Welcome to the 2013
Spring Fishing Guide
Willamette Zone (pdf)
|A 12+ pound Willamette River Steelhead
- Oregon Fish and Wildlife-
Check this out:
2013 Family Fishing and Free Fishing Weekend events.
- New Google map will help you find your way to all trout stocking locations in the South and North Willamette zones.
- Take a friend fishing during Free Fishing Weekend June 1-2 – no license required!
Trout anglers are reminded that most streams draining the Cascades on the east side of the north Willamette Valley are closed to trout fishing until May 25. Many of these streams support winter steelhead, including the Clackamas, Sandy, Molalla, Tualatin, Yamhill, and North and South Santiam rivers, and the late opener is designed to protect the out-migrating juveniles, or smolts. On May 25, many of these waters will open to catch-and-release fishing for trout with fishing restricted to artificial flies and lures. The season remains open through Oct. 31. Check the 2013 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for more information.
In recent years, ODFW has begun stocking some Willamette Zone streams with sterile triploid trout in order to increase fishing opportunities with fish that cannot spawn with wild fish. These stocking programs have been used to improve trout fishing in streams near population centers while minimizing the risk to wild fish populations.
SALMON AND STEELHEAD
A moderate run of Willamette spring salmon are forecast for 2013. Biologists estimate about 36,000 spring chinook will cross into the upper Willamette River this year. On average, the majority of the spring chinook come over the falls in May and June. The daily bag limit for spring chinook is two adipose fin-clipped fish per day. It generally takes anywhere from 2-4 weeks for these fish to make it to the upper Willamette basin in the Eugene-Springfield area.
A total of 7,000 spring chinook are forecast to enter the Clackamas River this year. Catch of Clackamas River stock spring chinook usually peaks in May and June, with the run ranging from late March through June. Spring chinook in the lower Willamette are also readily available from late-March through June, or when the water temperature rises to the mid-fifties. Chinook usually show up in catchable numbers around the middle of April but this is very dependent on water conditions, as evidenced this year when high, muddy flows have delayed the fishery. Only salmon and steelhead with a clipped adipose fin may be retained.
Anglers should find good opportunities for spring chinook released as smolts in previous years from acclimation sites along the Clackamas River. Adult chinook returning from releases along the lower Clackamas River between Carver and Barton can be identified by a combination of adipose fin/left maxillary fin clip. This year is also the second year for returns of adult spring chinook released at the Eagle Creek acclimation site and these fish can be identified by an adipose fin/right maxillary fin clip. Anglers can expect to find these fish throughout the lower Clackamas River as well as in Eagle Creek itself.
Summer steelhead fishing should be as good or better than previous years and offers good fishing throughout the summer and fall. Healthy runs are expected on the North and South Santiam. Adults returning this year to the North Santiam were scatter-planted as juveniles at several locations. Anglers should find them spread throughout the basin and not just in the “usual” places. Be aware that the current regulation allows the harvest of mismarked and non-adipose fin-clipped steelhead greater than 24 inches in some water bodies. Check the Special Regulations for details. Summer steelhead are not native to the basin and harvesting these fish before they spawn will be a benefit to wild rainbow trout. Although native rainbow trout over 24 inches are extremely rare, anglers who happen to catch one are encouraged to release it unharmed.
Summer steelhead in the Clackamas River return from March through October, with the peak usually seen during late spring and early fall. Some summer steelhead are already in the main east-side tributaries (Clackamas, Sandy, Santiam, McKenzie and Middle Fork Willamette rivers), particularly in the lower reaches, with numbers increasing daily.
Coho salmon fishing should be on the radar screen of any angler interested in catching salmon during the fall and early winter. In 2007, several streams above Willamette Falls including the mainstem Willamette, Molalla, Tualatin, Yamhill and Santiam opened for retention of adipose fin-clipped or non-adipose fin-clipped coho. Check the 2013 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for more information.
Please note: All bull trout caught in the Willamette Zone must be released unharmed. Anglers should familiarize themselves with bull trout identification, especially when fishing the McKenzie River, Cougar Reservoir, Trail Bridge Reservoir, Hills Creek Reservoir and the Middle Fork Willamette above Hills Creek Reservoir. Anglers also have a chance of encountering bull trout in the Middle fork Willamette below Hills Creek Reservoir. Pictures of bull trout are in the 2013 fishing regulations on pages 18 and 75. For those with internet access, a search for bull trout images will provide a large number of great pictures. Anglers are asked to call ODFW in Springfield at 541-726-3515 ext. 26 to report any bull trout you catch.
BASS AND WARMWATER
|A boy with a String of Bass
-Photo by Matt Frank-
Most of the warmwater fish found in Oregon are present in the Willamette Zone. Largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill, redear and green sunfish, warmouth, yellow perch, and bullhead and channel catfish are found in the reservoirs in the lower Cascades and Coast Range, the many ponds scattered throughout the rural and urban areas, and in the Willamette River.
