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ODFW WEEKLY RECREATION REPORT
Fishing, Hunting, Wildlife Viewing
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Willamette Zone Map

Weekly Recreation Report: Willamette Zone

April 18, 2017

 Willamette Zone Fishing

Rainbow Trout

Andrea with a nice rainbow trout she caught
-Photo by Douglas E Osbon-

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • Anglers and would-be anglers can enjoy a weekend of free fishing on April 22-23. On these two days, Oregonians and visitors can fish, crab and clam for free anywhere in Oregon without a license, tag or endorsement. This is the first of eight free fishing days in Oregon this year. Additional free days are June 3-4, Nov. 25-26, and Dec. 31-Jan. 1.
  • Rainbow trout are being released this week at the following locations: Benson Lake, Bethany Pond, Blue Lake, Canby Pond, Commonwealth Lake, Dorman Pond, Haldeman Pond, Harriet Lake, Hartman Pond, Henry Hagg Lake, Huddleston Pond, Mt. Hood Pond, Progress Lake, St. Louis Ponds, Clear Lake, Cottage Grove Reservoir, Detroit Reservoir, Dorena Reservoir, EE Wilson Pond, Fall Creek, Foster Reservoir, Green Peter Reservoir, Junction City Pond, Leaburg Lake, Roaring River Park Pond, Salmon Creek, Timber Lin Lake, Walling Pond, Walter Wirth Lake, Waverly Lake, Coast Fork of Willamette River, McKenzie River below Leaburg Dam.
  • Spring Chinook are now crossing over Willamette Falls. The river is open for Chinook fishing, and anglers are out in force from Willamette Falls to the river mouth and Multnomah Channel.
  • The Sandy, Clackamas, and Santiam rivers are in good fishing condition with steelhead distributed throughout the systems.
  • Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon in the lower Willamette is still good this time of year in the lower Willamette. It’s also a lot of fun!

If your favorite fishing spot is no longer listed

It could be the area is closed, inaccessible due to mud or snow, or currently offers limited fishing opportunities. These water bodies will return to the recreation report when conditions change. If you believe something is missing, contact us and we’ll find out why.

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.

Updated 2017 Trout Stocking Schedules

High Lakes stocking

ODFW takes very small fish to Oregon’s high lakes by helicopter, mule and river boats. Take a look at where these fish were released in the past and where you might even encounter some of them on your next backpacking trek. It typically takes only a year after stocking for fish to reach catchable size.

Check out our interactive 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 our Google-based stocking map. Click on the fish icons to bring up all the pertinent information about the state’s trout fishing locations.

ALTON BAKER CANOE CANAL: trout

Stocked the week of March 27 with 965 rainbow trout, including 150 larger trout. The canoe 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 two-mile length from Day Island Road in Eugene to Aspen Street in Springfield. The canal is open to fishing all year.

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

Stocked the week of April 17 with 3,000 legal-size 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; the park is located on the south side of the freeway about 1/2 mile west of Multnomah Falls.

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

Stocked the week of April 17 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
Blue Lake
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

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

Stocked the week of April 17 with 1,500 trout. Try fishing from the docks or along the bank near the boat ramp. From October to April private boats are also allowed if under 14 ft. with motors of less than 3.0 horsepower.

This 64-acre lake is located in Blue Lake Regional Park three miles west of Troutdale. Amenities include picnic areas, restrooms, walking trail, and ramp for small boats. Park is maintained by Metro. The cost to enter is $5/car and there is ample parking once inside the park. The park is open from 8 a.m. until legal sunset. For further information call 503-661-6087.

BLUE RIVER: trout

Two wild trout may be harvested per day above Blue River Reservoir only. Otherwise, anglers may keep 5 hatchery trout per day. Stocking into the river above the reservoir will resume in April. Anglers may only use lures and artificial flies.

BLUE RIVER RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater species

Stocked the week of April 3 with 2,000 legal-sized hatchery trout and 100 larger rainbow trout. Blue River Reservoir is located east of Eugene near the town of Blue River, north of Hwy. 126 and is open to year-round fishing. The boat ramps are not accessible at current reservoir elevations.

BREITENBUSH RIVER: trout

This river flows through mostly U.S. Forest Service land into Detroit Lake and is open year-round (however salmon fishing is prohibited). During the summer it is stocked fairly regularly with hatchery trout. Anglers may keep up to five trout per day.

CANBY POND: trout, bass, crappie, bluegill

Stocked the week of April 17 with 400 legal- and 25 larger-sized rainbow trout. Canby Pond is a one-acre pond located on the south end of Canby, in Canby City Park. This pond is open only to youth 17 years old and under, as well as persons who possess ODFW's Disabled Hunting and Fishing Permits.

