Sign Up
Pursue The Outdoors helps you connect and share with other outdoor enthusiasts.

Willamette Valley/Metro- Spring salmon fishing is underway on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. Both rivers offer good opportunity as salmon are hitting decks with more frequency. The Willamette had a bump up in turbidity but it didn't slow the effort and catches were still reported from the head of the channel, Willamette Park and Sellwood. The river is now clearing again and fishing should only improve through April. On the Columbia most effort is from the Portland Airport down to St. Helens with the I-5 troll getting the most attention. On either river, green label plug cut herring, fished with or without a flasher is the primary trolling rig. Cured prawns are getting a few fish as well. Anchor fishermen will use K-14 or K-15 Kwikfish, wrapped with sardine fillets and beach anglers use spin n glows almost exclusively. Remember to pinch your barbs with the new 2013 "barbless" rule. Catch and release sturgeon fishing has taken back seat since the arrival of salmon, but opportunity still exists.

McKenzie water flow has continued to gradually moderate, setting the stage for good fishing for redsides. Try BWO imitations or Mayfly nymphs to connect.

The steadily dropping waters of the North Santiam offers a little more reason for optimism that the South Santiam as the clarity is better. With about 200 summers upstream of Willamette Falls along with over 2,000 winters, the odds of a hookup have improved. Only 10 winters had been counted at Foster Dam as of March 11.

The Clackamas River continues to produce both winter and a few summer steelhead, despite the coast-wide low return. Fishing is far from hot, but worth the effort. The river remains at a very fishable level, but is
running on the clear side. Most action is above Carver, with fish being taken from both bank anglers and boater alike. Expect action to hold up through mid-April.

Despite low, clear water on the Sandy River, fishermen continue to catch handfuls of both winter and summer steelhead. The river could use a shot of rain to add color and flow. Although fish are present, the river above Oxbow Park is extremely clear, making for very tough fishing. Below Oxbow, the river picks up flow and a bit more silt, offering friendlier opportunity. Expect the run to hold up through the first week of April, when summer steelhead will begin to dominate the catch.
Northwest – Although steelhead fishing remains fair during what most deem peak season, anglers shouldn’t expect double digit opportunities for the remainder of the season. The Wilson and Nestucca will remain primary targets into early April but anglers are already putting in more time for Willamette Valley early spring chinook than peak season coastal steelhead.

Another hydrologic bump is forecast for mid-week, which could boost steelhead numbers in the major river systems just prior to the weekend. Anglers have noted that some of the best steelheading of the season has actually taken place on river rises; an unusual circumstance.

Sturgeon effort in Tillamook Bay remains light but morning tides are favorable for west channel pursuit if anglers are motivated.

Anglers never got the opportunity to take advantage of the calm ocean over the weekend. Despite an inviting ocean, bar conditions remained too rough for safe or legal crossing. There may be another window by the weekend. Anglers will be anxious to get offshore in pursuit of bottomfish, crab and yes, even salmon. The recreational chinook season opens on March 15th from Cape Falcon south to Humbug Mountain and will likely last well into the fall as large numbers of California stock fish are forecasted to be available. The fin-clip rule remains in effect in the nearshore. Check regulations for detail.

Although not minus tides, morning tides through the weekend should allow diggers access to bay and razor clams. Digging won’t be excellent but limits are attainable if you bring your waders.

Southwest- Bottom fishing was excellent out of Newport in mild seas and soft breezes over the past weekend. Limits of rockfish and ling cod were taken with both deep water and nearshore reefs productive. Chinook salmon from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt. will open March 15 and run through April 30 for adults 24 inches or larger.

Pinkfin perch fishing has been good on area beaches. It's early for this fishery which will improve over the next six weeks or so but decent catches now are indicative of a banner year for them.

Earlier this week the ODFW confirmed Spring all-depth halibut dates as May 9-11, May 16-18, May 30-June 1, and June 6-8. Additional days will be added as available quota allows.

As water and flow moderated on the Umpqua. steelheaders have been taking a mix of hatchery and native fish. The North and South Umpqua rivers should be fishing well this week as they drop in the absence of rain.

Lower Rogue water levels rose late last week but are on the drop this week. While no confirmed catches of spring Chinook had been reported at this writing, there may well have been some taken by now. Either way, steelheading is worthwhile following the freshet and even better on the middle river where winters are heading for the Applegate River. With decent numbers of steelhead showing at Cole River Hatchery, fishing on the upper river is also good.

While The Chetco fished well for winter steelhead after rainfall raised water levels last week, the river has been dropping since that time and is getting too low to fish at its best.

Elk River steelheaders did pretty well over the past weekend but without precipitation this week, the water is getting skinny.

Eastern – Blue-Winged-Olive hatches continue to dominate on the lower Deschutes but March Browns, which usually start in early April, were popping up over the past weekend. Redside dishing has been fair to good for fly anglers fishing near the banks. Level, flow and color have been excellent.

The Crooked River is fishing well with Mayfly and midge nymphs most effective.


SW Washington- District anglers remained focused on early spring chinook on the mainstem Columbia. Catches are ramping up with good water conditions and larger numbers of fish present. Many of the districts rivers will be closed or heavily restricted to the take of spring chinook so the mainstem fishery may offer up the best opportunity for most anglers, both boat and bank.

Steelhead remain an option on the Cowlitz, Kalama and mainstem Lewis Rivers. The Washougal is also producing a few wild and hatchery fish but regulations on this system change on March 15th so check them out.
The Guides Forecast
 like this.
All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:16 am.