FISHING REPORT Steelhead return to Yaquina, Big Elk rivers


Winter steelhead are starting to show up in the Yaquina and Big Elk rivers, according to the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. No hatchery fish are released into either waterway so most fish caught are wild. January through March is the peak for the wild winter steelhead in the Yaquina and Big Elk. Bobber fishing with bait/jigs, drift fishing and casting lures are effective ways to catch these fish.


Winter steelhead fishing was fair on the Siletz through last weekend. Sources reported that drift boaters had a few good days following the last rainstorm over the weekend.

While fishing has not been “red hot,” it should continue to improve to a peak in February and March. The river is dropping into shape well for this week and into the weekend.

January is typically when things heat up on the Siletz and the bite will continue through March and April. Side drifting, bobber dogging, bobber fishing with jigs, and casting lures are all great techniques to catch winter steelhead.


Winter steelhead fishing should improve as the later returning wild fish start to show up later into January and into February. The Salmon River has no hatchery releases and is entirely a wild run. These fish will start to enter the system in December but the peak is January through March. Bobber fishing with jigs/bait and casting lures are great techniques to catch a Salmon River winter steelhead.


Winter steelhead fishing has been fair on the Alsea. Metalmouths are being caught everyday around the hatchery but the trap numbers are still low. Recent rains should have the fish on the move but the dry conditions forecasted will create low and clear conditions for the weekend and into next week. Smaller presentations and lighter line will be the best for the lower water conditions.

Trout fishing in streams will reopen May 22, 2019.


This past weekend, anglers took advantage of some nice ocean conditions, and brought in limits or near limits of lingcod along with a variety of rockfish. Lingcod fishing was the hot ticket for private anglers on Sunday.

The bottomfish season is open at all depths with a general marine fish bag limit of 5 fish, and a separate lingcod limit of 2 fish. No cabezon may be retained until July 1.

Meanwhile, the new longleader gear fishery outside of the 40-fathom regulatory line is open all year. Catches often consist of a nice grade of yellowtail, widow and canary rockfishes. Experienced charter operators in Depoe Bay and Newport have perfected this technique and are delivering exciting long-range expeditions.


Public piers provide opportunities to catch surfperch and baitfish and to drop crab pots.

Surfperch are available year-round, with the best fishing occurring when swells are small. Learn about surfperch fishing.

When fishing from shore or inside estuaries and bays, check the tide. Many fish that swim into estuaries and bays, including salmon, surfperch, and Pacific herring, tend to come in with the tide. Catch of these species is more likely to occur closer to slack tide.


Stocking of the mid-coast lakes will begin the first week of February. These early stockings include Big Creek Reservoirs at Newport and Olalla Creek Reservoir northeast of Toledo. Lake fishing for trout, bass and other warmwater species is open year-round.  


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