The word in our March issue is that something like 100,000 5-year-old spring Chinook are heading up the Columbia over the coming months, most taking the right turns at St. Helens and Portland, but what exactly does a 5-year-old springer look like?
Well, like a 4-year-old, only bigger. And beefier.
Kirby Cannon of PDX provided photographic evidence of what to expect with the below shot of an estimated 25-pounder he caught on President’s Day on the Columbia.
He says the 39-incher bit a sardine-wrapped Kwikfish around Marker 19, which is just downstream from Vancouver.
It’s not the only springer caught recently, nor the only species to fish for around Oregon this time of year. Here are more ideas, courtesy of ODFW’s weekly Recreation Report:
- Trout stocking has begun in the Rogue Watershed for 2011, with trout released into Lake Selmac and Agate Lake for early season anglers.
- The 2011 trout stocking schedules have been posted.
- Sturgeon retention fishing is now open on the Willamette and anglers have reported that the fish are hungry and biting. The daily bag limit is one white sturgeon with a fork length of 38 to 54 inches.
- Several hundred brood trout ranging in size from two to five pounds were released last week in Blue Lake and West Salish Pond near Gresham. Some of those fish should still be available.
- A few confirmed reports of spring chinook landings in the Willamette River have been reported the past week.
- Midcoast Lakes: The 2011 trout stocking schedule is available online. The first stocking of rainbow trout start in February. Several areas in the Newport area will be stocked the week of the 21st. Stocking will continue periodically in most lakes into June. The schedule can change with out warning depending on equipment availability and weather conditions.
- Alsea River: Winter steelhead fishing should remain productive for the week in most areas of the Alsea. Returns from the wild broodstock typically continue to return well into March. Anglers should be able to find fish in most sections of the river.
- Nestucca River: The Nestucca River has been good for winter steelhead during favorable water conditions. Fish are spread throughout the system. The upper river above Blaine offers good bank access and is the first part of the river to clear after high water. Three Rivers is producing a few fish also, with best fishing below the hatchery. Drifting brighter colored presentations near the bottom has been the most productive.
- Siletz River: Winter steelhead fishing is fair with anglers finding fish throughout the river. The bite has been sporadic and more fish are expected to pulse in over the next couple weeks. Most drift boat sections should produce fish when conditions are right. Plunking the lower river can be effective during higher turbid flows.
- Wilson River: Angling for winter steelhead has improved with better river flows. Good numbers of fish are in the system throughout the open fishing areas. 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 section of river. Use bright colored lures or baits near the bottom while the river still has some color.
- Both the Deschutes and Crooked rivers can offer good winter trout fishing, but keep an eye on water levels before heading out.
- Steelhead fishing on the Umatilla River has been good upstream of McKay Creek.
- Water levels in the Wallowa and Imnaha rivers have been at fishable levels and steelhead fishing has been good.
- The water is still a bit chilly, but a few spring Chinook and winter steelhead are milling around the lower Columbia for anglers willing to brave the elements.
- Sturgeon anglers in The Dalles Pool and John Day Pool are catching a few keepers. The Bonneville Pool is closed for sturgeon retention, but remains open for catch-and-release angling.
- February is the prime month for big walleye in the John Day pool; anglers target the Irrigon to Glade creek area for best results.
- One angler who submitted a report to ODFW Fishing Reports said he had great success fishing from the south jetty on Yaquina Bay recently. He recommends jigging with an eight-inch white rubber worm with 2 oz lead head or a large black and white rubber shad with a 3 oz lead. Cast out around 30 yards into a income or outgoing tide. Let jig hit bottom use a medium-speed retrieve letting the jig travel around five to 10 feet. Repeat until you catch one or fully retrieve jig. Bring lots of jigs.