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Willamette Valley/Metro- The Willamette River remains in prime shape for early spring chinook fishermen. The clarity and the warmer temperature are at a level rarely had for mid-February, allowing for exceptional conditions. Early in the week a small handful of chinook were taken from Sellwood, Milwaukie and Oregon City. Green label plug cut herring and cured prawns are the baits being offered and anglers can expect the action to only improve as the weeks trudge on. The steelhead counts over Willamette Falls have been dismal, and most anglers at Oregon City have switched to more salmon friendly tactics. Catch and release sturgeon fishing down river in the Portland Harbor was reportedly good for many this week and should remain consistent through April. The usual baits and usual holes are all producing.

While the McKenzie River was dropping on Tuesday this week, flows are expected to increase with daily showers in the forecast. Winter fly fishing has been good here when water levels cooperate.

The Santiam system will be on the rise over the coming weekend. Regardless of water conditions, winter steelhead numbers remain too low to create much of a fishery here.

On the Clackamas River, with the high freezing level, the water level remains stable, but anglers are struggling with the clear water. Steelhead are there to be had but stealthier presentations are required for any success. Smaller, more subtle offerings are going to attract more strikes. Most of the catch is being taken from between Barton and Riverside Park.

Sandy River anglers continue to catch winter steelhead, despite the low, clear water. The best action has been reported from Oxbow Park down to Dabney, with a few taken between Dabney and Lewis and Clark State Park. Small baits and lures on lighter leaders are called for, until the next rain adds color to the water.
Northwest – Continued low-water scenarios have required anglers to take a savvy approach to North Coast steelheading. River levels have been low for quite some time now forcing fishermen to employ light line fishing and the use of small baits.

Even the larger systems like the Nestucca and Wilson as well as the Trask have been low and clear for some time. First light fishermen have had the most luck with early morning launches required to pick off the more motivated fish in the lower reaches of these rivers. By the time the rest of the fleet engages in the activity, most fish are put down for the day.

Anglers are looking forward to this weeks predicted precipitation; it should jumpstart the later run of steelhead we have all been waiting for. The bulk of the precipitation is slated to fall on Friday, possibly putting weekend anglers in a very good position for productive fishing for the first few days afterwards. This is the first significant rainfall in quite a while; it should lead off with a strong push of late-season steelhead.

Tides are once again improving for weekend sturgeon anglers. Effort was low on the weak tide exchange last week but some keepers should be available in the Tillamook system.

The weekend storm system may put off ocean recreation for a while longer. Swells and combined seas are forecasted to be around 20 foot. This will put clamming and crabbing as well as fishing off the table for most boaters this weekend.

Southwest- The 2013 Lower Umpqua Flycasters‘ Fly Fishing Expo will be held on February 23rd at the Reedsport High School. This free one day event is an excellent opportunity to learn from some of the Pacific Northwest’s best fly tiers or get fly casting instruction.

Charters launching out of Depoe Bay on Monday this week took easy limits of rockfish and lingcod. While crab pots produced good-quality Dungeness, numbers were low.

Spinners and pink plastic worms have been fooling steelhead on the Siuslaw this week.

Rain this week will relieve low water conditions on the Umpqua system. There should be decent numbers of hatchery fish available to steelheaders on the South Umpqua as it drops back into shape.

With the lower Rogue dropping, steelheaders took winter fish by pulling plugs and side-drifting over the past weekend. The river is rising and is forecast to continue to do so through the weekend to come. With similar water conditions on the middle Rogue, winter steelheading may be on hold here until the last week in February. With winter steelhead into the upper river, anglers here well fare well following the freshet this week. Keeping one wild steelhead per day over 24 inches is allowed on the Rogue, up to five per year.

South coast surf casters started taking pinkfin surf perch this week from beaches near Gold Beach.

Elk and Sixes Rivers fell to levels too low to fish over the past weekend but rain in the forecast this week should revitalize them. Try these smaller ocean tributaries as they recover from the freshet.

Eastern – The start of irrigation on the middle Deschutes had only a slight impact on the high water here. Redside results are expected to improve in March.

Crooked River remains at good levels for fly fishers but the water temperature has dropped into the 30s, slowing catch rates. Scuds, midges and Blue-Winged-Olive patters have been most effective.

Redsides have been a little more cooperative on the Metolius during caddis hatches this week.

Soapbox Update: Check out an article written by Bob Rees, Make the Connection.
Streams once never expected to suffer from high temperatures are now exceeding desirable temperatures.

SW Washington- Late-season steelhead should become a better option in most of the district’s rivers. The Cowlitz River will be a top prospect with the other systems not likely to produce as well.

The Lewis River was about to come into its prime for wild steelhead but fish and wildlife officials closed the system to salmon and steelhead fishing until further notice. The springer run is predicted to be low.

An unprecedented number of sea lions were witnessed in the Knappa area on Tuesday; an indication that a strong smelt run is now in the river.

This may improve sturgeon fishing in the area as action has been mediocre-at-best this year.
The Guides Forecast
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