Oregon Fishing Forecast - February 1, 2018
Portland/Metro - Metro rivers continue to receive ample amounts of precipitation in the form of rain and low-level snowfall that is keeping the Sandy and Clackamas systems high and cold. The broodstock returns are about to kick into high gear in the next 4 weeks, and if water conditions improve, action should too.
The Clackamas has been off to a slower start than the Sandy, but February will be the telling month that determines how the winter steelhead program is performing on this system. Most are expecting the returns to be fairly good so anglers should be prepared to hit the river in force when flows drop. High water tactics can take fish too, but steelhead move rather quickly when flows are up, rarely stopping for an anglers offering, which are hard to find in the first place with all the water coming downstream. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will be seeking volunteers to collect wild broodstock for the hatchery program in the coming weeks so stay tuned for the call to aid.
The Sandy River also remains high and challenging, coupled with the fact that sea lions are working the river, making fish rather timid to bite. Anglers are concentrating in the Cedar Creek area near the hatchery as fish will slow there before heading up the tributary to the hatchery. It will likely remain the better bet for the metro fisheries.
The Willamette remains high, and a poor option for steelhead. Returns at Willamette Falls closely parallel last year's dismal returns and sea lions are working the river above the West Linn Bridge. Sturgeon fishing should still be good in the Portland Harbor, but anglers aren't all that inspired.
The Tillamook Report - It hasn't been a fantastic week in Tillamook, but there were some quality wild and a few hatchery fish taken on the Wilson and Nestucca Rivers. Rivers remain high, but those versed in high water tactics are making it work with some consistency. Smaller systems seem to be the better options, but you have to choose those targets wisely.
Early season options such as the North Fork Nehalem and Three Rivers are largely void of fresh fish, but harbor spawned out steelhead that readily bite. This will be the mainstay for the next several weeks, but the Kilchis will remain a good late season option for those seeking solitude and a fair to good chance at wild fish, especially in higher flows.
The upper Trask also fishes well in high water and better numbers of fish are likely to start in as February progresses. There will be an occasional hatchery stray here as well. Beef up your gear, especially in high water as fish are often robust on this river system.
Be sure to use bigger and brighter offerings in the higher water. Drop down in size and subtlety as flows subside, if the hydrograph is accurate, it should be a productive weekend.
The Astoria area - A nice minus tide series would make for good evening razor clam digging, but a big surf will keep clams down, out of reach for most diggers. If the swells calm over the weekend, digging could be productive.
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!