CLACKAMAS RIVER: winter steelhead, summer steelhead

Although the Clackamas has stayed in good shape for a few days the effort remains light, likely because anglers have chosen to fish the Columbia or Willamette for spring Chinook. Catch has been slow also, with a few winter steelhead landed, along with reports of an occasional summer in the mix. The weather forecast calls for off and on rain in the next few days, with a spike in flows later this week after some heavier rainfall moves in Wednesday and Thursday. Meanwhile the returns to Clackamas Hatchery have been a bit low but enough fish have come in that the hatchery was able to complete it’s spawning of winter steelhead last week. As of Monday the hatchery has seen about 425 winters return to the holding pond.

When the water drops and clears, try switching to smaller gear such as jigs and beads/single eggs drifted under a bobber. Be willing to move around on your day of fishing as staying in one spot may lead you to miss fish all together. Barton Park provides access to substantial bank fishing throughout winter.

Boat anglers also should concentrate on the lower river from Barton to Carver and Carver to Clackamette as large groups of fish are known to hold in deeper pools. As winter progresses through February begin to move upstream to the Feldheimer to Barton and Barton to Carver section. March is typically the best month for fishing in the upper section of the lower river from McIver Park to Feldheimer.

Good bank access for can be found in many locations along the river from Gladstone, Cross Park, Riverside Park, along Clackamas River Road, Carver, Barton, and McIver parks. Clackamas River Drive closely follows the river below Carver Park, but be sure to not trespass on private property. If you have a drift 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.

USGS hydrological data for April 17 shows river flows nearly unchanged from last week at 3,700 cfs, with a gauge reading of 13.24 feet and the water temperature holding around 44°. All of the readings come from the Estacada gauge near Milo McIver State Park.        
Rainbow Trout

Five year old catches a beauty of a trout.
-Photo by Dustin Audirsch-

CLEAR LAKE: trout

Clear Lake is open to fishing all year, and will be stocked this week with 3,431 hatchery trout of various sizes. Clear Lake is accessed from Hwy. 126 approximately 70 miles east of Springfield. Linn County’s Clear Lake Resort rents cabins and boats.

COAST FORK WILLAMETTE RIVER: trout

The Coast Fork Willamette River will be stocked this week with 1,250 hatchery trout, and is open to fishing all year. Bait use is allowed Apr. 22- Oct. 31, but as of Nov. 1 anglers may only use lures and artificial flies. In addition to five hatchery trout, two wild trout may be kept daily.

COMMONWEALTH LAKE: rainbow trout, bass, bluegill, crappie

Stocked the week of April 17 with 1,000 hatchery trout. This is a three-acre stocked lake within the Commonwealth Lake Park in Beaverton, Oregon. Commonwealth Park is maintained by Tualatin Hills Park and Rec. Amenities include ADA accessible trail, picnic tables, playground, and restrooms.

COTTAGE GROVE POND (ROW RIVER NATURE PARK POND): trout, warmwater species

Stocked the week of April 3 with 1,900 trout. Cottage Grove Ponds are open to year-round fishing and are accessed via an asphalt pathway behind the truck scales on Row River Road. The pond was stocked with a total of 3,250 legal-sized hatchery trout the past two weeks. In addition to fishing, these ponds also offer wildlife viewing opportunities. A fishing dock is available on-site.

COTTAGE GROVE RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater species

Will be stocked this week with 4,250 legal-sized hatchery trout. Cottage Grove Reservoir is south of Cottage Grove and is open to fishing all year.

DETROIT RESERVOIR: trout, kokanee

Reservoir elevation is about 11 feet below conservation pool. Now that storage season has begun, reservoir levels will continue to rise throughout the spring. It will be stocked again this week with 18,000 legal size hatchery rainbow trout. Anglers report good catches of kokanee in the 12-13 inch range. Mongold boat ramp is available for launching boats.

DEXTER RESERVOIR: trout

Stocked the week of April 3 with 2,800 legal-sized rainbow trout. Dexter Reservoir near Lowell is visible from Hwy. 58. Boat and bank access is available from state and county parks. Parking and bank access are also available from the causeway near Lowell. Largemouth bass and some smallmouth are also available to anglers in this reservoir.

DORENA RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater

Will be stocked this week with 6,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. Dorena Reservoir is east of Cottage Grove on Row River Road and is open to fishing all year. Trout and warmwater fish are available. It was also stocked the week of March 27 with 6,000 legal-sized rainbow trout.

DORMAN POND - trout

Stocked the week of April 17 with 1,000 legal-sized hatchery trout. This is an 8-acre pond west of Forest Grove at the junction of Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 6

EAGLE CREEK: winter steelhead

Eagle Creek has been in good shape for fishing in the past few days but few anglers have been out with the winter steelhead run pretty much over. The hatchery had a nice push of fish show up early in the season with several hundred swimming in, but in the past several weeks the returns have slowed down dramatically.

