Northwest Steelheaders president Bill Kremers (left) of Corvallis and Mark Grier of Newberg hoisting their limit of Willamette River spring Chinook, just downstream of Willamette Falls caught on Thursday, May 11.
Portland/Metro - Willamette River spring Chinook fishermen continue to fare well in the favorable water conditions. Anglers working the Willamette during the last opener (May 11 - 13) kept nearly 1,000 fish for 4,000 angler trips, some of the best catch rates of the season.
Oregon City has remained exceptionally productive, and for reasons unknown, sea lions have largely fended for themselves. Anglers seem to be keeping a low-key profile when hooking fish, enabling them to get them to the net before a sea lion notices.
Backtrolled shrimp and egg clusters at the Garbage Hole seems to be the most productive, but anchor fishermen just downstream of the West Linn Bridge are also taking fish with some regularity. Temperatures spiked late last week, making for a good wobbler bite, but have since cooled, making bait a better option for the Thursday through Saturday opener. For now, the fishery remains open, but if Chinook passage at Willamette Falls proceeds slowly, additional regulations may be forthcoming.
Willamette River shad have started to show, but few are fishing for them. Sunny days often draws much better action and numbers will build into early June. Small wobblers in brass and nickel produce well. Fish the swifter water if targeting these fish. Don't be too surprised if a salmon grabs your gear either, it's not an uncommon occurrence this time of year.
The Clackamas River started producing some spring Chinook catches last week. The lower river fishery traditionally starts to peak in mid-May, but will last through late June too. Shrimp and egg combinations are productive here as well. Summer steelhead have also started to show in better numbers, but the high water continues to challenge those that aren't used to fishing under these conditions. Both salmon and steelhead fishing will only improve in the coming weeks.
Sandy River anglers are also starting to see an improvement in catches. Lower river trollers are taking some fish in the slack water. The high and mighty Columbia River often backs up the lower Sandy River this time of year. Spring Chinook have been taken in the lower Sandy, and are likely as high as Dodge Park. Summer steelhead are starting to show here as well, just not in the numbers the Clackamas often sees during the spring run.
The Tillamook Report - Although spring Chinook in the Tillamook district remain somewhat sparse, the size of the fish more than make up for it. We're entering peak season for Tillamook springers and action remains fair, but likely to improve.
A soft tide series this weekend will put effort back towards Garibaldi for herring trollers. Jetty fishing on the last half of outgoing tide is likely to produce some fish. Watch for ocean opportunity as well, as seas are expected to calm.
Halibut seekers may get a nice window of opportunity this weekend. Catches should be productive out of Newport and Garibaldi.
District rivers, specifically the Trask, Wilson and Nestucca systems do have spring Chinook available. The Trask, especially towards the hatchery hole, will remain a top prospect. Eggs and shrimp often produce the best results.
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!