Most warmwater fish are available year-round, but fishing is best in the spring, summer, and fall when the water is warmer and the fish more active. Bass fishing begins to pick up when water temperatures warm to the upper 50s and bass start to think about spawning. Some of the best bass fisheries continue to be in Dorena, Cottage Grove, Green Peter, and Henry Hagg reservoirs, but don’t overlook Fern Ridge and the Willamette itself. All but Cottage Grove and Fern Ridge also offer good fishing for smallmouth bass. Some of the bigger smallmouth reported last year were caught in and near Portland.
Largemouth bass can also be found in many of the smaller lakes and ponds that dot the valley floor and foothills. Some good locations managed by ODFW for public access include Wilsonville, Woodburn, and Bond Butte ponds, and the St. Louis Ponds fishing area. Several lunker-size catfish have come out of St Louis Ponds in the past year.
Most all of these same waters - large or small - also offer crappie, an abundance of bluegill and other sunfish, and bullhead catfish. Crappie will start biting earliest in the season but fishing for most others will improve as the water warms into the mid-60s. Good angling should continue throughout the summer and early fall.
For more information about these and other waters in the Willamette Zone and how to fish them, check out the Warmwater Fishing in Oregon brochures for the North Willamette and South Willamette Areas
To learn what’s biting and where, check out the ODFW Weekly Recreation Report
. Each week our biologists update fishing conditions on rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs and ponds throughout the state.
Alton Baker Park Canoe Canal: Alton Baker Park Canoe Canal is open all year for trout, adipose fin-clipped steelhead and non-adipose fin-clipped steelhead over 24 inches long. Hatchery trout releases began in February and will continue through the summer and into November, providing an in-town and family-friendly fishery for several months. Both legal and larger (11 to 14-inches) hatchery rainbow trout are released into several locations along the length of the Alton Baker Canoe Canal.
The South Willamette Watershed District will host a free Family Fishing Event Sunday, May 5, as well as a Free Fishing Day event Saturday, June 1 at the Alton Baker Canoe Canal from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m for youths and their families. The Department will provide all necessary fishing equipment and instruction. Contact the Springfield field office at 541-726-3515 for additional information.
Benson Lake: This 40-acre lake is located in Benson Lake State Park near the Columbia River. It will be stocked with rainbow trout in April, May and June. It also contains white crappie, largemouth bass and brown bullhead. Take the Benson State Park exit just before Multnomah Falls off of I-84 going east.
Bethany Pond: This is a 10-acre pond located at Bethany west of Portland. It is generally stocked with rainbow trout a couple of times in early spring. Take 185th St. Exit from Highway 26 north to Bethany.
Blue Lake: This 64-acre lake east of Portland in Blue Lake Park, 3 miles west of Troutdale, is located north of Highway 30 and ½ mile south of the Columbia River. This is a popular park with lots of amenities. It is stocked with rainbow trout in April and May and also contains several species of warmwater fish, including largemouth bass, brown bullhead, black crappie and bluegill.
Blue River Reservoir: This reservoir is located east of Eugene near the town of Blue River, north of Highway 126 and is open to year-round fishing. Stocked trout and warmwater fish are available for anglers.
- Photo by Rick Swart-
Canby Pond: Canby Pond has been re-opened as a youth and disabled anglers only fishing pond. It is open to youngsters ages 17 and under as well as persons who possess an Oregon Disabled Angler’s fishing license.
Under Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations, anglers ages 13 and under can fish for free while those 14-17 will need to have a juvenile fishing license. Canby Pond will be stocked with rainbow trout in April and May.
The pond is generally not stocked in the summer months because warmer temperatures promote the growth of aquatic vegetation, which makes it difficult to fish. The pond also holds a variety of warmwater species.
The North Willamette Watershed District will host a Family Fishing Event at Canby Pond on Saturday, Oct. 19. The event is part of ODFW’s Family Fishing Program, designed to introduce families to the fun of fishing. The department will provide rods and reels, tackle, bait, and fish bags for use by young anglers who do not have their own fishing equipment. In addition, ODFW staff and volunteers will be on site to help participants learn how to bait a hook, cast a rod and land the catch. Packets of information including the Easy Angling Oregon booklet also will be available to participants.
Cascade Lakes (Lane, Linn, and Marion Counties): Numerous High Cascade Lakes are stocked annually or biannually with rainbow, cutthroat and/or brook trout fingerlings. Released fish grow to catchable size within one or two years, depending on environmental conditions. This unique fishing opportunity provides an excellent way for anglers to enjoy less heavily-fished areas, especially for those anglers willing to hike further distances. Lake access varies, with some lakes easily reached from main roads. A majority of the lakes are open to fishing all year, weather permitting. Fishing can be good most of the summer and early fall, depending on winter fish survival and fishing pressure. Check the weather forecast and with the local Forest Service office for access conditions, especially earlier and later in the year. Conditions can change rapidly and anglers should be prepared for extreme weather at any time.
Clackamas River: The Clackamas River is one of those rivers where it is possible to catch hatchery salmon and steelhead almost every month of the year. Fishing for winter steelhead will begin to slow down moving into May.
