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Fish with Portland Oregon fishing guides and charters year-round for walleye, sturgeon.


 
 
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Fishing Seasons - Oregon
 
Ocean Salmon Sport Groundfish Sport Halibut Sport shellfish Fishery Regulation Maps Guided Fishing in the Columbia River Gorge
Ocean Salmon

Bottomfish
Groundfish

Sport Halibut Sport Shellfish Fishery Regulation Maps Columbia and Willamette Rivers

 

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2008 Fishing Seasons - Washington

More information on Washington salmon, halibut, sturgeon, ocean salmon and halibut seasons.



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2009 Winter Steelhead Forecast released

Helpful to guide novice and experienced anglers, the forecast includes an overview of fishing opportunities and management updates on dozens of winter steelhead rivers. The report is compiled by district fisheries biologists and includes where to find bank and boat access, management and regulation changes, and even suggested techniques for catching steelhead.
 

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Jan. 20, 2009 ODFW Recreation Report

NORTHWEST OREGON FISHING

 Many coastal rivers are falling into shape after recent floods and subsequent drier weather. Steelhead angling should be fair to good. Fish smaller streams that come into shape first, then move to larger streams that clear more slowly.

ALSEA RIVER: winter steelhead

The fishery has pick up recently as river levels have dropped and cleared. Anglers are catching fish throughout the basin as good returns are just getting underway. Angling should remain fair to good for the week for both bank and boat anglers.

KILCHIS RIVER: steelhead

Winter steelhead angling was fair as the river dropped into fishable condition. The catch is a mixture of hatchery and wild fish. The lower river offers the best opportunity at hatchery fish. Bobber and jigs are effective as this stream drops and clears.

NECANICUM RIVER: steelhead

Winter steelhead are being caught throughout the river system. The run of hatchery fish generally peaks in January. Boaters should use caution, as there have been reports of impassable log jams along the river.

NORTH FORK NEHALEM RIVER: steelhead

Good numbers of winter steelhead have moved up the stream recently. Fishing has been fair to good, with fish available above and below the hatchery. Call 503-368-5670 for recorded fishing information.

NESTUCCA RIVER AND THREE RIVERS: steelhead

Winter steelhead angling is slow, but should improve as the river drops. The river has been slow to clear, but is in fishable condition. Hatchery fish are spread out through the river up to Blaine, and in Three Rivers. Larger, more colorful baits or lures should produce best results.

SILETZ RIVER: winter steelhead

Steelhead fishing steadily increased over the last week. The fishery should remain fair to good as river conditions stay favorable. Good numbers of fish are coming in and should continue over the next month. Steelhead can be found throughout the mainstem Siletz offering good drifts from Moonshine Park down to Morgan Park and good bank fishing in the upper river.

SIUSLAW RIVER: winter steelhead

Angling for steelhead has improved lately as river conditions have come into shape. Fishing should remain fair to good over the next week. Drift boat angling and bank fishing from Whittaker Creek down should continue to produce fish. Good returns have also been coming into Lake Creek recently.

TILLAMOOK BAY: sturgeon

Angling for sturgeon continues to be good. A high percentage of fish have been “keeper” size. Sand shrimp fished on the bottom in the deeper channels will produce the best results. Move frequently to find fish if you are not getting bites.

TRASK RIVER: steelhead

Winter steelhead angling is fair but is improving as the river drops and clears. A few stray hatchery fish being caught. Fish seem to be spread out through the river system, with some fish available in the north and south forks.

Johnson Bridge work is mostly complete. There should not be any passage issues for boaters. The road shoulder has been widened at the Cedar Creek boat launch, which will allow vehicles to pull off the road while launching. Anglers should use caution to avoid disturbing fresh fill in the area. Plans are in the works to construct a new boat slide at the site in the near future. Please do not block boat launching at this site. Contact ODFW in Tillamook for details, 503-842-2741.

