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Weekly Recreation Report: Willamette Zone

October 2, 2015

 Willamette Zone Fishing

Steelhead fishing on the Clackamas River
Steelhead fishing on the Clackamas
-Photo by Jessica Sall-

Weekend fishing opportunities

  • Salmon and steelhead is improving in many of the streams around the region as cooler temperatures and precipitation stimulate fish movement.
  • Henry Hagg Lake near Forest Grove has been stocked with 16,000 rainbow trout for some exceptional fall trout fishing in one of the region’s premiere fisheries.
  • Dexter Reservoir near Lowell has been stocked with 5,000 rainbow trout.
  • Smallmouth bass and yellow perch fishing is very good at the moment in Foster Reservoir near Sweet Home. Best places for these fish are near underwater structure and drop-offs.
  • Fall is a great time to head to Oregon’s high mountain lakes. Be aware of local fire conditions, however, as several large wildfires are burning around the state.

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. Take a look to find out when and where Oregon’s hatchery trout are being released around the state.

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.

North Willamette High Lakes Stocking

South Willamette High Lakes Stocking

Check out the new 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 the new 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 will be stocked this week with a total of 560 rainbow trout, including 60 larger trout. Fish are released at multiple locations along the length of the canal, which will be stocked near weekly through early November.

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 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 in June with 4,000 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.

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

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

This is a 64-acre lake located in Blue Lake Park three miles west of Troutdale. This family-friendly park with picnic areas, restrooms, walking trail, and ramp for small boats. Park is maintained by Multnomah County.

BLUE RIVER: trout, steelhead

Blue River above the reservoir was stocked for last time this year in early July. Wild and hatchery trout are available for harvest upstream of the reservoir. All wild trout caught downstream of the reservoir must be released unharmed.

BLUE RIVER RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater species

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 reservoir was last stocked for the season in early July. Neither boat ramp is accessible at the current reservoir elevation.


This fishery is currently open for trout and will remain so until Oct. 31. The river received its final stocking of the year the last week of July with the release of 1,800 legal size rainbow trout. Anglers may keep up to 5 trout per day. Note that the river is closed to salmon fishing year-round.


Carmen Reservoir is accessed via FS Road 750 off Hwy. 126, about two miles south of Clear Lake. It is open to fishing all year. Motor boats are prohibited on Carmen Reservoir. Carmen Reservoir was last stocked for the season in late July.

CLACKAMAS RIVER: summer steelhead, spring Chinook

Fishing remains slow on the Clackamas River as coho are yet to arrive in numbers to get the average angler excited. As with the Sandy, a substantial amount of rain is needed to increase flows and get fish moving into the Willamette, let alone the Clackamas River and Eagle Creek.

Anglers should keep an eye on Willamette Falls fish counts as once coho start moving over the falls in decent numbers (i.e. >50 per day) you can expect them to begin moving into the Clackamas. Another good strategy is to look at the mouth of the river from Clackamette or Meldrum Bar parks and see if fish are rolling as they wait to enter the river.

A couple of light rain showers the past week stimulated some movement of fish, with reports of fair coho catches from Feldheimers to Carver, and a few steelhead landed between Barton and Carver. There are fish to be had but stream flows remain unusually low, making for some challenging fishing conditions.

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. Boaters beware that the low water conditions can make a few spots tough to maneuver through.

USGS hydrological data for Sept. 29 shows river flows down some to 755 cfs, with gauge reading of 10.54 feet and the water temperature down another couple of degrees at 55°. All of the readings come from the Estacada gauge near Milo McIver State Park.

NOTICE: A health advisory was issued Sept. 28 due to high levels of blue-green algae in the Clackamas Cove portion of the Clackamas River, located at Clackamette Park near the river mouth in Oregon City. Water monitoring has confirmed the presence of blue-green algae that can produce toxins that can be harmful to humans and animals. Health officials recommend that people who choose to eat fish from waters where algae blooms are present remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking. For more information, visit and select “algae bloom advisories,” or call the Oregon Public Health Division toll-free information line at 1-877-290-6767.


Clear Lake is open to fishing all year. It was last stocked for the season in mid-August. In addition to seasonally stocked hatchery rainbow trout, naturally reproducing brook trout are also available.

The lake is accessed from Hwy. 126 approximately 70 miles east of Springfield. Cabins and row boats are available for rent from Clear Lake Resort.


The Coast Fork Willamette River was last stocked for the season in May. In addition to any remaining hatchery trout, will trout may also be harvested through Oct. 31. Bait use is allowed during the same period.

