UPDATE: EMERGENCY CLOSURE OF COLUMBIA RIVER CHINOOK FISHERY - Oregon Fishing Forecast - Sept 12, 2018
Portland/Metro - With the emergency closure of the Columbia River at the end of the day on Wednesday (September 12), anglers got their last licks in on Chinook, which are in peak migration in the middle river right now. Action had been sporadic by section but the lower deadline near the mouth of the Kalama River and the Bonneville reach have been fishing the best. Pro trolls with 3.5 spinners or red label herring have been the ticket, but anglers willing to target fish closer to incoming tide have proven to be the most successful. Anchor anglers have not had an overwhelming season. Adult and jack Chinook numbers are tracking ahead of last year's run, but managers were forced to close the fishery prematurely due to the poor overall returns crossing at Bonneville. The closure may go through the end of the year, but may change if Bonneville counts improve dramatically and immediately.
The mainstem upstream of Bonneville Dam will also close until further notice and ODF&W had re-opened the mouth of the Deschutes River for Chinook and coho, but this section is now also closed with the emergency regulation. All steelhead incidentally caught on the mainstem Columbia must be released with extreme care. Coho counts are nearly four times what they were at this time last year.
Anglers are starting to fish in earnest on the lower Clackamas, in hopes of early season coho, which should be present and growing in numbers. Small clusters of drifted eggs or casting spinners should produce results for persistent anglers.
Coho should start showing on the Sandy River as well and with cloudy weather and some precipitation in the forecast, action should be fair for weekend anglers. These fish can be finicky however.
Recreational anglers will be able to retain sturgeon from the Wauna Powerlines (about 40 miles upstream of the mouth) to the deadlines at Bonneville Dam this Saturday. This will be the first of a 2-day season, the other open day being September 22 for fish between 44 and 50 inches. Anglers are advised of an obscure rule requiring measurement to be taken on the underside of the sturgeon as a discrepancy in length can happen when measured over the top of the fish. The lower Willamette River remains closed to sturgeon retention.
The Tillamook Report - The Chinook fishery on the north coast is heating up, but as is common for the early season, results are sporadic. Chinook are being caught both inside and outside of Tillamook Bay.
The "any salmon" season last Friday and Saturday wasn't explosive despite ideal ocean conditions. Fair numbers of coho were being caught with some coho eclipsing 15 pounds in weight. Ocean weather looks favorable for good fishing on the next Friday and Saturday opener (September 14 & 15).
Nearshore halibut and rockfishing remains open as well and crabbing is picking up with the males starting to fill out better after the July molt.
Other north coast systems have yet to take off but the Nehalem, Salmon and Nestucca systems should improve this week.
Astoria area - Coho fishing in the estuary has been extremely spotty. Last year, the middle of September produced white-hot hatchery coho catches, but the season overall for coho has been challenging. It'll be a risk this weekend, anglers may hedge their bets on a calm ocean and a "any two salmon" limit out of ports south of Cape Falcon (Manzanita) this weekend.
For a more detailed report, go to www.TheGuidesForecast.com
Bob Rees is a sixth generation Oregonian and a 20-year veteran fishing guide of Oregon's Northwest region. Bob Rees' column, The Guide's Forecast, has been a trusted fishing resource for over 16 years and will appear in the Thursday edition of the Portland Tribune. He welcomes the opportunity to partner with the Portland Tribune to bring the sport fishing community timely and accurate fishing information so you can catch more fish!