Mid-April Fishing Report : Best Fishing in America news blog

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Mid-April Fishing Report

by Eric Apalategui on 04/18/12

I just posted the April fishing calendar, and I have drafts done for the next six months to polish and put up. I see those pages as always open to updating, so let me know if I'm missing the boat on a great fishing opportunity any month of the year.

Meanwhile, here are some things happening right now:

Northwest Zone: Despite reports/rumors that the first coastal spring chinook have been landed in the Nestucca, Trask and Wilson rivers, you have far better chance at catching late wild and broodstock hatchery steelhead right now. (North coast springer fishing improves in May.) Best bets for a late keeper steelie (or an early summer fish) this month are the Nestucca, Siletz and Wilson rivers. Stocked trout are swimming in just about every puddle on the ODFW stocking schedule.

Southwest Zone: Spring chinook continue to fall on the Rogue and Umpqua rivers, although the latter is running a bit high. Again, it's hard to spit without hitting a stocked trout at lower-elevation lakes and ponds. Late winter steelhead are aggressively hitting on the upper Rogue River, below Lost Creek Reservoir. April is a good time of year to key in on the larger smallmouth bass in the Umpqua River, with the pre-spawn period finishing later this month and then the spawn period when bass guard their nests.

Willamette Zone: Spring chinook continue to be caught in the lower Willamette, with water levels forecasted to rise slightly. Expect excellent fishing over the next several weeks. It's a bit early for great springer fishing in the tribs below and above Willamette Falls, but late winter steelhead (and a few summers) are hitting in the Clackamas and Sandy rivers. The stocking trucks will be wearing out their odometers getting ready for the prime season on lower-elevation lakes and streams. Most stream stocking in April is in southern valley rivers and creeks.

Central Zone: Spring chinook fishing opens on the Deschutes River, where spring fly fishing for trout also can be good. Both pursuits will pick up steam in May, though, with more springers and the onset of the famous salmonfly hatch.

Southeast Zone: Did you see that big redband trout caught on Upper Klamath Lake that a reader posted on our Oregon Facebook page? ODFW indicates that one was not alone, with good spring fishing conditions. Also, the Ana, Chewaucan and Klamath rivers have been fishing well.

Northeast Zone: Spring smallmouth bass fishing in underway on the John Day River. Jigging deep is putting some kokanee limits in the boat at Wallowa Lake. Some of the district's ponds have been stocked with trout.

Snake River Zone: ODFW reported a decent crappie bite on Brownlee Reservoir, but low water levels are limited places you can launch. I suspect crappie and bass fishing will improve a notch across the state this weekend, if the warmer forecast holds.

Columbia River Zone: More and more springers are falling to recreational anglers on the lower river, and counts at Bonneville are ticking upward, signaling the start of effort farther upstream. The lower river closes after this coming weekend and will stay closed at least into May, when run updates will be available. Walleye have been biting up in The Dalles Pool and elsewhere on the big river.

Marine Zone: Offshore fishing is great this time of year ... if you can get out on the water. There have been some pockets of very good ocean chinook fishing, but you have to be a little lucky to catch it right. A minus tide series gets going this weekend for razor and bay clammers.

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