Commonwealth Lake
Commonwealth Lake
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW

COMMONWEALTH LAKE: trout, bass, bluegill, crappie

This is a three-acre lake within the Commonwealth 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 Ponds provide good warmwater fishing opportunities (see 65 Places to go Fishing in Lane County). 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. This pond also offers wildlife viewing opportunities and is open to fishing all year.

COTTAGE GROVE RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater species

Cottage Grove Reservoir provides good warmwater fishing opportunities (see 65 Places to go Fishing in Lane County). This reservoir was last stocked for the season in April. It will be stocked again in October. The reservoir is south of Cottage Grove and is open to fishing all year. Only Lakeside Park boat ramp is accessible at current levels.

CRESWELL POND (GARDEN LAKE): trout, warmwater species

Garden Lake (Creswell Pond) has been stocked for the last time this season. Warmwater fish should continue to be available, although aquatic vegetation can be a challenge for anglers. 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.

DETROIT RESERVOIR: trout, kokanee

This reservoir receives over 100,000 trout throughout the year. It was stocked again last week with 5,000 legal-size hatchery rainbow trout, and there should be plenty of holdover trout as well.

Kokanee fishing is winding down as they prepare for their spawning run, but there are plenty of trout available, especially near submerged tree stumps and ledges. Check with local outfitters in the town of Detroit for fishing conditions. Currently the Mongold State Park low-water ramp is only few feet below the water level. By next week this last boat ramp will become unavailable for launching boats as the Army Corps of Engineers continues to release water for downstream needs.


Dexter Reservoir was recently stocked with 5,000 rainbow trout. These trout are larger than legal-sized fish and should put up a good fight! This will be the last stocking for Dexter Reservoir until spring.

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 Hwy. 58. Largemouth bass and some smallmouth are available to anglers in this reservoir.

DORENA RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater

Dorena Reservoir provides good warmwater fishing opportunities (see 65 Places to go Fishing in Lane County). Dorena Reservoir has been stocked for the last time this summer. It will be stocked with trout again in mid-October. The reservoir is east of Cottage Grove on Row River Road and is open to fishing all year. Trout and warmwater fish are available. Baker Bay boat ramp is accessible at the current reservoir level.


Stocked with rainbow trout in the spring. This is an eight-acre pond west of Forest Grove at the junction of Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 6.

EAGLE CREEK: spring Chinook

Eagle Creek appears to be about as low as its been in years with drought conditions holding on. The recent rainfall in the local foothills did little to change the creek flows. Should the area get some substantial ongoing precipitation there’s a good chance that coho will move into the Clackamas River then on up into Eagle Creek.

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.”

Estacada Lake
Estacada Lake
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-


Stocked with rainbow trout in August.

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.


Fall Creek upstream of Fall Creek Reservoir (northeast of Lowell) was last stocked for the season in June. Native trout are legal to harvest in Fall Creek upstream and downstream of the dam through October.


Fall Creek Reservoir is open to fishing all year, but boat access is limited due to low flows this spring. The North Shore boat ramp near the dam is unlocked from approximately 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is accessible to boaters.


Stocked with rainbow trout in August.

This is a 25-acre reservoir located 1.1 miles southeast of Estacada on Hwy. 224 next to a PGE hydro plant. No boats, walk-in only.

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 all boat ramps except Perkins Peninsula are available. 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 April to June, 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. Water level remains good with only the Caulkins boat ramp currently unavailable. It was stocked with 5,000 legal size hatchery trout last week. Smallmouth bass and yellow perch fishing is very good at the moment. Best places for these fish are near underwater structure and drop-offs.

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.

FREEWAY LAKE, EAST: bass bluegill crappie

Trout stocking season is over for Freeway Lake this year, although there could be some holdovers. 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 for warmwater gamefish such as bass, bluegill, crappie, and catfish can be very good, especially early and late in the day.

Green Peter Reservoir
Green Peter
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

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.

Kokanee fishing is winding down with the fish preparing for their spawning run up the rivers.Holdover trout and smallmouth bass can be found near tree stumps and near drop-offs in all parts of the reservoir.

NOTICE: As of Sept. 28, all boat ramps are no longer in the water. Water is currently being released for power generation and for downstream needs and it is not advisable to launch large boats from this boat ramp. Water levels are not expected to rise until Dec. 1.


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 Aug. 24 with 334 trophy-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.


Last stocked in June with 1,250 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.

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

The scheduled release of 16,000 trout at Hagg Lake this week is on. This popular lake has already been stocked several times this year and has an impressive array of resident fish species.

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.

