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Due to reduced amounts of rainfall, it is likely many north coast streams will experience lower than average flows. This could lead to increased water temperatures. The same is true for district lakes, which will likely warm up sooner this year. Anglers practicing catch-and-release should limit their activities to cooler periods in the morning and evening. Play fish quickly and release gently to minimize stress to the fish. Higher elevation lakes or further upstream areas of streams will remain cooler longer into the summer and provide better fishing conditions.
Most lakes in the Northwest Zone are open all year for trout fishing and many will be stocked multiple times though the spring. Depending on 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 February to May. “Larger” trout are stocked in June in some areas. Trout stocking schedules for the Northwest Zone can be found on the ODFW website. Anglers will note that in some north coast lakes there will be fewer stockings than in recent years. However, more fish will be stocked at one time, so the actual number of fish planted will remain the same. Early season stocking was not affected by poor weather this year, and all lakes have been stocked as scheduled. Fall "trophy" trout stocking is scheduled for mid-September in some lakes, but may occur earlier or later, depending on water temperatures and hatchery water supplies.
Anglers should check out the weekly Recreation Report for in-season updates to the stocking schedule, especially this year, as low spring flows may lead to hatchery water shortages, necessitating early releases.
Anglers should check out the weekly Recreation Report for in-season updates to the stocking schedule, especially this year, as low spring flows may lead to hatchery water shortages, necessitating early releases.
SALMON AND STEELHEAD
|Fishing in the Nestucca River
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-
Spring Chinook fishing is expected to be similar to 2013. North coast returns generally track with the Willamette run, which is forecasted to have a run of 58,700, slightly higher than the 2103 return. 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 water 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 Hwy 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; however reduced rainfall this winter and spring has rivers running at lower flows. If this pattern continues through the summer, expect very low, clear fishing conditions.
Fall Chinook and coho begin entering coastal estuaries in late summer/early fall. Bay fisheries generally begin producing regular catches around Labor Day, and continue through the fall. One exception is the Nehalem Basin, where early returning “summer” Chinook begin entering the bay in July and August, ahead of the fall run that comes later. River fisheries begin after fall rains raise river water levels sufficiently to draw migrating fish upstream. Larger coastal estuaries and rivers support runs of fall Chinook and coho. The Necanicum, Nehalem, Tillamook and Nestucca basins provide ample opportunity to catch these fish. Hatchery coho are released in the Trask River and North Fork Nehalem River. Hatchery fall Chinook are released in the Necanicum, Trask, and Nestucca basins to supplement fisheries in those systems. In recent years, conservative fisheries on wild coho salmon have been implemented in some areas. Due to reduced allowable take levels in 2015, these fisheries are likely to be scaled back or not allowed in all areas this fall. Check for in-season rule changes this summer.
|Nestucca River Fly Fishing
-Photo by Jessica Sall-
Several local streams host early returning (late November through January) hatchery winter steelhead. The North Fork Nehalem River is generally one of the better early season streams, with hatchery steelhead also available in the Necanicum, Kilchis, Wilson and Nestucca rivers, and Big Creek, Gnat Creek and the North Fork Klaskanine River in the Lower Columbia. Some stray hatchery steelhead also migrate up the Trask River, although none are planted there.
The Wilson and Nestucca rivers, which have wild broodstock programs in addition to early returning stocks, will have hatchery steelhead available throughout the winter and into early spring (generally through mid-April). Wild steelhead are available throughout the winter in all the streams open to fishing, with the run generally peaking in March.
Fishing conditions for winter steelhead often depend on rain patterns and water levels. Water levels and turbidity can increase after heavy rains and some rivers will clear faster than others after rainstorms. Flooding waters can carry a lot of wood and debris, and anglers should always use caution when floating rivers as new hazards can appear throughout the season. Road access may also be blocked after severe storms so be sure to check road conditions before heading out.
