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  • Outdoor Report 3/23

    fishermans This time of year the Steelhead are sporting some great colors

     

    Well rain, snow melt, rain and snow melt is what we have so far and looks like it will continue, at least to start off spring.  What does that mean for anglers?  Well it can be a blessing or a curse.  Sort of depends on your thoughts of the glass half full or glass half empty analogy.  It's definitely made for tough steelhead conditions for the later part of the season.  Every week we seem to be saying the same thing.  Target soft water edges, clean water lines and easy traveling lanes for fish, as the high water really does push them into specific traveling areas.  The big bait idea is still on the forefront of the mind.  Plugs, spinners, worms, rags, large corkies etc should all have their place in your arsenal, especially for all this high water.  That being said, this next weekend looks to be settling in nicely for some decent water conditions for a good portion of the north coast streams.  The valley rivers look like they will be quite a bit higher, more than likely to snow melt issues.  So watch the water and weather forecasts for updates to your target river this weekend.

     

    If you have gotten the springer bug, like a lot of us, then the Columbia is going to be your groove this weekend.  The Willamette is still running extremely high, as is the Columbia, although the Willamette has been very dirty compared to the Columbia.  We need a few consecutive days of dry weather to get the Willamette to calm down, so to speak.  But once it does, you should see a pretty decent influx of fresh springers.  The deep water troll in downtown Portland should be a great bet, as those fish are not in a huge rush to get upstream.  Fish Flash, Shortbus flashers, and Delta tackle flashers all work well; it's about picking your favorite color combo, more than anything else.  Herring is going to be far and away the most popular bait, with cured prawns and spinners being other great options.  Bring a variety as you never know what color combo or bait will be the ticket that day.

     

    The Columbia is high folks.  Very high.  Always be careful out there, especially paying attention to what debris may be coming down river at you.  This is especially important to the anchor folks, as with the current water speed being what it is.  Debris will be coming at you fast.  That being said, anchoring is going to be a very popular choice with the excessive water we have right now.  Shallow water, anywhere from 6-25 feet of water is going to be your target area.  These fish will be taking the path of least resistance and that usually means following the shoreline.  Maglips, Kwikfish, Fat fish, Flatfish and Wiggle Warts will all produce in these water conditions.  Checking your gear religiously will keep you ahead of your peers as all kinds of debris will be filtering down river, just waiting to foul up your gear.  Make sure you are definitely adding plenty of scent, or bait to your plugs as smell will travel a lot farther than vibration or noise will.  Help these fish find your gear.  The early ones are usually pretty dumb when presented the right offering.

     

    For the guys who can't fathom sitting on the hook and are going to be trolling, definitely try and slow your presentation down.  Whether it's using heavier lead to stay close to the boat, or its finding those spots out of the main current that the fish will use to their advantage to "take a break".  Do what you need to, to slow it down and hit em in the face with your gear.  Again, presented properly.  These fish will readily eat your offering.

     

    It's been a slow start to the smallmouth season on the Columbia and Willamette.  The water is just still to cold to get the little green fish snapping.  As soon as we get a spell of dry and warm weather look for the bite to steadily improve.

     

    Locally Kokanee are still on the bite and provide great sport for the anglers wanting to get on the water, but don't want to fight the current conditions of the big rivers.  Wedding rings and wiggle hoochies tipped with corn were the go-to last week.  Slow down your troll a bit if the bite is tough.  Anglers reported varying your speed helped the bite when it got tough this week.

     

    Always check the regulations before heading out.

     

    Good luck, tight lines and most of all be safe.

     

    Mar 22, 2017 | by FMO STAFF, Weekly FMO report
  • Outdoor Report for 3/16

    With a break in the weather this Saturday, expect sunglasses and springers to be popping out With a break in the weather this Saturday, expect sunglasses and springers to be popping out

    This week, we were again blessed with more water than we knew what to do with.  Both the North coast and the Portland area rivers were all above optimal levels.  With the clear majority of them being unfishable.  All the rivers are currently on the drop and should be fishable by this coming weekend.  Again, look for the larger profile baits to be the most productive, as the water comes back into shape.

