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Willamette Valley/Metro- The Willamette River below the falls is giving up spring chinook from bottom to top, with fair reports coming in daily. Water conditions remain excellent with good visibility and an average temperature of 45 degrees. Still, Sellwood is seeing the most action but it is also getting the most traffic. The Multnomah Channel is also putting out its share of early fish and anglers would be well advised to put some time in there. Green label herring, either plug cut or fished whole is the number one bait, but cured prawns are the runner up. Expect fishing to improve as we approach the peak of the run in April, as long as water conditions remain favorable.
Catch and release sturgeon fishing remains fair to good on the Willamette but effort has dropped off as anglers are beginning to target salmon. Smelt, squid and sand shrimp will all get bites in the deeper holes of the Portland harbor.

On the Clackamas, anglers are experiencing improved steelhead fishing, despite the slow start. Fish are spread throughout the system but most action is being had from Carver upstream.

The Sandy River continues to impress Metro area anglers with a better than decent run of broodstock hatchery steelhead. Wild, unclipped fish are also present, as are a surprising early showing of hatchery summer run steelhead. Boaters from Oxbow Park to Dabney Park are scoring best, but fish are spread throughout the system.

McKenzie levels rose with rainfall around the first of March. Expect levels to remain a little high as flows have been slow to moderate. Winter trout fishing is fair to good.

The Santiam system will be on the drop over the weekend. The occasional winter steelhead is being taken on the North Santiam and reportedly a few summers are already in the river.

Northwest – Steelheaders enjoyed optimum conditions through much of the weekend and early this week. Despite entering peak season, anglers still struggled to find good numbers of fish. The Nestucca and Wilson Rivers harbored the greatest number of driftboats and bank anglers with an occasional quality broodstock and wild fish found.

Tom Atchison of Tillamook hooked 3 steelhead on the Nestucca between 4th Bridge and 1st Bridge on Sunday, landing one nice 10-pound broodstock hen and releasing a wild buck. One fish took a plug while the other was taken sidedrifting a small cluster of eggs on a yarn ball.

Steelheaders on the north coast are in agreement; although numbers are clearly down from the previous 2 productive years, quality is up. There is a high percentage of fish above 10 pounds and several over 15.

River levels are expected to remain in good condition into the weekend. Although interest is down from last year, anglers can find even greater solace in streams without broodstock programs. The Trask, Nehalem, Kilchis and Necanicum systems should continue to produce wild fish through March. Bank anglers will score their best results on the smaller systems and bobber and jigs should produce better results in the dropping flows.

Seas were forecasted to calm by mid-week, making offshore fisheries a strong option for hungry lingcod and sea bass in the nearshore. Crabbing is likely to be just fair after an intense commercial crab fishery.

A softening tide series should bring interest for estuary crabbing but don’t expect limits of keepers. Crab should be in good condition however.

Southwest- Biologists are predicting a productive ocean salmon fishery off the south coast in the coming season. Most of these chinook will be three-year-olds although the increase of larger four year old fish is forecast to quadruple over last year.

Rough ocean conditions once again kept boats from crossing into the ocean over the past weekend. Offshore conditions are forecast to settle down somewhat by Friday this week. All-depth halibut opens in May.

Fishing for red-tail surf perch is good on south coast beaches whenever the ocean is lying down.

Rogue River levels are dropping rapidly following the passage of a storm front mid-week. Low, clear water which had stalled steelheading on the lower river last week will be alleviated but driftboats on the middle Rogue below the mouth of the Applegate will fare better. With winter steelhead well-distributed, fishing has been fair on the upper river from in the stretch below TouVelle.

A few early spring chinook have been taken on the Umpqua. South Umpqua steelheaders targeting hatchery fish should have a good weekend as water levels drop. Hookups have been good for native steelhead on the North Umpqua.

The Chetco River, low and clear earlier this week, was forecast to rise up to around 6,000 cfs mid-week, then drop into the coming weekend. It should be fishable by Wednesday, with water dropping into mid-March. Chetco steelheaders will find fresh, bright fish this weekend and as the river recovers, steelheading will be good. Opportunity runs to the end of the month when the river closes.

Elk and Sixes Rivers will produce following precipitation as they're dropping but these smaller rivers will get too low rapidly.

The catch rate has remained steady at one trout every couple of hours for ice fishers at Diamond Lake with Power Bait and jigs effective.

Eastern – The level, flow and color are excellent on the lower Deschutes. Blue-Winged-Olive is the principle winter pattern with hatches peaking now. Other insects of interest include caddis, larger stones and midges with most hookups occurring mid-day.

There have been a few large rainbows taken at Fall River recently but the river can get crowded, particularly on weekends.

Guides on the Grand Ronde in eastern Oregon are predicting good spring fishing; when flows drop and temperatures warm.

SW Washington- Wild steelhead and a rare broodstock fish are showing up in district rivers. The Cowlitz will remain the best option for a late season hatchery option while the Lewis River should have some wild fish available through March.

The Washougal system should also produce a few wild fish with the hatchery component largely over.

Anglers are starting to ramp up their efforts on spring chinook. Early season catches and indicators at Bonneville Dam are fueling indications that the run may actually be under-predicted for a change. If water conditions persist, catches will only get better this week.

Bob Rees - The Guide’s Forecast
The Guides Forecast
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