Several fishing techniques can be productive for winter steelhead. Side drifting or “bobber-doggin” is very popular with boaters, but pulling plugs or anchoring and casting can also be effective. Bobber and jig, drift fishing, or casting spinners or spoons are proven methods that work well for bank anglers (and boaters too). Fly anglers generally have better catches when flows are lower or in smaller streams.
Typically you will want to fish brighter offerings with a slower presentation when the water is higher and/or off color, and more subtle baits fished more quickly as the water clears. Various shades of red, pink or orange are effective colors, but don’t be afraid to experiment with white, chartreuse, black or other colors. Eggs and sand shrimp are always effective baits. Other baits that can be effective at times include prawn meat, crawdad tails and night crawlers.
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 in 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.
TROUT: Resident cutthroat trout fishing is typically fair to good in late May and June or until mainstem river temperature warms considerably. Sea-run cutthroat trout are present from July through September in tidewater and the lower river reaches, and tend to follow the fall salmon up river around October. Small spinners and flies work well for cutthroat trout early in the season and egg patterns once salmon start to return. Use of bait is not allowed May 23 – Aug. 31 above tidewater.
WINTER STEELHEAD: The Alsea Basin provides good fishing opportunities for hatchery winter steelhead from December through March. The target release of 124,000 smolts into the Alsea is split between the traditional Alsea hatchery broodstock (60,000) and wild Alsea broodstock (80,000). There are two release points for winter steelhead smolts. One is in the lower river in proximity to Five Rivers, and the other is directly from the Alsea Hatchery on the North Fork. The Alsea offers excellent bank and boating access for nearly the entire mainstem river, which allows anglers to really focus in on moving or staging fish through the season and under variable river conditions.
During higher river levels (6 feet or more), bank anglers should focus their efforts in the upper basin on the North Fork and/or around the Alsea Hatchery. A parking lot just below the hatchery provides anglers with off-road parking and access to the river. Most river access near the hatchery is on private property, which is clearly posted.
The Alsea contains a lot of bedrock shelves and deep slots that make side drifting difficult. Popular tactics include pulling plugs or divers with bait, drifting bobbers with bait or jigs, fly fishing with egg patterns and swinging spoons across riffles.
FALL CHINOOK & COHO: Good fishing for fall Chinook is expected for in the bay and lower river as returns are forecasted to be only slightly less than the 2014 return. There is optimism for the possibility of a limited wild coho fishery in the Alsea River for 2015. The fall salmon fisheries, in particular for coho salomn, are determined in early summer and often are not approved until. Anglers are advised to check for temporary rules and scheduled salmon fisheries prior to fishing during the fall salmon season.
The Alsea River enters the ocean at the town of Waldport at mile post 156 along Hwy 101. There are several boat launches in tidewater from the lower bay up approximately 9 miles on Hwy 34. Hwy 34 follows the Alsea River up to the town of 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)
TROUT: Catch-and-release fishing for cutthroat trout during the summer season is expected to be fair.
SPRING CHINOOK: A similar forecast (compared to 2014) of hatchery spring Chinook to the lower Columbia River should provide some fishing opportunities in these streams located east of Astoria along Hwy 30. 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 87 of the 2015 regulations for a map of the area. Check regulations for the Columbia and select areas before fishing as they can change on short notice.
FALL CHINOOK AND COHO: Fall Chinook and coho return to Big Creek Hatchery. Some opportunity is available for early returning Tule fall Chinook in August. Anti-snagging rules are in effect (check regulation pamphlet). The stream is closed during September to ensure enough Chinook are collected at the hatchery for broodstock. Later returning hatchery coho are available in October when rains come and the stream re-opens to fishing.
WINTER STEELHEAD: Hatchery winter steelhead smolts are released in Gnat Creek (40,000) and Big Creek (60,000). Fishing for steelhead is restricted to the lower portions of the streams below the hatcheries. Hatchery fish are primarily available during late November, December and January, with numbers of fish tapering off quickly after that. These streams are small and are primarily fished from the banks. Access is available at the hatcheries, at Big Creek County Park, and along roads following the streams.