Keep in mind that 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 species, trout

This pond is located at EE Wilson Wildlife Area, about a quarter mile hike from the main parking lot. Recent changes to the fishing regulations now make this a year-round fishery. It will be stocked this week with 2,300 hatchery trout, plus 25 trophy size fish. A valid wildlife area parking permit is required.

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
- Photo by Kevin Clawson-

FALL CREEK: trout

Fall Creek above Fall Creek Reservoir will be stocked this week with 1,750 hatchery trout including 250 larger trout. Open all year for trout. Bait use is allowed Apr 22- Oct 31, but as of Nov. 1, anglers may only use lures and artificial flies. Below Fall Creek Dam the creek is open all year for hatchery Chinook, hatchery steelhead and wild steelhead greater than 24-inches. Five hatchery trout and an additional two wild trout may be harvested daily in the river.

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. For local information regarding the lake and available boat ramps, contact the Lane County Parks Department at 541-682-2000. Currently Orchard Point and Richardson Park boat ramps are available to launch boats.

There is good bank access at several rest stops and campgrounds, and three seasonal boat ramps. Reservoir is pretty much filled up and the boat ramps at Orchard Point, Perkins, and Richardson Park are currently available.

FOSTER RESERVOIR: trout, bass, perch, catfish

Foster Reservoir will be stocked again this week with 10,000 legal size hatchery rainbow trout. 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. At the moment only the boat ramp at Sunnyside Park is available to launch boats.

Look for smallmouth bass and yellow perch near underwater structure and drop-offs. Please remember that only kokanee and adipose fin-clipped trout may be kept as part of the trout bag limit, but there are no limits on size or number of bass. Retention of warmwater fish species such as bluegill, catfish, crappie, and yellow perch is also allowed; no limit on size or number. This reservoir receives hatchery trout in the spring and fall.

FREEWAY LAKE, EAST: bass bluegill crappie

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. Fishing in the spring for warmwater gamefish such as bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish can be very good, especially early and late in the day. It will be stocked this week with 900 hatchery rainbow trout.

GOLD LAKE: brook trout, rainbow trout

Gold Lake is a 100-acre lake located north of the Willamette Pass summit off Hwy. 58 approximately 23 miles southeast of Oakridge. The lake will re-open to anglers May 22.

GREEN PETER RESERVOIR: kokanee, trout, bass

Trout as well as bass are good options for anglers this time of year. Look for them near ledges and drop-offs as well as near underwater structure. Kokanee have also begun to bite as the plankton has started to bloom. Reservoir water levels are in very good shape for this time of year. Currently the reservoir is about 15 feet below full pool. Both Thistle Creek and Whitcomb Island boat ramps are currently available for boaters. This week’s trout stocking will be delayed until next week. It was stocked last week with 9,000 legal-size hatchery rainbow trout.

HALDEMAN POND: trout

Stocked the week of April 17 with 2,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a stocked two-acre pond on the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area that offers good bank access. This site is ideal for kids. A parking permit is required while on the wildlife area. Permits are available from all ODFW license vendors.

HARTMAN POND: trout, crappie, bass, catfish

This is a year-round warmwater and spring trout fishing pond in the Columbia River Gorge, with easy access for non-boating anglers just off Interstate 84. It was stocked with legal- and trophy-sized trout in the spring and also supports year-round populations of crappie, bass and catfish. From I-84, take the Benson State Park exit. The pond is adjacent to the Columbia River adjoining Benson State Recreation Area.
Henry Hagg Lake
Henry Hagg Lake
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

HARRIETT LAKE: trout

Stocked the week of April 17 with 4,000 rainbow trout and 55 trophy trout (2 lbs. or better). 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.

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 17 with 7,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. The lake has been stocked several other times this spring as well.

Hagg Lake, located near Forest Grove, is one of Oregon’s premier warmwater fishing locations, with populations of record-class largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, crappie, and bullhead. It also supports a resident population of native cutthroat trout and is frequently stocked with hatchery trout.

The lake is now open year-round and is stocked regularly throughout the spring and fall. This is a 1,110-acre lake waterbody 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

Stocked the week of April 3 with 4,000 legal-sized hatchery rainbow trout and 100 larger trout. Catch rates for rainbow trout have been good the past couple of weeks in both the Hills Creek and Middle Fork arms. The reservoir was also stocked the week of Feb. 20 with 4,600 rainbow trout of various sizes. This reservoir is located about four miles southeast of Oakridge and is open to year round fishing. It is stocked with 60,000 adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout fingerlings and 100,000 adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook salmon fingerlings annually to provide a harvest fishery the following year.

Trout and salmon must be adipose-fin clipped to be harvested. Large native trout are available for catch-and-release fishing.

