaching the sea lion traps compromises the program, which is clearly working and harassing sea lions without a permit is illegal and won’t be tolerated. Let the fish recovery teams do their work, you just keep fishing.

The Clackamas River is in ideal shape, but dropping and clearing. The annual creel census is underway and no salmon or steelhead were reported for the first week of sampling. Effort remains justifiably low, but catches should be improving in the coming weeks.

The Sandy River is also slow to jump start, but catches should be improving here as well. Summer steelhead will draw the most attention, but spring Chinook should be available for persistent anglers. The lower reaches will garner the most effort. Willamette River sturgeon catch and effort dropped off this week, but catches will remain most consistent in the Portland Harbor. The sanctuary closure from the Oak Grove Railroad Bridge to Willamette Falls is now in effect. It’s spawning season for the larger sturgeon in this reach.

Pro guide Jeff Stoeger (503-704-7920) of O2BFISHN reports, ” This week the Sandy has been holding around 9 ft and the water temp is around 50 degrees. There has been a few Chinook caught and released in the upper river. I had a phone call from a friend and he said that he was fishing eggs with a sand shrimp and hooked a nice native nickel bright. With the river running low and the temps above normal the river should start to show  glacial color and you will need to use more scent. “

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Northwest Oregon – Spring Chinook are starting to show in the Trask River, but anglers need to be putting forth their best effort in the early mornings. Eggs and/or sand shrimp under bobbers will produce the best results close to the hatchery but as flows continue to drop, so will catch rates.

Tillamook Bay itself is producing only an occasional spring Chinook. Minus tides this weekend should produce the better catches in the upper bay. Use spinners and plugs on outgoing tide, herring at high tide.

With the deep reef now closed, nearshore catches of sea bass and some lingcod remain excellent.

Ocean crabbing is picking up too, as crabs come off the “clutch,” also known as the breeding season.

The halibut season south of Cape Falcon opens today. With a substantial increase in annual quota, it’s slated to be a productive year. Catches are likely to be good out of Newport and hopefully Garibaldi.

The first of an 11-day catch and keep sturgeon fishery opens up on Monday, May 13th on the lower Columbia River. Catches are likely to start slow and build into early June.

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.

Willamette Valley & Metro Area Fishing Update for May 4

Posted by on May 4, 2019 in Fishing Report | 0 comments

With the mainstem Willamette dropping and clearing into ideal shape, effort and catch has been good during this peak season. It’s back to more sporadic results, but great catches were experienced throughout the river last Wednesday and Thursday, and action remains consistent from the Portland Harbor to Oregon City. Last week, Willamette River spring Chinook anglers witnessed the best fishing since the 2015 season, when the run was much larger. All reaches of the lower Willamette produced similar catch rates according to ODF&W creel data. The season is well underway.

Temperatures remain below 57 degrees, a key benchmark for switching to hardware from bait such as prawns or sand shrimp. Wobblers will become more effective as the water warms, but fish will start to move faster past Willamette Falls too.

And speaking of fish passage at Willamette Falls, both wild winter steelhead and spring Chinook are moving more naturally over fish ladders at the falls, with the removal of 24 predatory sea lions as of late last week. Wild winter steelhead counts will certainly eclipse 3,000 fish, well over triple the depressed 2017 count. Managers were witnessing declining numbers of wild McKenzie River spring Chinook too, also known for arriving earlier than other wild returning Chinook in the basin. The pinniped removal program will certainly offer relief to this declining run of iconic salmon as well.

Bank anglers finally starting seeing an uptick in catch rates last week. High water pushes fish closer to the bank where anglers have better access to them. As flows drop, it’s likely catch rates will too for bank anglers. The Clackamas and Sandy Rivers will offer up other bank angling options in the coming weeks too however.

Although some late returning winter steelhead (mostly wild) are still showing on the Clackamas River, summer steelhead counts are on the increase, albeit slowly. Numbers will peak in late May and June with spring Chinook about the same time.

The Sandy River has both summer run steelhead and spring Chinook available, but peak catches are still weeks away. The high, roily Columbia River has the lower Sandy backed up, making it a fair option for spring Chinook trolling. Springers will enter here well into June.

