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Weekly Recreation Report: Willamette Zone

April 21, 2015

 Willamette Zone Fishing

Sturgeon Fishing
Sturgeon fishing on the Willamette.
-Photo by Rick Swart-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host a free family fishing event at Trojan Pond near Rainier from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 25. ODFW will provide rods, reels and tackle and bait, on a first-come first-served basis.
  • Fishing for spring Chinook is showing steady improvement on the lower Willamette River.
  • The following Willamette Valley ponds and lakes are scheduled to receive rainbow trout this week: Benson Lake, Blue Lake, Haldeman Pond, Harriet Lake, Hartman Pond, Henry Hagg Lake, Mt. Hood Pond, Sheridan Pond, St. Louis Ponds, Trojan Ponds, Cottage Grove Reservoir, EE Wilson Pond, Foster Reservoir, Green Peter Reservoir, Hills Creek Reservoir, Junction City Pond, Roaring River Park Pond, Timber Linn Lake, Walling Pond, Walter Wirth Lake and Waverly Lake.
  • Winter steelhead fishing continues on the North Fork Santiam, Sandy and Clackamas rivers.
  • Catch-and-release sturgeon fishery continues to provide some steady action in the Willamette River, with the St. Johns area and Milwaukie offering the best chance for success.
  • Anglers curious as to whether their favorite boat ramp is accessible in Willamette Basin Corps Reservoirs should consult the Army Corps Reservoir and river level information web page.

Summer steelhead class on Sandy River

Join ODFW and the Sandy Chapter of the Association of Northwest Steelheaders to learn three popular shore techniques for catching summer steelhead – plunking, drift fishing and bobber with jig.

Saturday, May 9 at Glenn Otto Park near Troutdale. Registration required. Class includes instruction, use of rod, reel and tackle, and lunch. Workshop details and registration.

Send us your fishing report

We’d love to hear about your recent fishing experience. Send us your own fishing report through ODFW Fishing Reports -- the information will be forwarded to the local biologist who may use it to update various ODFW resources such as the Weekly Recreation Report.

2015 trout stocking

The 2015 trout stocking schedules for the North Willamette Watershed (pdf) District and the South Willamette Watershed (pdf) District are now posted on the ODFW trout stocking page.

Check out the new trout stocking map

Find the location and details about the many lakes ponds and streams that receive hatchery trout from ODFW’s fish hatcheries on the new Google-based stocking map.


The Alton Baker Canoe Canal was stocked in early April, and will be stocked again the week of April 27. Fish are released at multiple locations along the length of the Canal, which will be stocked approximately every other week through May, at which time it will be stocked more frequently.

The canal is located within Alton Baker Park and can be accessed off of Club Road in Eugene. A 4-acre pond at the midpoint of the canal is a good spot but it can be fished all along its 2-mile length from Day Island Road in Eugene to Aspen Street in Springfield. The Canal is open to angling all year.

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
- Photo by Kevin Clawson-

BENSON LAKE: rainbow trout, white crappie, largemouth bass, brown bullhead

Stocked the week of April 13 with 4,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a 40-acre lake located in Benson State Park in the Columbia River Gorge. From Portland, head east on I-84, park is located on the south side of the freeway approx. 1/2 mile west of Multnomah Falls.

BETHANY POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, bullhead

Stocked the week of March 23 with 1,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a 10-acre pond located at Bethany west of Portland. The pond is maintained by Tualatin Hills Park and Rec. Amenities include picnic tables, restrooms, and a paved, ADA accessible trail.

BLUE LAKE: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, brown bullhead, black crappie, bluegill

Stocked the week of April 13 with 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a 64-acre lake located in Blue Lake Park 3 miles west of Troutdale. This family-friendly park as picnic areas, restrooms, walking trail, and ramp for small boats. Park is maintained by Multnomah County.

BLUE RIVER: trout, steelhead

Blue River is located east of Eugene near the town of Blue River, north of Highway 126 and will open to fishing Saturday, April 25. Blue River will be stocked with 1,250 trout for opening day, including 250 larger trout. Only the river above the reservoir is stocked with trout during trout season. Wild and hatchery trout are available for harvest above the Reservoir.

BLUE RIVER RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater species

Blue River Reservoir is located east of Eugene near the town of Blue River, north of Highway 126 and is open to year-round fishing. The reservoir was stocked in early April with 6,500 fish. Saddle Dam boat ramp should be accessible at current reservoir levels.


This fishery will re-open this coming weekend (April 25). Trout are scheduled to be stocked the last weekend in May, but holdover and resident trout can be found throughout the river. Anglers may keep up to 5 trout per day. Closed to salmon fishing.

CANBY POND: rainbow trout

Stocked the week of March 30 with 825 legal- and larger-sized rainbow trout. It was also stocked with 100 3-pound trout on March 6, and some of those fish should still be available. Fishing at Canby Pond is restricted to youth age 17 and under or anglers with one of the ODFW Disabled Angling permits. 


Carmen Reservoir is accessed via FS Road 750 off Hwy 126, about 2 miles south of Clear Lake, and is open to fishing all year. Motor boats are prohibited on Carmen Reservoir. Carmen Reservoir will be stocked this week with 3,000 rainbow trout, including 500 larger trout.

