Welcome to the 2013
Spring Fishing Guide
Northwest Zone (pdf)
Check this out:
- 2013 Family Fishing and Free Fishing Weekend events.
Find trout stocking schedules and Google maps with driving directions to all stocking sites on the ODFW Trout Stocking page.
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-
- Take a friend fishing, clamming or crabbing during Free Fishing Weekend June 1-2 – no license required!
- Check here for 2013 coastal salmon seasons to be posted in June.
- Lorens Pond has gotten a major makeover with better parking, an accessible fishing platform, new trails and a restroom. The pond also has been deepened to enhance the fishery.
Most lakes in the Northwest Zone are open all year for trout fishing and many will be stocked a couple of weeks prior to the traditional trout opener on April 27. Depending upon location, spring stocking consists of legal-sized trout (8 to 10-inches), “larger” trout (about one pound each), and “trophy” trout (about two pounds each) planted from March to May. “Larger” trout are stocked in mid-late June in some areas. Trout stocking schedules for the Northwest Zone can be found on the ODFW website. Anglers should check out the weekly Recreation Report for in-season updates to the stocking schedule. Early season stocking can be affected by poor weather, especially higher elevation lakes that may have snow. Fall "trophy" trout stocking is scheduled for mid-September in some lakes, but may occur earlier or later in the summer, depending on water temperatures and hatchery water supplies.
Trout fishing in many northwest Oregon coastal streams and lower Columbia River tributaries opens Saturday, May 25. Anglers are allowed to retain two trout over 8-inches (only one can be over 20-inches) from north coast streams. Lower Columbia River tributaries remain catch-and-release for trout. While trout are not stocked in coastal streams, fishing can be very good for native coastal cutthroat trout. Be sure to check the 2013 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations to check the status of specific streams in your area.
Many coastal streams have resident cutthroat trout (those that live in the river year-round) and sea run cutthroat trout (those that migrate to the ocean to feed prior to returning to spawn). The sea-run component typically gets larger than the resident form and are very “bright” or “chrome” much like a salmon or steelhead when they return from the ocean. Sea-runs typically start to return to coastal rivers in July and can offer good fishing in the bays early on. Many anglers troll small versions of lures, spinners and flashers to entice a bite in tidewater. Depending on the water year and river temperatures, sea-runs can typically be found in the lower reaches of a river by late July and tend to hold in deeper cool pools, near tributaries entering the mainstem river or just below riffles. Large downed wood often is preferred hiding cover. Many different small flies (dry and sinking) or small spoons and spinners can be very effective.
Many area rivers are restricted to artificial flies and lures above tidewater from May 25 through Aug. 31. No bait is allowed in the Nestucca River above Blaine at all times. Please refer to the 2013 Sport Fishing Regulations.
SALMON AND STEELHEAD
|Spring Chinook Salmon
-Photo courtesy Dr. Tom Danelski-
Spring chinook fishing is expected to be similar to 2012. North coast returns generally track with the Willamette run, which is forecasted to be similar to last year’s actual return of 65,000 fish. Fishing will generally pick up in May. Anglers are reminded that only adipose fin-clipped spring chinook may be retained in the Nestucca and Tillamook Bay systems, and Lower Columbia River tributaries (except Young’s Bay and tributaries where any fin-clipped spring chinook salmon may be retained). Check on specific rules for the location you are going prior to fishing.
Summer steelhead fishing in the Wilson, Trask, Nestucca and Siletz rivers should be at least fair this year. Many areas typically have limited fishing pressure during the early and later stages of the return and can offer excellent catch rates. Mid to late April is when anglers can start to see some summer steelhead returning in the lower sections of the rivers with peak returns in June and July. Although fishing may slow during the summer low flow period, anglers who adjust their technique can still catch fish. And don’t overlook the fall fishery -- fall rains generally bring good fishing for steelhead that have been holding over the summer and become more active with more flow and cooler temperatures.
Summer steelheading on local rivers does not require a boat (although small pontoon boats allow access to more water) and it can be an excellent family fishing opportunity during the warm days of spring and summer, especially if you’re also pursuing cutthroat trout.