    On the rivers that have a winter steelhead and spring chinook run, don't be surprised if you hook an early springer on these larger steelhead offerings.  With all the high water, those early spring chinooks will enter the river on a mission upstream.  And if you're fishing, say, a maglip 3.5 in a soft current seam, that may be all it takes to trigger them to strike.  So always be ready for that surprise early springer or trophy winter steelhead.

    This is also the time of year that those late returning BIG wild steelhead enter the rivers.  So if you're in search of that 20lber.  Now is the time to dust off that spoon rod or rig up that bigger plug rod.  Big steelhead will be caught on all types of gear, but there are certainly a few techniques that routinely catch these big steelhead.  Swinging spoons, such as Little Cleos, Gibbs, or P-Line Pro Steel spoons, can yield heavy results.  Drift fishing rags, worms or medium sized spin-n-glows with a whole sandshrimp, also can produce steelhead of giant proportions.  And finally, fishing plugs is probably the single best way to get a mammoth steelhead to snap.  Maglips, k-11's, Tadpollys, wiggle warts and hotshots have all been known to hook their fair share of giants.  So polish up those plugs and send them down your favorite steelhead run this next week.  Ya never know.  That next bite, could be the one.

     

    Spring chinook have been starting to show up in better numbers this week, with fish being caught on numerous techniques.  We have heard about springers caught fishing in shallow water, on anchor with plugs.  Fish caught plunking spin-n-glows and prawns, as well as fish caught trolling flashers and herring.  Try and find those areas that slow down a little bit, out of the main current.  These fish aren't wanting to fight that powerful water, any more than you are.  So finding those soft edges will pay huge dividends this springer season.  Once the willamette clears up a little, there should be a great shot at catching a springer.  Especially in the harbor, channel area of the river.  These early fish are typically great biters and will eat herring, prawns, spinners or plugs.  Pick your favorite technique and give it a shot.  You may just end up with chrome results.

    Also in the Columbia, just below the John Day Dam and off the mouth of the Deschutes, anglers making the effort are being rewarded with really nice sized Walleye. Both jigging and trolling worm harness rigs are putting fish in the boat.

    And finally, Kokanee.  For those of you that need to scratch that fishing itch, especially when your favorite steelhead river is blown out.  Kokanee are there.  Locally, Lake Merwin has had decent Kokanee fishing.  A lot of folks are trolling the typical wedding ring, corn and dodger set up.  However, we have had reports of Wiggle Hoochies behind your favorite dodger being extremely productive.  And if those land locked sockeye are being overly shy, trying your favorite scent on your lure can be the ticket.  Pro-Cure, Smelly Jelly, Yum, and Pautzkes all make great scents for Kokanee. Trophy sized Kokes are being caught at Roosevelt lake in northern Washington. For Kokanee of a lifetime it would be well worth your trip.

    As always check the regulations before you head out.

    Tight Lines and be safe!

     

    Mar 16, 2017 | by FMO STAFF, Weekly FMO report
  • Eastside/Wetside

    B.G. Eilertson Deschute's Redside falls to a Stone Fly Nymph

    I hadn't wet a line since November. Duck season was great and family obligations postponed my weekend opportunities to chase winter steelhead. Finally a weekend for fishing! Well maybe. It seems that Oregon, after a run of 4 years of drier, warmer than usual weather, was going to revert back to the weather more akin to the PNW rain-forest conditions I grew up with. So when a fishing weekend was near, there was research required and a decision to be made as to what might be accessible and actually fish-able and not "blown out".

    "Jonesing" to go winter steelhead fishing I was looking for intel on the prospects of some of the smaller streams on the coast that might come into shape for the upcoming weekend. Part of the process was to call Robert Campbell, our Oregon City Store Manager and overall fishing guru. After exploring a number of possible steelhead destinations and their likelihood, he threw out a nugget. The lower Deschutes river had recently dropped in flow and height and the spring trout fishing opportunities around Maupin might be promising. I bit.