Big Creek (located south of Yachats approx. 8 miles on Hwy 101) can provide good fishing as steelhead move into the river at high tide. A good road borders the stream and most areas are owned by the US Forest Service. Occasional hatchery steelhead strays also can be caught.
Fishing on Coffenbury Lake
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 Coffenbury, Lost and Sunset lakes.
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.
Vernonia Pond is located in the city of Vernonia, on Hwy 47. Sunset and Cullaby are just north of Seaside a short distance off Hwy 101. Coffenbury is located west of Warrenton in Fort Stevens State Park. Lost Lake is located on Oregon Dept. of Forestry land west of Hwy 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 Recreation Department will host a Free Fishing Weekend event at Coffenbury Lake (inside Ft. Stevens State Park) on Saturday, June 6 from 9 a,m. to 1 p.m. Contact Dane Osis at (503) 861-3170 ext. 41 for more information
Coffenbury Lake, Lost Lake and Vernonia Pond periodically receive excess adult hatchery steelhead. Check the weekly Recreation Report on the ODFW website for updated information on fish releases.
Other lakes may also receive fish when available. Steelhead caught in these lakes are considered trout, and do not have to be recorded on a harvest tag. Only one trout over 20-inches is allowed per day.
Cummings Creek (located approximately 4 miles south of Yachats on Hwy 101) is a smaller stream located in the Cummings Creek Wilderness area. Anglers can have fair to good wild winter steelhead fishing in a secluded old-growth setting.
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, which are often misidentified as kokanee. 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 6 from 8 a.m. to noon. Contact Brian Vinyard at (541) 994-8606 for more information. To register call the Lincoln City Community Center at (541) 994-2131.
Drift Creek-Alsea: Fair to good catch-and-release wild steelhead fishing as well as the occasional stray hatchery steelhead. Also good fishing for resident and sea-run cutthroat trout from May through October.
A large portion of the river is within the Drift Creek Wilderness Area providing good hike-in opportunities in a remote, old-growth setting.
Drift Creek-Siletz (located just south of Lincoln City): Good catch-and-release wild steelhead fishing with the occasional stray hatchery steelhead. There can also be good fishing for both resident and sea-run cutthroat trout from May through the October.
A large portion of the fishable river is located within the Siuslaw National Forest with several good hike-in opportunities.
- Photo by Kathy Munsel-
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 23 trout opener and/or Free Fishing Weekend June 7-8. Be sure to check the stocking schedule 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. These lakes also contain juvenile coho salmon which can reach 8-12 inches in length but are illegal to harvest. They are often misidentified as kokanee, which are not in these lakes.
ODFW will host a Free Fishing Weekend event on Saturday, June 6 at Cleawox Lake near Florence 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 Family Fishing Event on Sunday, July 12 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rock Creek Fish Hatchery in Logsden, east of Siletz. Contact Christine Clapp in Newport (541) 265-8306 ext. 253 for more information.
Necanicum River and Tidewater: Fishing for coastal cutthroat trout is open from May 23 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.
Fall Chinook return to the system beginning as early as September. Fishing is best in tidewater until rains raise the river, usually in October. Bobber and bait, and casting spinners are favorite techniques in tidewater. The Necanicum is open for adipose fin-clipped hatchery coho, although none are planted. A few strays are caught each year. Wild coho harvest is prohibited.
The Necanicum River offers excellent small-stream steelhead fishing throughout the winter. The river is stocked with 40,000 smolts at a several locations up to Black’s Bridge. Hatchery steelhead are caught in the early winter months, with the peak of the run in late December/early January. Wild fish are more commonly caught later in the season. The Necanicum is open to steelhead fishing through March 31 downstream of the Hwy 53 Bridge at Necanicum Junction.