CLACKAMAS RIVER: winter steelhead

Flows on the Clackamas River have dropped a little bit in the past week or so but conditions remain good for fishing and should hold through the coming weekend. It’s still in near ideal shape for late winter steelhead fishing or early summer steelhead. Anglers continue to hook a few winters from Carver up to McIver but the catch has slowed, with more summers entering the river. It’s just a bit too early to begin chasing after spring Chinook.

Good bank access for winters can be found in many locations along the river from Gladstone, Cross Park, Riverside Park, along Clackamas River Road, Carver, Barton, and McIver parks. If you’ve got a boat you can put in at Riverside Park, Carver Park, Barton Park, Feldheimer’s off Springwater Road, and at both lower and upper McIver Park ramps.

Monday, April 20 hydrological data shows river flows down some at 1,970 cfs, a gauge reading of 12.04 ft., and the water temperature near 49°. All of the readings come from the Estacada gauge near McIver Park.

Rainbow Trout
Rainbow Trout
-Washington Fish & Wildlife -


Clear Lake is open to fishing all year. In addition to seasonally stocked hatchery rainbow trout, naturally reproducing brook trout are also available. The lake is accessed from Highway 126 approximately 70 miles east of Springfield. ODFW will release 3,625 hatchery trout into Clear Lake this week, including 1,125 larger trout. Cabins and row boats are available for rent from Clear Lake Resort.


The Coast Fork Willamette River will be stocked this week with a total of 1,500 hatchery trout. Fish are released from approximately Bennett Creek Road to Harrison Avenue Bridge. Both native and hatchery trout are available for harvest from April 25 through October 31. Bait use is allowed during the same period.

COMMONWEALTH LAKE: trout, bass, bluegill, crappie

Stocked the week of April 6 with 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout.

This is a three-acre lake within the Commonwelah Lake Park in Beaverton, the park is maintained by Tualatin Hills Park and Rec. Amenities include ADA accessible trail, picnic tables, playground and restrooms.


Cottage Grove Pond in the Row River Nature Park was recently stocked with 2,000 fish. This was the last trout stocking of the Row River Nature Park Pond this season, although trout and warmwater fish will continue to be available to anglers.

To access this family-friendly fishery, travel east from Cottage Grove on Row River Road. The pond is located behind the truck scales and may be accessed via an asphalt pathway.

Only the pond with the dock is stocked with hatchery trout. This pond also offers wildlife viewing opportunities and is open to fishing all year.

COTTAGE GROVE RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater species

Cottage Grove Reservoir was recently stocked with 4,500 rainbow trout. The reservoir is south of Cottage Grove and is open to fishing all year. Wilson Creek and Lakeside Park boat ramps should be accessible at the current reservoir elevation.

NOTICE: The Oregon Health Authority has issued a health advisory updating information about eating fish caught in Cottage Grove Reservoir. Under the advisory issued June 5, 2012 people can safely consume up to nine meals per month of hatchery-grown rainbow trout month that are 12 inches in length or less. People can distinguish hatchery-grown rainbow trout by the absence of the adipose fin, which is clipped before hatchery fish are released into streams and reservoirs. Despite the new exception for rainbow trout, mercury contamination for resident warm-water fish, including bass, bluegill, crappie and bullhead continues to be a concern. Women of childbearing age, particularly pregnant or breastfeeding women, children under six years of age and persons having liver or kidney ailments should avoid eating any fish from this reservoir other than rainbow trout. Healthy women beyond childbearing age, other healthy adults and healthy children six years of age and older should eat no more than one 8-ounce meal of fish other than rainbow trout per month.

CRESWELL POND (GARDEN LAKE): trout, warmwater species

Garden Lake (Creswell Pond) was stocked for the last time this season in early April. Trout and warmwater fish should continue to be available. This family-friendly fishing pond is located in Garden Lake Park on the east side of I-5 in Creswell and is open to fishing all year. The pond and park offer additional wildlife viewing opportunities. As we get further into the spring, aquatic vegetation can become a challenge for anglers fishing Garden Lake.

DETROIT RESERVOIR: trout, kokanee

This reservoir receives over 100,000 trout throughout the year. It will receive another 20,000 legal size rainbow trout. In the meantime, there are plenty of holdover trout from last year as well as kokanee, mostly in the 10-13 inch range. Currently the reservoir is about 60 feet below full pool. Only Mongold State Park boat ramp is available. Check with local outfitters in the town of Detroit for fishing conditions.


Dexter Reservoir was stocked with 2,900 rainbow trout in early April and is next scheduled to be stocked the week of April 27. Boat and bank access is available from state and county parks. Parking and bank access are also available from the causeway near Lowell. The reservoir near Lowell is visible from Highway 58.

DORENA RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater

Dorena Reservoir will be stocked this week with 6,300 rainbow trout. The reservoir is east of Cottage Grove on Row River Road and is open to angling all year. Trout and warmwater fish are available. Baker Bay boat ramp is accessible. Harms Park ramp is within a foot of the reservoir level.


Stocked the week of April 6 with 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is an eight-acre pond west of Forest Grove at the junction of Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 6.

EAGLE CREEK: winter steelhead

Eagle Creek looks to be in good fishing shape but the winter steelhead run should be considered about over on the creek. The effort has been very light and catch has been low. The hatchery completed spawning of returning adult winters several weeks ago. Anglers should keep in mind that reduced steelhead smolt releases in recent years have had an impact on numbers of adult steelhead returning. It’s still a bit early but look for some spring Chinook to enter the creek in May as fish return from acclimation releases of two years ago.