    It had been a number of years since the valley weather conditions had forced me to the east-side of the mountains and to the Deschutes this time of year. In years past when water levels would drop and temps would rise, I enjoyed heading over to the Maupin area to fish for the beautiful Redside Rainbow Trout, always with the hope that you would encounter a significant BWO mayfly hatch and get some epic dry fly fishing. It has happened to me in the past, so when my bride and I headed over to the Maupin area for the weekend, I was well armed with size 18 and 20 Baetis dry fly patterns.

    Hope and I found a river view room available at Maupin's Imperial River Company. They have a great facility with a number of rooms, a quality restaurant and a welcoming and friendly staff. We were set!

    We made the leisurely drive over on Saturday with stops for lunch and a growler fill in The Dalles. Once we arrived and were able to check in early, we decided to go ahead and wader up and do a little "scouting". Although the weather was a bit overcast and cool, there was NO RAIN!

    B.G. Eilertson Hope hiking the east side access road on the Deschutes River

    The wind narrowed our fishing technique choices down to the ole "chuck and duck" method of indicator and nymph fishing, It took a little while but I finally set the hook on my first fish of 2017. A beautiful little Deshute's redside which I released and sent back on its way.

    B.G. Eilertson Finally get my first fish of 2017

    It was a quick scouting trip so we decided to go back and enjoy a nice dinner prep for a more serious day of fishing the next day.

    Looking at the forecast for Sunday in the area, it didn't look to promising. The forecast called for temps in the 30's and wind gusts in the 30's. Tough fishing conditions. We decided to get out early and if the conditions were tough we would get back early.

    It was calm and slightly overcast when he ended our drive at the locked gate. The weather turned great and we actually got to break out our sunglasses.

    We made the hike up to a good eddy for BWO hatches but didn't find a significant hatch to get the trout interested. We did find some willing trout taking stonefly nymphs dredged deep and willing whitefish on the beadhead nymph dropper.

    We had great weather that day and did bend the rod a few times. After enough exposure, we decided to pack up and head over to Lyle Washington and our favorite winery, Sycline winery to chat with Lauren and pick up our wines of the month.

    The following weekend, after hearing my fishing buddy Randy whine about not getting any fishing time, we made a drive over for a one day trip. Although the flow and the level had increased over the week, making the fishing tougher, the weather was absolutely beautiful and we ended up with a few nice trout.

    It was a great break from the Wetside of Oregon.

    B.G. Eilertson Randy with a nice Deschute's Redside taken on a Stone Fly Nymph

    Mar 14, 2017 | by B.G. Eilertson
  • Outdoor Report 3/9

    Shimano, G. Loomis Beautiful Winter Steelhead caught recently

    Fishing report for 3/7

    Fishing at the coast has been fairly consistent this week.  Lots of folks out in their drift boats have been reporting great success.  The new popular technique of bobber fishing a bead has been producing well, as well as "Bobber dogging" eggs and yarn.  Fishing jigs and pink worms have also been great.  Berkeley pink worms, Maxi Jigs and Aerojigs have been among the top choices the last few weeks.  All of the coastal rivers have fished well, from the Siletz to the small creeks in Astoria.

    The local Portland rivers have fished well this week as well.  It's been a bit rainy at times but in between downpours the fishing has made up for the weather.  The Clackamas and Sandy both had fish spread from the mouth to the upper stretchs.  Same type of gear has been producing fish, with floats and jigs working very well.  In the upper stretches, with the water getting clearer, drift fishing in the faster, choppier water has been working wonders.  Again yarn, Corkies, eggs or shrimp all will have their place.  However B-N-R soft beads have been top producers in that choppy water.

    Spring chinook are starting to poke around and we have had confirmed reports from the Columbia and the Willamette.  Fisherman’s Marine and Outdoor Tigard Store employees Josh, Connor fished the Columbia and encountered a native Wednesday morning while fishing a green label herring behind a Short Bus flasher. As the waters clear up a little, look for the bite to steadily improve.  The Sellwood, harbor and channel areas of the willamette will be the best places to target these early fish.   Trolling herring or prawns with flashers are going to be the most commonly used technique, as you can cover lots of water.

    In the Columbia try anchoring up and fishing plugs on the outgoing tide and trolling herring on the incoming tide.  With the water being high and dirty, to start the season, a lot of the early springers will be closer to the shore and running shallow.  Try and find areas that have a sudden drop off under water or a "cut off point" that the bank makes.  These types of structure will slow the current down and funnel the fish.