HIGH MOUNTAIN LAKES: trout (rainbow, brook, cutthroat)

There are several mountain lakes available in the area for day use or overnight camping that require only a short hike into them. Many are easy day hikes, perfect for packing in a lunch and doing some fishing then heading home in early evening.

Many of these small, pristine lakes get very little use, and anglers will often find the solitude incredible. If you plan to camp keep in mind that overnight temperatures at the higher elevations have become quite chilly as fall approaches. Given the current high fire danger you should check on restrictions regarding open campfires.

Maps should be available from the local U.S. Forest Service office. Lists of stocked Willamette basin high cascade lakes are available on-line – see Willamette Zone, North and South Willamette High Lakes.

HILLS CREEK RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater fish

This reservoir is located about four miles southeast of Oakridge and is open to year round angling. Anglers can find largemouth bass and crappie in this reservoir in addition to trout. The reservoir was recently stocked with approximately 5,600 better-than-legal sized fish, the final release of catchable sized trout this year. Legal trout releases 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 reach harvestable size the following year. Trout and salmon must be adipose-fin clipped to be harvested. Large native trout are available for catch-and-release fishing.

Only Packard Creek Boat Ramp is accessible at the current reservoir level.


Huddleston Pond
Huddleston Pond
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-

Hills Creek above Hills Creek Reservoir is not stocked, but native fish are available for harvest. Use of bait is allowed through Oct. 31.

HUDDLESTON POND: trout, bass, bluegill

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 was stocked with rainbow trout in June. The pond 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

Junction City is a popular stocked trout fishing pond located about two miles south of Junction City on Hwy. 99W on the west side of the highway. There is excellent access around the entire 8-acre pond. It was last stocked in June and stocking will likely resume in December with the onset of cooler weather. As a reminder, zone regulations apply: five trout daily may be kept and only one over 20-inches.


Leaburg Lake was stocked for the last time this season just before Labor Day. Adipose fin-clipped trout may be retained; all wild trout must be released unharmed. This waterbody also benefits from upriver stockings that continued through mid-September. Use of bait is allowed during trout season (through October).

Leaburg Dam is generally closed to all vehicle and pedestrian traffic from 8am-noon and 1pm-4pm Monday to Friday. Check EWEB’s website for current information and updates regarding dam access.

MCKENZIE RIVER below Leaburg Lake: trout, salmon, steelhead

The McKenzie River below Leaburg Lake is stocked with hatchery trout from the Leaburg Town Landing downstream to Hendricks Bridge. This stretch of river was boat stocked for the last time this season in early September. All non-adipose fin-clipped trout must be released unharmed.

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

Leaburg Dam is generally closed to all vehicle and pedestrian traffic from 8am-noon and 1pm-4pm Monday to Friday. Check EWEB’s website for current information and updates regarding dam access.

Spring Chinook salmon staging to spawn right now are often visible in the McKenzie River from the viewing platform in front of Leaburg Hatchery. Remember to plan your visit around dam closures!

MCKENZIE RIVER above Leaburg Lake: trout, steelhead

The McKenzie River above Leaburg Lake was recently boat-stocked for the last time this season from Finn Rock to Ben and Kay Dorris Park with 2,750 hatchery trout. All non-adipose fin-clipped trout must be released unharmed.

The river is open to retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead and non-adipose fin-clipped steelhead greater than 24-inches long up to Trail Bridge Dam. A Columbia River Basin Endorsement is required for anglers targeting salmon and steelhead in the McKenzie.

Bait use is allowed downstream of the Forest Glen boat ramp, which coincides with the portion of the river stocked with hatchery trout.

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

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 through Oct. 31. This reach of river is not 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: spring Chinook

The Molalla River is still extremely low and clear, although the water temperature has come down to normal.

USGS hydrological data for the Molalla River on Sept. 29 shows flows at 46 cfs with a gauge reading of 9.69 feet.

MT HOOD POND: trout, crappie, bluegill

The next stocking at Mt. Hood Pond has been rescheduled for the week of Oct. 12. The seasonal restriction limiting fishing to youths and disabled anglers was lifted Aug. 31 so the pond is now open to the general public.

Mt. Hood Pond is located on the Mt. Hood Community College campus in Gresham, at 26000 SE Stark St.


The reservoir was stocked with 30,000 trout over the summer, ending in mid-September. No more stockings are planned for 2015.

North Fork is a 350-acre reservoir of the Clackamas River behind North Fork Dam approximately 5.2 miles east of Estacada, Ore.

Fishermen are reminded that the boat ramp and marina at Promitory Park is closed to all public access until the summer of 2016 while PGE constructs a surface collector to improve the downstream passage of native salmon and steelhead juveniles at North Fork Dam.

