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The Guide's Forecast provides timely and accurate fishing information so you can catch more fish!

SUBMITTED - Crab is king on the lower Columbia this time of year. Limits are the rule but boaters must be aware of the often stormy conditions before heading out.Portland/Metro - With local area hatchery coho seasons in the bag, anglers are now looking for early season steelhead in the Portland/metro river systems. Eagle Creek National Fish Hatchery tallied just over 3,700 returning adults to their facility, not bad considering a downturn in coho returns in the Northwest.

The Clackamas should continue to kick out some late season wild coho, but few are targeting them. This river will remain relatively quiet for the next several weeks, but steelhead hopefuls will be out when water conditions are favorable. Incoming precipitation is expected to keep the river high into early December, but some steelhead will likely make a showing soon. There has been at least one steelhead confirmed from the Clackamas.

Bob Rees, The Guides ForecastThe Sandy has had a more robust return of steelhead in recent years and there have been reliable reports of the season's first catch on this system as well. Like Eagle Creek, the hatchery return is over with, but native coho will still be returning through December. Steelhead effort won't start climbing until early January with the return of quality broodstock fish, largely taken from robust wild stock.

On the Willamette, with the increased flow, Meldrum Park plunkers will start making their way to the banks of the river near Gladstone, in hopes of early season steelhead destined for the Clackamas River. Success rates are best when flows are on the drop and clearing, which could be a while for the mainstem Willamette.

High flows on the Willamette doesn't seem to slow the sturgeon bite in the Portland Harbor. This catch and release fishery should remain productive well into the spring. Use sand shrimp and smelt downstream of the Fremont Bridge. Watch for floating debris however, floating logs can cause serious damage to boats, motors and anchor ropes while navigating or on anchor.

The Tillamook Report - Chinook season remains closed in the Tillamook district rivers, but there has been some limited success for the Tillamook Bay trollers working the Ghost Hole and Bay City. Effort has been light however as most have folded it up for the season.

The season's first winter steelhead was reported on the Wilson River over the weekend, taken from the tidewater reach in the low flows. Other river systems have little to report however.

The North Fork Nehalem is often the first system to report any numbers of steelhead, effort has been running high over the holiday weekend with nothing to show for it. The current rain freshet should bring more positive results, maybe as early as this weekend.

Three Rivers near Hebo is another early season favorite, and is likely to produce the season's first catches by early December too. It's the perfect small stream fishery with a fair amount of bank access, especially at the mouth of this Nestucca River tributary.

Tides moderate for weekend crabbing in Tillamook County, but the best tides will occur during the nighttime hours.

Lower Columbia River - Crabbing remains excellent for lower Columbia crabbers and weekend tides will continue to produce great catches of quality sized Dungeness.

JOIN US - Launch of the Willamette River Salmon and Steelhead Coalition on December 4, 6:30 pm at the Museum of the Oregon Territory at 211 Tumwater Drive, Oregon City.

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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