The Necanicum River is usually one of the first North Coast streams to clear following heavy rains. Boaters should keep a wary eye out, especially after storms when wood can move around.
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.
The Necanicum River follows Hwys 26 and 101 to Seaside before entering the ocean. Bank access is available along Hwy 26, especially at Klootchie Creek Park and around Black’s Bridge (about 1.5-2 miles above Klootchie Creek). Lower river access is available in the Peterson Point area. Boaters may launch at the park, and takeout at a site along Hwy 101 just south of Seaside.
Nehalem Bay and River (including the North Fork Nehalem)
TROUT: 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. Check regulations for open areas as there are additional tributary closures in place this year.
FALL CHINOOK AND COHO: Chinook do not typically begin arriving in consistent numbers until July. Peak fishing is August through October. Changes to the early run Chinook (through Sept. 15) bag limit take effect this year. Check the regulations before you go. Hatchery coho are caught in the bay beginning in late August, with the peak in September. Wild coho fisheries are not likely to occur this year- check for updates this summer. Trolling herring or spinners is the most popular technique, but bobber and bait can be effective in upper tidewater areas. Casting spinners for coho can be productive in the North Fork after rains draw fish upstream. Check for changes in open areas, dates and/or bag limits before going fishing.
WINTER STEELHEAD: The Nehalem basin offers abundant winter steelhead fishing opportunities. Hatchery steelhead (90,000 smolts) are released in the North Fork Nehalem at or below Nehalem Hatchery on Hwy 53. The best fishing for hatchery steelhead is usually in December and January, with the first fish appearing by mid-November most years. Hatchery steelhead are recycled regularly from Nehalem Hatchery during the peak of the run. Call 503-368-5670 for recorded fishing information.
The main Nehalem River is a very productive catch-and-release fishery for wild steelhead. Best fishing is February to early April and it’s usually much less crowded than the North Fork during the peak of the hatchery return. Some very large steelhead (occasionally topping 20 pounds) are caught from this river. The Salmonberry River, a tributary of the Nehalem about 7 miles above Nehalem Falls, can provide superb fishing for large winter steelhead. The Salmonberry closes March 31. Access to the Salmonberry remains limited. The Nehalem River Road bridge over the Salmonberry has been rebuilt and is now open; however, the railroad right of way remains closed to public access. Anglers are advised to check with the Port of Tillamook Bay for current status of access restrictions.
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 Hwy 26, and in various locations upstream of there. The lower river can be boated from the Beaver Slide (below Nehalem Falls) to Roy Creek County Park.
The North Fork can be accessed from Hwy 53. Bank access is available near the hatchery and on neighboring industrial forestlands, subject to restrictions by the landowner. The Nehalem Hatchery Barrier Free Fishing Platform offers additional access to anglers with a disabled angler permit. Boaters may float the North Fork below the hatchery, but extreme caution is necessary. Several bedrock rapids make drifting this river hazardous, and it should be attempted by only experienced boaters. Rafts are highly recommended.
Note: The Nehalem River Road bridge across the Salmonberry is open and access from Hwy 26 to the coast is available.
Nestucca Basin: Nestucca, Little Nestucca and Three Rivers
|Steelhead fishing in the Little Nestucca
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-
TROUT: Fishing for sea-run coastal cutthroat trout in the Nestucca basin is expected to be good this year. The run usually begins in July and lasts much of the summer. Fishing will be better in the lower river and bay in early summer, with fish moving further upstream later on. Look for these fish to hold in riffles or on edges and tail-outs of deep pools as the summer progresses.
SPRING CHINOOK: The spring Chinook season on the Nestucca River is open from April 1-July 31. The spring Chinook runs in is expected to be similar to last year. Only adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook may be kept in the bays and rivers.