All other access points to North Fork Reservoir are open, and ODFW will stock the lake with hatchery trout as in the past. For more information about the closure, visit PGE’s website (pdf)


Stocked in June with 2,800 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is the largest of more than 200 lakes within the Olallie Lake Scenic Area. Located on the southern edge of the Mt. Hood National Forest it is a popular summer recreational destination for people from Portland and Salem, Ore.

There are three campgrounds and a rustic cabin resort on this lake as well as a hiking trail that encircles the perimeter. Yurts, cabins, and boat rentals are available at Olallie Lake Resort. There is a boat ramp at Peninsula Campground on the southwest shore of the lake. Camping is also available at Olallie Meadows Campground and Paul Dennis Campground. Olallie Lake is also a popular jumping off point for backpackers who want to fish the surrounding high lakes or access the Pacific Crest Trail.

PROGRESS LAKE: trout, brown bullhead

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.


Stream above Green Peter Reservoir provides excellent opportunities to fish for trout, with good bank access along most of its length. Trout season is open until Oct. 31.

The river was stocked for the last time this year on July 22 with 2,000 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. Flows are extremely low, so stealth will be necessary to catch fish.

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.

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
-Photo by Roger Smith-


Salmon Creek was stocked in August for the last time this season. Trout are released at several locations up to Black Creek. Bait use is allowed through Oct. 31. Both native and hatchery trout are available for harvest.


Salt Creek is a tributary to the Middle Fork Willamette River east of Oakridge and is open to trout harvest through October. This stream is not stocked, but native trout are available for harvest and bait use is allowed during trout season (through Oct. 31).

SANDY RIVER: spring Chinook, summer steelhead

Coho are yet to arrive in the Sandy Basin this fall as flows continue to be low with the lack of significant rain. A few coho can be found down low in the system and at the mouth of Cedar Creek but the majority of fish caught in the last couple of weeks are actually summer steelhead that are in good shape in spite of being in the river for several months now. Anglers should expect fish movement to pick up as soon as enough rain falls to actually affect river levels. So far, just about all precipitation to date has soaked into the ground and not impacted tributary flow. Coho are being caught in the Columbia near the Sandy so anglers should expect fish to begin entering the lower river even days before a rain storm actually arrives.

Despite the fact there is no hatchery program for fall Chinook in the basin anglers may want to check the Sandy out for fall run fish as the run into the Columbia River is tremendous this year. The Sandy run of fall Chinook is composed of both tule origin and later-run "bright" Chinook that can be very abundant in years when the Columbia return is large. Concentrate on the reach from Oxbow to Lewis & Clark and you may just run into a pod of hatchery coho entering the system looking for home at Sandy Hatchery.

USGS hydrological data for the Sandy River on Sept. 29 shows flows at 299 cfs with a gauge reading of 7.61 feet. The water temperature is down near 49° now so we’ve seen big improvement on that front.

SANTIAM RIVER (NORTH FORK): steelhead, Chinook

Fishing for Chinook is closed until Oct. 15 to protect spawning adults, but steelhead are still available to anglers, mostly in the upper sections. A recent surge in migrating adult summer steelhead over Willamette Falls provide some action in lower sections of the river as well. In addition, coho are beginning to show up in the basin as well. As a reminder, fishing for coho below the Stayton-Scio bridge is open year-round, but above the bridge is closed to coho angling until Oct. 15. Since this is peak spawning time for adult Chinook, anglers are reminded to avoid targeting or approaching actively spawning fish in order to minimize stress.

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 hatchery steelhead. Trout fishing opened May 23. Anglers are allowed to keep up to 5 fin-clipped trout per day through Oct. 31.

River levels best for fishing are below 3,000 cfs at the Mehama gauge (currently the Mehama gauge is around 1,540 cfs as of Sept. 28. Current conditions


This section of the river is currently open to trout fishing and will remain open until Oct. 31. The river received its final stocking of 3,000 legal size rainbow trout for the year the last week of July. Holdover and resident trout can be found throughout the river. Anglers may keep up to 5 trout per day.

This section of river is closed to salmon fishing.

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

Chinook fishing is now closed on the South Santiam, but there are still summer steelhead available to the angler, including several hundred new fish that have only recently arrived in the basin. Coho are also found in the river below Lebanon.

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. Extra water from upstream reservoirs have been released in recent days causing a small increase in flows up to 1,200 cfs at Waterloo.

Since this is peak spawning time for adult Chinook, anglers are reminded to avoid targeting or approaching actively spawning fish in order to minimize stress.

