Bag limits have been reduced, but dedicated steelhead anglers are finding limited success on Northeast Oregon rivers such as the Grande Ronde.
Steelhead fishing has been difficult this year due to the low numbers of returning fish and low flows, according to the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. The few anglers that have recently been on the Grande Ronde are finding some success and respectable catch rates. The warmer weather and rain has caused the river to thaw and will be fishable over the holidays.
Fishing has been slow on the Imnaha River, and a few steelhead have been caught in the Wallowa, though ODFW says success rates will be low until fish have more time to move into the system.
Anglers are reminded that through Dec. 31, the daily bag limit is one hatchery steelhead in the following creeks and rivers: Grande Ronde River upstream to Meadow Creek; Imnaha River downstream of Big Sheep Creek; Wallowa River from the mouth upstream to Trout Creek; Big Sheep Creek downstream of Little Sheep Creek; Wenaha River downstream of Crooked Creek and Catherine Creek from the mouth to the Hwy 203 bridge above Catherine Creek State Park.
Bag limits were reduced to protect limited numbers of wild fish returning to the Snake River Basin and to ensure hatchery programs meet production goals.
Fishing on Wallowa Lake typically slows during the fall and winter. However, for the angler that is willing to tough it out, some large fish can be available. Stocked fish have now been in the lake long enough that they have keyed in on natural foods. Try fishing live worms, grubs, or flies that imitate midges, mayflies and crawdads.
Kokanee fishing has improved recently and large fish are being caught. A reduction in the population size has allowed for fish to grow larger and anglers are catching fish up to 20-inches with the average around 13-inches.
Ice fishing on Kinney lake should be good once the surface is frozen solid, and anglers should consider Marr Pond, which has been stocked with legal and trophy trout and where repairs have been completed.