Fishing Report for November 16, 2012

By Observer Upload November 16, 2012 12:46 pm


Weekend fishing opportunities

Fishing for summer steelhead is now good on the John Day River.

Steelhead catch rates have been improving in the Grande Ronde River.

Rain and cooler temperatures have increased steelhead and salmon numbers moving up the Umatilla River.

Approximately 150 trophy sized rainbow trout have been stocked into Luger Springs Pond for fall fishing.

GRANDE RONDE RIVER: steelhead, trout, whitefish, bass

Angler reports indicate good fishing and improving catch rates around eight hours per fish and catch is split between hatchery and wild fish.  Anglers are finding success from Wildcat Cr. to the Washington state line. Steelhead are taking diverse gear including various baits, jigs, spinners and swung flies. 

Nymphing small flies such as glo-bugs and prince nymphs under an indicator can also be a deadly method. Steelhead numbers are down this year but angling pressure is too.  This year’s run consists of a higher percentage of two-salt fish which means fish will be larger on average. Fall chinook and bull trout are present in the system and anglers are required to release them unharmed.

IMNAHA RIVER: steelhead, trout, whitefish

Steelhead are in the system and anglers have had some success on a variety of gear. Angling will improve into spring as more fish move into the system. Fall chinook are spawning throughout the lower Imnaha and may displace steelhead. 

Look for steelhead in pocket water and quick runs where fall chinook are unlikely to be found as well as the usual pools. There is currently no fishery for chinook in the Imnaha, and although they can be visible, anglers should avoid these fish to ensure their successful spawn. Trout season is closed as of Oct. 31. However, angling for whitefish remains open throughout the steelhead season below the mouth of Big Sheep Creek. Look for whitefish in deeper runs and holes, and target them using beaded nymphs. Bull trout are present this time of year and anglers are reminded to handle bull trout carefully and immediately release them.

JOHN DAY RIVER: steelhead

Flows have stabilized near 400 cubic feet per second allowing shallow draft boat navigation.

Steelhead have entered the lower John Day River in good numbers and are being caught up to Cottonwood Bridge. Most are wild and must be released without removing them from the water. Steelhead are being caught on flies, jigs, bait and spinning lures.

Trout fishing on the upper John Day River and tributaries closed on Oct. 31. 


Access is limited to walk-in only. Fishing is good for rainbow trout. The lake has been stocked with legal and trophy-sized fish.


Approximately 150 trophy-sized rainbow trout have been stocked into Luger Springs Pond for a great fall fishing opportunity.

MORGAN LAKE: trout, bullheads, bass

Closed to fishing Oct. 31.

OLIVE LAKE: rainbow and kokanee

Fishing is fair for rainbow trout but all large kokanee have spawned and died for this year. The lake should remain unfrozen for at least a few more weeks.

PEACH POND (Ladd Marsh): rainbow trout

The pond was stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout in late September providing a fall fishing opportunity. A parking permit is required to be on the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area. See link below for more information.

WALLOWA LAKE: rainbow trout, kokanee, lake trout

The Wallowa River above the lake closed to fishing Aug. 31. There may be some stocked rainbows available near the north and south ends of the lake. These fish can be found on a variety of gear types, and provide some late-season opportunity. For the hearty fisherman, kokanee can be caught at the south end of the lake by jigging deep and can produce if the lake freezes. Boat launching however may prove difficult after docks have been removed from the lake.

 WALLOWA RIVER: steelhead, trout, whitefish

Steelhead will move into the Wallowa River as winter progresses and catch rates will improve through spring. Anglers have found a few early fish above and below Minam and fishing should begin to improve through the first of the year. Trout season has closed as of Oct. 31 however, angling for whitefish remains open with the steelhead season and will produce throughout the winter. Anglers can target whitefish using a variety of light tackle, and fly anglers can find success using beaded nymphs in runs and pools.