Long stretches of Eagle Creek run through private property, particularly up near the hatchery and from an area below the lower ladder on down past Bonnie Lure to the mouth. Anglers are advised to pay close attention to where you fish and we encourage you to ask permission prior to accessing or crossing private lands on your way to your favorite fishing hole. See Page 15 of the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulation pamphlet for more information on “Your Rights to Use the Surface, Bed, and Banks of Oregon’s Rivers and Lakes.”

EE WILSON POND: warmwater, trout

Dissolved oxygen levels are rebounding well but a windmill that will mix the water and provide more oxygen to the bottom is being installed. Nevertheless, the pond will receive 1,500 legal- and 250 larger-size rainbow trout this week. This pond is located at EE Wilson Wildlife Area, about a ¼ mile hike from the main parking lot. A Wildlife Area parking permit is required. A valid wildlife area parking permit is required.


Fall Creek above Fall Creek Reservoir (northeast of Lowell) opens to fishing on Saturday, April 25 and will be stocked this week with 1,750 rainbow trout. Fish are released at multiple locations on the stream above the reservoir up to Gold Creek.

Fishing in Oregon
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-


Fall Creek Reservoir is open to fishing all year, but access is limited due to low flows this spring. Currently the North Shore boat ramp near the dam is unlocked from approximately 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is the only accessible boat ramp. Cascara Campground and Winberry Creek Park boat ramps are still out of water. The reservoir will be stocked this week with 3,000 rainbow trout.


Closed to trout fishing until May 23, 2015. Estacada Lake is a 150-acre reservoir on the Clackamas River behind River Mill Dam. There is a boat ramp in Milo McIver State Park at the lower end of the reservoir. A fishing dock next to the boat ramp provides non-boating access to the lake.

FERN RIDGE RESERVOIR: largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, brown bullhead

This 9,000 acre lake just 12 miles west of Eugene is the Willamette Basin’s largest water body. This reservoir is 3 feet below full pool and all four boat ramps are available at this time. For local information regarding the lake and available boat ramps, contact the Lane County Parks Department at 541-682-2000. This lake is mostly shallow with a band of deep water from the original channel of the Long Tom River. The reservoir produces crappie over 12 inches and bass angling has been very good in recent years. Best time of year for crappie is in spring after the water temperature reaches the mid-50s, but fish can still be found in deeper water year round. July and August are peak months for largemouth bass. Fish the shoreline along the southern part of the reservoir, especially the sloughs and inlets where there is underwater structure.

FOSTER RESERVOIR: trout, bass, perch, catfish

This scenic 1,200-acre reservoir on the South Santiam River is located just 30 minutes from Interstate 5. There is good bank access at several rest stops and campgrounds, and three seasonal boat ramps. It will be stocked again this week with 9,000 legal-size rainbow trout. Water level is still 27 feet below full pool so only Sunnyside Park boat ramp is available at this time.

Please remember that only kokanee and adipose fin-clipped trout may be kept and there are no limits on size or number of bass. From I-5 take US 20 east from Albany to the town of Sweet Home. The reservoir is 3 miles past the town on the left.


It will be stocked again this week with 800 legal and 100 larger-sized rainbow trout. This water-body actually consists of three interconnected ponds and features some good size bass and crappie. A boat ramp is available at East Freeway Lake, and there is good bank access around Middle Freeway Lake. To get there, take the State Police exit in Albany and follow the frontage road south (3 Lakes Road) for several miles.

GREEN PETER RESERVOIR: kokanee, trout, bass

This large reservoir east of Sweet Home is a premier kokanee fishery with a bag limit of 25 fish per day. It also supports stocked rainbow trout and a good population of smallmouth bass. It was stocked last week with 6,000 legal-size rainbow trout. This is in addition to the 9,000 rainbow trout that went the previous week.

Kokanee fishing has returned and with the warming temperatures the fish are becoming active. Most fish including holdover trout are being caught between 20-40 feet below the surface.

Smallmouth bass can be found near underwater structure and at drop-offs. The reservoir level is currently about 35 ft. below full pool – both Thistle Creek and Whitcomb Island boat ramps are currently available. Water releases below the reservoir are being reduced to fill the reservoir more quickly. The lack of rain and snow pack, however, might not bring the reservoir to full pool by the beginning of summer.


Stocked the week of April 13 with 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a stocked 2-acre pond on the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area that offers good bank access. Ideal for kids. A parking permit is required while on the wildlife area. Permits are available from all ODFW license vendors.


Stocked the week of April 13 with 2,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a 23-acre reservoir on the Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamas River in the Mount Hood National Forest. Boat ramp is just past campground.


Stocked the week of April 13 with 1,750 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a year-round warmwater and spring trout fishing pond in the Columbia River Gorge. Excellent for non-boating anglers. From I-84, take the Benson State Park exit. The pond is adjacent to the Columbia River adjoining Benson State Recreation Area.

Trout Fishing on Henry Hagg Lake
Trout Fishing on Henry Hagg Lake
-Photo by Jessica Sall-

HENRY HAGG LAKE: rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, brown bullhead, yellow bullhead, native cutthroat trout

Stocked the week of April 13 with 7,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a 1,110-acre lake and premier fishery located seven miles southwest of Forest Grove. Maintained and operated by Washington County, the park features numerous picnic areas, two boat launching facilities, more than 15 miles of hiking trails, and observation decks for wildlife and bird watching.