    As the mountain passes start to thaw out and the access roads into the Kokanee grounds start to become drivable.  Look for the Kokanee bite to get started.  A lot of the Kokanee will be higher in the water column, especially with cold water Temperatures.  Corn tipped wedding rings, trolled behind a sling blade dodger are usually the go to rigging.  Another option for a dodger are the simon dodgers.  They impart a little different action to your baits, that can sometimes be the ticket for early season Kokanee.

    A report from last weekend has early spring Walleye fishing “worth the effort and cold”.

    NW Permit Goose season is closed for the year this Saturday. Friday 3/10 is your last day to bag one of the areas many feathered grazers.

    Always check the regulations before heading out.

    Good luck, tight lines and most of all be safe.

    Mar 10, 2017 | by FMO STAFF, Weekly FMO report
  • Outdoor Report 3/2

    Recent proof  the coast is putting out winter steelhead. Recent proof the coast is putting out winter steelhead.

    The big news is that the first confirmed Willamette River Springer of 2017 was caught this morning near Sellwood by long-time Fisherman’s customer, John Smilenko, officially kick-starting the Willamette River Springer season! From here on out it is go-time, folks. A very few fish have also been caught from the Columbia River this past week and fishing could take off any day now.

    Winter steelhead fishing was good over the past week on North Coast streams from the Siletz to the Wilson, with some especially large specimens landed, both wild and hatchery brood stock. With over a solid month of winter steelhead fishing in front of us, now may be the time to get that twenty-pounder that you’ve been looking for. Plugs, spoons and pink worms are known methods for triggering a response from trophy fish, so check out our excellent selection of each and get your fish on.

    The Sandy River has been much slower for steelhead than last year’s banner season, but quality fish are still available if you put in the time. An exception was last week when the success rate on brood stock fish was very high near Cedar Creek after a bunch of fished pushed through on the high water. The Clackamas River has also been fair for steelhead in between high water events, with about an even mix between hatchery and wild fish being caught. Look for the Clackamas to fish well through March and into April as it is often a “late bloomer.”

    Catch-and-release sturgeon fishing is still excellent on the Willamette with a variety of baits being effective. Sand shrimp, smelt, squid and night crawlers have all been effective.

    Kokanee fishing has been excellent the past few weeks at Washington’s Lake Merwin, with the fish averaging a plump 12-14 inches. Fish shallow with a small flasher followed by a hoochie. Let it out 120-170 feet behind the boat and troll until you find the fish. This time of year the kokanee are running shallow and are always on the move, so keep moving yourself until you find the schools. Once you find them, the action has been fast and furious according to reports. Kokanee are delicious to eat and are a ton of fun for the kids of both the old and young variety!

    Valley trout stocking has commenced and ODFW is currently placing trout by the thousands into area lakes. Huddleston Pond, Mt Hood Pond, Sheridan Pond and St Louis Pond have recently all been stocked with legal or larger trout and are open to fishing. Henry Hagg Lake near Forest Grove recently received a huge plant of 18,000 trout, just in time for Spring Break! Don’t be surprised if while fishing Hagg Lake you hook into something larger; there are some giant smallmouth and largemouth bass in Hagg and bass and panfish are just starting to stir from their winter slumber. In fact, it is common for some of the biggest bass of the season to be caught over the next couple of months. Fish on!

    This weekend marks the final weekend of the Northwest Goose season as the final day of the season is Friday March 10th

    Enjoy your weekend whatever your activity and be sure to check regulations and be safe.

