Oregon Fishing Report December 2021

Oregon Fishing Report
Fly fishing the Clackamas River near Portland


Oregon Fishing Report- Time to Go?

Our Oregon Fishing report shows Winter Steelhead starting on many of our Oregon rivers.  We’ve had some big rain recently blowing out the Sandy River and the Clackamas River in a big way.  The Clackamas was over 16′ and is now on the drop.  Once it gets below 14′ is when anglers will start to find fishable runs and usually green water.  Keep tabs on river levels here.  We’ve seen some fish on both rivers when they drop there should be some early chrome around.

Oregon fishing report tips and strategies:

Remember this time of year the water is cold.  I’ve been seeing around 42-43 degrees but colder some days.  That means you want to get your fly deep.  Aim to get the fly half the depth of the water.  Try using different sink tips until you are getting close to the bottom.  Adjust your fly between weighted and unweighted patterns depending on the water speed and depth.  Use a short 3′ leader to help keep the fly deep.

Slowing down your swing speed helps too.  Give a good mend at the 45 degee angle of the swing to help reduce the angle of the line to the water thus slowing the swing.  Don’t forget a momentary pause in the hang down.  Often cold water fish will grab at or near the end of the swing.  Just don’t be too quick on the hookset!

Oregon Fishing Report – Coastal Rivers

Reports of some chrome hatchery fish have been promising on a few coastal rivers.  More details below:

For Oregon Coastal rivers the ODFW reports the following:

On the north coast anglers continue to catch hatchery winter steelhead on the North Fork Nehalem, Necanicum, and the Lower Columbia Tribs (Klaskanine R, Big Creek, and Gnat Creek). As expected last weekend’s rains blew the rivers out, but these basins dropped back into shape early in the week and fishing has been fair to good. There should continue to be opportunity for hatchery fish on these basins throughout the month and into January.

Nehalem hatchery released 60 surplus winter steelhead into Coffenbury lake last week. These fish will bite in the lake and catching a winter steelhead in still water can be a fun and unique experience.

Alsea River system is the best place to target an early winter steelhead on the mid-coast. The recent high water will have fish spread throughout the system and headed for the hatchery on the North Fork. Best bank fishing opportunities are along the popular NF Alsea.

The Siuslaw and Siletz Rivers will start to produce some steelhead in December and are other good places to target some early winter steelhead on the mid-coast.

Lakes and ponds stocked earlier this year should still have some holdover trout available. And this week’s warm temperatures should help put them on the bite.

For guided winter steelhead trips connect with guides at Water Time Outfitters.  The crew at WTO has been guiding NW rivers for a long time and know the spots to be with the ups and downs of winter fishing in Oregon.

For the most productive flies for winter steelhead check out guide Rob Crandall’s patterns at a fly shop near you.  You can also order them direct from Water Time Outfitters here: Get Steelhead Flies.  If you are interested in how to select the right fly for winter steelhead check out our article 5 Ways to Pick the Best Winter Steelhead Fly.  This article gives some insights at how the guides look at fly selection, water color, run timing etc….

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