Portland/Metro - With the hit-or-miss action on the Willamette, anglers can go from hero to zero overnight in just about any stretch of the river now that it's peak season. The last few years have shown the season's best catches happen around mid-May, and that will likely be the case this year as well. With not even 10% of the run over Willamette Falls, tens of thousands of spring Chinook are still due back to the system. That should make for a pretty good fishery for the rest of the month. The river is fast approaching 60 degrees, which is the trigger for mass migration across Willamette Falls. Look for fish to move into the system with vigor, and almost equally receptive to hardware in the warming waters.
All reaches of the Willamette are producing. From St. Helens (Multnomah Channel) to Oregon City, despite sporadic action, fish are present in good numbers and seem selective on which day they decide to bite best. Sand shrimp remains a key bait in the upper reaches, and 360 rotating flashers with spinners should continue to produce in the warming temperatures.
The Willamette Salmon Quest is this weekend, and the Association of Northwest Steelheaders is sponsoring the event with guided and self-guided options still available. A banquet and presentation on the Quest for 100K initiative will follow at Camp Withycombe on Saturday, May 12. Visit www.nwsteelheaders.org for more info.
With the warming Willamette, shad should start making a good showing this week. It's the perfect fishery for youngsters although the non-native species doesn't make for good table fare. Great sport and unbeatable crab bait should be reason enough however.
The Sandy and Clackamas Rivers will start to see growing numbers of summer steelhead and spring Chinook in the coming weeks. The Sandy will likely be the better option for the next few weeks, as the Clackamas has become more productive in June and July.
The famous Drano Lake fishery is off and running. With Bonneville counts jumping significantly, the Drano Lake bite has been good. It's combat fishing however, so be prepared.
The Tillamook Report - Spring Chinook catches in Tillamook remain sparse, but fish are present upstream to the Trask hatchery. May 10th often marks the more consistent fishing for spring Chinook, but even this fishery has become more statistically unreliable in recent years. Stronger tides next week should put the focus on the upper bay, where springers are sure to stage before entering the Trask River.
Bank anglers should be able to find some spring Chinook in the Trask, a rare springer in the Wilson and Nestucca systems, and an occasional summer steelhead in the Nestucca and Wilson Rivers.
Bottomfishers reported surprisingly sporadic results despite a perfect ocean. Crabbing reports varied as well. Halibut south of Cape Falcon opens today through Saturday, it's anybody's guess how successful anglers will be. Newport has been the most productive port in recent years.
Astoria area - Bottomfishing was very slow despite perfect conditions late last week. The season's first retention period takes place on May 14 and May 16 of next week from Buoy 10 to the Wauna Powerlines. Check regulations before going.
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!
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