Sheridan Pond
Sheridan Pond
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-


Last stocked with rainbow trout in June. This is a 2 ½-acre pond located on the edge of Sheridan. 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.


Stocked the week of Aug. 24 with 6,300 legal- and larger-sized rainbow trout. This is a 65-acre reservoir on Silver Creek 2.5 miles south of Silverton on Hwy. 214.


Smith Reservoir was last stocked for the season in late June. Smith Reservoir is north of Trail Bridge Reservoir and is accessed by turning off Hwy. 126 at Trail Bridge Reservoir and following USFS 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.


Stocked in June with 2,000 rainbow trout. The South Fork Yamhill from its confluence with the North Yamhill near McMinnville, upstream about 20 miles to Rock Creek near Grand Ronde is stocked with rainbow trout. Trout are released in multiple locations between Gold Creek Road Bridge and Willamina. This river has the distinction of being one of the few rivers in the state stocked with hatchery trout.

Yamhill River Road runs parallel to much of this section and provides adequate turnouts and parking at several locations near the river. The remaining 15 miles of river open to trout fishing has some public access but also meanders across private lands. ODFW reminds anglers to be aware of and respectful toward private property rights along the river.

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

Trout stocking scheduled for the week of Sept. 14 has been postponed until early October due to poor water conditions.

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. More primitive trails are also available.
A gate providing access to the last mile of dirt road to the complex is closed Oct. 1 - March 1, although anglers are still permitted to walk in to fish.

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 2 miles above the upper end of Foster Reservoir. Trout stocking season has ended for Sunnyside Pond although a few holdovers may remain. 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 I5, 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.


Stocked in June with 11,000 rainbow trout. Timothy Lake is a 1,400-acre lake about 80 miles east of Portland past Mt. Hood. From Hwy 26 turn onto Forest Rd 42 (Skyline Rd), and then west to Forest Rd 57.


Trillium Lake
Trillium Lake
-Photo by Jessica Sall, ODFW-

Trail Bridge Reservoir is open to year-round fishing. This reservoir was stocked for the last time this season in late July. 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. Only flies and lures may be used.


Stocked Sept. 30 with 6,000 legal-sized rainbow trout.

Trillium Lake is a 60-acre lake located approximately three miles east of Government Camp off of Hwy. 26.

This lake is popular for fishing, camping and photography, often clearly reflecting Mount Hood. Adjacent Trillium Lake Campground is administered by the Zigzag Ranger District of the Mount Hood National Forest. The large campground features a seasonal boat ramp and wheelchair-accessible floating dock.


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.

WILLAMETTE RIVER: sturgeon, spring Chinook

Coho have started moving into the river, although in smaller numbers than usual for this time of year. Anglers are still waiting for decent rain to move into the area and when it does the avid coho anglers should start fishing the Meldrum Bar and Gladstone areas near the mouth of the Clackamas River.

Daily counts at the Willamette Falls fish ladder have switched from spring Chinook to fall Chinook as springer counts are officially over for 2015. The final official tally ending Aug. 15 shows 51,046 adult spring Chinook passed through the ladder at the falls, a total well above preseason expectations.

The same scenario does not apply for summer steelhead as the overall count on summers continues at a somewhat dismal number, sitting at 3,640 through Sept. 27. Coho passage has begun but it’s early to pay close attention to those numbers, which hit 309 on Sept. 27.

Hydrological numbers for the Willamette on Sept. 29 show down slightly to 6,470 cfs, a water temperature in Oregon City down to 63°, and visibility still incredible at 9 ft.

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  Willamette Zone Hunting


2015 Big Game Hunting Forecast

deer hunt

Damion's Buck
– Photo by Kelly Kusak –

Know before you go!

Hunters will face fire restrictions and some closures and they need to know what those are before they go. More info. Some good resources for fire information: InciWeb, National Forest webpages, Oregon Dept Forestry

Fire danger is high to extreme in the Willamette Zone. Hunters are asked to follow all Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) fire restrictions while hunting or scouting. ODF requires each vehicle to be equipped one axe at least 26 inches in length, with a head weighing at least 2 pounds; one shovel at least 26 inches in length, with a blade at least 8 inches wide; and one gallon of water or one fully charged and an operational 2.5 lb. or larger fire extinguisher.

Many private landowners have closed access to their lands due to the fire danger. Please remember to check with the landowner for access restrictions prior to entering private lands. Private timberlands access policy.

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.

