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The Guide's Forecast: June 23-29

by Bill Monroe
The Oregonian, June 23, 2011

Through Wednesday

Willamette Valley/Metro: Salmon counts at Bonneville remain strong with the official start of the summer chinook run beginning June 16. The spring run met preseason predictions. Jack counts continue to wow biologists but have proved to be a volatile factor in recent years when predicting next year's returning adults. River levels remain high, hampering angling success in the Bonneville region.

Bonneville-area sturgeon anglers continue to target oversize fish. Although the bulk of the spawning population now resides above the Marker 82 deadline, oversize sturgeon can be found downstream and will fall to fresh caught shad for bait. Shad numbers are on the increase with an average of 3 shad per rod as tallied by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife creel checkers.

About 30,000 springers and more than 13,000 steelhead have been counted at the falls. The Willamette River remains most productive in the Multnomah Channel and to a lesser degree in the Portland Harbor. Trollers working the channel are likely also intercepting Columbia River-bound chinook. Trolled herring are working best but spinner action should begin to pick up. The Oregon City area is slow for chinook and fair to good for shad. It's not uncommon to intercept chinook while shad fishing in the Oregon City area right now so beef up your leaders.

Steelhead are being taken on the middle and coast forks of the Willamette River.

The McKenzie is in great shape now and fishing well. Redsides and cutthroat are responding to nymphs as well as dries with evening results best.

Santiam levels remain higher than average for this time of year but increasing numbers of hatchery summer steelhead are available.

Fishing has been slow on the Clackamas but spring chinook and summer steelhead are present.

Fishing on the Sandy is slow to spotty although there has been some chinook action at the mouth. The Sandy River will be closed periodically at Interstate 84 for bridge demolition on Friday. Cedar Creek may be the best option for summer steelhead but action has been slow as of late.

Northwest: Sturgeon fishing is slowly starting to improve on the lower Columbia River. Although the fishery is slated to close after Sunday, fishery managers are planning on meeting by phone to discuss future options. Low effort and sub-par catch rates may allow for additional opportunity.

A re-opener is scheduled for July 1-4. Sand shrimp is the best bait as high Columbia River flow is keeping anchovies in the ocean. Keepers are beginning to show downstream from Astoria.

The select-only chinook fishery outside of the mouth of the Columbia River is producing fair results. A high number of undersize chinook and even coho are in the catch and anglers are being cited for illegal catches. Study regulations before going out but limits will not be easy.

On the lower Columbia, chinook are plentiful in the river and often outnumber summer steelhead in the creel checks. Anglers are taking both wild and hatchery salmon on spin-n-glos but plugs are more effective for chinook. Summer steelhead action should heat up in the coming weeks.

After a productive season, spring chinook fishing on Tillamook Bay has slowed. Straggler fish should still be available this week but most fish have moved into tidewater and the upper reaches of the Trask, Wilson and Nestucca rivers. Low water conditions will make catching them challenging. Light leaders and small baits may take a few at first light.

Southwest: Results have been good for boats launching out of central Oregon ports for rockfish and most are scoring limits of decent-sized lingcod. Wind, wave and swell predictions are mild for the coming weekend.

With 27 percent of the all-depth halibut quota remaining after the June 9-11 fishery, anglers are ensured of a deep-water halibut opener today through Saturday. Over 40 percent of the nearshore quota remains available and this fishery is open seven days a week.

Shad fishing on the mainstem Umpqua has improved with water levels dropping. Spring chinook catches are fair to good on the North Umpqua. South Umpqua smallmouth bass results will improve as water warms.

Boats launching out of Gold Beach are making excellent catches of rockfish and scoring a few lingcod. Offshore salmon fishing has been good at times with most fish in the 15-pound range although the occasional 30-pounder and one over 40 pounds has been landed over the past week. High winds are a possibility for weekend offshore anglers. Check conditions before launching.

The public pier in Brookings Harbor is producing perch, rockfish and Dungeness crabs. Sea-run cutthroat trout fishing remains good in the Chetco River.

With the return of gnats (midges) to Diamond Lake, fishing has slowed as trout are stuffed with natural insect feed. Power Bait is most effective.

Southwest Washington: Spring chinook opportunities continue to remain limited for district anglers. With the Lewis and Kalama rivers closed to chinook, the focus is turning to steelhead. Steelhead returns overall have been lagging, with the likely culprit the high flows of the spring season. The Lewis, Kalama and Washougal are all fair prospects for summer run steelhead for the next several weeks.

Beach plunkers working the lower Columbia downstream of Kelso are getting more chinook than steelhead, which is unusual for this time of year. That is likely to remain the same for another few weeks until water temperatures begin to rise.

Upriver, the Klickitat River may be a fair prospect for spring chinook adults and jacks with steelhead soon to follow.

Eastern: Although Stonefly and Salmonfly hatches are about done on the lower Deschutes, trout remain keyed on those patterns. Fishing has also been good on the middle Deschutes.

With good water level and flow and insects hatching, fishing has been good on the Crooked River.

Bass and trout fishing has improved at Crane Prairie despite cool water temperatures.

Kokanee fishing is fair to good at Paulina. Snow has the campground closed.

For more, visit

Bill Monroe
The Guide's Forecast: June 23-29
The Oregonian, June 23, 2011

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