Oregon Fishing Forecast - April 18, 2019
Portland/Metro - With Portland area rivers on the high side all week, spring Chinook fishing as well as steelheading has come to a screeching halt. Anglers have been side-lined with the exception of the mainstem Columbia, where fishers had a weekend opportunity to once again try for the region's most prized fish. Success rates were dismal in the high flows however.
With the Willamette still spitting mud, trollers and anchor anglers spent all their time above Davis Bar, just out of the influence of the turbid Willamette River. There were a few spring Chinook taken from this area, but most anglers gambled on the gorge over the weekend, banking on dropping flows and concentrated numbers of fish. High, dark water sent most home empty handed.
At the time of this writing, managers had not decided to meet to discuss a re-opener, but most are confident that catch rates were so low on the last 2-day opener, that plenty of Chinook remain available on the sport quota. Watch the ODF&W web site for an emergency rule change.
Steelheaders looking to the Sandy River for late season action are just now getting back to fishing. Flows are expected to remain stable for the near future, but winter steelhead are well into the upper watershed, and summer steelhead are just starting to trickle in. Some spring Chinook should be available as flows drop.
Clackamas River anglers still have high water to contend with, but some boaters were working the lower reaches in hopes of intercepting fast migrating steelhead. Water conditions remain challenging but could be a viable option by the weekend. Like the Sandy, it's late for winter steelhead, but a few summer steelhead should be around. Spring Chinook will remain elusive for several more weeks.
Numerous lakes and ponds are scheduled for trout plants over the next few weeks when weather improves, so will the opportunity for catchable fish. Check the ODF&W web site for detailed stocking reports.
The Tillamook Report - Savvy steelheaders took advantage of the most recent rain freshet early this week. Those fishing on Sunday and Monday scored good results on the Wilson and Kilchis Rivers, with some quality hatchery fish and wild steelhead falling to anglers. The Nestucca came in at mid-week and also produced a late season flurry of activity for wild and hatchery steelhead alike.
Anglers continuing to pursue steelhead on the coast will have district rivers largely to themselves, especially as metro rivers begin to clear. The steelhead that start to show will be dark and make for poor table fare, but summer steelhead should start to show in the Wilson and Nestucca Rivers. Spring Chinook are still about a month away.
Ocean conditions look a bit volatile for the foreseeable future, but when the ocean does lie down, bottomfishing should remain excellent.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted ocean salmon seasons on Monday. Liberal coho quotas and long seasons are likely to be the saving grace for the sportfleet this year. The Columbia River hatchery coho return is going to be the most robust in years.
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!