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Outdoor Report 11/28

Thanksgiving is the traditional kickoff to Winter Steelhead season in the incredible Pacific Northwest. Will this be the year that you reach the coveted 20-lb benchmark? Visit the Tackle Department of any of our three stores for tips, techniques and gear, and we’ll be happy to help you reach that goal. Fish on! Thanksgiving is the traditional kickoff to Winter Steelhead season in the incredible Pacific Northwest. Will this be the year that you reach the coveted 20-lb benchmark? Visit the Tackle Department of any of our three stores for tips, techniques and gear, and we’ll be happy to help you reach that goal. Fish on!

This past week we had a little bit of rain and then the start of a large cold front that has come in and is dropping river temperatures and river heights.  These conditions can make fishing tough if you are not prepared for them.  However, having a game plan can really help increase your odds.  Most rivers have chinook, coho and a few early winter steelhead in them so you never know what you may hook!  Small baits of eggs, jigs or beads are all stealthy presentations that can be utilized in low water conditions.  Lighter leader can definitely help and using fluorocarbon can be a game changer.  Spinners and spoons will work well with the colder water temps, sometimes fish need an invasive presentation to “wake them up”.  Try to focus your efforts on "walking speed" water where fish can get a reprieve from the current, since water temps have gotten cold.

Along the coast crabbing has continued to be good with crabbers reporting hefty keepers coming out of Tillamook and Nehalem bays.  The lack of rain helps crabbing as we have less fresh water entering the bay which is actually more inviting for the crab.

Razor clamming has been very good from Seaside up through Long Beach.  WDFW has set their most recent season for November 24th through November 30th, and folks that have been heading to Long Beach are finding quick limits of tasty razor clams.

Fishing along the jetties has also been productive for anglers.  Greenling, lingcod, seabass and a variety of perch all inhabit the many jetties along the coast.  Fishing sand shrimp off the bottom can be one of the most productive ways to catch perch and greenling, while fishing white curly tail grubs is a crowd favorite for lingcod and seabass.  Don’t forget to bring along a few Danielson folding crab traps and cast out a few crab rods as well.  It can be a super fun and productive way to add crab to the dinner menu!

Trout fishing is an option all around the region and trout will still be active even through these cold spells.  Fishing bait is always a great option as trout will definitely need to feed through these colder time periods. Spoons, spinners and plugs will all work, at times as, trout may need a reaction type bait to snap them into biting.  Larger bodies of water are a good place to spend your time, such as Hagg Lake.  These lakes take longer to cool down and also get heavily stocked throughout the year. Most rivers and streams are closed to trout fishing at this time, so focus your attention on lower elevation lakes and ponds, when in doubt check the regulations for the water you intend to fish.

Kokanee fishing is often an overlooked fishery this time of year.  Locally, Merwin lake has been kicking out some very nice quality fish and in good numbers too!  Colder temps bring the fish closer to the surface which makes it easier for folks that aren’t using downriggers to target these delicious fish.  Fishing your favorite dodger with either a small spin-n-glo, wiggle hootchie, wedding ring or small spinner behind it will all produce strikes.  Of course, tipping your baits with shoepeg corn is a must and having several scent options on board will definitely tip the odds in your favor.

Catch and release sturgeon fishing has been quite good in the Portland Harbor area of the Willamette, with lots of quality fish being caught.  Bring a boat full of food, a nice heater and some good bait and you are set for a fun day on the water.  Squid, smelt, sand shrimp and herring have all been productive lately.

 

Always be sure to check local regulations at ODFW and WDFW before heading out. Find reports and two most widely used baits, information on the Fisherman's Community page.

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