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Oregon Fishing Forecast - March 16, 2017
Portland/Metro - It's been another challenging high water week for metro area anglers. With the exception of the Columbia River, upstream of Davis Bar, the Willamette, Sandy and Clackamas Rivers have all required high water techniques, or they simply have not been fishable.
Springer trollers got excited with a flurry of activity on the Columbia around Davis Bar over the weekend. Far from good fishing, but spring Chinook bring about a fervor to salmon fishermen that is unexplainable. The Columbia River from Kelly Point Park and upstream will remain the best bet as the Willamette is predicted to remain high for the foreseeable future. Trollers are warning others about the incredible amount of debris that can cause trouble, so be cautious when boating, especially at high speeds.
Steelheaders on the Sandy and Clackamas remain perplexed as steelhead numbers remain depressed. Couple a sub-par return with high water conditions and catch rates are unimpressive. When flows subside, anglers will see better catches of late-run winter steelhead and maybe an early summer run on these systems. Spring Chinook are still weeks away.
The Tillamook Report - North coast anglers were also dealing with another high water week. Weekenders finally got on the smaller streams, such as the Kilchis River, where boaters were having to wait for almost an hour to launch their boats over the weekend. Action was fair however, despite the crowded conditions.
It looks like another tough week for steelheaders seeking the hatchery fish options on the bigger systems such as the Wilson and Nestucca Rivers. Another high water event took river levels up again early in the week, but they could fish by the weekend. It's peak season on these systems, we just need good water conditions to take advantage of it.
Smaller streams should continue to put out wild fish for catch and release anglers with the Necanicum, Kilchis and North Fork Nehalem some of the better high water options. Anglers should get another 2 weeks of productive fishing on these rivers.
Not surprisingly, more rough seas in the forecast will keep saltwater anglers at bay for the near future. When bottomfishing enthusiasts do get offshore, the fishing should be spectacular, lingcod fishing in particular. The window is closing for deep reef options however, the ocean westward of the 30-fathom line closes on March 31.
Ocean salmon seasons are being discussed through the state and federal processes. For NW area anglers, opportunities will be fairly similar to last year if the most liberal options are adopted. Season options can be found at www.pcouncil.org.
Northwest Oregon/SW Washington - SW Washington anglers are starting to pick up some spring Chinook too. Although lower Columbia anglers tallied just one springer for every 70 rods, by comparison, Cowlitz River anglers caught one springer for every 23 rods. Steelhead are falling in fair numbers on the Cowlitz as well.
The Big One - Sport anglers will have one last chance to weigh in on Columbia River Reforms at this Friday's fish and wildlife commission meeting in Corvallis. The commission has been directed by Governor Brown to adopt concurrent regulations with Washington that will prioritize spring, summer and fall salmon fisheries for sport anglers. The community waits with "bated" breath to see if the commission will defy Governor Brown's directive, or adopt concurrent regulations that are necessary to proceed with orderly fisheries. The issue won't be taken up until after noon at the Benton County Fairgrounds.
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!