NW Oregon Fishing Update for April 27

Posted by on Apr 27, 2019 in Fishing Report | 0 comments

Steelhead season is largely over on the north coast. Most guides called it just mediocre with most of the run now spawning or near spawning. North coast rivers will harbor spawned out steelhead for the next few weeks, but shouldn’t necessarily be targeted them during this time. Summer steelhead will return to the Wilson and Nestucca systems as well as Three Rivers however, with peak action likely to happen in June and July. These late season spawners make for excellent table fare, second only to spring Chinook, which will soon return to the Trask River and Tillamook Bay through the month of June. No spring Chinook have yet to be reported.

Bottomfishing remains excellent with just a few days left for deep reef fishing. On May 1st, anglers will be restricted inside of 40 fathoms, which is still productive for many species of bottomfish, but bigger lingcod and bass exist along the offshore (deep) reefs. The deep reef fishery will re-open on October 1st. Coastal lakes and ponds will also see an infusion of stocked trout with fewer anglers targeting them in the rural districts. Trout fishing in the district’s rivers is closed as juvenile salmon and steelhead make their way to the ocean this time of year, and are often mistaken for trout by novice anglers. Trout season opens in late May in most coastal systems.

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.

NW Oregon Fishing Reports for April 20

Posted by on Apr 21, 2019 in Fishing Report | 0 comments

Savvy steelheaders took advantage of the most recent rain freshet early this week. Those fishing on Sunday and Monday scored good results on the Wilson and Kilchis Rivers, with some quality hatchery fish and wild steelhead falling to anglers. The Nestucca came in at mid-week and also produced a late season flurry of activity for wild and hatchery steelhead alike.

Anglers continuing to pursue steelhead on the coast will have district rivers largely to themselves, especially as metro rivers begin to clear. The steelhead that start to show will be dark and make for poor table fare, but summer steelhead should start to show in the Wilson and Nestucca Rivers.

Spring Chinook are still about a month away.

Ocean conditions look a bit volatile for the foreseeable future, but when the ocean does lie down, bottomfishing should remain excellent.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted ocean salmon seasons on Monday. Liberal coho quotas and long seasons are likely to be the saving grace for the sportfleet this year. The Columbia River hatchery coho return is going to be the most robust in years.

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.

NW Oregon Fishing Update for April 13

Posted by on Apr 13, 2019 in Fishing Report, North Coast Fishing Report | Comments Off on NW Oregon Fishing Update for April 13

Coastal systems also took a hit early this week, but should be fishing well by the weekend. The Wilson and Nestucca systems should provide one last good push of winter steelhead for anglers to enjoy, while the Willamette Valley recovers from the recent rain event. The last few years have provided a decent late showing of steelhead on these systems.

Check regulations before heading out, some coastal systems closed on April 1st to protect sensitive spawning stocks of steelhead this time of year.

No spring Chinook have been reported since the April 1st opener in Tillamook County. Action won’t get good for another month in this region.

The ocean has been upside down in recent days, sidelining the charter and sport fleet from easy limits of sea bass and good fishing for lingcod as well. Anglers remain hopeful that the swell will once again lie down for productive offshore fishing. Deep reef opportunity for large lingcod has been expanded another month and won’t close until May 1st this year. With the recent rain events, bay crabbing should be shot for a while.

NW Oregon Fishing Report for Apr 6th

Posted by on Apr 7, 2019 in Fishing Report | Comments Off on NW Oregon Fishing Report for Apr 6th

Late season steelhead are making a fair showing on the Wilson and Nestucca systems recently. Boats working the late afternoons have been pleasantly surprised. Both systems should continue to produce good catches of steelhead for the next ten days and the current string of wet days should draw new fish into all north coast systems for weekend anglers.

Spring Chinook season opened on April 1st for fin-clipped salmon in the Tillamook district. Catches won’t improve until mid-May but April steelheaders sometimes get surprised. Summer steelhead are also starting to show in the Wilson and Nestucca systems.

Charter boats brought in large lingcod and canary rockfish from recent calm ocean waters. The deep reef opportunity has been extended through the month of April and will continue to produce great catches of bottomfish.