HUDDLESTON POND: trout, bass, bluegill

Stocked the week of April 17 with 750 legal-sized hatchery trout and 25 trophy trout. This is a 5-acre pond located within Huddleston Pond Park in the city of Willamina, Ore. A former mill pond, this venue has "kid-friendly" edges, is ADA accessible in places, with a restroom and picnic areas nearby.

JUNCTION CITY POND: trout, crappie

This pond will be stocked this week with about 3,300 hatchery rainbow trout. As a reminder, normal trout regulations apply to these fish: Five fish per day, but only one fish over 20-inches may be kept.

LEABURG LAKE: trout

Leaburg Lake will be stocked with 2,750 hatchery trout this week, and is open to fishing all year. Bait use is allowed Apr. 22- Oct. 31, but as of Nov. 1, anglers may only use lures and artificial flies. All wild trout must be released. Only hatchery fish may be kept. Leaburg Dam closures have ended and the dam should be open as usual.

McKenzie River
McKenzie River
-ODFW Photo-

MCKENZIE RIVER below Leaburg Lake: trout, salmon, steelhead

The McKenzie River below Leaburg Lake will be stocked with 9,000 hatchery trout from Leaburg Town Landing downstream to Hendricks Bridge. All non-adipose fin-clipped trout must be released unharmed. Use of bait is allowed Apr, 22 – Oct, 31 in the mainstem from Hendricks Bridge upstream to Forest Glen Boat Ramp. As of Nov. 1, anglers may only use lures and artificial flies.

The lower McKenzie River is open to retention of adipose fin-clipped salmon and 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.

Leaburg Dam closures have ended and the dam should be open as usual.

MCKENZIE RIVER above Leaburg Lake: trout, steelhead

The McKenzie River above Leaburg Lake is stocked with hatchery trout from Finn Rock to Goodpasture Landing, with some summer releases beginning at Forest Glen boat landing, from late April through mid-September. All non-adipose fin-clipped trout must be released unharmed. As of Nov. 1, anglers may only use lures and artificial flies.

MIDDLE FORK WILLAMETTE RIVER: trout, salmon, steelhead

The Middle Fork Willamette River is open to bait below Dexter Dam only. Reminder: Restrictions from Dexter Dam to appoximately 700 ft downstream to the markers: No angling from the north shore, from a floating device, or while wading (pg 44 in regulations). This river reach is open to retention of adipose fin-clipped salmon and 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 Middle Fork Willamette below Dexter Dam.

The Middle Fork Willamette above Lookout Point and Hills Creek reservoirs is open to fishing using lures and artificial flies. All wild trout must be released upstream of Lookout Point Reservoir. The Middle Fork Willamette River is not stocked with hatchery trout.

MOLALLA RIVER: winter steelhead

River flows have held steady on the Molalla offering good conditions for anglers seeking out some winter steelhead. Rainfall later this week could create a short- term spike in water levels but well short of anything serious. On the down side, so far this year winter steelhead have been extremely slow to move across Willamette Falls and into upper basin tributaries. Steelhead passage at Willamette Falls through April 13 shows only 671 winters passing and moving upstream, a very low number for this date. USGS hydrological data for April 17 shows river flows at 1,520 cfs and a gauge reading of 12.44 feet. All of the readings come from the Canby gauge.

MT HOOD POND: trout, crappie, bluegill

Stocked the week of April 17 with 1,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. Mt. Hood Pond is located on the Mt. Hood Community College campus in Gresham, at 26000 SE Stark St.

Fishing is restricted to youths age 17 and under and holders of ODFW's Disabled Angler permits from April 1 - Aug. 31. It is currently open to anglers of all ages.

PROGRESS LAKE – rainbow trout, brown bullhead

Stocked the week of April 17 with 1,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a 4-acre pond next to the Progress Ridge Town Center in Beaverton. 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.

QUARTZVILLE CREEK: trout

Hatchery trout are stocked in late spring and summer. In winter and early spring there are resident trout and very few anglers. River levels have moderated somewhat to about 800 cfs as of April 17. Conditions best for fishing are below 500 cfs.

Hatchery trout are stocked in late spring and summer. In winter and early spring there are resident trout and very few anglers. River levels have dropped since last week down to about 600 cfs as of April 11. Conditions best for fishing are below 500 cfs.

ROARING RIVER PARK POND: trout

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 seven miles. Park is on the right. It will be stocked this week with 180 hatchery rainbow trout.

SALISH POND: trout, warm water species

West Salish is periodically stocked with trout. Parking is available at the school after 5 p.m. weekdays and all weekend. Parking is no longer available adjacent to the pond along Glisan St. Informational signs regarding use of the area have been posted by the City of Fairview around the pond’s shoreline.

rainbow trout on a stringer
Rainbow Trout on a stringer
-Photo by Bob Swingle-

SALMON CREEK: trout

Salmon Creek near Oakridge will be stocked next week with1,750 hatchery trout, including 250 larger trout. Salmon Creek is open to fishing all year. Bait is allowed Apr. 22 – Oct .31, but as of Nov. 1 anglers may only use lures and artificial flies. Trout are released at multiple locations upstream to Black Creek. Two wild trout per day, 8-inch minimum length, may be kept in addition to five hatchery trout.