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

Big Game

WESTERN OREGON DEER (opens Oct. 3): As usual for this time of year, temperature plays a major factor in deer and elk activity levels. Plan ahead to properly handle harvested animals is essential to avoid spoiling meat. The animals can be expected to spend most of their time feeding in the late evenings and early mornings. During the heat of the day, they will typically bed in shady, cool locations such as North slope timber stands.

Hunters should use binoculars to glass for animals in the early morning hours and hunt bedding areas during the heat of the day. As the temperatures begin to cool, animal activity during the day will begin to increase. The elk rut is in full swing and bulls are going to be found with cows. Hunters may have success with cow and bugle calls if they don’t over call. Please remember to check with landowners for current access restriction before hunting on private lands. Many private timberland owners have closed access to their lands due to fire danger.

Return black-tailed deer teeth!

Successful black-tailed deer hunters are asked to return a tooth from their deer. See how to properly remove black-tailed deer teeth (pdf). Postage-paid envelopes are available at license sales agents or ODFW offices. If you can’t pick up an envelope, send the tooth to ODFW, Wildlife Population Laboratory, 7118 NE Vandenberg Ave, Adair Village, OR 97330. Include the following information with the tooth: Your name and address, sex and species of animal (e.g. buck deer), antler points, hunter ID#, date harvested, Wildlife Management Unit or Hunt where harvested, drainage or landmark. ODFW staff use the teeth to determine the age of the animals, which is needed for population modeling and management efforts.

Fall Bear To be successful, hunters will want to become familiar with a variety of berry producing plants such as black cap raspberry, Armenian blackberry, trailing blackberry, cascara, blue huckleberry, and elderberry. Hunters that note the location of a variety of berry patches will be able to move throughout the season to stay on the best available food source. Experienced bear hunters may find that the berries in their favorite hunting spots are ripening about three to four weeks earlier than in a typical year. In the Cascades, blue huckleberries ripen in September of a typical year but biologist report they are already ripe in many places this year. Early in the hunting season bears will be spending the majority of their time in cool and shaded areas trying to avoid the heat. Although bears are most active in the mornings and evenings, on relatively cooler days bears may be active all day. They will be feeding on the abundant berry crops primarily in the early morning hours so hunters will need to be up and on stands before daylight. When out scouting, hunters should be looking for bear sign close to streams, lakes and adjacent to cool north slopes of timber. As other big game seasons are starting this fall be sure to have a fall bear tag with you while in the field to avoid missed opportunities.

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 2015 Big Game Hunting Regulations before your hunting trip to ensure that you are familiar with all of the requirements.


- Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Cougar hunters will have their best success calling cougars to them with predator calls that mimic a distressed deer fawn or elk calf. Approaching cougar can be difficult to see when you are predator calling so hunting with a partner is advised. Dry weather conditions will concentrate the cougars prey species where food sources are more abundant and palatable such as around lakes, ponds, streams and wetlands. Hunters should spend time scouting these areas to increase their opportunity for success. As other big game seasons are starting this fall be sure to have a cougar tag with you while in the field to avoid missed opportunities.

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. Pick up the 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.

Upland Game Bird

Mountain and California Quail – Open from Sept. 1 to Jan 31 in Western Oregon. These brush loving birds are often found running between hiding and feeding areas in both brushland and riparian zones. Please remember that the daily bag limit is 10 birds and the possession limit is 30 birds singly or in aggregate when both California and mt. quail seasons are concurrent. Remember that the head or one fully feathered wing must be left attached while you are in the field or transporting the bird(s) home. ODFW is conducting a survey to determine Mountain Quail locations east of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon. Please report and observations, including the date, specific location, county of observation, and number of quail to your local ODFW office.

Forest Grouse – Open from Sept. 1 - Jan 31. The forest grouse group collectively includes the Ruffed and Blue (dusky/sooty) grouse species. Look for grouse along the edges of timber patches during morning and evening times. Remember that the daily bag limit is 3 of each species and possession limit is 9 of each species. Remember that the head or one fully feathered wing must be left attached while you are in the field or transporting the bird(s) home. Review the information provided in the 2015-2016 Oregon Game Bird Regulations for more details.

Your participation is greatly needed

ODFW would appreciate your help in obtaining important information about the health of grouse and mountain quail populations. To do so ODFW would like the tail and one whole wing from any grouse or mountain quail harvested. Grouse and mt. quail wings and tails provide ODFW biologist important information about the health of populations. What to do; remove one entire wing and whole tail including small feathers, place in paper collecting bag provided at ODFW officers or use your own (1 bird per bag), mark the bag with species, date harvested, county of harvest and general location, and drop it off at local ODFW offices or at designated collection sites. If there is a delay in dropping off your specimen, please freeze it.

