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The Guide's Forecast provides timely and accurate fishing information so you can catch more fish!

SUBMITTED PHOTO: - Gabe Sandoval, from Montana, with a Wilson River fall Chinook caught in December of 2016.

Portland/Metro - Portland area rivers remain in a state of flux as the district transitions from late fall coho opportunities to winter steelhead. Anglers are always anxious to pursue winter steelhead, but early returning fish are becoming more scarce as the district moves to wild broodstock programs for the Sandy and Clackamas systems.

Broodstock programs have proven to be much more beneficial to the sport fisheries and ecology of our watersheds. Fish are taken usually by hook and line, so they are proven "biters." In essence, this program is producing active fish versus passive, the latter making it through the gauntlet of anglers looking to harvest a fish. Not only do these fish bite better, they distribute in the river system more evenly like wild fish do, they are more robust (larger in size), and they return during a longer time period versus all at once requiring less recycling. Furthermore, since they are more closely related to wild fish, they don't compromise the fitness of wild stocks, and are allowed a higher PHOS rate; that's Bob ReesPercentage of Hatchery fish Over Spawning grounds. The peak for these later running broodstock fish is mid-January through late March, with the peak likely in February. Both the Clackamas and Sandy River runs are improving, and bucking other regions in the state for success rates. Given a fairly robust coho return, anglers are hopeful for similar results for our hatchery steelhead.

Sturgeon fishing remains an option in the Willamette, and should improve with the upcoming settling weather pattern.

Biologists are likely to have a run forecast for Willamette and Columbia River systems this week, ready for public consumption shortly thereafter.

The Tillamook Report - Winter steelheading is underway, with reports coming from most early season systems such as the North Fork Nehalem, Three Rivers, and to a lesser degree, the Wilson. The North Fork and Three Rivers are likely to produce some of the better catches, and conditions will be good for the weekend, with sunny skies for the foreseeable future.

The Kilchis, Wilson and Trask will also harbor some winter steelhead, but anglers fishing the Wilson are still likely to come across late season Chinook opportunities.

There are still some December trollers working the Ghost Hole, and although success is few and far between, Tillamook Bay still offers up the best late-season opportunity for Chinook salmon still in fine shape. Tides are softening this weekend, so target high tide on the east side of Tillamook Bay for your best opportunity.

Crabbing in Tillamook and Netarts Bay should pick up by the weekend.

The Astoria area - Steelheaders should see fair to good opportunity for early run fish in Gnat and Big Creeks, and the Klaskanine and Necanicum Rivers. All of these systems enjoy a moderate return of steelhead this time of year, and should produce fairly for those willing to employ stealthy fishing techniques.

Crabbing on the lower Columbia should be productive over the weekend and into next week as well. The commercial crab fleet will be absent on the lower Columbia until at least December 15, if not longer.

As was predicted, a high surf limited razor clamming success. The next set of tides won't be until the last few days of this month.

For a more detailed report, go to www.TheGuidesForecast.com

Bob Rees is a sixth generation Oregonian and a 20-year veteran fishing guide of Oregon's Northwest region. Bob Rees' column, The Guide's Forecast, has been a trusted fishing resource for over 16 years and will appear in the Thursday edition of the Portland Tribune. He welcomes the opportunity to partner with the Portland Tribune to bring the sport fishing community timely and accurate fishing information so you can catch more fish!

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