SALMONBERRY LAKE: trout, sunfish

Stocked the week of April 11 with 1,500 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: trout

Salt Creek is an unstocked tributary to the Middle Fork Willamette River east of Oakridge. Salt Creek and its tributaries are open to angling all year. As of Nov. 1, anglers may only use lures and artificial flies. Two wild trout may be kept per day, 8-inch minimum length.

SANDY RIVER: winter steelhead

The Sandy continues to offer decent fishing conditions now that flows have stabilized and the water has cleaned up. Angling effort has been fairly light since the winter steelhead run is coming to a close and the summer run is just in it’s early stages. As well, much of the fishing pressure is still happening out on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers where spring Chinook can be found. Springers will soon be entering the lower Sandy if they haven’t already now that May is only a few days away.

There was light effort over the weekend on the Sandy with an occasional wild and hatchery winter steelhead hooked but the overall catch has continued to be sporadic. The number of vehicles parked at the hatchery is usually a good indication of the Cedar Creek action; reports show the lot far from full and few fish going out. More than 1,900 winters have now been collected at ODFW’s Sandy River Hatchery and more than 800 of them were recycled back down to Lewis and Clark boat ramp in February. There has been a handful of summer steelhead swim into the hatchery also.

USGS hydrological data for April 17 shows the Sandy flows virtually unchanged from a week ago at 2,860 cfs, with a gauge reading of 10.15 feet and the water temperature on the Little Sandy at Bull Run hovering around 43° F.

SANTIAM RIVER (NORTH FORK): steelhead, Chinook

As of April 17, flows are around 3,900 cfs at the Mehama gauge; an improvement but still less than ideal for fishing. A few summer steelhead have made it over the falls and one has entered the North Santiam above Stayton, but the bulk of the run is still about a month away from entering the river, along with spring Chinook. River levels best for fishing are below 3,000 cfs.

When the ‘bite’ is on, bobbers and jigs are the preferred fishing 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 hatchery steelhead.

The river is now closed to trout harvest and any trout caught must be released. Trout harvest will re-open on May 22.

SANTIAM RIVER (NORTH FORK) above DETROIT:

This section of the river is open year-round for trout. It is stocked regularly in the summer and anglers may keep up to five trout per day. This section of river is closed to salmon fishing.

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

Flow levels have dropped from last week’s high water and the river is running fairly clear. River flows are currently around 2,500 cfs (as of April 17). Newly arrived summer steelhead are beginning to enter the Willamette but it will be several more weeks before the bulk of these fish will arrive in the Santiam basin. Current conditions

SHERIDAN POND: trout

Stocked the week of April 10 with 300 one-pound and 100 smaller fish. The pond was also stocked the previous week with 1,000 legal-sized (8-inch) rainbow trout.

To get to Sheridan Pond, 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.

SHORTY’S POND: trout

Recently stocked with trout for an ODFW family fishing event. Shorty’s is a 4-acre pond located within Ivor Davies Nature Park in the city of Molalla. It can be accessed by the Fifth St. Trailhead across from Heckard Football Stadium.

SILVER CREEK RESERVOIR: trout, catfish

Stocked in June with 2,600 legals and 200 “pounders.” This is a 65-acre reservoir on Silver Creek 2.5 miles south of Silverton on Hwy. 214.

SMITH RESERVOIR: trout

The Eugene Water & Electric Board in the spring of 2017 will begin a five-year construction project to retrofit, refurbish and upgrade capital equipment at its Carmen-Smith Hydroelectric Project. The work is being conducted in anticipation of a new federal operating license for the project.

The capital construction projects planned for the 2017-2021 time frame will create significant public access constraints due primarily to safety concerns. In order to keep the public and construction personnel safe during the five-year project, EWEB and the Forest Service agreed to close access to Forest Road 730 at the Powerhouse. The closure will deny public access to Trail Bridge Campground, Smith Reservoir and Lake’s End Campground. The closure of the road to the public will begin in March 2017 and continue through 2021.

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

St. Louis Pond
St. Louis Pond
- Photo by Rick Swart-

Stocked the week of April 17 with 700 trout ranging in size from 8-14 inches. Trout were also released the previous week for a family fishing event, and some of those fish may still be available.

St. Louis Ponds is a 240-acre fishing complex of seven ponds owned and managed jointly by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Marion County Parks Department. The site has a 2,300-foot paved ADA footpath with turnouts, fishing platforms, restrooms and picnic tables. It is stocked throughout the year with hatchery trout and has many other species of warmwater fish.

