Well January is done and thank goodness, that was a brutal weather month; hopefully now we can get back to some more normal winter steelhead weather and water conditions. If you braved the fishing in January you know it was a bit rough out there, record snow packs in the mountains, crazy cold and often low flows in our rivers making steelhead fishing extremely tough. The Sandy river even had chunks of ice floating down it at times. Well, now its February and we are welcoming the typical warming that we often see this month even if it might be ever so slight. Just a few degrees can help spark more action when it comes to winter steelhead. Here’s a quick run down on the fishing we’ve been seeing so far.
The Clackamas has been low and cold for much of the month but decent numbers of both hatchery and wild fish have been caught. When the water hits 12.2′ at the Rivermill dam gauge that means there there is very little jet sled traffic-good news for bank bound anglers. (If you are a bank bound angler who wants to learn more about the clackamas check out our Clackamas Steelhead Workshop-still a few spots open in our March class). The Eagle creek run is primarily a January run fish but with the low flows this year we would expect there to be Eagle creek fish in the system for several more weeks. If we get a big spike or rain there will be a flush of fish headed to the Eagle creek hatchery- even if the Clack is high and muddy often Eagle creek will be fishable.
The Sandy has been very cold and east winds there can be brutal when temps dip into the freezing zone but those awesome wild steelhead there continue their march. Expect decent numbers in February and a warm rain to get those fish moving!
The coastal rivers have been tough this year with very low flows making it challenging to even float the smaller rivers. Hatchery runs on most of the main rivers like the Nestucca, Wilson, NF Nehalem have been below run sizes for the last few years. Look for better fishing in February as we hopefully get some good rain to warm the rivers and move fish through the system.
Wishing you all the best with your time on the water!