What’s Fishin’ In Oregon (11-3-10)

“They’re coming – and nothing’s stopping them.”

So writes Northwest Sportsman contributor Larry Ellis, stationed on the banks of the South Coast’s Chetco River, about this fall’s Chinook fishery, which has so far started off hot and heavy.

That’s not all there is to fish for around Oregon (see highlights from ODFW’s weekly Recreation Report below), but it’s definitely what we’re leading with here at What’s Fishin’ In Oregon.

Here’s more from Ellis as well as pics of a couple hog Chinook:

South Coast anglers have not been lacking for salmon this season, especially Chetco River groupies where limits were the rule on Saturday, October 30, when the river opened above River Mile 2.2,  one week earlier than scheduled.

In ODFW’s pre-season projections given in a Gold Beach meeting last March on all Oregon coastal streams, the Chetco was predicted to have the second highest percentage of escapement back to the river based on a 20-year average – 167-percent of average to be exact.

The department’s prediction of a higher-than-average amount 4-year-old Chinook also came to fruition when fish upon fish averaging between 30 and 50 pounds were filleted at the Port of Brookings Harbor’s cleaning station.

On Saturday, with a river averaging 3,500 cubic feet per second, and perfection visibility, anglers hooked kings on sardine-wrapped Kwikfish and MagLips.

“I went through a whole package of sardines,” said guide Joe Whaley of Joe Whaley’s Guide Service of Brookings.

Martin Thurber from Willakenzie Guide Service of Eugene brought plenty of sand shrimp with him for the opener and clocked limits of adults and jack Chinook for his clients as well. Thurber took top honors for opening day with Russell Cearney of Cottage Grove landing a 42-pound Chinook while back-bouncing roe.

RUSSELL CEARNEY OF COTTAGE GROVE CAUGHT THIS 42-POUND CHINOOK AT LOEB STATE PARK WHILE FISHING WITH MARTIN THURBER OF WILLAKENZIE GUIDE SERVICE WHEN THE CHETCO RIVER OPENED ITS DOORS ABOVE RIVER MILE 2.2 LAST SATURDAY. (LARRY ELLIS)

Andy Martin from Wild Rivers Fishing also hooked plenty of fish.

KATIE SELVOG AND WESTON WALKER OF KLAMATH FALLS HOLD A TROPHY CHETCO cHINOOK, CAUGHT ON HALLOWEEN WITH GUIDE ANDY MARTIN OF WILD RIVERS FISHING. THE SALMON BIT A SARDINE-WRAPPED MAG LIP PLUG. (ANDY MARTIN, WILD RIVERS FISHING)

George Morrison and Roland Robertson of Brookings hold a 44-pound Chetco River king salmon caught Nov. 3 while fishing with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing (www.wildriversfishing.com). The salmon hit a cluster of roe cured in Pautzke's pink BorxOFire fished with size 3/0 Lazer Sharp hooks and a Wright & McGill back-bouncing rod. (WILD RIVERS FISHING)

On Sunday the river blew out but by Monday anglers were catching fresh batches of chrome-bright 4-year-olds on a dropping river with Jack Hanson of Jack’s Guide Service putting one of his clients on a 45-pound monster king.

Tuesday also proved to be an excellent day for fishing guides when the Chetco also kicked out more fresh batches of silvery Chinook with Joe Whaley again limiting out his clients.

Bobber-and-egg or bobber-and-sand shrimp cocktail users (see November’s Rig Of The Month) are going to be stealing the show for the rest of the week and through the weekend, with a few baby-back-bouncers and plug-pullers taking fish from the South Fork put-in down to Social Security Hole.

If the river levels go below 1,000 cfs, Tide Rock anglers using the aforementioned bobber set-ups can also expect to score Chinook averaging over 30 pounds.  Bobbers-and-bait can also be employed in the softer water of back eddies and near the sides of the river where the river flow isn’t as robust.

Bank fishermen will find that drifting Corkies-and-roe, or Puff Balls-and-roe to be their best tactic until the river drops below 1,000 cfs, at which time bobbers-and-bait will be the go-to method.

Shore fishermen can expect to catch Chinook at the South Bank Pump house, the upper and lower ends of Social Security hole, the North Fork, Loeb Park and Miller Bar.

SOUTHWEST ZONE

  • Fishing is very good in Applegate Reservoir, which was recently stocked with large rainbow trout for fall fishing.
  • The Chetco River opened for fall chinook fishing a week early and anglers are already seeing some good fishing.
  • Trout fishing at Lost Creek Reservoir has been very good with reports of several 15 to 17-inch fish.
  • Steelhead fishing on the upper Rogue River is starting to heat up.