WILSON RIVER: steelhead

Fresh winter steelhead are being caught, with fair catches reported right after the river began clearing. Expect angling to improve as the river continues to clear, which is happening slowly. Boaters should have good success in the lower river, while bank anglers should find fish spread further upstream. Good numbers of wild steelhead have been reported caught along with a good percentage of hatchery fish.



SOUTHWEST OREGON FISHING

• Steelhead fishing has been slow on many of the zone’s rivers due to cold, clear water conditions. In many cases the fish are holding up waiting for the next rain. The next good rain should get the fish moving again – so keep your rod strung.
• Steelhead fishing on the Illinois River has been fair and, thanks to a regulation change in 2009, anglers may now one non-adipose fin-clipped (wild) fish caught in mainstem Illinois River from the confluence with Briggs Creek upstream to Pomeroy Dam.

ELK/SIXES RIVER: steelhead

Slow. The Elk and Sixes are low and clear. Anglers can call Elk River Hatchery (541-332-7025) for the latest river heights and water color. Anglers will want to target Elk River when the river gauge at Elk River Hatchery is reading five feet and dropping.

PACIFIC OCEAN AND BEACHES: bottomfish

Rockfish daily bag limit has returned to six fish and is open to the 40-fathom line. Sport anglers may still retain two lingcod but cabezon may no longer be retained by boat anglers.

ROGUE RIVER, LOWER: steelhead

Slow. Few fish are moving. Anglers fishing at first or last light seem to be fairing the best. Don’t expect things to pick up until the weather changes.

ROGUE RIVER, MIDDLE: trout, steelhead
The river is cold and clear. Anglers back-trolling plugs have had some success for winter steelhead. The flow at Grants Pass on Jan. 20 was 3,394 cubic feet per second.
Bank access for steelhead angling can be found at Chinook Park, Matson Park, Griffin Park and Robertson Bridge. Additional access is available below Hellgate Canyon. Gold Hill to Rogue River and Robertson Bridge to Hog Creek are popular drifts for boat anglers.

ROGUE RIVER, UPPER: trout, steelhead
The river is cold and clear but bank anglers using roe have been catching a few steelhead. As of Jan. 20, the flow out of William Jess Dam (Lost Creek) was 2,010 cfs and the outflow temperature was 42 degrees. At Gold Ray Dam, the Rogue was flowing at 2,952 cfs. Anglers are reminded that even during high water and turbid conditions along most of the Rogue, conditions are usually good between Big Butte Creek and Cole Rivers Hatchery where reservoir outflows predominate.

As of Jan. 12, 380 winter steelhead and 2,442 coho have been counted at Gold Ray Dam. The river is open to the harvest of adipose fin-clipped steelhead year-round. The Rogue is also open for trout fishing with a limit of five adipose fin-clipped trout per day, 8 inch minimum length, but all non-adipose fin-clipped rainbow and all cutthroat trout must be released unharmed. Bank anglers can enjoy good success between the hatchery and the Highway 62 Bridge, and at public access points such as Casey State Park, Rogue Elk Park, and Touvelle State Park.

UMPQUA ESTUARY: sturgeon, bass, chinook,

Both sturgeon and striped bass fishing have been slow in the lower Umpqua. With higher river flows during the winter months, sturgeon success should be improving. Crabbing is still good. Note change in measuring sturgeon on page 19 of the 2009 Angling Regulations booklet.

UMPQUA RIVER MAINSTEM: steelhead, spring chinook, smallmouth bass

Umpqua Basin Note: Due to high mortality of hatchery steelhead, smolt releases in 2007 were much lower than normal. Consequently, fewer hatchery steelhead will be returning to the Umpqua basin this winter. Angling opportunity and catch rates throughout the basin will still be good due to the strong wild steelhead population, however only hatchery steelhead can be harvested.

Winter steelhead can be found throughout the Umpqua River. Plunking will be the best bet when the high waters recede. For bank anglers, plunking with eggs or spin-n-glo’s is the preferred method. Remember the main stem Umpqua is closed to wild steelhead harvest, but remains open year-round for adipose fin-clipped steelhead. The mainstem is clearing up from the recent storms. Drift boat fishing should improve as the flows drop and the turbidity decreases.

