Spring Chinook Fishing is in Full Swing

Willamette River - Portland, OR (Lane County)

by OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

Spring Chinook fishing is in full swing on the lower Willamette, and Springers are being caught throughout. In the past week, anglers caught and kept 294 hatchery spring Chinook and four hatchery winter steelhead between Willamette Falls and the river mouth. Effort increased slightly this past week as well, to nearly 6,000 angler trips.

The lower Multnomah Channel by boat was again the best area for Chinook kept.

Steelhead fishing continued to be challenging,with only four hatchery winter steelhead kept in the past week, which isn’t all that surprising given that only four hatchery winters have crossed Willamette Falls. The good news is wild steelhead counts are doing fairly well, as evidenced by the more than 2,400 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. Thirteen 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 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 April 2 showed flows down at 17,700 cfs, the water temperature at 52° F, and visibility at 5.5 ft.

More Reports

OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Reports
for Thursday, April 4th, 2019

Howard Prairie Reservoir: Majority of Ice Has Melted
Rogue River Upper: Expect More Winter Steelhead To Show Up
Rogue River - Middle: Trout Fishing Closed Till May 22
Rogue River Lower: Early Spring Chinook
Umpqua River: Umpqua Early April Update
Hood River: Push of Winter Steelhead

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