A gate providing access to the last mile of dirt road to the complex is open March 1-Sept. 30, although anglers are still permitted to walk in to fish during the seasonal gate closure. March/April hours are 7 a.m. – 8 p.m.

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, about a mile to the main parking lot.

SUNNYSIDE PARK POND: bass, bluegill

This 4-acre pond is located two miles above the upper end of Foster Reservoir. It was stocked in late March with 1,050 hatchery trout. The pond also offers bluegill and largemouth bass year round. The park has a campground and picnic area and is a great place to take kids fishing. There is also boat ramp access to the Middle Fork arm of Foster Reservoir.

To get there from I-5, take US 20 through the town of Sweet Home and continue around Foster Reservoir to Quartzville Creek road. Take a left and follow this road for two miles to the park.

TIMBER LINN LAKE: rainbow trout

This is a family-friendly fishing pond located within Timber-Linn Memorial Park in Albany. It will be stocked this week with 275 legal size and larger hatchery 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: trout

The Eugene Water & Electric Board in the spring of 2017 will begin a five-year construction project to retrofit, refurbish and upgrade capital equipment at its Carmen-Smith Hydroelectric Project. The work is being conducted in anticipation of a new federal operating license for the project.

The capital construction projects planned for the 2017-2021 time frame will create significant public access constraints due primarily to safety concerns. In order to keep the public and construction personnel safe during the five-year project, EWEB and the Forest Service agreed to close access to Forest Road 730 at the Powerhouse. The closure will deny public access to Trail Bridge Campground, Smith Reservoir and Lake’s End Campground. The closure of the road to the public will begin in March 2017 and continue through 2021.

Trail Bridge Reservoir will remain accessible to anglers from Highway 126 during the construction period, although few hatchery fish will be available. Only adipose fin-clipped trout may be harvested from Trail Bridge Reservoir. Only flies and lures may be used.

TROJAN POND – trout, panfish

Stocked this week with 2,000 legal-sized trout. 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

Walling pond will be stocked this week with 450 hatchery trout. This is an eight-acre privately owned pond located in Salem at the northeast corner of McGilchrist and 16th Streets, S.E.

WALTER WIRTH LAKE: trout, crappie, bass

The lake will be stocked again this week with 2,250 hatchery rainbow trout. As a reminder, the bag limit is five trout per day, but only one over 20 inches. Walter Wirth is a 20-acre lake located within the City of Salem’s Cascades Gateway Park. Good fishing opportunities remain for warm water species.

WAVERLY POND: trout, bluegill, catfish

Waverly Pond is located in Albany and is regularly stocked in fall, winter and spring. The pond will be stocked this week with about 800 hatchery rainbow trout. As a reminder, the bag limit is five fish per day, but only one over 20 inches. 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.

Middle Fork of the Willamette
Middle Fork of the Willamette
-Photo by Martyne Reesman-

WILLAMETTE RIVER: spring Chinook, winter steelhead, summer steelhead, sturgeon

Lower Willamette salmon anglers were able to fish for a second week in a row with the river showing lower flows and clean water. Some heavy rainfall down south in the Willamette Valley did push a bit of muddy water into Oregon City late last week but it didn’t pose a huge issue or appear to impact angling river-wide. As a result ODFW personnel saw an increase in effort late last week and this past weekend, with the lower and middle river still receiving much of the attention.

The overall springer catch on the Willamette continues to be somewhat slow, and based upon ODFW recorded catch numbers it appears a bulk of the fish are still down in the lower river, slowly making their way upstream. Multnomah Channel saw a couple of decent catch days last week but the rest of the river has been sporadic at best, with an occasional fish hooked from Sellwood down to Portland harbor. There were also a few sturgeon anglers out doing fairly well on “catch and release” fishing with sublegals, legals, and oversize hooked.

Winter steelhead passage continues to be dismal but at a couple of spring Chinook passed a few days back. Through April 13th there have been 671 winter steelhead make their way into the upper Willamette via the fish ladder, a very low number for this date, along with 19 summer steelhead.

Beginning Feb. 1, 2017, the use of barbed hooks is allowed when fishing for salmon, steelhead, or trout in Willamette River downstream of Willamette Falls (including Multnomah Channel and Gilbert River) and in lower Clackamas River upstream to Highway 99E Bridge. Barbless hooks are still required when fishing for sturgeon.

USGS hydrological data for the Willamette River on April 17 has flows down some at 24,700 cfs, the water temperature near 50°F, and visibility steady at 3.6 ft.

YAMHILL RIVER and tributaries: trout

The Yamhill and its tributaries are now open year-round for trout under the 2017 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations. Fishing shifts to catch-and-release for trout from Nov. 1 to May 21. Fishing and harvest of warmwater fish is also allowed during this period.