UMPQUA RIVER, NORTH: steelhead
The final count for spring chinook was 7,677 fish. Through December, 4,274 coho and 6,674 summer steelhead (final count) have passed Winchester Dam. Coho numbers will appear lower than normal since the North Umpqua coho hatchery program was discontinued. Official winter steelhead counts begin Dec. 1 and as of the end of December the count is over 200 fish. Remember that only adipose fin-clipped steelhead can be harvested on the North Umpqua. Water levels have dropped on the North and the river is now fishable. The best flows for fishing tend to be between 1,600 – 6,400 cfs. The North is open to catch and release trout fishing from the mouth upstream to Soda Springs Dam. Spring chinook opened Jan. 1, but it’ll be a couple months until the chinook start arriving.

UMPQUA RIVER, SOUTH: winter steelhead
The South Umpqua opened Dec. 1 for winter steelhead fishing. Only adipose-clipped steelhead can be harvested. High flows during the holidays helped move steelhead into the South. Presently flows are dropping and the South is fishable. Best fishing flows tend to be between 3,000 – 6,500 cfs.
South Umpqua River water levels near Riddle
WINCHESTER BAY: sturgeon, coho, chinook

Fishing is picking up a little for sturgeon. Note new sturgeon measuring method in the 2009 Angling Regulations. Crabbing has been good.



WILLAMETTE AREA FISHING

• Sturgeon fishing has been improving on the lower Willamette River. Remember, the season is now open 3 days a week – Thursday, Friday and Saturday – and the new fork length standard for keepers is now in effect.
• Winter steelhead have are spread throughout the Clackamas and Sandy rivers, and water conditions are improving
• Brook trout brood stock will be released next week at Junction City, West Salish and EE Wilson ponds.

WARM WATER ANGLING:
Warmwater fishing is slowing down at most locations in the Willamette Zone as water temperatures drop into the 30s.

CLACKAMAS RIVER: steelhead
Improved water conditions have raised the effort significantly recently. Staff has observed at least 30 to 40 boats on the river each day during the past week. Success rates have been spotty, but for those who are willing to get out and work for them results are generally worth the effort.
Winter steelhead can now be found throughout the lower river from McIver down to Gladstone. Catch reports have been fair in the lower water but some good reports have come out of the area above Barton and on up to McIver Park. A few fish have also been picked up by plunkers at Riverside Park and points downstream.
The Clackamas has continued to drop and clear after the floods from earlier this month. Monday readings for the Clackamas showed flows at 3,430 cfs (12.92’) with a water temperature near 42°. The river forecast is for the water to drop slightly for the next several days. Rain forecast for Saturday and Sunday could improve angling prospects.


NORTH AND SOUTH SANTIAM: steelhead
River flows have been high, but are dropping and good numbers of steelhead should be avialble.

SANDY RIVER: steelhead
The Sandy River looked good as far as water conditions go, but the pounding east winds made it a difficult river to fish, particularly in the lower sections. The upper portions of the river above Oxbow and through Dodge were better spots to try.
Dozens of anglers tried their luck over the weekend around the Sandy at the mouth of Cedar Creek, although only a few returned with steelhead.

Fish should be spread throughout the system and anglers can expect an improvement once the winds fall off by mid-week. Sandy River water levels after Monday’s readings showed flows had dropped to 3,150 cfs (10.4’) with the water temperature holding near 39°.

As of Tuesday, no steelhead had yet been collected at ODFW’s Sandy hatchery. By comparison, approximately 120 fish had been collected by this time last year.
Look for rain or an increase in temperature to move fish. Historically, February and March are the peak months for steelhead fishing on the Sandy.