BROWNLEE RESERVOIR: crappie, bass, perch, catfish, bluegill, trout

Current water level is at 2,055 feet. Water levels are rising and Most ramps are useable except for Holcomb Park. Fishing for smallmouth bass has slowed. Channel cats are being picked up at the mouth of the Powder River Arm in shallow water. Perch are spotty but can be caught on worms or cutbait on the bottom in 20 feet of water. Crappie fishing is still poor. Call the Idaho Power Company’s recording at 1-800-422-3143 to get information on access at recreational sites or visit their website

OXBOW RESERVOIR: trout, crappie, bass, catfish

Trout should be accessible, especially at creek mouths. Additional fingerling steelhead are being stocked for future fishing opportunity. Fishing remains fair for catfish.  

HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR: trout, crappie, bass, catfish

Trout should be accessible, especially at creek mouths. Approximately 580 surplus steelhead have been stocked in Hells Canyon reservoir. These fish are considered trout and only one over 20 inches may be taken per day, with two daily limits in possession.

The Idaho Power Co. has announced temporary
road closures across Hells Canyon Dam in October and November.

SNAKE RIVER below HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR: trout, salmon, sturgeon

Fall chinook fishing below Hells Canyon dam is closed as of Oct. 31. Steelhead fishing is improving below the dam, and anglers are reporting catch rates around 9 hours per fish caught. Water conditions are condusive to catching fish with temps and clarity looking good. Steelhead anglers are reminded that barbles hooks are required. Anglers are also reminded that, new for 2012, only adipose-clipped trout may be kept in the Snake River.

Idaho Power will be resuming restrictions on access to the Oregon side of Hells Canyon dam Nov. 10 to conduct maintence on the dam.  Anglers should be aware of the closure schedule below:

Nov. 10-Dec. 12 dam closed from 8 a.m. to noon, open from noon to 1 p.m., and closed again from 1 p.m. until sunset, except for Thanksgiving and the Friday following.

SNAKE RIVER (above Brownlee Reservoir): channel catfish, flathead catfish, smallmouth bass

Fishing for catfish is slowing down with cooler conditions while, fishing for smallmouth remains fair. Flows at the Nyssa gauge averaged 8,448 cfs and flows at the Weiser gauge averaged 11,188 cfs (Nov. 4). Water temperature of the Snake River near Weiser continues to cool; it was 51˚F on Nov. 4. Boaters should continue to use caution on the Snake River. Debris remains in the river.


ANTHONY LAKE: hatchery rainbow trout, brook trout

The lake has been stocked with trophy-sized rainbow trout. Fishing is good. From the bank try PowerBait along shoreline where water is deeper or try trolling spinners from a boat.

EAGLE CREEK: hatchery rainbow trout, brook trout

Closed for the winter.

FISH LAKE (Wallowa
Mountains): rainbow trout, brook trout

Lake is frozen over.

HAINES POND: rainbow

The pond was stocked with legal rainbow trout the week of Sept. 20, providing a fall fishing opportunity.

HWY 203 POND: trout, bass, bluegill

Fishing is fair.

NORTH POWDER POND: rainbow trout, bluegill

The pond was stocked with legal-sized rainbow trout in late September providing a fall fishing opportunity.


The water level is at 38 percent full. Fishing for 8 to 14-inch rainbows is fair. 

 PILCHER RESERVOIR: trout, crappie

Closed for the winter.

POWDER RIVER: trout, spring chinook

Catch-and-release for trout is allowed using flies and lures only from Hughes Lane Bridge in Baker City, upstream to Mason Dam. The remaining portions of the Powder River are closed.


The reservoir is slowly filling but the boat ramp is not in the water yet.

TWIN LAKES (Wallowa Mountains): rainbow trout, brook trout

Has been stocked with legal and trophy-sized rainbow trout. Fishing is good.

UNITY RESERVOIR: trout, bass, crappie

Water level is very low and folks are catching a few trout. The harvest of bass from Unity Reservoir is prohibited effective through Dec. 31. This rule is needed to protect bass planted in Unity Reservoir for the purpose of providing a trophy fishery. Low water conditions that currently exist make these rule modifications necessary to protect all year classes of bass found in this reservoir. 

WOLF CREEK RESERVOIR: crappie, trout

The concrete ramp is out of the water, so only very small rafts and float tubes are launchable. No recent fishing report but trout fishing should be good.