Columbia River sturgeon – Fishery managers adopted another limited season for catch and keep sturgeon running from May 13th – June 5th or the fulfillment of a nearly 3,000 keeper quota. High, cold snow melt may prolong the season if we see a repeat of last year.

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.

NW Oregon Fishing Update for March 27th

Posted by on Mar 30, 2019 in Fishing Report, North Coast Fishing Report | Comments Off on NW Oregon Fishing Update for March 27th

Following a productive string of steelhead days last week, Tillamook area rivers have tapered for steelhead success. River levels are stabilized and will drop and clear into the weekend. Although the bulk of the run is now in the river and staking out their spawning territory, wild and late-run hatchery fish will continue into early April on the Wilson and Nestucca Rivers.

The Trask and Nehalem Rivers will continue to produce wild fish but the mainstem Nehalem above the Highway 26 Bridge and the Salmonberry River (tributary to the Nehalem) will close beginning April 1st.

Fin-clipped spring Chinook season opens in Tillamook County on April 1st, but springers won’t start to enter in robust numbers until mid-May.

A large ocean swell has kept saltwater anglers at bay recently. Fishing will be excellent when the weather allows. The deep-reef fishery will remain open through the month of April (one additional month), allowing for excellent lingcod fishing as well as slope rockfish, both excellent eating table fare.

Bay crabbing has been challenging and will remain that way for the foreseeable future.

Managers set lower Columbia River sturgeon seasons today, they are very similar to last year, with 11 days scheduled to run, depending on how the quota gets consumed. The season will run from May 15th to June 5th, every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday with fish between 44 and 50 inches allowed for retention. Check the regulations for proper measuring.

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.

NW Oregon Fishing Update for March 22

Posted by on Mar 23, 2019 in Fishing Report | Comments Off on NW Oregon Fishing Update for March 22

Coastal streams have been on a steady rise with snow-melt providing additional flows in recent days. The Wilson River remains clear however, and fish are timid. The Nestucca has been the target of most steelheaders recently, and success rates have been fair recently. A mix of wild and hatchery fish are present in both of these north coast favorites recently.

The Nehalem and Trask River systems have been putting out fair numbers of wild steelhead recently. Both should continue to produce mediocre results until the next significant rain freshet stimulates more robust returns.

Seas have been a bit big as of late, keeping bottomfishers from accessing interested sea bass and lingcod, as well as Dungeness crab. The offshore forecast doesn’t look any better for the coming weekend.

Minus tides should provide some clam digging opportunities along Clatsop area beaches, but razors have been small so far.

ODF&W – Razor clamming is now CLOSED from the Columbia River to Tillamook Head (south of Seaside). Recreational razor clamming is OPEN from Tillamook Head to Cape Blanco. Recreational razor clamming is also CLOSED from Cape Blanco to the California border due to elevated levels of domoic acid toxin.

District lakes are slated to be heavily stocked for spring break with rainbow trout. Town, Lost, Cape Meares  and Hebo Lakes as well as Loren and Nedonna Ponds should provide excellent action through the spring break week.

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.

NW Oregon Fishing Update for March 16

Posted by on Mar 17, 2019 in Fishing Report | Comments Off on NW Oregon Fishing Update for March 16

Steelheading on the Nestucca and Wilson Rivers remains challenging in the low, clear systems. Flows jumped early in the week, but not significantly. Most steelheaders are waiting for a substantial weather system, but that looks unlikely for the near future.

The mainstem Nehalem should remain a good bet given it’s the largest river system on the north coast. Low flows are ideal for this all-wild steelhead system, but action should be fair for the coming weekend.

The next weather system will produce excellent steelhead catches, if it ever arrives.

Saltwater anglers took advantage of calm seas last week, yielding great catches of large lingcod, yellow tail and other rockfish species. The seasonal deep reef fathom restriction and closure date has been relaxed, anglers can now fish to the 40-fathom line (instead of 30-fathoms) and the all-depth fishery remains open through April 30th instead of March 31st.

Ocean and bay crabbing is fair.

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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