WILLAMETTE RIVER: sturgeon, steelhead, warmwater species

Passage of winter steelhead increased over the recent week as water conditions improved at Willamette Falls. Through Jan. 17, 449 winters had moved through the ladder. You may want to start planning your trip to take advantage of excellent catch and release opportunities for wild winter steelhead in the Molalla and Santiam rivers this winter.

Hatchery winter steelhead returning to Eagle Creek hatchery on the Clackamas as well as early wild winter steelhead can provide good opportunity in the Willamette between the mouth of the Clackamas and Meldrum Bar. Fish will tend to hold in this area as they wait for cues to move into tributaries or above Willamette Falls. Low river flows or cold snaps will tend to slow fish down and the big water of the Willamette can provide some intriguing opportunities early in the year.

The strong flood flows are finally receding on lower Willamette waters. January 20 readings showed Willamette flows at 35,000 cfs with a temperature of 40° and the visibility improved somewhat to 1.9 ft. There is still some debris in the river that requires angler caution. Boaters, both moving and anchored, should always keep an eye on upstream waters.

Sturgeon angling has held up fairly well through the high, muddy water conditions. The keeper sturgeon catch was fair to good with several keepers checked this past three-day retention period. Catch numbers were good from Multnomah Channel to the lower Portland Harbor near St. Johns, and on up through the Milwaukie/Oregon City area. The reports on sublegal sturgeon catch also continued to be decent.

Bank fishing for sturgeon can be found at Meldrum Bar, at the Hwy 99 wall in downtown Oregon City and at Kelly Point on the St. Johns peninsula. Sturgeon anglers have been using frozen smelt, squid, herring and anchovies as effective bait. As in any fishery, anglers are reminded that all sturgeon released should be done so unharmed.

Sturgeon anglers are reminded that effective Jan. 1, 2009, sturgeon fishing on the Willamette is allowed 3 days a week – Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Also new for this year is the method of measuring sturgeon for retention. Under the new rules, sturgeon are now measured from the tip of the nose to the fork in the tail (rather than the tip of the tail). The resulting allowed retention measurements are slightly shorter than the old method. As a result, the 2009 slot measurement for sturgeon caught in the Willamette River will be 38 to 54 inches. Remember, this is a simple conversion of the old method. It does not mean you can keep smaller fish, only that the method of measuring “keepers” has changed. For a detailed explanation of how to measure sturgeon under the new rule, please visit our Web site.

The Willamette provides an excellent warm water fishery in the summer and early fall months. You can expect to find an abundance of bass, crappie, and bluegill available. Target the rocky outcroppings, structures, or old pilings. Casting a variety of plugs or jigs near the shoreline can be successful. A simple bobber and night crawler might prove to be the right choice also. The local tackle shops can set you up with the right gear and direct you to the best spots. Lately, warm water anglers have reported catching primarily smallmouth bass at depths of 30 to 40 feet.



CENTRAL OREGON FISHING


• The Hood River has one of the easternmost populations of winter steelhead in the Columbia Basin. Anglers are reporting some catches and numbers should improve through the winter.
• The Deschutes River between Lake Billy Chinook and Benham Falls provides winter fishing opportunities for brown and redband trout.

CROOKED RIVER BELOW BOWMAN DAM: redband trout and mountain whitefish

Fishing with artificial flies and lures only, no bait. As of Jan. 12, the river was flowing at 57 cfs to accommodate the construction of fish ladders on diversion structures below Bowman dam. Although fishing has been off and on, recent warm weather should increase trout and whitefish feeding activity leading to excellent angler opportunity.

All anglers are encouraged to visit informational kiosks located in the BLM campgrounds in the Wild and Scenic portion of the river where a flier has been posted to assist anglers in collecting valuable information. ODFW and OSU initiated a radio telemetry study on redband trout and whitefish in the fall of 2007. ODFW and OSU deployed new radio-tags in early October in fish caught by dedicated volunteer anglers from the Central Oregon Fly Fishers, Sunriver Anglers, ODFW, and OSU. Anglers are reminded that radio-tagged fish cannot be legally harvested. To determine if a fish is radio-tagged, anglers should check for an eight-inch wire antenna protruding from the rear of both redband and mountain whitefish. A sample of redband trout and mountain whitefish are also tagged with a numbered floy tag protruding from the back. Anglers who later catch a trout or whitefish with a floy tag are encouraged to release the fish after recording the tag number, fish length and location caught. Anglers can send the information to ODFW at (541) 447-5111 ext. 24 or michael.r.harrington@state.or.us.

