Spring Chinook FIshing is Underway

Willamette River - Portland, OR (Lane County)

by OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

Spring Chinook fishing is underway on the lower Willamette, and some fish are being caught. In the past week, anglers caught and kept 63 hatchery spring Chinook and four hatchery winter steelhead between Willamette Falls and the river mouth. Effort increased this past week as well, more than doubling, to 3,869 angler days from just over 1,600 angler days the previous week.

The lower Multnomah Channel by boat was the best area for Chinook kept, with 44 Chinook harvested and 16 released. Overall, anglers on the lower river caught 63 and released 52 Chinook. Still no hatchery steelhead or Chinook in the counts of fish crossing into the upper river at Willamette Falls but 1,494 wild steelhead have made the crossing since the beginning of November when the first fish crossed. Spring Chinook likewise have yet to make an appearance, although a few fish are being caught, mostly between the head of the Multnomah Channel and the Railroad Bridge Last week, fishermen kept 63 and released 52 Chinook. fish.

Steelhead fishing continued to be challenging, with 1,614 angler trips producing only four hatchery winter steelhead, which isn’t all that surprising given that only four hatchery winters have crossed Willamette Falls so far this year. The good news is wild steelhead counts are doing fairly well, as evidenced by the 1,494 wild winters that have crossed into the upper river, in what biologists believe is partly a positive response to the removal of sea lions at Willamette Falls. Eleven California sea lions have been removed from the lower Willamette since mid-November, and preliminary analysis suggests this is helping the steelhead population by reducing sea lion related harassment and mortality.

Catch-and-release sturgeon fishing is a good option on the lower Willamette and can be productive this time of year. The 213 anglers surveyed last week reported catchng and releasing a total of 188 sturgeon. The ODFW fishing dock on the river bank below the old West Linn Police Station is a good prospect for those who want to try catch-and-release sturgeon fishing from the shore. Kelly Point Park is another popular spot on the lower Willamette for some good catch-and-release sturgeon fishing. Remember to use single, barbless hooks.

Warmwater fishing can be another option for fishermen in the lower Willamette, Multnomah Channel and surrounding sloughs. Successful warmwater anglers tend to fish around bridges, pilings, wing dams, and other structures, which can be good spots to find warmwater fish, including walleye, crappie, and bass, which are plentiful in the Willamette.

Further upstream, the section between Albany and Harrisburg is open year-round for trout fishing, which can be very good when flows are cooperating. Anglers are allowed to keep two trout per day. Smallmouth bass fishing can be excellent between Salem and Albany starting in May.

Hydrological data for the Willamette at WillametteFalls on March 19 showed flows at 20,500 cfs, the water temperature at 48° F, and visibility at 3.7 ft.

More Reports

OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Reports
for Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Ana Reservoir: Excellent Destination For Kids Out on Spring Break
Blitzen River: Spring Run-Off is Here
Gerber Reservoir: Reservoir is 70 Percent Full
Applegate River: Winter Steelhead in The Applegate Run Later Than Most Streams
Ben Irving Reservoir: Trout Fishing Should Be Good
Expo Pond: Fishing for Bass and Panfish is Fair
Empire Lake Lower: Try Fishing Bait Near the Bottom
Grande Ronde River: Anglers Reporting Good Catch Rates
Willow Lake: Anglers Finding Trout
: First Stocking to Receive 20,000 Legal Rainbows This Week
: Fishing Should Be Picking Up
McKenzie River: Fishing Continues to Be Pretty Good
Henry Hagg Lake: 12,000 Legal Rainbows Recently Released
Clackamas River: Winter Steelhead Fishing Conditions Continued to Improve
Alsea River: Winter Steelhead Fishing Has Been Slow
Wallowa Lake : Lake Frozen Over
Imnaha River: This is The Best Time of Year To Fish
Sandy River: Fishing For Steelhead is Picking Back Up
Nestucca River: Fishing Has Been Moderate
Necanicum River: Necanicum is Low and Clear
Kilchis River: Kilchis is Low and Clear
: Stocked With Legal Sized Rainbows This Week
Emigrant Reservoir: 1,000 Legal Trout Stocking
Umpqua River: River in Good Shape for The Weekend
Galesville Reservoir: Anglers Doing Well From Shore
Chetco River: River Has A Lot to Offer
Wilson River: Fishing Has Been Moderate
Willow Creek Reservoir: Winter and Early Spring Are Best Months For Trout
Cooper Creek Reservoir: Trout Fishing Picking Up
Elk River: Steelhead Are Thick Right Now
Deschutes River: Mid March Report
Rogue River- Lower: Winter Steelhead in Full Swing
Rogue River - Middle: Anglers Are Mostly Catching Bright Winter Fish
Rogue River- Upper: Expect More Fish to Move Into Upper Rougue Throughout Next Week
Illinois River: Steelhead Fishing Should Be Great
Santiam River North Fork-2: Last Year's Summer Steelhead Are Gone
Willamette River CST FK: Middle Fork is Open Below Dexter Dam Only

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