Look for ample public fishing access on the Wilson River along Highway 6, on the Nestucca River above Blaine, and on the Siletz River around Moonshine Park just north of the town of Logsden. Spring flows in these rivers do not depend on snow pack; they should remain in good fishing condition as long as spring rains continue at moderate levels.
BASS AND WARMWATER
From the smallest ponds to the largest lakes, anglers will find in the Northwest Zone many good opportunities for warmwater fish including largemouth bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish and yellow perch. Despite their collective name, warmwater fish can be caught year-round in Oregon. However, fishing is best in the spring, summer and fall when water temperatures are warmer and the fish are more active.
Yellow perch will be the first to start biting as lake temperatures approach 50oF. Bass can be caught early in the season, but fishing picks up in the spring as water temperatures approach 60oF and the larger fish move into the shallows to spawn. They’ll remain active throughout the summer, but will be found in deeper water during the hottest weather.
During the warm summer months, weeds in some areas can pose a challenge in many of the shallow coastal lakes, but determined anglers learn how to fish in and around the cover.
Crappie fishing is best in the spring and fall when they move into shallower waters. Bluegill fishing is many coastal lakes and ponds remains good through the summer making these an ideal fish for young anglers and families to pursue.
Look for the Warmwater Fishing in Oregon brochures for the North Coast and South Coast Areas to help you decide where to fish and how to get started.
To learn what’s biting and where, check out the ODFW Weekly Recreation Report
. Each week our biologists update fishing conditions on rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs and ponds throughout the state.
Alsea River: Resident cutthroat trout fishing should be fair to good in late May and June. Sea-run cutthroat trout are typically present from July through September in tidewater and the lower river reaches. Small spinners and flies work well for cutthroat trout. Use of bait is not allowed May 25 – Aug. 31 above tidewater.
Good fishing is expected for fall chinook in the bay and lower river as returns are forecasted to be similar to last year’s return. There may again be a limited wild coho fishery in the Alsea River for 2013. For the fall chinook and/or coho fisheries, there may be some deadline and bag limit adjustments. Anglers are advised to check for temporary rules prior to fishing during the fall salmon season.
Dungeness Crab, Newport
- Photo by Kathy Munsel -
The Alsea River enters the ocean at the town of Waldport at mile post 156 along Highway 101. There are several boat launches in tidewater from the lower bay up approximately 9 miles on Highway 34. Highway 34 follows the Alsea River up to the town on Alsea at mile post 40 and offers many public access points, parks and drift boat launches along the way including a few campgrounds. Alsea Bay can offer excellent crabbing opportunities during the summer and fall months. Boat rental options and public docks are located in the town of Waldport for those looking to get out on the bay to harvest some Dungeness crab for dinner.
Big Creek and Gnat Creek (Lower Columbia): A similar forecast (compared to 2012) of hatchery spring chinook to the lower Columbia River should provide some fishing opportunities in these streams located east of Astoria along Highway 20. The season is open Jan. 1 to July 31 for adipose fin-clipped spring chinook. The daily bag limit is two adipose fin-clipped adult chinook and/or steelhead and five adipose fin-clipped jack chinook. Anglers casting spinners and drifting small baits, such as salmon roe, will experience the most success. There are good bank access areas adjacent to Gnat Creek and Big Creek hatcheries and at the mouth of Big Creek. The Blind Slough select area can be good at times for boaters trolling herring or plugs. See page 95 of the 2013 regulations for a map of the area. Check regulations for the Columbia and select areas before fishing as they can change on short notice.
Catch-and-release fishing for cutthroat trout during the summer season is expected to be fair.
Coffenbury, Lost, Sunset and Cullaby lakes, and Vernonia Pond: These lakes will be stocked with trout throughout the spring. The lakes are open all year, but are stocked in the spring when water conditions are good. In additional, larger “trophy” trout will be stocked later in the year in some lakes. Coffenbury, Sunset, and Lost lakes and Vernonia Pond also received surplus adult winter steelhead this winter, with many still available in the spring months.
