OREGON: Strong Late Return of Spring Chinook

Surprisingly, the summer chinook run passing Bonneville Dam is winding down. After such a late run of other salmonids on the mainstem, it seems the summer run of chinook is about on target. As chinook numbers wane, steelhead numbers are increasing daily but only boats in the lower section of the river are recording decent catches. Anglers are more likely to target steelhead in the gorge as flows continue to drop and salmon numbers fade.

Lower Willamette level, flow and clarity is stable. Fish passage remains good as hundreds of chinook and steelhead are crossing daily. About 40,000 springers and 18,000 summers had been counted as of the first week in July but success rates are finally dropping off in the Multnomah Channel after a great spring catch.

McKenzie water levels are a little above seasonal average but the river is fishing well for fly anglers matching daily hatches.

Water temperatures and levels dropped on the South Santiam over the past week, improving results for summer steelhead. Trout fishing is good on the North Santiam with attractor pattern flies.

The Clackamas should have summer steelhead available at this time of year but results have been slow.

The ODFW assured anglers this week that a “strong” late return of spring chinook is expected to the Sandy and that anglers will start reaping rewards’ of this run in July, continuing through the summer months. Adults are most likely to hold in the upper reaches, from Dodge Park to the mouth of the Salmon River. Only fin-clipped fish may be retained.

The Guides Forecast

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