HILLS CREEK RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater fish

This reservoir is located about four miles southeast of Oakridge and is open to year round angling. Hills Creek Reservoir was recently stocked with 6,767 legal-sized rainbow trout.

These are in addition to the 60,000 adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout fingerlings and 100,000 adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook salmon fingerlings released annually to be harvestable size the following year. Adipose fin-clipped fingerlings get to good size and fight well! Trout and salmon must be adipose-fin clipped to harvest. Warmwater fish are also available for harvest. Large native trout are available for catch and release.

CT Beach boat ramp is just at the current reservoir elevation. Packard Creek boat ramp is easily accessible. Bingham Landing boat ramp is still inaccessible for launching boats.


Hills Creek above Hills Creek Reservoir will open to fishing Saturday, April 25, 2015. This stream is no longer stocked, but native fish are available for harvest and use of bait is allowed April 25 through Oct. 31.

HUDDLESTON POND: trout, bluegill

The planned release of 25 two-pounders has been postponed until the week of April 27. Huddleston is a 5-acre pond located within Huddleston Pond Park in the city of Willamina, Ore. A former mill pond, it contains woody debris that provides habitat for bass and bluegill. It reaches a maximum depth of about 10 feet, with shallow "kid-friendly" edges. It is ADA accessible in places, with a restroom and picnic areas nearby. There is paved parking lot and small ramp for people who want to launch small, non-motorized boats.

JUNCTION CITY POND: trout, crappie

It will be stocked again this week with 1,200 legal and 250 larger-size rainbow trout. Junction City is a popular stocked trout fishing pond located about 2 miles south of Junction City on 99W on the west side of the highway. There is excellent access around the entire 8-acre pond. A few large brood trout may still be available as well. As a reminder, zone regulations apply: five trout daily may be kept and only one over 20-inches.


Leaburg Lake will open to fishing Saturday, April 25, 2015. The Lake will be stocked with 2,750 trout in time for opening day. Only adipose fin-clipped trout may be retained; all wild trout must be released unharmed. Leaburg Lake will be stocked weekly through July, and then every other week through Labor Day. Use of bait is allowed during trout season.

Fly Fishing
-Royalty Free Image-

MCKENZIE RIVER below Leaburg Lake: trout, salmon, steelhead

The McKenzie River below Leaburg Lake opens to hatchery trout harvest on Saturday, April 25. The river will be boat stocked from just below Greenwood Landing to Hendricks Bridge with a total of 9,000 hatchery trout. All non-adipose fin-clipped trout must be released unharmed.

This river reach is open to retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead and non-adipose fin-clipped steelhead greater than 24 inches in length. A Columbia River Basin Endorsement is required for anglers targeting salmon and steelhead in the McKenzie.

Gear is restricted to flies and lures, except bait use is allowed upstream of Hendricks Bridge beginning April 25 through the end of the year.

MIDDLE FORK WILLAMETTE RIVER above Hills Creek Reservoir: trout

The Middle Fork Willamette River above Hills Creek Reservoir is open to catch-and-release fishing for trout from April 25 through Oct. 31. This reach of river is no longer stocked, although there may be some adipose fin-clipped trout originating from the reservoir available for harvest in the lower river reach. Gear use is limited to flies and lures.

MOLALLA RIVER: winter steelhead

The Molalla River is holding onto good angling conditions and with over 3,700 winter steelhead passing Willamette Falls there are likely a few late winters in the Molalla still to be hooked. We’ve now had over 2,200 spring Chinook pass at Willamette Falls as well so there should be some early springers in the Molalla. The Chinook fishing will only improve as more pass through the falls ladder heading into late April.

Hydrological data for Monday, April 20 shows flows down slightly at 847 cfs and a gauge reading of 11.97 ft. These measurements come from a station near Canby.

MT HOOD POND: trout, crappie, bluegill

Stocked the week of April 13 with 1,000 rainbow trout. This is a 5-acre pond on the campus of Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham. Angling is restricted to youths age 17 and under and holders of ODFW's Disabled Anglers permits from April 1 - Aug. 31.

PROGRESS LAKE: trout, brown bullhead

Stocked the week of April 6 with 1,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a 4-acre pond next to the Progress Ridge Town Center in Beaverton, Oregon. The pond is an old rock pit and has a maximum depth of 54 feet. There is a sidewalk, fishing platform and viewing platform on one side of the lake. Boating and swimming are not allowed.


This beautiful stream is located above Green Peter Reservoir and provides excellent opportunities to fish for trout. There is good bank access along most of its length. Trout season opens this weekend (April 25). The river will be stocked the week of May 4 with 3,000 rainbow trout. There are opportunities to catch some nice wild cutthroat trout as well. Light gear works best and fly fishing can be very good, but bait is also allowed. There are two BLM campgrounds as well as numerous designated campsites along the road. To get there, follow the directions to Green Peter Reservoir and continue around the lake until the river begins.


This is a small one acre pond in Roaring River County Park near ODFW’s Roaring River fish hatchery. To get there, drive highway 226 east out of Albany and turn right onto Fish Hatchery Road and continue for about 7 miles. Park is on the right. It was stocked again last week with 160 legal and 20 larger-size rainbow trout.


