What’s Fishin’ In Oregon (2-9-11)

Fourteen North Coast lakes are being stocked with trout this week, rainbows from 8 inches all the way up to 16-plus inches.

They’re cousins, steelhead are also biting on the South Coast and Northeast Oregon, a few sturgeon are picking up baits in Tillamook Bay and, in the words of ODFW, “It’s time to consider fishing for spring chinook in the Willamette River.”

Here are highlights from the weekly Recreation Report:

SOUTHWEST ZONE

  • Warmer weather has put winter steelhead on the bite in the middle Rogue River.
  • Hatchery steelhead are showing up in the South Umpqua and numbers should peak in February/March.
  • Low tides will offer good bay clamming opportunities in the Coos Bay area.
  • The 2011 trout stocking schedules have been posted.

VICTORIA, LAST NAME UNKNOWN, SHOWS OFF HER FIRST EVER STEELHEAD, CAUGHT BY THE MEDFORD GAL IN THE MIDDLE ROGUE WITH JORDAN ABBOTT OF KING OF THE ROGUE OUTFITTERS. (WRIGHT MCGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

NORTHWEST ZONE

  • Nestucca River: The Nestucca River is dropping and clearing. Fishing has been good for winter steelhead, but is slowing as the river drops. Fish are spread throughout the system. Concentrate on the river below Blaine if targeting hatchery fish, with good prospects for catch-and-release fishing on wild steelhead in the upper river. Side drifting or drift fishing has been the most productive, but look for bobber and jig or casting spinners to produce some fish as flows drop. Three Rivers is producing a few fish also, with best fishing below the hatchery.
  • Siletz River: Winter steelhead fishing has been slow the last week. River conditions continue to be low and clear.  Anglers should focus on holding water or try fishing the lower river to find new fresh fish.  Try small presentations and light line to entice a bite. Look for the next good rain to energize the fishery. The upper river can be a good location to fly fish during low clear conditions.
  • Siuslaw River: Winter steelhead angling is slow to fair. Low flows and clear water have slowed fish movement and catch rates. Focus on deeper holding water and the lower river during these conditions. Good numbers of fish are still expected show. Look for the next good rain to activate the fishery.
  • Tillamook Bay: Sturgeon fishing is fair, but some good catches were reported on the last good tide series. The next good tide series doesn’t occur until after the middle of the month. Fish sand shrimp on the bottom near the channel edges during the outgoing tide. Move often to find fish if you are not getting bites.
  • Wilson River: Angling for winter steelhead has been slow to fair. The river is low and clear, so use light gear and small lures or baits. Good numbers of fish are in the system. The slide at MP 6 on Hwy 6 may still dirty the river after rains, so check the river conditions before fishing, or fish upstream. The slide deposited some large trees into the river also, which are obstructing the river at lower flows. Boaters need to use extreme caution or avoid that drift.

WILLAMETTE ZONE

  • The first trout stocking of the season takes place this week at Alton Baker Canoe Canal in Eugene, Blue Lake in Gresham and Mt. Hood Pond in Gresham.
  • It’s time to consider fishing for spring chinook in the Willamette River.
  • High water levels in area streams are starting to recede, stimulating some improvement in the winter steelhead movement.
  • Anglers have been reporting some good sturgeon catch-and-release success rates on the Willamette River.

CENTRAL ZONE

  • Water levels on the Crooked River have been stable and fishing should be good.
  • Winter steelhead fishing in the lower Hood River has been good. Look for steelhead numbers to peak in March and April.

SOUTHEAST ZONE

  • Recent warm weather has melted some ice on many lakes and reservoirs, and there is rotten ice in many locations. Anglers should exercise extreme caution when venturing out ice fishing.
  • The Ana River offers fair trout fishing for the skilled angler looking for a crowd-free escape.

NORTHEAST ZONE

  • Steelhead fishing has been picking up on the Umatilla River and catch rates have been fair in the Pendleton area.

COLUMBIA ZONE

  • Sturgeon angling is good for boat anglers in the Bonneville Pool, weather permitting.  Sturgeon anglers in The Dalles and John Day Pools are also catching some fish.
  • A few spring Chinook are milling around the lower Columbia for anglers willing to brave the elements.
  • February is the prime month for big walleye in the John Day pool; anglers target the Irrigon to Glade creek area for best results.
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