Summer run steelhead will begin to increase in numbers through spring, and based on Willamette Falls counts anglers should prepare for a good return of summer steelhead to the Clackamas. The catch rates for summers were already on the increase the first week of April. The combination of good coho returns to the Clackamas and Willamette system the past couple of years, along with good winter and summer steelhead numbers to date at Willamette Falls, bodes well for anglers fishing the Clackamas from May through November.
Reports of spring chinook in the Clackamas are limited and anglers shouldn’t expect to see these fish in greater numbers until mid to late May depending on water conditions. With chinook passage over Willamette Falls increasing these fish will begin to move in as water in the Willamette slowly warms from the late winter cool down.
Anglers should anticipate a change in how spring chinook move through the lower Clackamas now that the acclimation ponds have been operating for over three years. The Clackamas has three acclimation ponds in the lower river designed to increase sport fishing harvest, and these management tools seem to be working. These sites are located along the Clackamas River and on Eagle Creek with the intention of slowing fish migration and holding the chinook in the lower river longer. The returning Clackamas River fish can be identified by an adipose fin/left maxillary fin clip while the Eagle Creek returners can be identified by an adipose fin/right maxillary fin clip. ODFW biologists welcome any reports of anglers catching these chinook as they continue to evaluate the success of this program.
If you are out on the Clackamas River this spring you might see ODFW crews working a research project on spring chinook, mainly from Barton down to Gladstone. These crews will be doing radio telemetry research on hatchery springers from May through late June. The fish will be caught by hook and line or nets, then tagged and released unharmed. Anglers who happen to catch one of these fish will be able to identify it by the wire tag hanging out of its mouth and all tagged fish must be released unharmed. ODFW would appreciate any information about the catch or the tag; they can call the number found printed on the tag or contact District Biologist Todd Alsbury at 971-673-6011.
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-
The upper Clackamas River above North Fork Reservoir and its tributaries, the Oak Grove Fork and the Collawash River, also offer good opportunities to fish for wild trout. The upper Clackamas and Collawash river are catch-and-release only for wild fish, while the Oak Grove Fork has a daily bag limit of two trout (except there are no limits on brown or brook trout).
Clear Lake: Open to year-around fishing and will be stocked with hatchery rainbow trout three times with a total of 11,000 fish going in the month before Memorial Day. No limit on size or number of brook trout taken. Catch limits on other trout species do not apply to brook trout. Boats are available for rent at the lake. Cabin and boat rentals.
Commonwealth Lake: This 3-acre lake in Cedar Hills near Beaverton. It is stocked with rainbow trout in the early spring. From the Sunset Highway take Cedar Hills Blvd. south ½ mile. Turn right on Foothills Drive and follow to lake.
Cottage Grove Pond: This set of ponds is wheelchair accessible along the asphalt pathway from behind the weigh station on Row River Road about 1.5 miles east of I-5 at Cottage Grove. Warmwater fish are available. Hatchery trout are released into the pond with the dock in early spring time.
The South Willamette Watershed District will host a free Family Fishing Event Saturday, April 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for youths and their families. The Department will provide all necessary fishing equipment and instruction. Contact the Springfield field office at 541-726-3515 for additional information.
Cottage Grove Reservoir: This popular largemouth bass fishing reservoir also has trout available from spring stockings. Travel south of Cottage Grove on London Road to the reservoir.
Detroit, Foster and Green Peter Reservoirs: All of these reservoirs have been stocked with catchable-sized rainbow trout this season. Cool early spring water temperatures will allow anglers to fish quite close to the surface and be successful, so bank fishing can be most productive in the spring. In addition to trout, Detroit and Green Peter support kokanee and chinook populations that give anglers a chance to catch a larger fish. Both kokanee and chinook are more sensitive to warmer water temperatures than rainbow, and will move deeper into the lake as summer comes on. Foster and Green Peter also support good numbers of bass that will start to bite as the water becomes warmer. Most boat ramps should be usable by late April.
There will be a Free Fishing Weekend event at Detroit Reservoir’s Hoover Campground on June 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call Christopher Boyd at (503) 854-3522 for more information.
Dexter Reservoir: This reservoir receives stocked trout regularly throughout late winter and early spring, and again in early fall. Bank anglers can do well fishing for trout from the picnic area along the causeway near the covered bridge.
Travel east on Highway 58 from I-5. Dexter Reservoir is on the north side of the highway near Lowell.
Dorena Reservoir: A popular largemouth bass reservoir east of Cottage Grove. Holdover trout from spring and fall releases are also available.
Dorman Pond: This 8-acre pond near Balm Grove (at the junction of Highway 8 and Highway 6) was stocked with trout in March and is scheduled to be stocked again in April. Access and parking are excellent.
Eagle Creek: Anglers on the creek should begin preparing for the second year of returns of spring chinook from acclimation releases done in 2011. A total of 240,000 chinook smolts were released two years ago from the Eagle Fern Park facility and a nice return of adult fish to the creek is expected as long as flows remain good. Expect these fish to move into the creek by late May and they should be found in the lower Clackamas and then Eagle Creek if the water conditions hold up. These springers can be identified by an adipose fin/right maxillary fin clip.
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.”