ODFW will host a family fishing event at Vernonia Pond on Saturday, May 4. Contact ODFW in Tillamook (503) 842-2741 for more information.
Bass anglers should consider Coffenbury, Sunset and Cullaby lakes and Vernonia Pond where conventional bass gear (grubs, spinner-baits, and plugs) can provide good fishing. An earthworm under a bobber is an excellent way for kids to catch their first fish. Other panfish species also are available.
-U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service-
Vernonia Pond is located in the city of Vernonia, on Highway 47. Sunset and Cullaby are just north of Seaside a short distance off Highway 101. Coffenbury is located west of Warrenton in Fort Stevens State Park. Lost Lake is located on Oregon Dept. of Forestry land west of Highway 26 (follow Nehalem River Rd to Spruce Run campground, turn on Lost Lake Rd and travel several miles to the lake).
Both Coffenbury and Lost Lakes are featured in ODFW’s Easy Angling Oregon publication. Coffenbury offers fishing opportunities for hatchery trout, as well as bass and panfish. Surveys conducted by ODFW in 2006 showed good numbers of bluegill and some very good-sized largemouth bass. Lost Lake is located high in the coast range and generally offers an excellent family trout fishing opportunity, particularly in the spring and early summer.
The Oregon Parks and RecreationDepartment will host a Free Fishing Weekend event at Coffenbury Lake (inside Ft. Stevens State Park) on Saturday, June 1 from 9 a,m. to 2 p.m. (Contact Dane Osis at (503) 861-3170 ext. 41 for more information.)
Devils Lake (Lincoln City): Adipose fin-clipped trout are available year-round but the spring and early summer months are the most productive. Approximately 20,000 rainbow trout are stocked during the spring months. Only adipose fin-clipped trout may be kept in order to protect rearing coho salmon juveniles. Public access can be found at any of the five parks along the lake. The lake provides good recreational boating opportunities.
There will be a youth fishing event at the Salmon River Hatchery near Lincoln City on Free Fishing Weekend, Saturday, June 1 from 8 a.m. to noon. Contact Michelle Walker at (541) 994-8606 for more information. To register call the Lincoln City Community Center at (541) 994-2131.
Mid Coast Lakes: Nearly all mid coast lakes have been stocked repeatedly this spring with catchable and trophy-sized rainbow trout. Many lakes in the Florence area will be stocked before the May 25 trout opener and/or Free Fishing Weekend June 1-2. Be sure to check the online stocking report for exact locations or call the local ODFW office. The Florence area has numerous day use and overnight camping facilities located on or near multiple lakes and trail systems offering families a variety of outdoor activities to consider.
Other lakes in the Florence area offer good fishing for warmwater fish. Mercer, Siltcoos, Sutton, Tahkenitch and Woahink Lakes have populations of largemouth bass, perch and bluegill. Siltcoos and Tahkenitch also provide good trolling opportunities for big cutthroat trout.
ODFW will host a free Family Fishing event on Saturday, May 18 at Eckman Lake east of Waldport from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact Christine Clapp in Newport (541) 265-8306 ext. 253 for more information.
ODFW will host a Free Fishing Weekend event on Saturday, June 1 at Cleawox Lake near Florence from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact John Spangler in Florence at (541) 902-1384 for more information.
ODFW will host a free Family Fishing Event on Sunday, July 8 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lhuuke Illahee Fish Hatchery in Logsden, east of Siletz. Contact Christine Clapp in Newport (541) 265-8306 ext. 253 for more information.
Necanicum River and Tidewater: Tidewater fishing in the Necanicum estuary during the spring can produce good catches of starry flounder. Anglers should use sand shrimp fished on or near the bottom for best success.
-Photo by Charlotte Ganskopp-
Fishing for coastal cutthroat trout is open from May 25 through Oct. 31. Fishing for sea-run cutthroat trout should be good in tidewater sections beginning in July with spinners and flies producing good results.