The Little Nestucca, is open May 23-July 31 for adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook salmon. Spring Chinook are not stocked in this river and the fishery is limited to a very small number of strays from other rivers. Three Rivers is open April 1 - July 15 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 Hwy 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. Gear restrictions are in effect from May 1-July 15 in Three Rivers. Check the regulations before you fish.
SUMMER STEELHEAD: Summer steelhead also are available in the Nestucca. Summer steelhead returns are expected to be similar to or a little better than 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 or later. Look for a good bite to turn on after the first fall rains.
FALL CHINOOK AND COHO: Fall Chinook begin returning to the system in August, with fishing generally improving after Labor Day. Trolling herring near the mouth is popular, as is bobber and bait in tidewater areas. Further upstream, bobber and bait or backtrolling plugs can produce fish. Limited wild coho fisheries have been authorized in recent years. Check for regulation updates this summer for any changes to fall salmon fisheries.
WINTER STEELHEAD: Early-returning hatchery winter steelhead (40,000 smolts marked with an adipose and left maxillary fin clip) are available from late November through January, with a peak in late December/early January. Wild broodstock hatchery steelhead (70,000 smolts; adipose only clipped) are available in the Nestucca through the spring. Past creel surveys show most fish are caught January to early April.
Since 2008, most of the early returning hatchery smolts have been released in Three Rivers, with a portion released at Farmer Creek boat launch. The wild brood hatchery smolts are released in Three Rivers; in the main stem Nestucca River at Farmer Creek and First Bridge boat launches; and in Bays Creek (a tributary just above the fifth bridge). This release strategy should optimize harvest opportunities and help spread the fishery out.
Wild steelhead are caught throughout the winter, with a peak in March.
The Nestucca River Road parallels the upper Nestucca River, beginning at Beaver and continuing upstream to the angling deadline at Elk Creek. Best bank access is above Blaine, with many pullouts along the river. The use of bait is prohibited in the Nestucca River above Moon Creek. Fishing in the upper Nestucca is best later in the season, as primarily wild fish return to the upper river. The Nestucca River upstream from Moon Creek closes March 31 and reopens concurrent with trout season
Boat access to the upper river is available at boat ramps located at the first and fourth bridges above Beaver, at a boat slide above the fifth bridge (a wooden boat slide was constructed in 2011, with concrete steps added to make access down the bank easier)and at the sixth bridge. The launch site at sixth bridge is located on private property, and anglers are asked to be courteous and pack out their trash in order to insure access in the future. Only experienced boaters should launch upstream of the fourth bridge due to some hazardous water.
The lower Nestucca River offers limited bank access, but some very good boat access. Launching/takeout is available at boat ramps located at First Bridge, the Rock Hole (end of Bixby Road), Farmer Creek wayside, the mouth of Three Rivers and Cloverdale. Bank access also is available at those sites. A separate fee (>not the county pass) is required at Cloverdale to cover the cost to lease access from the Sanitary District. Day passes are available at the launch, or season passes are available from the sporting goods store in Hebo. Repairs to the lower end of the Cloverdale launch were completed recently. Use caution as there is a drop off at the end of the concrete. This is especially prevalent at lower flows.
Three Rivers, a tributary entering the Nestucca at Hebo, offers very good bank access in the lower river and excellent opportunity for anglers targeting early-returning hatchery steelhead, as well as later returning wild broodstock hatchery steelhead. Good numbers of steelhead ascend Three Rivers on their return to Cedar Creek Hatchery.
Bank access on Three Rivers is available at the hatchery, at the “heart attack” hole (on the south side of the stream), on the “S” curve just above Hebo, and by the sewage treatment plant in Hebo. The upper Three Rivers is accessible along Hwy 22, but fewer fish are present above the hatchery weir and bank access is limited. When available, fish are recycled downstream from Cedar Creek Hatchery.
The Little Nestucca River offers fair opportunity for steelhead. A few stray hatchery steelhead may be present throughout the winter season. Wild fish may be caught and released through the winter, with the run peaking in March. Limited public access is available along Little Nestucca River Road between Hwy 22 and Hwy101.The river closes March 31.