Salmon Creek is a tributary to the Middle Fork Willamette River east of Oakridge and will open to trout harvest Saturday, April 25. The creek will be stocked at multiple locations up to the Black Creek Road bridge crossing with a total of 1,750 hatchery rainbow trout. Bait use is allowed from April 25 through Oct. 31. Both native and hatchery trout are available for harvest.

SALMONBERRY LAKE: trout, sunfish

Stocked the week of April 20 with 1,500 rainbow trout.

Salmonberry Lake is owned by the city of St. Helens and is about three acres in size. It is a former municipal water supply secluded in the woods off of Pittsburgh Road. The road to the pond is gated and anglers must walk about 1/3 mile to access this pond.


Salt Creek is a tributary to the Middle Fork Willamette River east of Oakridge and will open to trout harvest Saturday, April 25. This stream is no longer stocked, but native trout are available for harvest and bait use is allowed during trout season (April 25 through Oct. 31).

SANDY RIVER: winter steelhead, spring Chinook

The Sandy River flows have dropped off some since last week but conditions are still good for anglers and should hold through the weekend. A few late winter steelhead continue to be hooked, both hatchery and wild, but it’s late into the season and fish quality will be suspect. The best areas for catching winters are still near Cedar Creek, Dodge Park, and Revenue. There’s also word of a few spring Chinook seen in the lower river but it could be a couple more weeks before that fishery starts to ramp up.

Hydrological data for the Sandy River on April 20 shows flows at 1,850 cfs, a gauge reading of 9.46 ft. and the water temperature up now near 49°.

North Santiam
North Santiam
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

SANTIAM RIVER (NORTH FORK): steelhead, Chinook

River conditions are very good at the moment and should remain so for the next week. Steelhead are entering the basin in good numbers. Over 700 winter steelhead as well as 14 summer steelhead and 16 spring Chinook have navigated Upper Bennett dam as of April 18. Best bets for these fish are in the lower river, from Green’s Bridge down to Jefferson, along the mainstem around the I5 Rest Stop boat ramp, and from Mehama down to Stayton.

More fish are on the way. Counts at Willamette Falls stand at 250 summer steelhead, 2,590 spring Chinook, and about 3,800 winter steelhead as of April 18.

When the ‘bite’ is on, bobbers and jigs are the preferred angling method with spoons, spinners and egg clusters also being effective. Currently the entire river below Packsaddle Park (near the Minto Fish Facility) is open year-round to adipose fin-clipped steelhead. Trout fishing is closed until May 23, 2015.

River levels best for fishing are below 3,000 cfs at the Mehama gauge (currently the Mehama gauge is around 2,000 cfs as of Apr. 21. Current conditions

CAUTION: The section between Shelburn and Green’s Bridge remains hazardous for boaters because of downed trees and multiple side channels. Better bets are the floats below Green’s Bridge and above Stayton.

NEW CAUTION: There is a large tree across the entire river between Green’s Bridge and the confluence with the South Santiam above Jefferson making this stretch of river extremely hazardous for boaters. Oregon State Marine Board is aware of this and are working on removing it. Better sections for boaters are below Jefferson and from Stayton to Shelburn.

NOTE: The gate at Green’s Bridge near Jefferson has been opened and will remain open until the next seasonal closure in June 2015.


This section of the river will re-open this weekend (April 25). Trout are scheduled to be stocked the last weekend in May, but holdover and resident trout can be found throughout the river. Anglers may keep up to 5 trout per day. Closed to salmon fishing.

SANTIAM RIVER (SOUTH FORK): steelhead, Chinook , bass

Flows in the South Santiam below Foster dam have been fluctuating around 1,300 -1,400 cfs at Waterloo as of April 21. Water releases out of Green Peter reservoir are being reduced for the next few weeks to ensure adequate filling before the summer, which should make for excellent fishing conditions in the interim below Foster dam.

New summer steelhead and spring Chinook have begun to arrive at Willamette Falls but it will take a few weeks before the majority of them arrive in the basin. Winter steelhead are in the basin now and can be found throughout the river. So far, 79 winter steelhead, 19 summer steelhead and the first 9 spring Chinook have entered the trap below Foster. Best sections to fish are from Wiley Creek to Pleasant Valley boat ramps, around Waterloo County Park, and from Lebanon down to the confluence with the North Santiam.

Closed to trout fishing until May 23, 2015.


Stocked the week of April 13 with 1,100 legal- and larger-sized rainbow trout. Sheridan Pond is a 2 ½-acre pond located on the edge of town. An old mill pond, it has plenty of bank access, parking, and a restroom. To get there take Hwy. 18 to Exit 33 onto Balston Rd. Go south on Balston Rd. approximately half a mile and turn left onto a gravel road leading about a quarter mile to the pond.


This 4-acre pond is located within Ivor Davies Nature Park in Molalla, across from Heckard Football Stadium. It can be accessed by the Fifth St. Trailhead. The fishing is free for kids 13 years of age. All others will need to have fishing licenses to participate.


Stocked the week of April 20 with 6,300 legal- and larger-sized rainbow trout.


Smith Reservoir is north of Trail Bridge Reservoir and is accessed by turning off Hwy 126 at Trail Bridge Reservoir and following FS Road 730 north to Smith Dam. The reservoir is not visible from the highway and is open to year-around fishing. Both native and hatchery trout are available for harvest. Smith Reservoir will be stocked this week with 4,000 hatchery rainbow trout.

