The Nehalem is Almost in Shape

Nehalem River - Nehalm, OR


by OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff
2-12-2020
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NEHALEM RIVER:

The Nehalem is almost in shape (still a little more brown than green), but continuing to drop. Although still on the high side, it should fish a day or two towards the end of the week before blowing back out this weekend. Wild steelhead returns appear to be decent this year, so when it’s in shape there should be fish around.

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 is in good shape, maybe just a touch on the clear side, and should continue to fish through the end of the week until the next big rain predicted for Saturday. Fishing has been fair.

The hatchery run on the North Fork will start slowing down soon, but there are still new hatchery fish coming in, and Nehalem Hatchery is continuing to recycle fish for increased angler opportunity. 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 12th

Alsea River: Steelhead Fishing Has Slowed Down
Siletz River: High Waters and Blown Out Conditions Last Week Slowed Down Fishing
Siuslaw River: Steelhead Fishing Has Improved
Umpqua River: Umpqua River Fishing Report

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