Oregon Fishing Forecast - October 4, 2018
Portland/Metro - Chinook numbers remain depressed at Bonneville Dam and anglers will remain sidelined for the foreseeable future. The mainstem Columbia is closed to almost all fishing, catch and release sturgeon remains one of the few options.
Coho are entering the Sandy and Clackamas River systems in better numbers now, but until significant precipitation comes, they will be challenging to catch. The lower reaches of each of these systems is holding the best numbers now, but fish are slowly making their way to upstream pools. Cloudy skies are helping increase success rates, but anglers are anxiously awaiting the first fall rains.
Historically, anglers had ample opportunity for salmon, steelhead and sturgeon in the fall. This year, anglers are sidelined on the mainstem Columbia, while the Willamette continues to put out fair catches of sturgeon for catch and release, but no salmon to speak of. Fall trout opportunities are plentiful however, and trout in the high lakes go on a feeding rampage before the cold winter months about to hit. Check the ODF&W web site for the most recent stocking schedule, but also prepare for inclement weather as it's sure to strike with little notice this time of year.
The Tillamook Report - Salmon fishing remains challenging on most north coast estuaries. Tillamook Bay continues to put out a few Chinook to trollers working the Ghost Hole and Bay City, but other areas of the estuary and tidewater reaches are producing fair-at-best results. The south channel has an occasional Chinook, but the bubble fishery in the ocean waters adjacent to Tillamook Bay is producing poorly.
Wild coho are present in most estuaries and some are so large, they are easily mistaken for Chinook salmon. Anglers should be 100% sure of the species they retain, several wild coho have been confiscated at the dock, with hefty fines doled out as a consequence. Only hatchery coho may be retained in bays and rivers, but few seem available to anglers this year. As of Monday, the North Fork Nehalem has yet to receive any coho back to the hatchery.
Bottomfishing remains a good option out of Garibaldi. October 1 marked the opening of the deep reef fishery, where large lingcod and ample numbers of large rockfish make for easy limits on most days. Calm seas early in the week yielded good catches, this is an opportunity that's not likely to last long as ocean conditions will certainly deteriorate before long. Nearshore bottomfishing remains good too, but an increase in the bag limit to 5 rockfish (and 2 lingcod) per person. The long-leader fishery still allows for 10 fish bag limits and has been wildly popular and productive.
Ocean crabbing is still productive, but will close to recreational opportunity after October 15. Bay crabbing should be more challenging this weekend as stronger tides keep crabs dug in.
Astoria area - Crabbing in the lower Columbia was good last weekend, but stronger tides this weekend won't produce easy limits.
Tuna chasers did good late last week and it should remain a viable fishery for another 2 weeks if the ocean cooperates.
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!