The Necanicum River follows Highways 26 and 101 to Seaside before entering the ocean. Some roadside access is available along the highways. Estuary access is available in and around Seaside
Nehalem Bay and River (including the North Fork Nehalem): Chinook do not typically begin arriving in catchable numbers until July. Additional restrictions on chinook fisheries have been in place the last few years. Check ODFW website for changes in open areas, dates and/or bag limits before going fishing.
Fishing for coastal cutthroat trout in the Nehalem Basin is expected to be good this year. Anglers using flies and small spinners will find increasing numbers of returning sea-run coastal cutthroat beginning in July. The North Fork Nehalem River will also provide good fishing opportunities for coastal cutthroat trout.
The Nehalem is the largest river system on the North Coast. Headwaters flow from the coast range near Vernonia, and wind to the ocean, entering on the north coast near the town of Wheeler. The estuary and tidal areas are primarily fished by boat. The Nehalem River can be accessed off Nehalem River Road below Highway 26, and in various locations upstream of there. The North Fork can be accessed from Highway 53.
Note: The repair of the Nehalem River Road bridge across the Salmonberry was completed last year. Access from Highway 26 to the coast has been restored.
Nestucca and Tillamook bays and rivers (including the Wilson Trask, Kilchis and Miami rivers): The spring chinook season is open April 1-July 31 in the bays and the Wilson, Trask and Nestucca rivers. The spring chinook runs in the Wilson, Trask and Nestucca are expected to be similar to last year. Only adipose finclipped spring chinook may be kept in the bays, rivers, and the spring chinook terminal area in the ocean off the mouth of Tillamook Bay. Trolling herring in the lower bays and in the near shore ocean just outside the jetty tips (especially in May) is productive. Trolling large-bladed spinners for spring chinook in Tillamook Bay near Memaloose Boat Ramp (south side of the bay) has become increasingly popular in recent years. While chinook can be caught using this technique on both the incoming and outgoing tides, many anglers concentrate their effort as the tide is receding. Don’t hesitate to fish shallow flats and channels when the tide is out as spring chinook will often hold in these areas. Bobber and salmon eggs are the most popular techniques in the upper sections of tidewater.
|Steelhead fishing in the Little Nestucca
- Photo by Kathy Munsel-
Summer steelhead also are available in the Wilson, Trask and Nestucca rivers. Summer steelhead returns are expected to be similar to or slightly down from last year. As the rivers begin to clear in the late spring, anglers should use small spoons or spinners (#2s and #3s) or small baits where allowed (earth worm, sand shrimp, salmon eggs, crayfish tail) Later in the summer, fish early in the morning or in the evening for best success. ODFW staff survey these rivers every August and regularly see summer steelhead throughout the river. These fish will be available and in good condition through October.
The daily bag limit is two adipose fin-clipped adult chinook and/or steelhead and five adipose fin-clipped jack chinook.
The Little Nestucca, Tillamook, Kilchis and Miami rivers are open May 25-July 31 for adipose fin-clipped spring chinook salmon. Spring chinook are not stocked in these systems and the fishery is limited to a very small number of strays from other rivers. Three Rivers is open April 1 - June 30 below the hatchery for adipose fin-clipped spring chinook and adipose fin-clipped summer steelhead. While Three Rivers receives considerable fishing pressure, fishing success can be very good as fish tend to congregate in the river below the hatchery. Bank access and parking are available off of Highway 22 immediately downstream of the hatchery. Small (1/8 or 1/16 ounce) jigs floated under a bobber can be very effective for summer steelhead on Three Rivers and other areas. Where bait is allowed, try tipping your jig with a
sand shrimp tail or earth worm – this technique can be very productive.
Sturgeon fishing in Tillamook Bay (open all year) can be productive throughout the spring. Fall chinook gear is adequate for this fishing in the shallow water. For sturgeon, anglers should use sand shrimp or mud shrimp, and target channel edges on the outgoing tide. Perch and several bottomfish species are caught regularly through the spring in the lower bay. Try any of the many rocky areas or along the jetties using sand shrimp or small to medium sized plastic grubs fished near the rocks or just off the bottom.