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW
Estacada Lake: Estacada Lake up to the Highway 211 Bridge is open year-round for adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon and adipose fin-clipped steelhead. The trout season is open May 25-Oct. 31. Anglers are reminded that the bag limit is five adipose fin-clipped trout. The boat ramp at Estacada Lake has been relocated to the McIver Park side of the lake (enter through the park) and can be accessed at the campground.
The lake will be routinely stocked with trout throughout the spring and summer seasons. There is limited access for bank fishing, but you can reach the lake through the Timber Park on the Estacada side and McIver Park on the south side of the lake.
Several hundred recycled summer steelhead are being stocked in the lake and from late May into July anglers should look for spring chinook to start moving into the lake.
Fall Creek above Fall Creek Reservoir: Fall Creek is stocked with trout at campgrounds and other access points above the reservoir into late June. Fall Creek is northeast of Lowell.
Faraday Lake: Faraday Lake will be open this year for trout fishing but anglers should anticipate some limited bank fishing access as PGE continues work in the area. The lake is located just east of Estacada on the right of Hwy 224 near the PGE offices and offers bank fishing only.
Gales Creek: Gales Creek opens May 25 to the catch-and-release of trout with artificial flies and lures only. This stream now has a late trout opener to reduce the catch of steelhead smolts, which are abundant in the creek during April and May.
Haldeman Pond: This pond on Oak Island at Sauvie Island is open from April 16 through Sept. 30. It will be stocked with rainbow trout several times this spring. Anglers are reminded the daily bag limit is five trout, and that a permit is necessary to park on the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area.
Harriet Lake: This lake on the Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamas River was stocked in mid-April and will be throughout the spring and summer. There are good opportunities for anglers to catch hatchery rainbow, cutthroat, brook and brown trout. A detour road off Highway 224 near Ripplebrook takes you directly past this popular lake. Snowpack is lighter than normal this year; call with the U.S. Forest Service at (503) 630-6861 to check on road conditions.
Henry Hagg Lake: Henry Hagg Lake is a large, 1,100 acre lake, located 30 miles west of Portland near Forest Grove, and offers some of the best standing water fishing opportunities in the Willamette Valley. Hagg Lake is open from March 2 through Nov. 24. The lake is heavily stocked throughout the spring and again in the fall with rainbow trout to support a very popular and successful fishery. In recent years, large brood trout have been released on occasion to enhance the fishing experience. Excellent fishing also exists for largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, bluegill, yellow perch and catfish. The state records for smallmouth bass (over 8 pounds) and brown bullhead catfish were caught here.
There will be a Free Fishing Weekend event on Saturday, June 1 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on June 2 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Kids must register with Hillsboro Parks and Recreation by calling (503) 681-5382. Space is limited.
Trout fishing is best from March to mid-June, and again in the fall when the water is cooler. Fishing for bass and crappie is best in the spring when the fish move into shallow shoreline areas to spawn. Summer is a good time to fish for panfish and catfish. Two boat ramps are maintained to provide boating access, and bank anglers can reach most of the lake shore via trails or family picnic areas.
Light or medium weight spinning tackle provides a good all-around set-up. Trout can be caught on a variety of lures or baits. Spinners work well while worms, salmon eggs or artificial trout baits can be fished using a bobber or with a weight on the bottom. Bass anglers can also use spinners, but jigs and plastic baits or lures that imitate prey such as small fish and crayfish are also effective. For crappie, try fishing a small white or red-and-white jig at different depths by suspending it below a bobber that can be adjusted up or down the line. For other panfish, use a small hook baited with worm or other panfish bait suspended 12-18 inches below the bobber to keep the bait off the bottom. Catfish anglers will want to fish on the bottom using bait. Refer to the Sport Fishing Regulations for bag limits on specified species.
Hagg Lake has been stocked with a tagged rainbow trout that could be worth $1 million as part of Cabela’s Wanna Go Fishing for Millions contest. Go to the Cabela’s website
-U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service-
Hills Creek Reservoir: Variety abounds at Hills Creek Reservoir where anglers can catch and keep crappie, largemouth bass, adipose fin-clipped trout and salmon, as well as catch-and-release wild trout – all on the same fishing trip! Anglers are reminded to release all bull trout and all other non-adipose fin-clipped trout unharmed, preferably without removing them from the water. Catch rates for warmwater fish will increase as surface water temperatures climb above 60° F.
Huddleston Pond: This pond, off of NE Yamhill Street in Willamina, has changed names and was formerly known as Hampton Pond. Trout stocking begins in December and typically continues into early June, or until water conditions are no longer suitable for trout.
Leaburg Lake: Leaburg Lake is stocked weekly through late July with rainbow trout, and then every other week through August. Two-rod angling is allowed with a Two-Rod Validation. All non-adipose fin-clipped trout must be released unharmed. The lake is open to fishing April 27 through Oct. 31.
Luckiamute and Little Luckiamute River: The mainstem Luckiamute and Little Luckiamute up to the falls at Falls City open May 25 with a limit of two trout per day, 8-inch minimum length. The Little Luckiamute above the falls at Falls City opens for trout April 27 with a limit of two fish per day, 8-inch minimum length. Fishing in both streams is restricted to artificial flies and lures. Both streams support healthy populations of native cutthroat trout, particularly in their upper reaches where excellent bank fishing opportunities abound.
