What’s Fishin’ In (Greater) Oregon

When it comes right down to it, we’re all Oregonians here in the Northwest.

After all, once upon a time Oregon was everything between Astoria, Bellingham, Kalispell and Rock Springs, Wyoming.

So sometimes when we detail what’s fishin’ in Oregon we mean what’s fishin’ in Greater Oregon.

In that spirit, we bring you word from the Smith River, just south of the border with California, where earlier this week, Brookings-based Capt. Andy Martin and a crew from Pautzke’s as well as the lovely Kari Armstrong wailed on the Chinook.

KARI ARMSTRONG CAUGHT HER SWEET CHINOOK NOV. 15. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

PAUTZKE BAIT CO. GENERAL MANAGER DON SHERMAN AND OWNER CASEY KELLEY SHOW OFF A PAIR OF SMITH RIVER KINGS CAUGHT NOV. 16 WITH GUIDE ANDY MARTIN. (WILD RIVERS FISHING)

Martin reports that the boyz from the Ellensburg (North-central Oregon) based bait company were checking out how a new cure worked for salmon.

While “field testing eggs cured in Pautzke’s Fire Cure and BorxOFire, (the) pair hooked six salmon and kept a limit of bright kings,” he says.

“The river was low and clear and the salmon were holding in the deeper holes lower in the river,” Martin said. “We decided to fish smaller clusters of eggs with Corkies to help float them up off the bottom.”

He reports that most hookups were from “eggs cured in a combination of pink and red BorxOFire” and says the mojo was outfishing the usual hot bait for the Smith, sand shrimp.

Armstrong’s boyfriend Eric Tallman says she caught her Chinook on a diver baited with a Spin-N-Glo and eggs.

“Just one of many big Chinook that we have been catching from there this season,” he says.

As for what’s fishing within the modern (and much reduced) bounds of the state of Oregon, here are highlights ripped straight from ODFW’s weekly Recreation Report:

SOUTHWEST ZONE

  • Check out the Chetco, Elk and Sixes rivers for fall chinook fishing.
  • Some low tides into the weekend should offer some good bay clamming.
  • Trout fishing at Lost Creek Reservoir has been very good with reports of several 15 to 17-inch fish.
  • Our biologists are advising anglers to get the winter steelhead gear ready – the first fish of the season are usually caught near Thanksgiving.

NORTHWEST ZONE

  • The wild coho fisheries on Siltcoos and Tahkenitch Lakes are in full swing with fair to good opportunity for anglers to harvest a coho. Good numbers of coho are expected to be in the lakes through November. Trolling or casting spinners and spoons are common tactics.
  • Kilchis River: Fall chinook salmon fishing has been fair to good. Fish should be available throughout much of the river, but concentrate on the lower river for brighter fish. Bobber and bait should be effective in the deeper holes. Look for the first winter steelhead of the season to be caught soon. Catch and release fishing for chum salmon closed Nov. 15th.
  • Trask River: Angling for chinook is fair to good, depending on water conditions. Good numbers of fish moved upstream on the last high water. Bobber and bait, plugs, or back-bouncing from a boat will all produce fish. Eggs and shrimp are standard baits to fish. Try adding tuna or sardines to the mix if the bite is slow. Angling for steelhead is slow, but should begin to improve over the next few weeks as winter steelhead begin to arrive in better numbers. Concentrate on the lower river for steelhead. Few hatchery coho are still being caught as the run is mostly over.
  • 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. Steelhead angling is slow. A few summer steelhead are in the upper river, and early winter steelhead are available in the lower river. Expect steelhead angling to improve over the next few weeks as more winter fish move into the system. Anglers should be aware that an active slide is affecting a tributary to the Wilson River around milepost 20. Another slide is active in the Ben Smith Creek drainage. Water clarity is likely to be impacted by runoff after rain events. Check river conditions before you fish.

WILLAMETTE ZONE

  • A total of 2,800 two-pound rainbow trout were released this week at six Willamette Valley locations – Walling Pond, Walter Wirth Lake, East Freeway Lake, West Salish Pond and St. Louis Ponds #3 & #6.
  • Steelhead are being caught on the McKenzie River below Leaburg Dam.  The next freshet will continue to bring fish in.
  • 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

  • Summer steelhead fishing on the Deschutes River continues to be good with majority of fish now between Maupin and Warm Springs.
  • Late fall and winter can be excellent times to hit the Crooked River for some trout fishing.

SOUTHEAST ZONE

  • The Ana Rivers offers good trout fishing opportunities throughout the fall and winter.
  • The Loop Road to Fish Lake (Steens Mountain) remains open and fishing at the lake has been good.
  • We’re getting reports of muddy/snowy roads affecting access to some water bodies. This time of year, it’s a good idea to check the road reports before heading out.
  • Haines Pond was recently stock with legal-sized and one-pound trout.

NORTHEAST ZONE

  • Steelhead fishing has been good on several rivers including the Grande Ronde, Imnaha, John Day, and Umatilla near Hermiston.

COLUMBIA ZONE

  • Steelhead angling is decent in the Columbia River above the John Day Dam and in the John Day Arm.
  • Steelhead fishing is improving above McNary Dam as water temperatures cool.
  • Sturgeon retention is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday during October 1 – December 31 from Wauna Powerlines upstream to Bonneville Dam.
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