Fishing for sea-run coastal cutthroat trout in the Tillamook and Nestucca basins is expected to be good this year. The run usually begins in July and lasts much of the summer. Look for these fish to hold in riffles or on edges and tail-outs of deep pools as the summer progresses. There is good boat access in upper tidewater on the Nestucca, Tillamook, Trask and Kilchis rivers. Bank access on most streams can be found off major highways, county roads or forest roads. Most of Tillamook River is through private land.
Newport area lakes (Big Creek Reservoirs 1 & 2 and Olalla Reservoir): These reservoirs are stocked multiple times during the spring and will be stocked just prior to the May 25 trout opener and prior to Free Fishing Weekend June 1-2. Olalla Reservoir also receives surplus adult steelhead and has some warmwater species. Big Creek reservoirs are located on the north end Newport off 31st street. Olalla Reservoir is located just east of Toledo near mile post 7 along Highway 20.
ODFW will host a Free Fishing Weekend event on Saturday, June 1 at Big Creek Reservoir near Newport from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Contact Christine Clapp in Newport at (541) 265-8306 ext. 253 for more information.
Siletz River: Winter steelhead fishing is expected to be slow through April and into May. Summer steelhead fishing should be productive by late May and typically peaks around mid-June. Good fishing often lasts well into July when low warm river conditions slow the fishing down. Most summer steelhead fishing is done from the bank because river levels are typically too low for drift boats by early June. Good public bank fishing can be found in the vicinity of Moonshine Park, which offers good river side camping and/or day use facilities. The upper Siletz River (above Moonshine Park) offers excellent bank fishing for steelhead and cutthroat trout but is open to public vehicle traffic only on weekends as this area is private timber company lands. Hiking or biking in is a popular option during the week days but log truck traffic can be busy at times.
|Austin Bader with a coho on the Siletz River.
Photo by Cheryl Fowler-
Bait is allowed in the Siletz year-round. Fresh bait such as eggs, worms or sand shrimp work well for summer steelhead. Casting spinners and drifting brightly colored jigs also works well. Anglers prepared for a variety of conditions or techniques are often the most successful.
The Siletz River enters the ocean on the south end of Lincoln City. Siletz Bay can offer good crabbing, clamming and fishing opportunities and there’s easy access from beach in community of Taft in Lincoln City. Highway 229 follows the Siletz for about 24 miles up to the town of Siletz and has a several boat launches and camping opportunities. Upstream of the town of Siletz are two more boat launches and good bank access around Moonshine Park.
For the 2013 salmon season, the chinook forecast is predicted to be about average and there may be a limited wild coho fishery again similar to 2012. Deadline adjustments for fall chinook and coho fishing as well as adjustments to the daily and seasonal bag limits are likely to occur. Be sure to check for temporary rules before angling during the 2013 fall salmon season.
Siuslaw River: Resident cutthroat trout fishing should be fair to good in late May through June. Sea-run cutthroat trout begins around July and extends through September in tidewater and the lower river reaches. Sea-run fishing also should be fair to good. Bait is restricted above tidewater from May 25 – Aug. 31. Small spoons, spinners and flies can be very productive for cutthroat trout.
The Siuslaw River enters the ocean at the town of Florence between the Alsea and Umpqua rivers. Highway 126 follows the Siuslaw and Highway 36 follows Lake Creek. There are a few boat launches in tidewater up to Mapleton and a few launches and day use parks along the mainstem Siuslaw and Lake Creek above the town of Mapleton. Siuslaw Bay can offer anglers great crabbing opportunities and fishing for a variety of marine species as access roads are open to both the north and south jetties.
Fishery managers predict the 2013 fall chinook returns will be above average and similar to the 2012 run. Fishing should be very productive in the bay and lower river this fall. The coho salmon return is also predicted to be large enough for another limited wild coho fishery. There may be some adjustments to angling deadlines and bag limits for 2013 so anglers are advised to check for temporary rules prior to fishing during the fall salmon season.