DESCHUTES RIVER: steelhead, rainbow trout

Mouth to Warm Springs: steelhead, trout, fall chinook

Winter angling for trout, whitefish and steelhead on the lower Deschutes can be a fun way to enjoy a quiet winter day. Angling is open for these species year round in the Deschutes from the Columbia River upstream to the Northern Boundary of the Warm Springs Reservation. The highest concentration of trout and whitefish are from around Maupin upstream to the reservation boundary. Steelhead can occasionally be caught in these areas as well. Trout anglers should focus on the slower water due to the colder water temperatures, back eddies are typically the most productive in winter. Fly anglers can be successful using an indicator with a large stonefly and a small dropper.

HOOD RIVER: summer steelhead, winter steelhead

Anglers are reporting catch of bright winter steelhead in the lower Hood River from the mouth upstream to Powerdale Dam. Cold air temperatures lower in the river are causing water temperatures to remain very cold. Anglers should watch for warmer air temperatures later to warm the water and improve fishing. Winter steelhead numbers will continue to increase throughout the remaining winter.

Find out how many fish are being captured at the Powerdale Dam trap.

METOLIUS RIVER: redband trout, bull trout

No recent reports. January and February on the Metolius provides a nice midday opportunity for anglers. Please note that the reach of river from Allingham Bridge upstream to the Metolius headspring is currently closed to angling to protect spawning redband.



SOUTHEAST OREGON FISHING

• Several rivers offer good winter fishing opportunities, it they’re accessible and not iced-over. They include the Ana, Blitzen, Chewaucan, Owyhee and upper Powder rivers.

Winter Conditions: Anglers are advised to check road and access conditions before setting out. Some high elevation lakes are inaccessible due to snowy conditions, and winter weather can make road travel hazardous. A recent warming trend in the basin has made the ice rotten and dangerous for ice fishing.

KLAMATH RIVER: native rainbow-redband trout

Access to the river is extremely difficult due to snow depth. Angling has been slow. River flows are 724 cfs which provide good opportunities for fisherman. The Klamath River from J.C. Boyle Dam bridge crossing to the J. C Boyle Powerhouse provides fair angling this time of year for small redband-rainbow trout (6-12 inches) due to low, stable flows with higher water temperatures due to 220 cfs of spring water.


NORTHEAST OREGON FISHING

• The Umatilla River is dropping into fishable condition and good numbers of fish are arriving at Threemile Dam.
GRANDE RONDE, WALLOWA, IMNAHA RIVERS AND TRIBUTARIES: steelhead

Ice has cleared from local rivers. Recent rain and warmer weather resulted in high and unfishable flows in the Grande Ronde River. Steelhead angling in the Grande Ronde is likely to be poor until flows recede. Flows below 2,500 cfs at Troy generally provide the best steelhead fishing. Flows have remained relatively low in the Wallowa and Imnaha Rivers and steelhead angling should be fair.

JOHN DAY RIVER: bass and steelhead

Floating ice is beginning to hamper Steelhead angling success after night-time temperatures fall below 20 degrees F. Steelhead are well distributed throughout the river up to Twickenham. Remember to keep those clipped hatchery fish and release the unmarked ones.

Stream flow levels, Service Creek gauging station: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/or/nwis/uv?14046500.

The John Day River above Kimberly and all tributaries are closed to trout angling until May 24, 2008. The John Day River below Kimberly is open to angling for steelhead and bass all year.