Marys and Long Tom Rivers: Opens April 27 to the harvest of trout with a limit of five fish per day, 8-inch minimum length; bait allowed. Both streams support healthy populations of native cutthroat trout, particularly in their upper reaches. The Long Tom below Fern Ridge Dam is well-populated with an assortment of warmwater gamefish (e.g. bass, crappie, bullhead catfish), though bank fishing access is limited.
McKenzie River: To protect wild trout above Leaburg Dam, trout season will open April 27 for Leaburg Lake and the McKenzie above Leaburg Lake. Upper McKenzie River trout releases begin in early May to take advantage of warmer water temperatures associated with higher early season catch rates. The upper river trout releases will extend through mid-September.
ODFW will host a Free Fishing Weekend event for kids 10 and younger on June 1 at the Willamette Fish Hatchery from 9 a.m. to noon. Call Tami Edmunds at (541) 782-2933 for more information.
The lower river (Leaburg Dam downstream to Hendricks Bridge) will be stocked regularly from opening day (April 27) through mid-late August Highlights of the 2013 McKenzie River hatchery trout releases follow:
Upper McKenzie River: The first hatchery trout boat release will take place in early May as water temperatures rise, and will continue through mid-September. Truck releases at the upper river boat ramps will start in mid-May and continue through mid-late August. Postponing the first boat release should reduce the potential for cold water and poor weather conditions to affect catch rates. Releases of hatchery trout from Forest Glen Boat Ramp downstream to Finn Rock will be delayed until late June to reduce impacts to wild trout in this section of river. Boat releases will occur on an approximately three-week rotation, and truck releases will occur 2 weeks after boat releases to maintain catch rates.
Lower McKenzie River: Large numbers of hatchery trout will be released into the lower river (from midway between Greenwood Boat Ramp and Leaburg Landing to Hendricks Bridge Wayside) to benefit anglers this year. Hatchery trout releases will occur every three weeks, beginning on opening day until late August. Hatchery rainbow trout are not released below Hendricks Bridge Wayside.
Hendricks Bridge Wayside to Bellinger Landing is the location of a native trout population estimate being conducted for the fourth year by ODFW and volunteer anglers. The information collected during this study will be used to determine numbers of native trout in this stretch of river and may also provide data about native trout growth and migration. Anglers who happen to catch a tagged rainbow or cutthroat trout near this stretch of river should record the tag number and color, species, fish length and location of catch/release to provide to ODFW’s Springfield staff (541-726-3515). Your cooperation in providing accurate data is appreciated.
Additional Information: All hatchery rainbow trout released into the McKenzie River are marked with an adipose fin clip. Anglers must release all non-adipose fin-clipped trout caught in the mainstem McKenzie. The lower 11 miles of the McKenzie River below Hayden Bridge and the McKenzie River from Forest Glen Boat Ramp at Blue River upstream to Trail Bridge Dam are restricted to fishing with flies and lures only, and all trout must be released unharmed.
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-
The McKenzie River is open for adipose fin-clipped steelhead and non-adipose fin-clipped steelhead greater than 24 inches in length the entire year. Anglers may retain 3 adult steelhead per day, 2 of which may be non-adipose fin-clipped steelhead greater than 24 inches in length. There is an annual limit of 20 non-adipose fin-clipped steelhead per year, although additional hatchery harvest tags may be purchased to record harvested adult hatchery salmon and steelhead. Summer steelhead are not native to the basin and harvesting these fish before they spawn will benefit wild rainbow trout. Although native rainbow trout over 24 inches are extremely rare, anglers who happen to catch one are encouraged to release it unharmed.
The McKenzie River is open to salmon fishing from the mouth to 200 feet below Leaburg Dam all year. Only adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon may be harvested. The daily bag limit on spring chinook salmon is two per day. Every effort should be made to release wild (non-adipose fin-clipped) chinook without taking them out of the water. Bait is not allowed downstream from Hayden Bridge. Between Hayden Bridge and Hendricks Bridge bait use is restricted to the period May 1- June 15 when angling for salmon and steelhead with hooks 5/8-inch gap or larger. . Bait may be used for salmon beginning April 27 from Hendricks Bridge to 200 feet below Leaburg Dam, although from Leaburg Dam downstream to Trout Creek, any attached weight must be less than six feet above the lowermost hook (in addition to existing hook and weight regulations on page 11 of the 2013 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations).
Molalla/Pudding River: The Molalla up to Turner Creek Bridge is open year-round for the retention of adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon, adipose fin-clipped steelhead, and coho. It is open to the harvest of non-adipose fin-clipped steelhead July 1 – August 31. The use of bait is allowed May 15 – July 15. The use of single barbless hooks is encouraged. Spring chinook will not show up in the Molalla until May. ODFW no longer stocks the Molalla with winter or summer steelhead but wild winter steelhead are providing a small, but popular catch-and-release fishery. Anglers may also find that a few summer steelhead will nose into the lower Molalla after they have passed Willamette Falls. Give it a try from the Turner Creek Bridge down to Canby in April and May for winter and summer steelhead, as well as fresh spring chinook.