Stocking Rainbow Trout in St. Louis Pond.
-Video by Rick Swart, ODFW-

ST. LOUIS PONDS: trout, bass, crappie, bluegill, yellow perch, channel catfish

St. Louis Ponds is located 13 miles north of Salem and west of I-5. To get to there from the north, take the Woodburn exit off I-5. Then go east to Hwy. 99E. At Hwy. 99E, head south to the town of Gervais. At the light, go west on Gervais Rd. through Gervais. Gervais Rd. changes to St Louis Rd. Continue west on St Louis Rd. as it crosses over I-5 to Tesch Lane, at the railroad crossing. Go left on Tesch Lane and follow the signs to the ponds.

TIMBER LINN POND: rainbow trout

This beautiful, family-friendly fishing pond is located within the 8-acre Timber-Linn Memorial Park in Albany. It was stocked again last week with 250 legal and 25 larger-size rainbow trout. Please keep in mind that only one fish over 20-inches may be taken per day. Timber-Linn Lake can be reached by turning east off I-5 onto the Santiam Highway (Hwy. 20), then immediately turning north onto Price Road and proceeding to the park entrance.


Trail Bridge Reservoir is open to year-round fishing. This waterbody is adjacent to Hwy 126 and is approximately 60 miles east of Springfield. Only adipose fin-clipped trout may be harvested from Trail Bridge Reservoir. Flies and lures only may be used.


The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host a free family fishing event at Trojan Pond near Rainier from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 25. ODFW will release more than 3,000 rainbow trout for this event and will provide rods, reels and tackle and bait, on a first-come first-served basis.

This is a 15-acre pond just east of Rainier on the north side of Hwy. 30 at the Trojan nuclear facility. The pond is located on the right side of the road as soon as you turn onto the Trojan Access Road.

WALLING POND: trout, crappie, bass

This pond was stocked again last week with 400 legal and 50 larger-size rainbow trout. As a reminder, zone regulations apply: five trout daily may be kept and only one may be over 20 inches. This is an 8-acre privately owned pond located in Salem at the northeast corner of McGilchrist and 16th Streets, S.E.

WALTER WIRTH LAKE: trout, crappie, bass

Stocked the week of April 13 with 2,200 legal and 150 larger size rainbow trout. As a reminder, only one fish over 20-inches may be kept. Walter Wirth is a 20-acre lake located within the City of Salem’s Cascades Gateway Park.

WAVERLY POND: trout, bluegill, catfish

Waverly Pond is located in Albany and is regularly stocked in fall, winter and spring. It was stocked again last week with 800 rainbow trout. Please keep in mind that only one fish over 20-inches may be taken per day. From I-5 take exit 234 west towards Albany. The pond is located a quarter mile down Pacific Boulevard on the right. A paved ADA-accessible path runs all the way around the pond.

WILLAMETTE RIVER: sturgeon, winter steelhead, spring Chinook

Spring Chinook anglers found some decent fishing in the lower Willamette last week as water conditions improved, the water warmed, and more fish entered the river heading upstream. Chinook were caught from Multnomah Channel up to Oregon City over the weekend, but no one spot seemed to dramatically outshine another. The best catch rates checked by ODFW showed up in lower Multnomah Channel and up in the Oregon City area. The middle river around Sellwood and the upper downtown Portland harbor have proven to be the least productive spots. There’s also been a noticeable increase in Willamette effort now that the Columbia River is closed to Chinook retention. Anglers should find continued improvement in catch as the month of April moves along, providing water conditions hold up.

Daily counts at the Willamette Falls fish ladder continue with the total passage for winter steelhead through April 17 standing at 3,760. As of April 17 a total of 2,275 spring Chinook have passed through the ladder.

For anglers interested in sturgeon fishing, the “catch-and-release” sturgeon fishery remains a decent bet for hooking into fish and finding steady action with the St. Johns area and Milwaukie offering the best chance for success.

Hydrological numbers for the Willamette on April 20 show flows down at 12,900 cfs, a water temperature in Oregon City up near 57°, and visibility very good at 5.4 ft.

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  Willamette Zone Hunting


See the turkey hunting forecast.


Free archery instruction, EE Wilson Wildlife Area, May 16 and every third Saturday of the month. Volunteers from Oregon Bow Hunters will be on hand to teach beginners and intermediate level new archers. No RSVP or pre-registration required. Free but parking permit required; for sale online or at license sales agent but not at wildlife area so get it before you visit.

Basic Archery class with Benton Bowman in Philomath, June 20. Learn the art of archery at a workshop designed for beginners.

Controlled Hunts Seminar, May 1, Sportsman’s Warehouse Salem, 6-7:30 p.m. ODFW staff will cover the gritty details of tag distribution, preference points, draw success rates, and considerations for making a hunt your first or second choice. We’ll also share tips and tricks to get the best hunting opportunities year after year.

Spring Turkey

Spring Turkey season opened April 15. Gobblers are already actively strutting and gobbling. With a favorable weather forecast, expect a good first week of turkey hunting. Most turkey hunting in the Willamette Zone occurs on private lands. Hunters wishing to have the best chance for success should meet landowners and secure access to a place to hunt prior to the start of the season. If you didn’t secure access before the season you should work to secure access early in the season. Turkeys are abundant in the foothills surrounding the Willamette Valley and hunting can be very good for the hunters that have access to private lands that hold turkeys. Hone your turkey calling skills by listening to the sounds of live wild turkeys.