UMATILLA RIVER: steelhead

The Umatilla River is dropping into fishable condition and good numbers of fish are arriving at Threemile Dam. Steelhead should be throughout the system and angling should be good. The steelhead return to Threemile Dam is currently at 1,000 for the season. With the completion of fish passage improvements at Feed Canal Dam all steelhead are being released directly above Threemile Dam.

SNAKE RIVER (Above Brownlee Reservoir): channel catfish, flathead catfish, smallmouth bass
Flows near Nyssa ranged from approximately 7,200 to 9,700 cfs from Jan.15 through Jan. 20. Flows near Weiser ranged from approximately 8,700 to 11,900 cfs from Jan.15 through Jan. 20. Catch rates are slowing due to cooler water temperatures.


COLUMBIA RIVER

• Effective Thursday Jan. 1, 2009 sturgeon retention is allowed three days a week (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) from Bonneville Dam downstream to Wauna power lines with a 38-inch minimum and 54-inch maximum fork length restriction in effect.

• Some winter steelhead should be available from beaches on the lower Columbia for anglers willing to brave the elements.

Columbia River Fish Counts:
https://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/op/fishdata/home.asp

Regulations:
http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/fishing/reg_changes/columbia.asp

The Columbia River Compact met on Thursday December 18 and adopted new sturgeon regulations for 2009. For the news release, please check the link below:

http://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2008/december/121808.asp

Sturgeon anglers are reminded that effective Jan. 1, 2009, a new method of measuring sturgeon for retention will take effect statewide. Under the new rules, sturgeon will be measured from the tip of the nose to the fork in the tail (rather than the tip of the tail). The resulting allowed retention measurements are slightly shorter than the old method. As a result, the 2009 slot measurement for sturgeon caught in the Columbia River downstream of The Dalles Dam to the Wauna Power lines, including tributaries, will be 38 to 54 inches FORK LENGTH. Upstream of The Dalles Dam to the Oregon/Washington border, the fork length for sturgeon retention will be 43 to 54 inches beginning on Jan. 1. Below the Wauna power lines, the fork length will likely change to 41-54 inches after April 2009, although those rules have not yet been adopted (see emergency rule changes for exact dates as the season approaches for sturgeon fishing below the Wauna power lines). Remember, all of these figures are simple conversions of the old method of measuring sturgeon. It does not mean you can keep smaller fish, only that the method of measuring “keepers” has changed. So, from Jan. 1 on, make sure that your sturgeon is of legal length under this NEW measurement technique.

Sturgeon angling effort has been light due to inclement weather and low water temperatures.
 



OREGON COAST FISHING

Weather and ocean conditions combined to provide a window of opportunity for ocean fishers last week. Many returned with limits of lingcod and rockfish. Fishing for cabezon was also good.

A list of fish included in the six-fish marine bag limit 2009 Oregon Sport Ocean Regulations for Salmon, Halibut and Other Marine Fish Species and online at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp

Remember: yelloweye rockfish and canary rockfish may not be retained. The Stonewall Bank Yelloweye Rockfish Conservation Area approximately 15 miles west of Newport is closed to the harvest of rockfish, lingcod, flatfish and others.

All salmon and Pacific halibut fishing in the ocean is closed.


CRABS

The crab harvest is slow in most Oregon bays and is expected to taper off during the coming months. Few crabbers got limits in most of the bays surveyed with most getting one or two crab. Recreational Bay Crab Survey data on catch statistics are updated every month during the winter on the ODFW Web site at the recently-launched Crabbing Reports page. This provides prospective crabbers some information on the recent success of other crabbers in the three bays that are sampled during the winter: Yaquina Bay, Alsea Bay and Coos Bay.

Sport crabbing in the ocean opened Dec. 1.

Some sport crabbers have difficulty correctly measuring the minimum size for Dungeness crab, which is 5 3⁄4 inches measured in a straight line across the back immediately in front of, but not including, the points. For a photograph and diagram see page 96 of the 2009 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations booklet.

