ODFW Recreation Report: Cooler temps mean good news for trout fishing

Recent cooler temperatures and improving water conditions spell good news for trout fishing. We’re getting reports of good fishing from throughout the state – from high elevation lakes (many are still being stocked) to cool-water rivers and streams. Check out the zone reports to find the best fishing and check out the latest regulations.

Buoy 10 fishery starts strong
The popular Buoy 10 salmon fishery opened Aug. 1 and coho fishing has been good. Find the latest regulations for the fishery here.

No fishing after 2 p.m. in most Oregon streams
Effective Saturday, July 18, and until further notice, all water bodies defined as streams on Page 7 of the 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations are closed above tidewater to fishing for trout salmon, steelhead and sturgeon from 2 p.m. to one hour before sunrise.
• Some streams will remain open because they are less prone to high water temperatures. Read ODFW’s July 18 press release and regulation update page for details.
• Fishing in the Columbia River and Snake River is not affected by the action, and fishing hours in these areas will remain under normal regulations.
• Due to exceedingly warm temperatures and fish die-offs, the Willamette River below Willamette Falls is closed all day to fishing for trout, steelhead, salmon and sturgeon.
• Fishing for warmwater species such as crappie, bluegill, bass, catfish and walleye is unaffected by the action and may continue in all waterbodies.

Sign up now for September pheasant hunts
ODFW will host a variety of pheasant hunts for youth, families and women in September. These are perfect for beginning hunters as ODFW stocks pheasants and emphasizes safety. See for details and sign up now.

Health advisory for softshell clams
The Oregon Health Authority has issued an advisory about naturally occurring arsenic found in softshell clams along the Oregon coast. Removing skin from clam’s siphon dramatically reduces arsenic levels, public health officials say. More info

We’d love to hear about your recent fishing experience. Send us your own fishing report through ODFW Fishing Reports ― the information will be forwarded to the local biologist who may use it to update various ODFW resources such as the Weekly Recreation Report.

Warmer temperatures increase stress on fish
However, anglers reduce the stress from catch-and-release fishing by following a few precautions:
• Fish early in the mornings when water temperatures are lower.
• Fish in lakes and reservoirs with deep waters that provide a cooler refuge for fish.
• Use barbless hooks, land fish quickly and keep them in the water as much as possible in order to minimize stress.
• Shift fishing efforts to higher elevation mountain lakes and streams where water temperatures often remain cooler.
Warmwater fish like bass, crappie and bluegill also feel the effects of the heat, so please follow these precautions in all your summer fishing.
Very low water levels in coastal streams will present some challenging fishing conditions. Scale down your gear, using smaller weights and baits, and lighter leaders. Look for fish, especially steelhead, to hold in different parts of the river than they normally would. Due to warm water temperatures, fishing may be best early in the morning.

Statewide drought updates
For the latest statewide drought conditions, see the State of Oregon’s Drought Watch.

Trout fishing is likely to be slow. Due to warm conditions, concentrate on early morning hours when fish are likely to be the most active.
Warm water fishing is slow to fair. Coffenbury, Cullaby, Sunset, Lytle, Cape Meares, and Town lakes, and Vernonia Pond all offer opportunity for largemouth bass. Weed growth and water quality may be a problem in some areas.
The latest trout stocking schedule.

KILCHIS RIVER: cutthroat
Cutthroat fishing should be fair. Sea-run cutthroat should be available in good numbers in tidewater areas and are moving to upstream areas. Water levels are extremely low and clear so use very light gear.

Catch-and-release fishing opportunity for cutthroat trout is available. These are small streams, with very low flows and clear water at this time. Using light gear and stealthy tactics should produce fair fishing.

NEHALEM RIVER: Chinook, cutthroat
Fishing for Chinook is improving. Water temperatures are warm, so incoming tides may produce the best bites as cooler ocean water pushes in. Fish are available in the lower bay up to Nehalem, with reports of some fish beginning to move to upper tidewater areas. Troll herring or spinners near the bottom. Sea-run cutthroat can be caught throughout the bay and tidewater areas, and further upstream. Troll or cast small lures or flies along the channel margins or in areas of cover, such as logs or woody debris.

NESTUCCA RIVER AND THREE RIVERS: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat
Steelhead fishing is slow. Fishing for cutthroat trout should be fair to good, with increasing numbers of sea-runs showing up. Fishing for spring Chinook closed July 31 above Cloverdale, and Three Rivers is closed to all fishing downstream of the hatchery.

TILLAMOOK BAY: sturgeon, Chinook

Fall Chinook season began Aug. 1. Expect slow fishing for Chinook and hatchery coho until late August/early September. Trolling herring or large bladed spinners are the two most popular techniques.

TRASK RIVER: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat
Spring Chinook fishing closed July 31. An occasional summer steelhead is being caught. Fishing for cutthroat trout is fair to good. The hatchery hole area is closed to all fishing through Oct. 15.
Anglers who catch a steelhead or salmon with numbered tag(s) are encouraged to report catch information via the internet or by calling ODFW at 503-842-2741 and asking for Derek Wiley. All live tagged fish that are not legal to retain or are voluntarily not kept should be released quickly and unharmed with tags intact.

WILSON RIVER: steelhead, Chinook, cutthroat
Summer steelhead fishing is slow also. Fishing for cutthroat trout should be fair. Use lighter gear for best results as the water is extremely low and clear. Spring Chinook fishing closed July 31.

Use the Oregon Hunting Map to see where to hunt.
Black bear will be slow with the rather warm weather, and bears will be most active early in the morning and late in the evening in openings such as clear-cuts. Most wild berry crops are early this year so look for patches of thimbleberry and the different types of huckleberries where bears may be foraging. Like with cougar, predator calling during the mid-day hours can be very productive. Successful hunters must check in their bear at an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest, and bring them in unfrozen. It’s also a good idea to prop their mouths open with a stick after harvest for easier tissue sampling, teeth collection and tagging. See regulations for details.
Cougar are most effectively taken by using predator calls. However, cougar densities are relatively low on the north coast. Successful hunters, remember you must check in cougar (hide and skull) at an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest and bring them in unfrozen. It’s also a good idea to prop their mouths open with a stick after harvest for easier tissue sampling, teeth collection and tagging. See regulations for details.

Although nesting season for songbirds may be winding down now that August is here, both year-round residents, such as the winter wren and white-crowned sparrow, along with neo-tropical migrants like the Swainson’s thrush and yellow warbler, continue to fill the forest with the songs of male birds in their nesting territories.
Brown pelicans are arriving to the north coast in increasing numbers as summer is here. These large, near-shore ocean-dwelling birds are entertaining to watch whether they are gliding just over the waves or stooping to dive for fish. Some good areas to observe them include Cape Meares State Park and the South Jetty at the Columbia River, accessed through Ft. Stevens State Park.

Steller sea lions are common on the smaller nearshore rocks on the eastern edge of the Three Arch Rocks NWR, located just west of Oceanside. Both adults and pups are present and can be distinguished by size and coloration. The refuge is home to these marine mammals nearly year-round except in the fall when they take a brief hiatus. Bring binoculars or a spotting scope for best viewing.
Common murres are seabirds that have historically nested on top of nearshore rocks, such as Three Arch Rocks NWR. They have been seen there and on other rocks such as Pyramid Rock near Cape Meares NWR during the nesting season. However, nesting will likely be minimal on those areas due to predation by bald eagles in recent years, so more nesting is will occur on small obscure ledges, generally protected from predation.