Migratory Game Birds

Duck Hunt
Greg Angstrom and his father Rich enjoying the September Youth Waterfowl Hunt on the Lower Columbia River.
-Photo by James Houk-

Mourning Dove – Open statewide from Sept. 1 - Oct. 30. Scout for habitat with plenty of perch locations near open areas. Many doves leave Oregon once fall weather starts approaching so hunting is best early in the season. Remember that the head or one fully feathered wing must be left attached while you are in the field or transporting the bird(s) home. Review the information provided in the 2015-2016 Oregon Game Bird Regulations for more details. A larger and similar looking dove – the Eurasian collared dove is an invasive species and can be hunted year-round with just a hunting license.

Band-tailed Pigeon – Closes Sept. 23. Pass shooting is the most common method to bag a few pigeons during the season. Set up in low saddles or off points where pigeons tend to enter and leave clear cuts and other openings. Look for concentrations of elderberry and other fruit bearing plants.

Youth Waterfowl season is open Sept. 26-27.This opportunity is only open to hunters 15 years of age and younger. Hunters may take ducks, mergansers, coots, at the established bag limits. Please refer to page 26 of the 2015-16 Oregon Game Bird Regulations for details.

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.


Field care of harvested wildlife

The proper handling of harvested wildlife is the most important criteria to ensure its value as table fare. After properly tagging the animal, the hunter should remove the entrails and get the hide off to start the cool-down process. Wipe down the carcass with a dry cloth to remove any foreign material and keep the carcass sanitary by placing it into a clean dry cloth game bag. Warm weather conditions (greater than 50 degrees) can increase bacteria loads so hunters need to get the carcass cooled/ refrigerated as soon as possible. Never place the carcass inside of a plastic bag, tarp or in water since wet or damp meat spoils more quickly. Talk to your local meat processor or butcher to get additional information concerning the proper care of wildlife.

Hunters who drew a controlled tag are reminded to purchase it no later than the day before the hunt begins.

Don’t forget to report your hunt results. Anyone who purchases a big game or turkey tag must report hunt results online or by phone. Reporting is required even if you did not fill your tag or go hunting. More information

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.

Hunters should be preparing now for upcoming rifle big game hunting seasons this fall. Sight-in and practice with your firearms to ensure that when you do get the chance to harvest an animal you are confident in your shooting skills. Many of the local gun ranges will have public sight-in days where you can practice your shooting

Be safe, be responsible and be legal.

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 Willamette Zone Wildlife Viewing

Be on the lookout for Oregon’s native turtles.

western pond turtle
Western Pond Turtle
-Photo by Keith Kohl, ODFW-

If you keep your eyes peeled, you might see one of Oregon’s two native turtle species, which are found around slow moving water in the Columbia and northern Willamette basins. The two Oregon natives – the western painted and western pond turtles – can be seen on basking on logs in ponds, lakes, and side channels of rivers and large streams. Basking is critical to a turtle’s shell health and aids in food digestion. This is also the time of the year when turtles are often spotted on land, searching for places to lay their eggs. They may have young ones at this time as well so be careful not to disturb underground nests, if possible. If you see a native turtle that seems to be headed somewhere, remove any hazards in its way and let it continue.

Unfortunately, it is also the time of the year when two non-native turtles can be by observed. Red-eared sliders with characteristic red markings “ears” can be seen basking on logs and coming to land to nest. If you see a very large turtle with a big head, long tail and alligator-like appearance, you’ve found a snapping turtle. Both of these turtles are considered invasive and should not be released into the wild. Please report sightings of non-native turtles to ODFW.

Report a turtle sighting | Photos of turtles

Bats are out and about this time of year

Oregon has 15 species of bats most of which occur in the Willamette Valley. Look for bats foraging for insects at dusk. Anywhere close to water is a good place to see bats and they may even fly over your back yard. These little creatures are good to have around as they can eat up to 600 mosquitoes in an hour! The valley wildlife refuges are all good places to see these fascinating animals. Bats are the only flying mammal. A nocturnal species, they have a nifty ability called echolocation that allows them to make high-pitched sounds and then listen to the echo of those sounds to locate where objects are. Using echolocation or sound waves, they can find even the tiniest insect! Some of Oregon’s bats migrate south in winter; some stay here and hibernate.

Lots of critters to see down on the river

Beaver, river otter, mink, muskrats and the introduced non-native nutria are common residents along waterways in the Willamette Valley. They can be seen by quietly floating the Willamette River in a canoe or other non-motorized boat and watching the shoreline. They are most visible early in the morning or in the evening when other boat traffic is minimal. Occasionally these animals are seen in the Delta ponds or from the river bike path in Eugene and Springfield or in many of the farm ponds on the valley floor. The non-native nutria has displaced the muskrat from much of the Willamette Valley.