 

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Anglers will have plenty of opportunities throughout the state to hook into winter and summer steelhead. This forecast is intended to help anglers identify productive river systems, target specific locations for pursuing winter steelhead, and highlight recent fishing regulation changes.

“Summer” and “Winter” steelhead

There are two main runs of steelhead in Oregon, a “summer” and a “winter” run. Some river systems have both types of runs while other streams may have one or the other. On the eastern side of Oregon, all steelhead are considered summer run fish. On average, winter steelhead tend to be bigger than their summer relatives. As early as May, summer steelhead enter fresh water in a reproductively immature state—they do not spawn for many months. Winter steelhead migrate when they are closer to reproductive maturity.

Summer and winter run steelhead spawn in the spring. Like their name suggests, summer steelhead begin migrating to their birth streams during the summer months. This migration may take place as early as May on some rivers and can last until late fall/early winter. Summer fish generally travel much further to spawn than the winter-run fish. Likewise, winter steelhead begin their migration early winter with some fish continuing to migrate well into spring. Unlike the other salmonids, steelhead are not pre-determined to die after spawning and may live to spawn multiple times. After the eggs have been deposited in the spring, the fry emerge in summer and may spend the next 1 to 3 years in fresh water prior to migrating to the ocean.

Catch Statistics

Catch statistics provide anglers with information on timing of steelhead harvest and also which streams are producing high steelhead catches. The new steelhead broodstocks being used for many of ODFW’s steelhead program may have different run timing than the stocks of steelhead anglers are accustomed to. The newer broodstocks can have later, more expanded run timing which is similar to wild steelhead they originated from. The catch statistics tables shown below were compiled using information collected from the Combined Angling Harvest cards, also known as “punch cards.”

Anglers are required to record each fish kept and asked to return these cards at the end each year. ODFW uses the returned cards to estimate harvest within each of the water bodies of the state, identified by unique codes. Because anglers are not required to return their harvest cards, ODFW expands the data from the harvest cards returned to estimate annual harvest. Since the 1990s, return rates of the harvest cards varies from about 15– 25%.

To encourage return of harvest cards, ODFW has drop boxes at ODFW offices and point-of-sale (POS) terminals in sporting goods stores, displays at sportsmen’s shows, and issues news releases. To further improve return rates, harvest cards returned by June 1 of the following year are entered in a drawing for boats and other sporting goods.

Return of harvest cards is important for ODFW’s understanding of the harvest of fish. The harvest card information is a valuable tool for managing fishery resources as ODFW balances harvest opportunities and fish conservation. This information is used in management decisions and setting angling regulations. In some cases, ODFW has on-the-ground creel surveys, but these are more expensive and difficult to conduct, so for many rivers, the punch card information is the only tool ODFW managers have available to estimate harvest. It is important that angler return their harvest cards soon after the end of the year to help maintain this valuable information source.

Five-year Average Catch of Winter Steelhead in Columbia Basin, 2001-2005 (jpg)

Five-year Average Catch of Winter Steelhead in Oregon Coastal Streams, 2001-2005 (jpg)
 


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Steelhead hatchery programs in Oregon

Oregon has many steelhead hatchery programs around the state. Almost all of them have the single objective of providing fish for recreational fisheries; however, some hatcheries are conservation hatcheries which supplement local wild stocks using local broodstock to provide eggs. Steelhead hatchery programs in Oregon are designed to maximize the contribution of hatchery fish to the fishery while minimizing the potential negative impacts of the program to wild fish. Practices that are used to maximize harvest include: releasing hatchery smolts (1 year old steelhead) at a time and size that ensures the highest survival to adult; allowing fish to volitionally leave the hatchery to reduce harmful stress from handling; releasing steelhead smolts in areas with good access for anglers; or using local broodstocks.

Hatchery practices that are used to reduce the potential negative impacts to wild fish include: releasing hatchery steelhead smolts in areas that they can home in on, and return to, a trapping facility (to be removed and reduce competition with wild steelhead); releasing hatchery smolts at a size that they quickly migrate to the ocean and don't compete for food and habitat; or releasing hatchery smolts in areas that are not highly used by wild steelhead.