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  Willamette Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, SPRING BEAR, SPRING TURKEY

Turkey Hunt

10 year old Emily used the "mentored youth" program to take her 1st tom with a Rossi 20 gauge shotgun.
-Photo by Will Waddell-

Please remember to check with the landowner for access restrictions prior to entering private lands. Private timberlands access policy. Hunters are reminded to have permission to hunt or make sure hunting is allowed before accessing private lands.

In addition, 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.

SPRING TURKEY opened on April 15. Turkeys are actively strutting and gobbling. Finding a place to hunt is challenging in Northwest Oregon. Most turkey hunting in the Willamette Zone occurs on private lands. Turkeys are primarily found on private lands and are not readily available to the public. Those hunters without local contacts should be out talking to landowners to acquire access to the few and widely scattered flocks. Some hunters knock on landowners’ doors where they see turkeys and ask permission to hunt. To find public land opportunities, consult Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or U.S. Forest Service maps and look for pockets of public land off the main roads, but adjacent to agricultural land and mixed hardwood forests since turkeys key in on acorns, but also feed in meadows on grubs and other insects. Pay special attention to river bottoms in these areas too. At this time of year, turkeys are found at lower elevations in areas with mixed hardwoods (such as oak savannah) and pasture—the type of habitat found mostly on private lands, although some BLM and Forest Service lands feature this habitat. Hone your turkey calling skills by listening to the sounds of live wild turkeys.

BIG GAME

The 2017 COUGAR season is now open until Dec. 31 or the zone quota is met. Remember to purchase a 2017 Hunting License and 2017 Cougar Tag if you are planning to hunt for cougar this year. A productive hunting technique is to use predator calls to mimic a distressed prey species. Approaching cougars can be difficult to see when you are predator calling so hunting with a partner is advised. Most deer and elk have moved out of their wintering areas and cougars will spend more time moving around their territories looking for prey so hunters need to be mobile.

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. Cougar hunters are reminded that it is required to submit the reproductive tract of any female cougar taken.The reproductive tract provides valuable information on the number and frequency of kittens born annually in Oregon and is a critical part of ODFW’s cougar population models. Please review the 2016 Big Game Hunting Regulations before your hunting trip to ensure that you are familiar with all of the requirements.

See 2016 Cougar Regulations for details

Black Bear
Black Bear, by trail camera
-Photo provided by Greg Robinson-

CONTROLLED SPRING BEAR season is open April 1 through May 31 for those hunters who drew a controlled spring bear tag. Tags were allocated through the controlled spring hunt drawing for all hunts except SW Oregon, which is a limited first-come, first-served hunt that sold out in late January this year. Hunters are reminded to check the 2017 Big Game Regulations for their exact hunt boundaries, season dates and requirements for checking in their bear. Skunk cabbage and green grasses are preferred forage items for bears in spring. Early in the season hunters will want to focus on coastal areas or low elevation riparian areas. The key to early success is to target days with some sun and mild weather. Hunters will want to look for areas with abundant green grass or skunk cabbage. Freshly torn up stumps also indicates a bear is in the area.

Spring bear hunting improves later in the season as the bear activity increases. Cascade area hunters will want to pay attention to snow levels in the area they want to hunt. With the above average snow pack this year, biologists expect hunting to be slow in the Cascades until later in April or May.

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 and 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. Bear hunters are reminded that it is helpful to submit the reproductive tract of any female bear taken. The reproductive tract provides valuable information on the number and frequency of cubs born annually in Oregon and is a critical part of ODFW’s black bear population models. Please review the 2017 Big Game Hunting Regulations before your hunting trip to ensure that you are familiar with all of the requirements.

COYOTES Remember to ask for permission to hunt on private lands. Hunter can find coyotes around meadows and brush piles where mice and rabbits are found. Use predator calls to lure coyotes in close can be an effective method for harvesting coyotes. Try calling in the early morning or late afternoon when temperatures are cool. Hunters need a valid hunting license to hunt coyotes on public property.

 Willamette Zone Wildlife Viewing

Return of the osprey

March 21 not only marks the first day of spring, it also marks the day when many 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. Ospreys are excellent fishers and can be seen diving from their perches to grab fish below. Enjoy watching the osprey, but be careful not to disturb them during their critical nesting time (March – August).

Signs of spring

Pacific Treefrog
Pacific Treefrog
Listen to a chorus of Treefrogs
-Photo by Bob Swingle, ODFW-

Look for signs of spring. Indicators include the first blooms on trees and the arrival of sparrows, tree swallows, robins and turkey vultures.

