Oct 26, 2015

Columbia Gorge Fishing Report (October 26th)

Fishing Report

It’s down to the wire for trout fishermen.  Many rivers and lakes close next Saturday October 31, so get your fishing in while you can.  Laurence Lake will be closing along with the Deschutes River upstream of the northern boundary of the Warm Springs Reservation.  This includes the popular Warm Springs to Trout Creek section, as well as much of the Trout Creek to Maupin section.  The Deschutes remains open for steelhead in that section until December 31. 

Eagle Creek near Bonneville Dam is a nice little trout stream that is also closing, as well as the East Fork of the Hood River (as well as the main branch for trout).  Also, there are several general season trout streams and lakes in central and eastern Washington that will close.  Check the regulations before you go.  We don’t like to hear of our customers getting tickets for fishing closed waters. 

Chinook Salmon are in full spawn now.  There are a few weeks left before they are all gone.  This has been quite an epic run numbers wise, but many of the fish have not moved into the tributaries yet, so there will be more fish moving in for the final push.  We are so close to breaking the previous record for Fall Chinook passage through Bonneville Dam.  We are at 944,000 and still passing 1,000 fish per day or more.  The previous record, set in 2013 was 953,222.  It looks like we have a solid chance to beat that record. 

We have already surpassed the all-time Chinook total for the year (Spring, Summer and Fall Chinook combined) at 1.35 million.  So numbers wise, this has been an epic year.  If we can get these fish to spawn and get their smolts out to the ocean, we will be in good shape for the next few years, but with such bad river and ocean conditions this year, the odds are stacked in the wrong direction.

In the meantime, please be aware of spawning fish and look for redds.  Please do not walk across, over or through them. 

Coho Salmon are nearly non-existent this year.  Gabe has caught a few on conventional gear, but there has been little effort or enthusiasm towards the fishery this year.  El Nino years are very bad for our Coho runs here, but are quite the opposite in Alaska, where there were record runs of Coho this year….

Summer Steelhead:  The rivers are in great shape as of Saturday afternoon.  This colder weather is causing the clarity to increase and the fish have generally been pretty happy.  I don’t like crystal clear water, but some of our rivers are there.  This week looks to bring us some much needed rain.  A couple of spikes in the flows will definitely get some fish moving around and on the bite.  If we can get steady, heavy rains to bring the base flows up, it would improve fishing dramatically. 

The Klickitat has been producing fish steadily, while the Deschutes has been a little on the tough side this last week.  The Grande Ronde has reportedly been really good but lower than any other classic steelhead river in the system.  We have heard that the Clearwater and Salmon Rivers in Idaho have been steady, but not epic.  All of them are kicking out fish daily.  Just get out there when the conditions allow!

The Hood River is still awfully low.  We get so many people asking how it’s fishing.  Ian fishes it just about every day under the foot bridge.  Many of you have seen him down there.  He is hooking into a fish occasionally, and he puts in many, many looong days in that run.

Once you move upstream of the mouth, there is not enough water to swing a fly and very few fish moving past the first barrier of passage (the riffle at the foot bridge).  We desperately need rain/snow and lots of it.  I did catch a nice trout down there last week because I had an hour and wanted to go fishing.  That is about the extent of effort I am willing to put into the Hood until it goes up in volume about five-fold. 

Trout fishing on the Hood closes on Oct 31.  This includes the East Fork of the Hood, which is not open for steelhead or salmon, so it closes completely on Halloween.  There have been reports of nice, small trout caught on the East Fork up off the campgrounds on HWY 35.  Get it in while you can. 

Targeting Chinook in the Hood River is prohibited after June 15.

Lost Lake and Laurence Lake are still fishing really well right now.  We do get very few reports from the lakes in the fall because most people are fishing for salmon or steelhead, but it can be wicked awesome this time of year with very little (no) pressure.  Laurence Lake closes on October 31, so get out while you can. 

Smallmouth Bass fishing has been tough now that the level of the Columbia is so low.  They are looking for current and not finding much.  If you can find some good, strong current, you will find bass.  They have been pretty deep, so bust out that crank bait if you have it. 

As always, we are happy to talk fishing any time.  Give us a call if you have any specific questions on local rivers, gear, and tactics, or if you just want some encouragement to get out of the office.  

Andrew Perrault
Gorge Fly Shop | Product Specialist

"Fly Fish the World with Us"

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