What’s Fishin’ In Oregon

Tuna off the coast, late-season trout stockings, walleye biting near Portland, good crappie fishing on the Idaho line — here are more highlights from ODFW’s weekly Recreation Report.

NORTHWEST ZONE

  • Spring chinook and summer steelhead are available the Nestucca and Tillamook basins. Prospects are fair as water conditions are low and clear. Fish early for best results.
  • Angling for sea-run cutthroat in tidewater areas should be improving.
  • Lost Lake recently received approximately 3,000 trout from Nehalem Hatchery. No further trout stocking is scheduled until September. The 2009 stocking schedule is available online.

SOUTHWEST ZONE

  • With the advent of warmer weather, fishing for bass, crappie and bluegill has picked up in many area lakes and ponds. Bluegills have begun to spawn in area lakes and can be very aggressive.
  • Anglers fishing the Rogue bay picked up several chinook over the weekend with a couple over 30 lbs. Chinook numbers will continue to climb all July.
  • Fishing for pink fin surfperch has been fair to good in the Umpqua estuary and Winchester Bay.

WILLAMETTE ZONE

  • July is a good time to get into the high lakes to do some trout fishing. Trails are free of snow and the fish are active. Remember to take mosquito repellant.
  • Prospects are good for chinook and steelhead on the tributaries of the mid and upper Willamette.
  • Summer steelhead fishing is fair on the Clackamas River.
  • Fishing for bass and other warmwater species is picking up on the Willamette River and other locations throughout the region.

CENTRAL ZONE

  • After recent population surveys, redband trout populations appear to be healthier than in recent years; good fishing is expected throughout the summer.
  • The Prineville Youth Fishing Pond has been stocked with largemouth bass and is open to anglers 14 years and younger.

SOUTHEAST ZONE

  • Flows on the Blitzen River have continued to drop, and fishing for redband trout remains pretty good.
  • Trout fishing at Lake of the Woods should be good this weekend. Look for trout in deeper, cooler parts of the lake.

NORTHEAST ZONE

  • Trout fishing on the John Day, especially the Middle and South Forks, continues to be good now that snowmelt has subsided and the river has dropped into shape. Bass and channel cat fishing is very good right now in the lower river.
  • Fishing for crappie and yellow perch is good on McKay Reservoir. The best bite will be in the evening.
  • Flows in the Walla Walla River have reached summer levels and trout fishing has been good.

SNAKE ZONE

  • BROWNLEE RESERVOIR: Crappie are biting well on jigs and crappie nibbles. Best times to fish are early morning or at night using lights. Generally the best jigs to use are chartruese, red & white, or yellow & white. If fishing during the day for crappie, the fish are generally  15-25 feet deep with a light bite. Call Idaho Power Company’s recording at 1-800-422-3143 to get information on access at recreational sites or visit their Web site under the “Rivers and Recreation” heading.
  • OXBOW RESERVOIR: Crappie fishing is fair.  Catfish angling is good.  Bass fishing is slow-fair.
  • HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR: Crappie fishing has been very good using jigs and nibbles and/or bobbers with a 3-4 foot lead. The crappie are larger, and in higher number at the upstream end of the reservoir near Copperfield Park. Fishing off the bridge has been good. Bass fishing has been fair but the fish are mostly just under the size minimum of 12 inches.  Catfish angling is picking up.

COLUMBIA ZONE

  • Summer steelhead are being caught by both boat and bank anglers.
  • The below Wauna sturgeon fishery will be open for retention during Friday July 17 through Sunday July 19.
  • Walleye fishing is improving near Troutdale and in the gorge.

MARINE ZONE

Catches averaged nine out of Astoria,  seven out of Garibaldi, 13 out of Pacific City, six out of Depoe Bay, six out of Newport and five out of Bandon. Anglers found tuna as close to shore, but most of the catches were farther than 30 miles offshore.

Fishing for coho in the ocean also picked up last week with most ports on the north and central coast averaging a between one and two coho per angler. Many ports reported two releases for every retained coho.

Fishing for chinook out of Astoria was slow with only one in 10 anglers finding success.

Sport ocean salmon fishing opened June 20 south of Cape Falcon and June 28 between Cape Falcon and Leadbetter Point (Wash.) For season details.

Halibut anglers took most of the remaining spring quota off the central Oregon coast during the last all-depth sport halibut opening July 2, 3, and 4. Fishers caught all but 1,800 pounds of the spring quota during that opening. It will be rolled into the summer all-depth season, which starts Aug. 7.

A few halibut are still being caught inside the 40-fathom line on the central coast. This fishery continues to be open seven days a week until a separate quota of 14,407 pounds is attained or Oct. 31, which ever comes first.

Pacific halibut sport fishery off the Columbia River will reopen Aug. 7. For more information on the halibut season.

Lingcod continue to be scarce with fewer than two in 10 anglers landing a fish coastwide. Anglers scored better with rockfish, greenling and other species in the marine bag landing an average of about three fish per angler.

The marine bag limit has been increased from six marine fish to seven effective May 1. This is the highest marine bag limit since summer of 2005. The marine fish bag includes rockfish and other species such as greenling and cabezon. The increased bag limit is based on a favorable stock assessment for black rockfish, the dominant species in the nearshore groundfish fishery.

Bottomfish anglers need to stay shoreward of the 40-fathom line through Sept. 30 to protect yelloweye rockfish. This regulation applies to lingcod, rockfish, cabezon, flatfish and other species listed on page 100 of the 2009 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations. The 40-fathom line is defined by latitude and longitude; coordinates are online at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp.

Remember: yelloweye rockfish and canary rockfish may not be retained. The Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area approximately 15 miles west of Newport is closed to the harvest of rockfish, lingcod, flatfish and others.

Recreational harvesting of mussels continues to be closed from the south jetty of the Columbia River to Neptune State Park due to elevated levels of PSP toxins. The entire Oregon coast is open to the recreational harvest of clams and other shellfish. However, harvesters should check for current closures on the ODA shellfish safety page or call the shellfish hotline, 1-800-448-2474. Waters can be closed on short notice because of contaminated waters due to coastal flooding and because of elevated levels of naturally occurring toxins.

A series of morning minus starts July 19 and continues through July 26 which will provide opportunity for bay clam diggers coast wide. Tide times can vary up to a couple of hours, depending where you are on the coast. Consult a tide table for the area where you will be.

In most Oregon ports last week crabbers averaged between about three crab, with crabbers out of Charleston, Winchester Bay and Pacific City getting an average of six.

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