OREGON: Columbia River is Kicking Out Chinook Salmon

The Columbia River is kicking out chinook salmon from Tongue Point all the way up to Bonneville Dam, with coho and steelhead being part of the catch to boot. Nearly 15,000 chinook a day are passing through the Bonneville Dam fish ladders and that number will likely double any day now. But surprisingly more than 1500 steelhead a day are still making the commute. Although Bonneville hasn’t seen the peak of its action yet, this fishery is already in full swing. Backtrolling sardine wrapped Kwikfish will be the preferred method for boaters while plunking a spinner, wobbler or spin n glow will work well for the bank bound anglers. The Bonneville fishery will peak by the end of September but last well into October.

Check the new regulations before fishing your stretch of the Columbia as new ones exist this year. Wobbler plunkers are finding sporadic success despite large numbers of fish passing through the Portland to St. Helens area. The upcoming stronger tide series may bolster catches.

There might be a few coho staging below the mouth of the Clackamas on the Willamette River but no successful reports have surfaced as of yet. Bass fishing will pick up with the cooler temperatures and any fall freshets.

The recent cool spell and lower overnight temperatures have combined to boost results for fly fishers targeting trout and steelhead on the McKenzie River.

Steelheading has been slow to fair on the South Santiam. On this and other rivers, try fishing below spawning salmon with roe or egg imitations.

No reports of coho on the Clackamas yet. Given that fewer coho have been planted the last few years, a small return is expected. These fish will shoot right up to Eagle Creek and the water below Rivermill Dam.

Reports have come in of a few coho being caught at the mouth of the Sandy and rumors of a handful milling around up at Cedar Creek. At the mouth, casting spinners is the method of choice either from a boat or wading out to the sand bar and casting into the deeper channel. When some measurable rain comes to the valley, the coho will pour up towards Cedar Creek.

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