Big Game

Spring BEAR season opened April 1 in NW Oregon for those with a controlled tag. Biologists report that a handful of bears have been checked in but hunting slowed down with the cool, wet weather. Hunting should improve when the weather improves. Bears feed heavily on grasses and other plants in the early spring and hunters should concentrate their scouting around meadows, low elevation riparian zones, and open hillsides. Bears also feed on insects and grubs which they find in rotting logs and stumps. Look for freshly disturbed logs and stumps to determine if a bear is feeding in the area. Tracks, scat and other bear sign should be easily located in areas where bears are frequenting. Glassing clearcuts and other openings early in the morning can be another productive method to locate bears. Please review the 2015 Big Game Hunting Regulations before your hunting trip to ensure that you are familiar with all of the requirements.

Successful bear hunters will need to check-in any bear taken at an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest. Hunters are reminded that biologists located in field offices may be out in the field handling other issues so call ahead to make arrangements to have your bear checked-in. Be sure to bring in the skull (The skull must be unfrozen) without the hide, the spring bear tag, and harvest location information. Biologists recommend propping the bear’s mouth open with a stick after harvest; it makes for easier tooth collection and measuring. Please review the 2015 Big Game Hunting Regulations before your hunting trip to ensure that you are familiar with all of the requirements.

-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

The 2015 Cougar season opened on January 1, 2015. Snow at the higher elevations provides hunters a chance to try and track a cougar. The best time to track a cougar is following a fresh snow. Hunters can use predator calls that mimic an animal in distress to draw cougar into the open. Approaching cougar can be difficult to see when you are predator calling so hunting with a partner is advised. Successful cougar hunters will need to check-in any cougar taken at an ODFW office within 10 days of the kill. Hunters are reminded that biologists located in field offices may be out in the field handling other issues so call ahead to make arrangements to have your cougar checked-in. The hide and skull must be unfrozen and the skull and proof of sex must be attached to the hide. Hunters are required to submit the reproductive tract of any female cougar taken. Pick up the Big Game Hunting Regulations before your hunting trip to ensure that you are familiar with all of the requirements.

Hunter orange required for youth

Don’t forget: hunters age 17 and under must wear a fluorescent orange upper garment OR hat when hunting upland game birds (except turkey) and game mammals (deer, elk, bear, cougar, pronghorn, goat, sheep, and western gray squirrel) with a firearm.

Industrial forestland owners will usually have information regarding access to their property posted on their gates and usually have a “hotline” devoted to providing up-to-date access for hunters. In addition, many private timberlands use the following link to provide information regarding the access policy for their private lands.

Hunters need to have permission to hunt or make sure hunting is allowed before accessing private lands.


Hunters are reminded to be prepared for emergencies by keeping survival equipment such as food, water, signal mirror, whistle, sleeping bag and first aid kit with you and in your vehicle during your outdoor adventures. Don’t forget to wear the proper clothing; it is your first defense against the elements. Let someone know where you will be and when you expect to return just in case your vehicle becomes stuck or breaks down.

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 Willamette Zone Wildlife Viewing

Rough-skinned Newt
Rough-skinned Newt
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-


Amphibian eggs are hatching

Most native frogs and salamanders in the Willamette Valley have already laid their eggs. Eggs are hatching. Frog tadpoles and salamander larvae are now visible. Can be observed in sunny, shallow water areas of natural wetlands and manmade ponds. Frog tadpoles are herbivores, grazing on algae and other plant material while salamander larvae are carnivorous, eating zooplankton, invertebrates, and sometime even other salamander larvae. Some native amphibians like the Pacific treefrog and rough-skinned newt are still courting and laying eggs. Observe and listen to native amphibians, but leave them in the wild. Moving/relocation of native amphibians is not permitted due to concerns related to the spread of amphibian disease.

Call of the sandhill cranes

Spring is a good time to hear the musical call of sand hill cranes as they pass through the valley on their way north. Large flocks can be seen flying very high. They occasionally land in fields east and north of Salem and near Sauvie Island for a few days of rest. 

Ruffed grouse – drummers of the forest

Listen for a rhythmic drumming as you hike the forests this spring―male ruffed grouse are out courting females and their rhythmic wing beating (drumming) is used to advertise their presence and draw females into their territories. Drumming starts with a slow but powerful wing beat every second, rapidly speeding up, and ending 8 to 11 seconds later. This acoustic “calling card” is repeated every 3 to 5 minutes in the early morning and late afternoon during the breeding season. Ruffed grouse are native to Oregon and can be easily identified by their relatively long, fan-shaped and distinctively banded tail in addition to their neck ruffs. Look and listen for these 16-19 inch long, brown or gray-brown, chicken sized birds in deciduous and mixed forest communities in western Oregon.

Wild Turkey
-National Wild Turkey Federation-

Turkeys strut their stuff this time of year

Wild turkeys are actively strutting and courting during this time of year. These birds were introduced into Oregon from other parts of the US where they are native. These birds are widely established in the foothills around the edge of the Willamette Valley. Look for them where there is a mix of wooded areas and pastures. Mixed hardwoods, especially oaks, are preferred over conifers. Tall pines or fir trees are often used for night roosts. Fortunately, turkeys are most active and easiest to see on warm sunny days! Landowners beware! While turkeys are fun to watch and have around, if you feed them you may create a serious problem for yourself and your neighbors. Turkeys will often become a serious nuisance when they concentrate in an area because they are being fed. Turkeys that are not fed will range widely and rarely cause such problems.