    Mar 03, 2017 | by FMO STAFF, Weekly FMO report
  • Outdoor Report 2/23

    FMO Tigard employee Brian Portwood with a recently caught Surf Perch FMO Tigard employee Brian Portwood with a recently caught Surf Perch

    Once again we are faced with high water this week, which seems to have been the trend the last couple of months.  Rivers are in optimal shape for 2-3 days and then boom, the faucet is turned on again and we wait a few days for another chance at steelhead green water.  One thing that has been pretty consistent this winter, has been drift fishing.  Folks that are willing to break down and go "old school" have been paid dividends in the form of chrome.  Don't be afraid to go larger than normal, when dragging the bottom.  Going with larger size corkies , size 8-10, paired with a quality bait have been producing well.  Sandshrimp, Coon Stripe shrimp, prawns and eggs all have been helping hatchery steelhead find their way into anglers fish bags.  Remember that when using these larger corkies, and especially with a healthy chunk of bait attached, you would do well to up your hook size.  Bumping up to a 1/0 or 2/0 hook will help you find the soft spots in a steelheads mouth, especially with your bigger offering.  Another great offering to drift fish is a pink worm.  B-N-R, Mad River, Berkeley and Aerojig all make great worms that you can either drift fish or float fish.  When drift fishing a worm we suggest you thread the worm onto your line, on top of a size 10 corkie.  Pair that with a 1/0 hook and you will be set to get the attention of any angry steelhead.  Don't be shy with scent or size of bait when the water is high and off color, because steelhead won't be shy either.

    The same thing can be said about spring chinook when the water is high.  Don't be afraid to give your bait a good shot of your favorite scent.  Spring chinook, especially in high water, won't be shy and typically will attack bright, loud offerings with reckless abandon.  Pay attention to the tides, as early spring chinook will definitely be effected by them.  When you have an incoming tide, troll herring with your favorite flasher and then as the tide flips, you will be able to see a good number of fish taken on anchor.  Kwikfish, flatfish and Maglips will all have their day.  So be sure to have a few of each in your box.  Once March first rolls around the chinook reports will become a lot steadier and more reliable. We will keep you up to date on what we hear.

    On other fronts, Surf Perch fishing on the coast is picking up. Fishing with sandshrimp, clam necks or Berkley Gulp Sandworms should keep you in action. Reports from above Bonneville have the Walleye fishing starting for those that are willing to brave the cold. In cooler water fishing a jig tipped with a night crawler over structure seems to be the ticket.

    18,000 legal sized trout are scheduled to be stocked next week at Henry Hagg lake. Check the stocking schedule for other popular winter/spring stocking locations by clicking here.

    WDFW has opened a 1 day Smelt dipping season for this Saturday, Feb 25th on the Cowlitz river. For more deatails go to the WDFW website by clicking here.

    Before heading out on any outdoor adventures be sure to check regulations.

    Tight lines, shoot straight and most importantly, stay safe.

    Feb 23, 2017 | by FMO STAFF, Weekly FMO report
  • Outdoor Report 2/16

    Tigard FMO employee Connor Taplan and his girl friend Brianna had some fun catch and releasing Sturgeon in Portland Harbor this week, Tigard FMO employee Connor Taplan and his girl friend Brianna had  fun catching and releasing Sturgeon in Portland Harbor this week,

    The local and coastal rivers are finally dropping into good fishable levels, just in time for another round of heavy rain.  After taking a peak at the graphs, it looks like most of the rivers should be back into shape around the beginning of next week.  For those of you that really need to scratch that steelhead itch, we suggest that you look for small clear creeks that will create a clean water seam in the high off color main current.  Plunking with Yakima bait spin-n-glow's in bright colors like pinks, oranges and even chartreuse will be your best option.  Hanging a coon shrimp, sand shrimp or bait of eggs off of your spin-n-glow will greatly increase your odds.  These fish will more than likely smell your offering before seeing it, so scent will play a huge role in your success.

    Once the rivers clean up, larger profile baits will again be your go to option.  Plugs, hardware, large plastics should round out your high water arsenal.  As the water starts to clear up look for jigs and floats to start performing well.  Aerojigs, Maxijigs, B-N-R soft beads and small egg clusters, fished under your favorite brand of float, will all catch fish.  Focus on covering water thoroughly, from the top of the run to the bottom.  When the water is up and green these slippery little critters could be anywhere.  So really breaking down each run, focusing on where the fish might be traveling will pay big dividends throughout the course of a day.