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 23 trout opener and prior to Free Fishing Weekend June 6-7. Olalla Reservoir also receives surplus adult steelhead and has some warmwater species. Olalla Reservoir is located just east of Toledo near mile post 7 along Hwy 20. Big Creek reservoirs are located on the north end Newport off 31st street.
ODFW will host a free Family Fishing event during Free Fishing Weekend on Saturday, June 6 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.
Salmon River (located north of Lincoln City along Hwy 18) offers fair-to-good catch-and-release fishing for wild winter steelhead, from late December through March. Fall Chinook fishing can also be fair to good in the bay through tidewater and up into the lower river section. Bank access can be found in the lower river near the Salmon River Hatchery or along the Van Duzer corridor. Good bank access can be found off Hwy 101 or around the Salmon River Hatchery. Anglers are advised to check for special regulations prior to fishing for salmon.
|Fishing on the Siletz River
-Photo by Andy Walgamott-
SUMMER STEELHEAD: The Siletz River offers anglers the opportunity to fish for steelhead year-round. The Siletz has both summer and winter steelhead native runs as well as summer and winter steelhead hatchery programs. Anglers are reminded that only hatchery fish can be retained.
A hatchery summer steelhead program with a target smolt release of up to 50,000 fish each spring offers anglers an excellent opportunity to harvest fresh steelhead by early summer. Summer steelhead start arriving in May with a peak in mid-July. A second push of summers arrives with the first fall rains.
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 riverside 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.
During the summer flows, fly fishing the gorge area can be very productive by swinging flies across riffles in the early mornings. Other techniques such as casting lures or using a bobber and bait/jig can also produce good results.
WINTER STEELHEAD: Winter steelhead begin arriving in late November with a peak in January-March. The winter steelhead hatchery program in the Siletz Basin utilizes a wild broodstock and can provide excellent fishing throughout the season.
During peak winter steelhead season drift boat fishing can be very productive but many sections of the river can be busy during favorable flow conditions. Popular techniques used from a drift boat include side drifting, pulling plugs or drifting a bobber and jig. Bank fishing can also be very good in the upper river around Moonshine Park. Effective bank fishing techniques are flow dependent but include swinging spinners and spoons across riffles, drifting a bobber and bait or jig, plunking, and bouncing a corky or bead along the bottom.
A portion of hatchery fish returning to ODFW fish traps are also recycled to provide additional fishing opportunities. These fish are tagged with a small colored tag near the dorsal fin. Anglers are encouraged to report these tagged recycled fish so that the benefit of the recycling program can be assessed.
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.
FALL CHINOOK & COHO: For the 2015 salmon season, the Chinook forecast is predicted to be slightly lower than the 2014 run. The forecast for coho is favorable and there may be a limited wild coho fishery again in 2015. Be sure to check for temporary rules before fishing during the 2015 fall salmon season.
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. Hwy 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.
TROUT: Resident cutthroat trout fishing is typically fair to good in late May through June. Sea-run cutthroat trout fishing 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 23 – Aug. 31. Small spoons, spinners and flies can be very productive for cutthroat trout.
FALL CHINOOK & COHO: Fishery managers predict the 2015 fall Chinook returns will be slightly lower than the 2014 run. Fishing should be very productive in the bay and lower river this fall. The coho salmon return may allow for another limited wild coho fishery. The coho fishery will be determined by this summer. Anglers are strongly advised to check for temporary rules prior to fishing during the fall salmon season.
WINTER STEELHEAD: Steelhead returns typically peak from late January through February and last into March. There also is an extended fishery in the Siuslaw River from Whittaker Creek downstream to 200 yards below the mouth of Wildcat Creek through April 15.
The Siuslaw winter steelhead broodstock incorporates wild winter steelhead and thus tends to return later than traditional coastal hatchery stocks.