Sea lions active in Portland harbor

California and Stellar sea lions are now foraging for fish in the Willamette River below Willamette Falls. Awkward on land, in the water sea lions are powerful and graceful swimmers. Their presence during the spring Chinook season raises some challenging management issues. Nevertheless, this is animal behavior worth watching.

The Osprey Returns

Each spring, osprey make their return to Oregon in preparation for the breeding season. Ospreys were first documented in Oregon in 1855 and historically were very numerous. In the 1970s, they experienced drastic declines as a side effect of widespread pesticide use. With environmental regulations that banned these chemical and the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act that offers protection to all native migratory birds, including osprey, ospreys have made a remarkable comeback.

Osprey can be seen throughout the Willamette Valley, nesting on the very top of dead/dying trees, cell phone towers, power poles, river pilings, and even on abandoned human structures such as cranes. Enjoy watching the osprey, but be careful not to disturb them during their critical nesting time (March – August).

For more on ospreys, please visit ODFW’s Living with Wildlife section on-line at

Young Barn Owls
Many young barn owls being cared for by the Audubon Society are healthy and should have been left in the wild.
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Leave young owls where you find them

Don't be surprised if you see a baby owl on the ground this spring. Owls are one of earliest nesting birds in the Willamette Valley and this is the time of the year when they are leaving the nest. 

It is a natural occurrence for young owls to spend much of their time on the ground being fed by their parents. Please do not interfere. If you come across a baby owl on the ground, assume its parents are in the vicinity and are feeding it. This is a normal stage of development. Leave the area quietly and do not disturb the young owl. When in doubt, call your local ODFW office for assistance. 

Remember, nothing can quite take the place parental owls in feeding and raising young owls — help keep wildlife wild!

EE Wilson Wildlife Area

Wildlife viewing will be improving over the next several months. A waterfowl blind is available to photographers. Call the office at 541-745-5334 to reserve the blind.

Directions to EE Wilson Wildlife Area: From Albany, take Highway 20 toward Corvallis and after 5 miles turn right on Independence Highway. Go 3 miles and turn left on Camp Adair Road, then proceed 2 miles to the wildlife area.

Fern Ridge Wildlife Area

View from the Coyote Creek platform at Fern Ridge Wildlife Area
-Photo by Chris Schubothe, ODFW-

Fern Ridge Wildlife Area

The East Coyote, West Coyote Fisher Butte and Royal Amazon units are now closed to public access six days a week to provide sanctuary for ducks, geese and other birds that are nesting in preparation for the upcoming migration. The closure will be in effect, except on designated trails, through April 30. These areas are open to public access on Saturdays.

Wintering concentrations of waterfowl can still be observed on the lake and surrounding mudflats and wetlands. Several thousand Canada geese use Fern Ridge Lake for an evening roost site and the sunset and sunrise departures and arrivals of the large flocks of geese provides an outstanding viewing opportunity. Observant visitors may also catch a glimpse of black tailed deer and furbearers including beaver, otter, mink, red fox and coyotes.

Royal Avenue and the trail to the Fisher Butte viewing platform remain open all day every day year round. There is a second elevated viewing platform in the Fisher Butte unit located 1/4 mile north of the Fisher Butte unit parking lot on Hwy 126.

The majority of Fern Ridge Wildlife Area is open daily for public use providing great wildlife viewing opportunities. Visitors are reminded there are seasonal access restrictions in place in five units during the fall and winter to provide wildlife sanctuary.

The entire Fern Ridge lake water area and surrounding mudflats remain open daily year-round. The mudflats surrounding the lake low winter pool can provide for excellent hiking on a sandbar type lake bottom that extends for miles. Dogs are allowed on the Wildlife Area but now that hunting season is closed must be leashed.

Parking areas are located along Highway 126, Nielson Road, Cantrell Road, Territorial Highway, and Clear Lake Road. Contact the wildlife area headquarters, (541) 935-2591 if you have any questions.

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Crane at Sauvie Island Wildlife Area
- Photo by Kathy Munsel-

Sauvie Island Wildlife Area

Sandhill cranes and cacklers are still hanging around and normally stay until mid-April. Northern harriers, red-tailed hawks, and American kestrel may still be seen on the wildlife area and other points on the island.

Bird watching is excellent with spring migrants and summer resident arriving. White pelicans are showing up in larger numbers, as are purple martins and cliff swallows. The bald eagles and osprey are nesting and may be viewed from various observation points. The best opportunities for viewing are Coon Point, Eastside Viewing Platform and Rentenaar Road.

Most of the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area opened on April 16. However, the Eastside will remain closed until May 1st to protect wintering waterfowl and to minimize any human impact on the birds.

Sauvie Island is a main stopping point for migratory birds as they travel along the Pacific Flyway, and ODFW actively manages the Wildlife Area to provide food and cover for these creatures.

Sauvie Island Wildlife Area is located on Sauvie Island, only 10 miles north of Portland off Highway 30. A parking permit is required for the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area and can be purchased at ODFW License vendors or at the Sauvie Island ODFW office, Monday through Friday during office hours.

For more information, call (503) 621-3488.

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