The river opens May 25 to catch-and-release fishing for trout. All unmarked trout in the Molalla basin must be released unharmed. The exceptions to this rule are Silver Creek above Silverton Reservoir, Abiqua Creek above Abiqua Falls, and Butte Creek above Butte Creek Falls, which open April 27 and where the retention of two trout per day, 8-inch minimum length is allowed (consult 2013 fishing regulations for more information on the use of artificial flies and lures per Zone Regulations).
The Molalla/Pudding River also offers some warmwater fishing opportunities. There is no limit on size or number of bass taken.
Mt Hood Pond: The pond has been designated a youth only fishing venue from April 1 – August 31. It is open to youngsters ages 17 and under as well as holders of a Disabled Anglers permit. The new rules make it illegal for adults to fish in Mt Hood Pond between April 1 and August 31.
Under Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations, anglers ages 13 and under can fish for free while those 14-17 will need to have a juvenile fishing license. All fishing regulations continue to apply. It should be noted that Mt Hood Community College now requires parking permits to park a vehicle anywhere on campus property. Contact the college for further information on parking permit options or visit their website.
The North Willamette Watershed District will host Family Fishing Events at the Mt. Hood Pond on Saturday, May 18 and Saturday, Oct. 12. The events are part of ODFW’s Family Fishing Program, designed to introduce families to the fun of fishing. The department will provide rods and reels, tackle, bait, and fish bags for use by young anglers who do not have their own fishing equipment. In addition, ODFW staff and volunteers will be on site to help participants learn how to bait a hook, cast a rod and land the catch. Packets of information including the Easy Angling Oregon booklet also will be available to participants. College parking fees will be waived on days of these events.
North Fork Reservoir: The reservoir (up to milepost 32 on Highway 224) is open May 25 through October 31 for the retention of adipose fin-clipped trout, five per day. The reservoir is stocked frequently throughout spring, summer and fall. There are a number of good access points along Highway 224 where anglers can fish from the bank.
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-
North Santiam (above Big Cliff Dam), Breitenbush Rivers, and streams above Detroit, as well as Quartzville Creek and streams above Green Peter Reservoir: Will open for trout fishing on April 27 and several, including Breitenbush River, upper North Santiam River and Quartzville Creek, will be stocked with rainbow trout for Memorial Day weekend. These streams will provide anglers an opportunity to retain a standard bag limit of five trout per day and the use of bait is allowed.
North Santiam (below Big Cliff Dam), South Santiam (below Foster Dam), and mainstem Santiam River: Will open for trout fishing on May 25 with a limit of two adipose fin-clipped trout per day, no minimum length.
North Santiam (below Big Cliff Dam), Little North Fork Santiam, South Santiam (below Foster Dam), and mainstem Santiam River: Non adipose fin-clipped adult steelhead may be retained during the months of July and August. Bank anglers need to be aware that there have been recent changes to the fishing deadlines at two locations on the North Santiam: at Packsaddle Park and Mill City. Both changes provide increased bank fishing access and the new deadline boundaries are clearly marked and described in the fishing regulations booklet. Anglers must adhere to these new deadlines, making sure to fish and cast downstream of them. The new deadlines are being strictly enforced by law enforcement.
Little North Fork Santiam: Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures only.
Rickreall Creek: The mainstem of Rickreall Creek opens May 25 with a limit of two trout per day, 8-inch minimum length. Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures. The stream supports a healthy population of native cutthroat trout though bank fishing access is somewhat limited.
Salish Ponds: The City of Fairview is working on an extensive restoration project at Salish Ponds Wetlands Park that is expected to be completed in 2013. ODFW will not be stocking here until further notice and anglers are asked to avoid the area until newly planted vegetation has a chance to grow and mature.
Salmonberry Lake: This small reservoir in the Milton Creek drainage, west of St. Helens, will be stocked with rainbow trout in late April and likely again in May. The road in is gated and anglers must walk in about 1/3 mile to access this secluded pond.
Salmon Creek: This stream just east of Oakridge is stocked every 2-3 weeks through late August at campgrounds and access points. Salmon Creek has great public access throughout the stocked area from about ½ mile above Willamette Hatchery to Black Creek.
Sandy River: The Sandy River up to the ODFW markers at the mouth of the Salmon River is open year-round for adipose fin-clipped steelhead and from Feb. 1 through Oct. 31 for adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon. However, the area near Oxbow Park is closed during the fall to protect spawning chinook salmon (see the 2013 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for these special regulations). The river and its tributaries open May 25 for catch-and-release fishing for trout. The use of bait is allowed up to the ODFW markers at the mouth of the Salmon River.
The mainstem and tributaries upstream from the ODFW markers at the mouth of the Salmon River, including the Salmon River is open to steelhead July 1–Aug. 31. Fishing is restricted to artificial flies and lures (see the 2013 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for restrictions pertaining to flies and lures).