NORTHWEST ZONE

  • Alsea River: Fishing is fair to good with many fish moving up river.  Look to fish the falling river level later this week. Trolling, bait and bobber or casting lures can be effective this time of year in many river locations. The cutthroat trout season is closed for the season.
  • Kilchis River: Fall chinook fishing should improve as fish move upstream following recent storms. Fish should be available throughout much of the river. Bobber and bait should be effective in the deeper holes. Catch and release fishing for chum salmon should be fair. More fish will arrive in November.
  • Necanicum River: Angling for chinook salmon is fair in tidewater and in upstream areas. Try bobber and eggs/shrimp, or cast spinners in the deeper holes. Fish will be spread out after recent high flows.
  • Nestucca River: Angling for chinook is slow to fair, depending on river conditions. Fish are still available in tidewater, but many fish moved upstream with recent rains. Concentrate on the deeper holes where fish hold. Bobber and bait, or bait-wrapped plugs should produce some fish. Check regulations carefully as there are several closure areas and a new bag limit in effect this year. Fall chinook are being caught in Three Rivers, where angling has improved as more fish moved in. Summer steelhead angling in Three Rivers and the upper Nestucca is fair, with some improvement after the latest storm. Expect fishing to slow over the next few weeks. Spinners or bobber and jig are effective for steelhead.
  • Siletz River: Chinook and coho salmon angling is fair. A good portion of fish have moved up river above the angling deadline into spawning areas. Recent rain events should bring in a new batch of fish. Steelhead fishing is slow in the upper river. The cutthroat trout season is closed for the year.
  • Tillamook Bay: Angling for chinook has been fair. Fish are being caught throughout the bay. Trolling herring on the incoming tide in the lower bay is a good bet. Or try trolling spinners (red and white or green dot are popular colors) or plugs in the upper bay. Most hatchery coho have moved upstream. Wild coho have been quite large this year causing some anglers to confuse them for chinook. Make sure to positively identify your fish as to species. When the ocean cooperates, chinook are being caught trolling herring near the bottom in the terminal area just outside the bay. The ocean, including the terminal area, is closed for coho. The terminal area closes to salmon angling after Oct. 31.
  • Wilson River: Chinook are moving through the system and can be caught from tidewater upstream. Bobber and eggs and or sand shrimp are productive in the deeper holding areas. Bait wrapped plugs should produce some fish for boaters. Summer steelhead can still be caught, with many fish in the upper river. Fishing should improve somewhat after recent high waters. Anglers should be aware that an active slide is affecting a tributary to the Wilson River around milepost 20. Water clarity is likely to impacted by runoff after rain events, possibly for long periods of time. Check river conditions before you fish. The Vanderzanden boat slide on the Wilson River (approximately MP 9 on Hwy 6) is closed until further notice. The slide was damaged by a fallen tree, and is in need of repairs.

WILLAMETTE ZONE

  • Sturgeon retention fishing season resumes the Willamette River starting Nov. 1 with the usual Thursday, Friday, Saturday retention period and a fork length of 38-54”.
  • Coho are now distributed throughout the Willamette and its tributaries, and fishing prospects are looking up with the arrival of fall rains. Anglers are targeting coho at the mouths of the Clackamas, Tualatin, Molalla, Yamhill, and Santiam. Bright fish should be available for a couple more weeks.

CENTRAL ZONE

  • Trout fishing has been excellent on the Crooked River.
  • Summer steelhead season continues on the lower Deschutes River with more fishing moving above Maupin.

SOUTHEAST ZONE

  • Fishing on Thief Valley Reservoir has been good for even bank anglers.
  • The Ana Rivers offers good trout fishing opportunities throughout the fall and winter.

NORTHEAST ZONE

  • Trout fishing on Wallowa Lake has been good.
  • Steelhead fishing on the Grande Ronde and Imnaha rivers should improve with some significant rain.

COLUMBIA ZONE

  • Steelhead angling is good in the Columbia River above the John Day Dam.
  • Sturgeon retention is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday during October 1 – December 31 from Wauna Powerlines upstream to Bonneville Dam.

MARINE ZONE

  • Big waves and strong winds are the rule this time of year, but anglers who keep an eye on the ocean can find days when wind and wave abate enough to allow a little bottom fishing, which can be productive this time of year.
  • All shellfish is open along the entire Oregon coast from the Columbia River to the California border.
  • The consumption of whole recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended. However, coastal scallops are not affected by this closure when only the adductor muscle is eaten.
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