Oregon Fishing Forecast - February 14, 2019
Portland/Metro - After a prolonged period of dry, cold weather, rain has finally settled in and will change the springer friendly dynamic of the Willamette River. The river is well on its way to cresting, and with it, plenty of woody debris and turbid water. Spring Chinook fishing is on hold for the foreseeable future.
John Shmilenko "The Sultan of Sellwood" springer count is one for three as of February 11. I know of three spring Chinook total taken in the Sellwood to Milwaukie stretch on both herring and prawns. There have been a few steelhead taken around Sellwood Bridge on prawns here lately.
Steelhead action has remained sub-par for this time of year. Cold weather didn't inspire the bite, but both the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers were shy of anglers and steelhead this week. The winds on the Sandy have been brutal and one renowned Sandy River steelhead guide claims it's the worst season he's ever seen so far. At least there aren't many sea lions working the river.
Both the Sandy and Clackamas should drop into ideal shape by the weekend. If the weather cooperates, it should be a fair week for steelheaders on both systems, warmer weather will aid the bite as well.
Free Fishing Weekend is happening over the President's Day holiday. There will be numerous trout stockings this week so check the ODF&W web site for your best chances. It'll take some kind of angler to get inspired if the weather forecast holds true.
Sturgeon fishing will remain a fair option in the Portland Harbor downstream of the Fremont Bridge. Frozen anchovies or herring should perform, sand shrimp too.
The big news out of agency headquarters is the banner fall coho return managers are expecting. Upwards of one million returning adults may come back to Oregon waters later this year, with a large percentage of them headed to the Columbia River and its tributaries. The Clackamas and Sandy Rivers should have robust opportunity come September.
The Tillamook Report - Steelheaders on the coast have been challenged by low, clear water conditions on all north coast streams. Furthermore, cold temperatures have kept steelhead down, but the recent rain freshet should reinvigorate the run just in time for the weekend.
The Wilson and Nestucca should be receiving a good batch of fish for the Free Fishing weekend. All techniques should produce with bobber-dogging and side-drifting eggs and soft beads performing best. Plugs should become effective over the weekend as flows settle down and steelhead grow wary of a consistent offering of real and imitation baits.
Smaller systems like the Kilchis, upper Trask and Necanicum River should have some fresh wild steelhead available for catch and release fishing, and there is likely to still be spawned out steelhead taken as they make their way downstream back to the ocean.
And speaking of the ocean, it's forecasted to get big again so bottomfishing and ocean crabbing will be off the table for yet another weekend. Bay crabbing looks to be less than ideal as well, especially with the minus tide series we're just coming into.
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!
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.