Similar to the Clackamas, anglers on the Sandy can expect to have winter steelhead available through early May when summer runs and spring chinook will begin to dominate the catch. The summer steelhead catch was already picking up in late April and early May.
Anglers fishing for spring chinook this year may find that the best areas for success will be in the upper stretches of the Sandy, mainly from Dodge Park up to the mouth of the Salmon River. Creel sampling from 2011 and 2012 indicates that a bulk of the catch sampled was taking place in the area above Oxbow Park, including the Garbage Hole, Dodge, the old Marmot Dam stretch, and below the mouth of the Salmon River. There were a few fish picked up from Dabney down to the mouth of the Sandy.
|Sacirovic Mustafa checks his bait while fishing on the Sandy River.
-Photo by Rick Swart-
Access to the river can be gained from many parks including Lewis and Clark, Dabney, Oxbow, and Dodge. Bank access is also available to the Cedar Creek area at the Sandy Hatchery. When fishing the Oxbow Park area, remember that there is no fishing from a floating device upstream from a point that is 200 feet below the Oxbow Park boat ramp.
Collection/recycling receptacles for discarded or lost fishing gear can now be found along the Sandy River. Look for them near boat ramps at Lewis and Clark, Dabney, Oxbow, and Dodge parks. Any tangled fishing line or old gear can be collected and disposed of in these canisters as an effort to maintain a healthy, clean Sandy River. Please use nearby garbage cans for any other types of trash.
Scout Lake: This small scenic lake wasisa fairly new trout stocking site and will likely be stocked in early May. Take Highway 30 toward Clatskanie; take the Swedetown Rd. exit; follow Swedetown Rd. about a quarter of a mile to Olson Rd. Turn right onto Olson Rd. Follow Scout Lake signs posted along Olson Road about three miles to locked gate. From there hike in about a mile to the lake or sign out a key to the gate from the City of Clatskanie at 95 S. Nehalem and drive in. For more information, contact the City of Clatskanie at 503-728-2622.
Sheridan Pond: The pond is stocked year-round with catchable trout along with larger (12 to 14-inches) and trophy (14 to 18-inches) trout to enhance the fishing experience. Keep a look out for periodic stocking of brood trout that can exceed 4 pounds. The local community hosts a kids fishing day in June.
The North Willamette Watershed District will host a Family Fishing Event at Sheridan Pond on Saturday, May 11. The event is part of ODFW’s Family Fishing Program, designed to introduce families to the fun of fishing. The department will provide rods and reels, tackle, bait, and fish bags for use by young anglers who do not have their own fishing equipment. In addition, ODFW staff and volunteers will be on site to help participants learn how to bait a hook, cast a rod and land the catch. Packets of information including the Easy Angling Oregon booklet also will be available to participants.
Shorty’s Pond: This is 4-acre pond is located within Ivor Davies Nature Park in the city of Molalla. Shorty’s is scheduled for stocking in April and May as long as water conditions hold up. Shorty’s Pond can be accessed by the Fifth St. Trailhead across from Heckard Football Stadium.
The North Willamette Watershed District will host a Family Fishing Event at Shorty’s Pond on Saturday, May 4. The event is part of ODFW’s Family Fishing Program, designed to introduce families to the fun of fishing. The department will provide rods and reels, tackle, bait, and fish bags for use by young anglers who do not have their own fishing equipment. In addition, ODFW staff and volunteers will be on site to help participants learn how to bait a hook, cast a rod and land the catch. Packets of information including the Easy Angling Oregon booklet also will be available to participants.
Silverton Reservoir: The gate at Silverton Reservoir will be opened for the April 27 weekend and the lake stocked with rainbow trout. It will be re-stocked in May and June.
There will Free Fishing Weekend events on Silverton Reservoir on Saturday, June 1. One from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; call Dawn Olson at (503) 873-2681 for more information. The second from 1-4 p.m.; call Skip Bouskill at (503) 873-7269 for information.
Small Fry Lake
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW
Small Fry Lake: Fishing restricted to youths ages 17 and under. Under Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations, anglers ages 13 and under can fish for free while those 14-17 will need to have a juvenile fishing license. Open all year for trout fishing, two trout per day with no minimum length. This lake is located on the Clackamas River 7 miles south of Estacada off of Highway. 224.
Smith Reservoir: This reservoir is directly north of Trail Bridge Reservoir and will be stocked through late June. Unlike Trail Bridge Reservoir, Smith Reservoir is not visible from the highway and although there is a good amount of bank angling opportunity near the dam, a boat can increase your angling success. Bait use is allowed.
St. Louis Ponds: This is a 240-acre public fishing complex owned by ODFW. It contains 54 developed acres of water in seven ponds, which provide habitat for trout and warmwater species, including catfish, largemouth bass, redear sunfish, green sunfish, white crappie and black crappie.
Last fall, ODFW completed construction of an ADA-approved paved pathway and several fishing platforms and floating docks that make it possible for people in wheelchairs to reach many of the ponds in the complex.