    If the high water has you off your steelhead game, yet you still need to get out and fish.  Chasing sturgeon is a great way to pass the day.  These fish are actively feeding on smelt as they come up the river, so obviously smelt will be a go to.  However mixing up your baits with roll mop, squid or sand shrimp has, in the past, been a game changer when chasing these spiny dinosaurs.  Be careful out there anchoring as debris will more than likely be coming down river.  Finding an off channel, slow seem or the bottom end of a back eddy will keep you out of the way of debris and put you in a great place for sturgeon to find your baits.

    A few more reports have surfaced of some spring chinook being caught in the lower Columbia.  Rumors have it that a few have been caught trolling herring, as well as a few taken by the bank guys plunking for winter steelhead.   As we near closer to March, look for the spring chinook reports to get more and more reliable.

    Feb 16, 2017 | by FMO STAFF, Weekly FMO report
  • Outdoor Report 2/9

    Fisherman's Customer won the FMO Winter Steelhead Derby while fishing with FMO Pro Staff Guide David Johnson Fisherman's customer Rick King won the FMO Winter Steelhead Derby for last week with the pictured fish he caught while fishing with FMO Pro Staff Guide David Johnson

    Outdoor Report for 2/9

    With all of the recent low level snow accumulation as well as the monsoon we had mid-week, most rivers have gone just above optimal fishing levels. As the rivers start coming back into shape, focus on the upper stretches first, as they will be the first to get clear and fishable. Choose large profile baits such as B-N-R Shrimp Scampis, Mad River Pink Worm's and hardware.

    As the lower stretches of the rivers start to clear up, around the beginning of next week, Look for traditional baits such as yarn balls, eggs, shrimp or beads to become more effective.  Once the river starts clearing up is a great time for the plug pulling crowd to slide their drift boats down their favorite boat launch.  Maglip 3.5, Wiggle Warts and k11 kwikfish will all produce well.

    For the North Coast, look for the Wilson and Nestucca to be the best bet for hard fighting, fresh from the ocean hatchery steelhead.  And as you move South the Alsea and Siletz should be great options as well.

    Closer to Portland, the Sandy and Clackamas will both have ample opportunity for Brood stock hatchery steelhead.  Float fishing jigs, side drifting eggs/beads and traditional drift fishing, are all great ways to target these elusive creatures.

    Tip : If you’re having trouble getting steelhead to snap, remember adding some shrimp Smelly Jelly or your favorite Pro-Cure scent can turn your day around in a hurry!

    Also, a few reports of some early spring chinook have been making their rounds in the social media world. It's been reported that a few Cowlitz River anglers, while targeting winter steelhead, have been lucky enough to harvest a couple of purple backed springers.  There have also been a couple reports of some lower Columbia River springers, that were caught last week by some anchor fisherman.  We know it's early, but be thinking about your spring chinook tackle needs as the season is rapidly approaching.  And with over 220,000 spring chinook returning to the Columbia this year there will definitely be some early ones picked off.

    Portland area sturgeon fishing has been great so far this year.  Although this is a catch and release fishery, it is a great way to get today's youth outside, enjoying our resources.  Shrimp, squid, roll mop, or smelt have all been great baits.  With smelt taking the cake as the number one bait of choice.

    This week and next, there will be a number of North Coast lakes stocked with thousands of legal sized trout as well as hundreds of trophy sized fish.

    The 3rd and final period of the NW permit Goose season is open now until March 10th and there are piles of (wary) geese in the valley.

    As always check your local regulations before heading into the field

    Tight lines, shoot straight and be safe.

     

    Feb 10, 2017 | by FMO STAFF, Weekly FMO report
  • David Johnson's Winter Steelhead Seminar

    David Johnson doing a Winter Steelhead seminar in our Tigard location David Johnson doing a Winter Steelhead seminar in our Tigard location

    Click here for David Johnson's Facebook Live video on steelhead strategies and techniques

    Last Wednesday 2/1 David Johnson did seminar in our Tigard store and was carried on Facebook Live. David is a Fisherman's Marine and Outdoor Pro Staff Guide and one of the best in the Northwest.  Follow Fisherman's Marine and Outdoor on Facebook for future seminars and reports including Facebook live seminar broadcasts.

    Feb 03, 2017 | by David Johnson, FMO STAFF