Thissell Pond (Near Fall Creek Hatchery): Thissell Pond has been stocked several times over the spring season and will be stocked just before and after the May 25 trout opener and Free Fishing Weekend June 1-2. Thissell Pond is located off Highway 34 near mile post 27 and up Fall Creek road about 2 miles.
A youth fishing event will be held on Saturday, June 1 at Thissell Pond from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Contact Matt Frank at the Alsea Fish Hatchery at (541) 487-7240 for more information.
Tillamook area lakes (Hebo, Cape Meares, Smith, Spring, Lytle, Town, Tahoe, Battle, North and South lakes, and Lorens Pond): These lakes are stocked throughout the spring. Although open all year, they are stocked heavily around spring break to provide fishing opportunities for youth and adults. Several of the lakes have some carryover trout (up to 18-inches long) from last year. Additional, larger “trophy” trout will be stocked later in the year in some lakes. Locations of and directions to many of these lakes
Lorens Pond is receiving the finishing touches to its makeover this spring. Upgrades will include an angling platform, deepening of the east end of the pond, new trails, improved parking, and some tree plantings. An ADA accessible trail was constructed to the new fishing platform, as well as a disabled parking spot. A new portable restroom has also been added.
Trout stocking at Lorens Pond has been increased to provide additional opportunity at this site. Some road grading activity is scheduled for late April, but should be minimal interference with anglers wishing to access the pond. Contact ODFW in Tillamook for updates on construction activities.
-Washington Fish & Wildlife -
Battle Lake is stocked with fingerling trout by backpack, as the lake is now hike in only. The fishery will rely on fingerling trout to grow to legal-size. Sampling after the first year of fingerling stocking indicated that the fish grew ell and were in good shape, but were not quite legal-size by the next spring. Fish from the initial stocking should be well over legal-size by now, with smaller fish from the second year of stocking. ODFW will be continuing to monitor growth and condition of the fish, and should have more updated information on this fishery later this spring.
Spring Lake, Lake Lytle, Cape Meares Lake, Town Lake and Lorens Pond received surplus adult steelhead this winter.
Nedonna Pond and Trask Hatchery will host Free Fishing Weekend activities (June 1-2). Go to the ODFW website for a complete list
Cape Meares and Town lakes, and Lake Lytle all have populations of largemouth bass, which can provide a good opportunity for anglers in the spring and summer as water temperatures increase. While these populations are modest, ODFW surveys in 2006 showed that many of these bass are large. Launch facilities are available at Cape Meares Lake, Town Lake and Lake Lytle, although anglers fishing from float tubes and from shore have had good success in the past.
Yaquina River: Resident cutthroat trout fishing should be good in late May and June and fair numbers of sea-run cutthroat trout are expected from July through September in the tidewater to lower river reaches. The Yaquina River enters the ocean at the town of Newport at mile post 142 along Highway 101. There are several boat launches in tidewater and some camping opportunities close to Newport. Crabbing, clamming and bottom fishing can be very good in the bay with public access to both the north and south jetties and public fishing / crabbing docks along the bay.
Fall chinook fishing in the bay to upper tide water is anticipated to be fair from early September through October. Chinook returns are forecasted to be around average. Deadline and bag limit adjustments for salmon fishing may again be imposed for 2013. Anglers are encouraged to check on temporary rules prior to fishing during the fall salmon season. A limited wild coho salmon fishery is also a possibility for this fall in the Yaquina.
Youngs Bay, Youngs River and Klaskanine River (Lower Columbia): These lower Columbia River tributaries are open for fin-clipped spring chinook through July 31. Trolling in tidewater areas of the upper bay generally produces the best action. Try herring or large spinners fished near the bottom. Bobber and bait also will produce fish in some areas. This is primarily a boat fishery, with launches available in upper tidewater and another southeast of Astoria. See the select area map on page 94 of the 2013 Sport Fishing Regulations booklet.
For more information about fishing opportunities in the Northwest Zone, contact the nearest ODFW office:
North Coast Watershed District Office
Tillamook, OR 97141
Newport Field Office
Newport, OR 97365
541-265-8306 ext. 236