Lake Creek and its major tributaries can be a productive catch-and-release fishery for wild steelhead, and provide opportunities to catch hatchery steelhead near the town of Deadwood, where 15,000 hatchery winter steelhead smolts are released into Green Creek.
Popular techniques used from a drift boat include side drifting, pulling plugs or drifting a bobber and jig. Effective bank fishing techniques are flow dependent but include swinging spinners and spoons across riffles, drifting a bobber and bait or jig, plunking, and bouncing a corky and bait along the bottom. Some early season scouting during lower flows to learn which technique will work for an area can pay off.
The Siuslaw River near the Whittaker Creek campground offers good boat and bank access and is where a target of 70,000 winter steelhead smolts are released each spring. A good portion of the returning hatchery fish collected at this site is released back into the fishery. This area can be heavily fished during the peak season by boat and bank anglers, particularly on weekends.
The Siuslaw River enters the ocean at the town of Florence between the Alsea and Umpqua rivers. Hwy 126 follows the Siuslaw and Hwy 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.
Ten-Mile Creek (located approximately 6 miles south of Yachats on Hwy 101) consistently produces good catches of wild winter steelhead when conditions are right. Much of the creek-side property is in private ownership. Occasional hatchery steelhead strays also can be caught.
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 23 trout opener and Free Fishing Weekend June 7-8. Thissell Pond is located off Hwy 34 near mile post 27 and up Fall Creek road about 2 miles.
A youth fishing event will be held during on Saturday, June 6 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 bays and rivers (including the Wilson, Trask, Kilchis and Miami rivers)
TROUT: 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.
SPRING CHINOOK: The spring Chinook season is open April 1-July 31 in the bay and the Wilson and Trask rivers. The spring Chinook runs in the Wilson and Trask are expected to be similar to last year. Only adipose fin-clipped 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 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 and in the rivers. Gear restrictions are in effect in the Trask River from the Cedar Creek boat slide down to the Lorens Drift wood boat slide from May 1-July 31. Check the regulations for details.
The Tillamook, Kilchis and Miami rivers are open May 23-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.
SUMMER STEELHEAD: Summer steelhead also are available in the Wilson and Trask rivers. Summer steelhead returns are expected to be similar 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.
FALL CHINOOK AND COHO: Fall Chinook and coho begin entering the bay in late summer. Hatchery coho peak in September, with Chinook peaking in October. Chinook can be caught through December. Limited wild coho fisheries have been approved in recent years but due to fishery constraints may not occur this year Check the ODFW website beginning in June for updated regulations. Typically, lower bay anglers favor trolling herring. Further up the bay, trolling herring is still a good option, but more anglers also opt for large bladed spinners or plugs. Some anglers anchor and cast for coho in the west channel of the bay with medium to large spinners. Bobber and bait is the predominant technique in tidewater areas and upstream, with backtrolling plugs and backbouncing bait added to the mix. Stream fisheries generally begin in October with fall rains raising the rivers.
WINTER STEELHEAD: The Wilson, Kilchis and Trask rivers offer excellent winter steelhead opportunities. Hatchery steelhead usually begin returning in late November, with good fishing through January. Approximately 40,000 early returning hatchery smolts are released in each of the Kilchis and Wilson Rivers. The Kilchis is stocked up to Kilchis Park. An additional 100,000 wild brood smolts are released in the Wilson River, primarily in the lower river up to Siskeyville, but a small proportion (25 percent) are released in the South Fork. Wild broodstock hatchery steelhead are available in the Wilson River throughout the winter and early spring (primarily January to mid-April). The Trask River is not stocked, but hatchery strays are present.
The Wilson, Kilchis and Trask rivers offer good access to some great wild winter steelhead fishing, which peaks in March.
The Little North Fork Wilson River and first mile of the South Fork Wilson River are open Dec. 1- March 31 for steelhead fishing. These streams provide good opportunities when the main stem Wilson River is high.
