Nehalem River Fishing Report

Nehalem River - Nehalm, OR


by OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff
2-5-2020
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NEHALEM RIVER:

The mid and lower main stem Nehalem remains high and muddy for yet another week, and with another bump in river level predicted for Wednesday and Thursday, it is unlikely it will get into decent shape this week.   

When fishing high or colored up water, large presentations and bright colors are key. This is also a good time to break out the bait or scents for added attraction. In addition fishing techniques that keep the presentation near the bottom (drift fishing, bobber doggin’, side drifting) are a good bet. 

The main stem Nehalem is a mostly wild fish river for steelhead, and as peaks January through early April. This is a large basin and as such can blow out easily and stay muddy for long periods. The plus side of is that it often fishes well when other North Coast Rivers are low and clear. There is primitive boat access, and plenty of bank access available from state forest lands.

Catching and releasing a big wild winter steelhead is one of the best experiences I know of, but anglers are encouraged to treat these fish with care. The best practices for a good release are to not over fight the fish, and release them as quickly as possible without taking them out of the water.

Trout season will reopen on May 22, 2020.

NORTH FORK NEHALEM RIVER

The North Fork was in prime shape early this week and fishing was fair, but blew out Tuesday night (Feb. 4) and is high, muddy and still rising as of this writing. It’s not clear whether or not it’ll fish by the weekend, so definitely check conditions before you go.

The hatchery run on the North Fork will start slowing down soon, but there are still new hatchery fish coming in, and Nehalem hatchery has recycled quite a few.  Anglers can call the Nehalem Hatchery fishing hotline for a recorded message on conditions and the fishing at 503-368-5670.

The hatchery run on the North Fork will start slowing down soon, but there are still new hatchery fish coming in, and Nehalem hatchery has recycled quite a few. Anglers can call the Nehalem Hatchery fishing hotline for a recorded message on conditions and the fishing at 503-368-5670.

When fishing high or colored up water, large presentations and bright colors are key. This is also a good time to break out the bait or scents for added attraction. In addition fishing techniques that keep the presentation near the bottom (drift fishing, bobber doggin’, side drifting) are a good bet. 

The North Fork Nehalem is a relatively small basin, and gets one of our best early returning hatchery steelhead runs. Like most small basins fishing is best as the river drops after rain events. The hatchery run peaks late December through January on this basin, with catch and release opportunities for wild fish continuing through the end of March.

There is bank access available below the Nehalem hatchery. A raft/drift boat float is available, but is highly technical and is recommended for expert boaters only.

Trout season will reopen on May 22, 2020.




More Reports

OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Reports
for Wednesday, February 5th

Alsea River: Mainstem is Back in Shape
Siletz River: Winter Steelhead Fishing Has Picked Up
Siuslaw River: Siuslaw is Back in Shape
Umpqua River: Umpqua River Fishing Report