Winter and Summer Steelhead Hatchery Programs in Oregon.

Rivers where hatchery winter steelhead are released

ODFW Hatchery Steelhead Releases

Release Location Steelhead Run, Brood Stock Production Goals (number of smolt releases)
Alsea River Winter; Alsea stock 120,000
Applegate River (Rogue River tributary) Winter; Local (wild) stock 150,000
Big Creek Winter; Local (wild) stock 60,000
Big Elk Creek (Yaquina River tributary) Winter; Alsea stock 20,000
Chetco River Winter; Local (wild) stock 50,000
Clackamas River Winter: Local (wild) and Eagle Creek stock: Summer: Skamania stock 340,000
Coquille River (East Fork, North Fork and South Fork) Winter; Local (wild) stock 115,000
Deschutes Summer; Local (wild) stock 165,000
Gnat Creek Winter; Big Creek stock 40,000
Hood River Winter and Summer; Local (wild), Skamania stock 150,000
Kilchis River Winter; Alsea stock 40,000
Klaskanine River Winter; Big Creek stock 40,000
Little Sheep Creek (Imnaha River) Summer; Local (wild) stock 330,000
McKenzie River Summer; Skamania stock 108,000
Millicoma River (East and West Forks) Winter; Local (wild), Coos stock 88,000
Necanicum River Winter; North Nehalem stock 40,000
Nestucca River Winter: Alsea stock; Local (wild) stock; Summer: Siletz stock 90,000
North Nehalem River Winter; Local (wild), Big Creek, and Fishhawk Creek stock 90,000
North Santiam River Summer; Skamania stock 162,000
North Umpqua River Summer; Local (wild) stock 120,000
Rogue River Winter; Local (wild) stock 370,000
Sandy River Winter:Local (wild) stock; Summer: Skamania stock 240,000
Siletz River Winter and Summer; Local (wild) stock 130,000
Siuslaw River Winter; Local (wild) stock 100,000
South Fork Coos River Winter; Local (wild) stock 37,000
South Santiam River Summer; Skamania stock 144,000
South Umpqua River Winter; Local (wild) stock 120,000
Tenmile Creek Winter; Local (wild) stock 20,000
Three Rivers (Nestucca River tributary) Summer; Alsea stock 30,000
Umatilla Summer; Local (wild) stock 150,000
Wallowa River Summer; mixture of steelhead returning to the Snake basin stock 800,000
Willamette River, Middle Fork Summer; Skamania stock 115,000
Wilson River Winter and Summer; Local (wild), Alsea, Siletz stock 170,000

Endemic “Local” Broodstocks

Over the past 10 years, many of Oregon’s winter steelhead hatchery programs have converted from conventional hatchery stocks to endemic, or locally adapted steelhead broodstocks derived from wild steelhead. These newer broodstock uses wild fish from the stream in which the hatchery steelhead will be released. This practice has resulted in adult hatchery steelhead returning at the same time as wild steelhead–generally January through April.

In some cases, this return time is as much as two months later than the previously used steelhead broodstock. The use of local steelhead broodstocks has resulted in hatchery runs of steelhead that return at times when rivers are generally much more fishable, and in some cases, hatchery steelhead adults that hold in the rivers longer before returning to trapping facilities. Both of these traits allow for anglers to catch a greater proportion of the returning hatchery steelhead.

“Steelhead Recycling”

In some locations, where staffing and fishery conditions allow, adult hatchery steelhead that return to trapping facilities are transported downstream to swim through the fishery a second time. This practice is called “recycling.” Recycled hatchery steelhead have a second chance to be caught by anglers, although the rate at which they are caught can be low sometimes. Recycled steelhead also have a second chance to stray away from the trapping facility and compete with wild steelhead. For these reasons, not all trapped hatchery steelhead in all locations are recycled.

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