The Tillamook and Miami rivers are open to steelhead fishing though March. A few stray hatchery fish and smaller populations of wild fish are present in each stream. The Miami River offers access in the upper stretches along Miami Forest Road; however, public access is very limited on the Tillamook River.
The daily bag limit is two adipose fin-clipped adult Chinook and/or steelhead and five adipose fin-clipped jack Chinook.
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.
Hwy 6 follows the Wilson River from the lower reaches to the fishing deadline at the South Fork. The Kilchis River is accessible at the Mapes Creek launch, Kilchis Park, and along Kilchis Forest Road up to the deadline at the confluence of the North and South forks.
The Trask River is accessible at Trask Hatchery and Lorens Drift off Chance Road and along Trask River Road. The North and South Fork Trask (open for winter steelhead Dec. 1 to March 31, and trout from May 23-June 15) are accessible by forest roads that follow each stream. The North Fork Trask steelhead deadline is at Bark Shanty Creek and the South Fork steelhead deadline is at Edwards Creek.
Sturgeon fishing in Tillamook Bay (open all year for catch-and-release only) can be productive throughout the winter and 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. Check regulations for updated rules for rockfish.
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 (except Battle Lake, which is stocked once annually with fingerling trout). 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. In addition, larger “trophy” trout will be stocked later in the year in some lakes. Locations of and directions.
Lorens Pond recently underwent a substantial restoration. Upgrades included 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 portable restroom was also been added.
Trout stocking at Lorens Pond has been increased to provide additional opportunity at this site.
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 well and were in good shape, but were not quite legal-size by the next spring. The lake has been stocked for four years now, and there is a mixture of size classes present, with some fish exceeding 12 inches.
Nedonna Pond and Trask Hatchery will host a Free Fishing Weekend event on June 6 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Go to the ODFW website for details.
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.
Cape Meares Lake, Loren’s Pond, Lake Lytle, and Town Lake periodically receive excess adult hatchery steelhead in the fall and winter. Check the weekly Recreation Report on the ODFW website for updated information on fish releases.
Other lakes may also receive fish when available. Steelhead caught in these lakes are considered trout, and do not have to be recorded on a harvest tag. Only one trout over 20 inches per day is allowed.
The dam at Town Lake was replaced in 2014. The lake level should remain stable, and the fishing dock is back in place and available for use. The outlet at Cape Meares Lake was undermined during a storm event last winter. Repairs may take place this summer, but angling activities should not be affected.
Yachats River (located in the town of Yachats) is a productive winter steelhead river with access to public properties from a county road bordering the stream. It offers good catch-and-release opportunities for wild steelhead from the forks down to tide water. There are occasional stray hatchery winter steelhead caught in the Yachats.
|Chinook on the Yaquina River
-Photo by Mike Coburn-
TROUT: 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.
FALL CHINOOK & COHO: Fall Chinook fishing in the bay to upper tide water is expected to be fair from early September through October. Chinook returns are forecasted to be around average. 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 with approval expected around late July.
WINTER STEELHEAD: The Yaquina Basin receives approximately 20,000 winter steelhead smolts of an early-returning Alsea hatchery stock. These smolt are released into Big Elk Creek with peak adult returns in December and January. Good bank access is available along upper Big Elk Creek near the smolt release site (river-mile 21 below Grant Creek) and several miles downstream. There is a lot of private property so anglers are advised to use caution.
The Yaquina River enters the ocean at the town of Newport at mile post 142 along Hwy 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.
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 2015 Sport Fishing Regulations booklet.
The Lewis and Clark River, Young’s River, and the North and South Fork Klaskanine River also are open to winter steelhead fishing. The North Fork Klaskanine is stocked with approximately 40,000 winter steelhead smolts, and provides good small stream opportunity from late November through January. While anglers will encounter some stray hatchery fish, the other streams offer mostly catch-and-release fishing for wild steelhead.
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