Although steelhead season is rapidly headed toward peak season, catches have remained fair-at-best in the Sandy and Clackamas Rivers. Fluctuating flows due to the freezing level haven’t helped much either, but anglers have been waiting for February to come, and with it, more consistent catches of winter steelhead.
Both the Sandy and Clackamas are kicking out fish, but better catches are expected to start by early February. With later returning wild broodstock now making up the bulk of the hatchery returns, fish more naturally mimic the later returning wild strain so action will stay good into March.
Sandy River water and air temperatures have remained frigid with the bitter east wind, so anglers are encouraged to wait until late morning before fish become more active. Anglers are still finding bobber dogging with eggs and single beads to be effective, but plugs are coming on as well as flows drop and migration slows. Steelhead, particularly larger fish, become more territorial when river levels drop. Pro guide Jeff Stoeger reports, “Well, this week we saw a lot of wind on the Sandy River with wind gusts as high as 30mph. The river was ideal for most of the week ,with the river running at 10.6 feet and with the cold and dry weather the river is currently running at 9.33 ft and could drop below 9 ft with the winds dropping back to single digest figures. Here are a few numbers from Cedar Creek hatchery of fish that have returned to the hatchery as of 1/22/19. Hatchery winters steelhead collected this week was 80 and total of 107. Hatchery winters steelhead recycled 38 and total of 58 released at Lewis & Clark park. The recycled fish will have a right gill plate hole punch.”
With permission from The Guide’s Forecast, we will be providing the Oregon Fishing Reports for the Sandy River watershed. You can see more of Jeff’s report and an upcoming forecast for the Sandy River and Northwest Oregon by reading the Oregon Fishing Reports found at The Guides’ Forecast.