Chapman Swifts

Vaux's Swifts at Chapman Elementary School, Portland
-by Bob Swingle, ODFW-

Additional wildlife viewing opportunities

Portland area

Swift Watch 2015 has begun in northwest Portland. Vaux’s Swifts are using the Chapman Elementary School chimney as an evening roost during their fall migration. Grab a seat on the school lawn and in neighboring Wallace Park to watch and listen as the birds garhter overhead. On most evenings, Portland Audubon volunteers will be on hand to share information about Vaux’s Swifts.

From late August to early September, swifts gather at migratory roosts—which include chimneys and large hollow trees—before traveling to their winter homes in Central and South America. In the fall, up to 40,000 birds may use the larger roosts at one time. Oregon City High School’s large brick chimney is one place to witness thousands of birds inhabiting a single roost site. Another is Chapman Elementary School in northwest Portland.

More information on Vaux’s Swifts in Portland.

Sauvie Island

Sauvie Island Wildlife Area

Shorebirds have started migrating south and have been viewed moving through. Sturgeon Lake is an excellent place to view them. Approximately 75-100 white pelicans were seen on Mud Lake on the wildlife area recently. Northern harriers, red-tailed hawks, and American kestrel may still be seen on the wildlife area and other points on the island.

The best opportunities for viewing are Coon Point, Eastside Viewing Platform and Rentenaar Road.

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.

Eugene Area

American White Pelicans
American White Pelicans
-Photo by Maxine Wyatt-

Fern Ridge Wildlife Area

Watch the sky as white pelicans ride the thermals and spiral in the airspace above Fern Ridge Lake. These large white birds with black wing-tips have been observed frequently on the lake and in the flooded impoundments on the Fisher Butte unit. There are many access points around Fern Ridge Lake that provide entry for hiking, birdwatching, canoeing and enjoyment of the outdoors. 

Visitors are reminded that dogs are welcome on the wildlife area but must remain on leash at all times Fern Ridge Wildlife Area remains open daily for public use throughout the summer months. Bird checklists and maps are available at area parking lots or by contacting the Wildlife Area headquarters at (541) 935-2591. 

Directions to Fern Ridge Wildlife Area.

Monmouth Area

EE Wilson Wildlife Area.

There are lots of deer, shorebirds and waterfowl to see on the Wildlife Area – look for goose, mallard, hooded merganser and wood duck broods. Wildlife viewing remains good for waterfowl and shorebirds. Neotropical migrants in the area include yellow-breasted chat, American goldfinch, various swallows, warblers, thrush, kinglet and common yellowthroat.

Spring and summer are great times for birdwatching migrants as well as waterfowl including mallards, wood duck, hooded merganser, western Canada goose. Snipe and other shorebirds are periodically seen.

Note: Dogs are required to be on a leash inside the wildlife area boundary. Rifles and pistols are prohibited year round.

Directions to EE Wilson Wildlife Area.

Springfield Area

Fern Ridge Wildlife Area

Red Fox
Red Fox
-Photo by Tanna Reed-

Fern Ridge Wildlife Area is open daily for public use providing great wildlife viewing opportunities. (One section of levee in the western portion of the Fisher Butte unit is posted closed to provide wildlife sanctuary.)

Observant visitors may catch a glimpse of black tailed deer and furbearers including beaver and otter, mink, red fox and coyotes. Some of the unusual and special bird species to be on the lookout for include white pelicans, black terns, band-tailed pigeons, yellow-headed blackbirds, osprey and bald eagles. This is a great time of year to look for waterfowl, shore birds, wading birds, songbirds, raptors, reptiles, and amphibians. 

There is an elevated viewing platform in the Fisher Butte unit just south of Royal Avenue that is open year-round. A second viewing platform is under construction and scheduled for installation by the end of June. The new viewing platform will be located 1/4 mile north of the Fisher Butte unit parking lot on Hwy 126.

Visitors are reminded that dogs must be kept on leash at all times. Visitors are also cautioned that there have been recent vehicle break-ins at Fern Ridge and in local parks, so please secure your valuables before departing your vehicle. Parking areas are located along Highway 126, Nielson Road, Cantrell Road, Territorial Road, and Clear Lake Road. Contact the wildlife area headquarters, (541) 935-2591 if you have any questions.

Directions to Fern Ridge Wildlife Area.

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