Tree frogs are the most abundant frog in Willamette Valley wetlands. They can be heard this time of year on wet nights especially if the temperature is above 40° F. These frogs are only about an inch long and can be hard to see even where they are plentiful. Although tree frogs are excellent climbers they are rarely found in trees. They can be found at night with a flashlight by quietly following the sound to the source although they will quit calling when you get close. During the day they can often be found under boards or other cover in or near wetlands. They are not common in deeper ponds and permanent water bodies, which are occupied by bullfrogs that will eat the smaller tree frogs. Just about any wetland habitat that has shallow standing water that does not dry up before June is a good place to hear and find these frogs. Their eggs can be located in shallow water seasonal ponds during the month of March. Eggs are about the size of a grape and are actually a cluster of eggs that often appear as one large egg. These egg masses are usually attached to a blade of grass or a twig.

Signs of spring – Now is a good time to watch for signs of spring. Indicators include the first blooms on trees and the arrival of sparrows, tree swallows, robins and turkey vultures.

Spring cleaning for the birds

Spring is just around the corner. Now is just a good time to clean out your songbird and wood duck boxes. Always remove old nesting material to encourage birds to take up residence. The most common birds that use songbird nest boxes are bluebird, swallow, chickadee, nuthatch and wren. Other species that can use other types of nesting boxes and nesting structures are wood duck, Canada goose, purple martin, robin, flicker, downy woodpecker, screech and barn owl and sparrow hawk.

Get ready for summer hummers

It’s time to hang up your feeders for our summer hummers. Avoid the commercial hummingbird mixture you can buy in the store as the red dye can produce digestive problems for these small birds. You can make your own hummingbird food utilizing a 4 parts water to 1 part sugar ratio but always make sure the sugar goes completely into solution before hanging up for use.

ODFW Willamette Valley Wildlife Areas

Corvallis: EE Wilson Wildlife Area

E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area offers a diversity of Willamette Valley habitat types within its 1,788 acres in the mid-Willamette Valley 10 miles north of Corvallis. Easy non-motorized access is available via a grid of paved a gravel roads dating back to the 1940s when the area as used as an Army training base, now managed to preserve wildlife.

A variety of upland gamebirds can be viewed all year along the E.E. Wilson Interpretive Trail. Species to discover along the trail include the dusky-footed wood rat, deer mice, beaver, muskrat, western pond turtles, chickadees, wrens, trumpeter swans, screech owls, squirrels.

Wildlife viewing is seasonal. This time of year is a good time to see raptors and perching birds, which are more visible. Waterfowl are still present in large numbers, and a 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 trail at Royal Ave. on the Fern Ridge Wildlife Area
- Photo by Chris Schubothe, ODFW-

Eugene: Fern Ridge Wildlife Area

Fern Ridge Wildlife Area has extensive wildlife habitat that can be accessed from many access points including Royal Avenue which extends from west Eugene to the reservoir and ends at a gated access point. This is an excellent place to observe wildlife. Berms were built in this area during 2000 and 2001 to retain water along the edge of the reservoir during the winter months when the reservoir is drawn down for flood control. These ponded areas are very attractive to wildlife at this time of year. Also accessible from this access point are natural prairie habitats (to the north and south) that are very rare in the Willamette Valley. Where there are waterfowl, raptors are sure to follow, and these can be seen in this area as well. Look for short-eared owls and peregrine falcons. Also visible from this area are wading birds, such as egrets and herons and various shorebirds.

The East Coyote, West Coyote, Fisher Butte, and Royal Amazon units are closed to access except on Saturdays through April 30. The viewing platforms accessible from the Royal Avenue, Hwy 126 and Neilson Road parking lots remain open to public use daily, year-round.

Fern Ridge Wildlife Area is located five miles west of Eugene on either side of Hwy. 126. The address is 26969 Cantrell Rd., Eugene, OR 97402. A parking permit is required for the wildlife area and can be purchased at ODFW license vendors or any ODFW field office.

Portland: Sauvie Island Wildlife Area

Most of the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area is closed until April 15 to protect wintering waterfowl.

Despite the seasonal closure in sensitive nesting areas, waterfowl viewing is phenomenal on the wildlife area at designated viewing areas, which remain open. Tens of thousands of waterfowl are wintering on the island, and huge flocks can be seen on Sturgeon Lake from ODFW’s Coon Point viewing station. Sandhill cranes are also abundant on the wildlife area this time of year, as are raptors, including bald eagles.

Access to the lake itself is closed this time of year in an effort in an effort to minimize any human impacts on the birds. However, they are still quite visible from the viewing station, which is located next to Reeder Road across from Sauvie Island Kennels. An abundance of ducks and geese can likewise be seen from many other points around the island, as can raptors, including bald eagles, northern harriers, sandhill cranes, red-tailed hawks and American kestrel.

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.

In addition to Coon Point, the best viewing opportunities can be found at the Eastside Viewing Platform and Rentenaar Road. All three require a Sauvie Island Parking Permit.

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 agents, ODFW offices, or online.

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

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   © ODFW. All rights reserved. This page was last updated: 04/19/2017 9:08 AM