St. Louis Ponds is located west of I-5 about 15 miles north of Salem and 2 miles west of Gervais. From Gervais, take St Louis Rd west to Tesch Lane, turn left onto Tesch Lane and follow road into the St. Louis Ponds public fishing area.
Fishing from a floating device is prohibited on Pond #1 and Pond # 3. Fishing from a personal float tube (no boats allowed) is allowed on all other ponds. Pond #6 has provided some excellent trout opportunities this spring.
The North Willamette Watershed District will host a Family Fishing event at St Louis Saturday, September 21. There will also be a Free Fishing Weekend Event at St Louis Ponds on Saturday, June 1. These events are part of ODFW’s Family Fishing Program, designed to introduce families to the fun of fishing. The department will provide rods and reels, tackle, bait, and fish bags for use by anglers who do not have their own fishing equipment. In addition, ODFW staff and volunteers will be on site to help participants learn how to bait a hook, cast a rod and land the catch. Packets of information including the Easy Angling Oregon booklet also will be available to participants.
Timothy and Trillium lakes: Timothy Lake is home to rainbow, brook and native cutthroat trout as well as kokanee salmon. Both lakes will receive rainbow trout in late April or early May, depending on accessibility due to snow. Snowpack is lighter than normal this year and ODFW will stock the lake as soon as the trucks can get it. Call the U.S. Forest Service at (503) 630-6861 to check on road conditions.
Timothy Lake has a catch limit of 25 kokanee per day and five adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout. However, there is no limit on size or number of brook trout taken.
Trail Bridge Reservoir: This reservoir, visible from Highway 126, is stocked with adipose fin-clipped trout from mid-May through late July. Only artificial flies and lures are legal to use and only adipose fin-clipped trout may be harvested.
Trojan Pond: This is a 15-acre lake located just east of Rainier on the north side of Highway 30 at the Trojan nuclear facility. The pond is stocked several times in the spring and the park-like setting at Trojan Pond can make for a great day of family fishing and picnicking.
The North Willamette Watershed District will host a Family Fishing Event at Trojan Pond on Saturday, April 27. The event is part of ODFW’s Family Fishing Program, designed to introduce families to the fun of fishing. The department will provide rods and reels, tackle, bait, and fish bags for use by young anglers who do not have their own fishing equipment. In addition, ODFW staff and volunteers will be on site to help participants learn how to bait a hook, cast a rod and land the catch. Packets of information including the Easy Angling Oregon booklet also will be available to participants.
Tualatin River: Lower elevation streams in the drainage are expected to be good for native cutthroat trout as well as warmwater fish, including smallmouth and largemouth bass, and bluegill. The trout season is open from May 25 through Oct. 31 for catch-and-release only. The use of bait is allowed in the Tualatin River up to the Highway 210 Bridge at Scholls. Artificial flies and lures must be used in the area above Scholls up to the Highway 47 bridge in Gaston. A small boat or canoe will provide the best access to more water in this slow moving meandering river. Access points exist at major bridge crossings and some riverside parks.
|Fishing on the Willamette
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-
Willamette River, Lower: The Willamette River below Willamette Falls in Oregon City is open for adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon and adipose fin-clipped steelhead year-round. Good numbers of spring chinook and good summer steelhead are anticipated this spring and summer.
The lower Willamette is also a very good sturgeon fishery, although harvest quotas are in place this year out of concern for juvenile recruitment. Still, it is a wonderful angling opportunity in the heart of a major metropolitan area. Early in 2011, ODFW opened a new fishing dock on the west side of the river below Willamette Falls. This is a very nice structure constructed specifically for anglers with some of the fees they have paid through purchasing fishing licenses. The new dock is 350 feet long and has dozens of rod holders. It is a good place to fish for sturgeon, salmon and steelhead, especially for anglers who do not have access to a boat. Parking in the area will be limited, however, until renovation of the bridge between West Linn and Oregon City is completed.
The lower river and sloughs are also a great place to find warmwater fish, including bass, crappie, bluegill and walleye. Special Regulations for walleye specify a 10 walleye per-day limit, and no more than five walleye per-day can be over 18 inches and only one may be over 24 inches. Trout are not stocked into this portion of the river. Use of bait is allowed in the lower river. Also keep in mind that the Willamette River regulations have recently changed under a temporary rule.
The 2013 spring chinook and steelhead seasons have been good with anglers reporting some decent catch rates throughout the river. Expect good fishing on the Willamette to last at least through May. Then look for good spring chinook fishing on the upper Willamette and tributaries in June and July.
SALMON and STEELHEAD
- This area is open to retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead and adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon the entire year under permanent rules.
- Daily bag limit is 2 adult salmon or steelhead in combination per day, and 5 jack salmon per day.
- See 2013 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for more information.
Retention of white sturgeon is allowed for 2013 during two fishing periods, Thursday-Saturday July 11-13 and Thursday-Saturday July 18-20. Fishery managers will be monitoring this sturgeon retention fishery closely to ensure that the harvest guideline of 1,733 fish is not exceeded. Catch-and-release fishing is still allowed other times of the year however. Anglers are limited to the use of one single point barbless hook while angling for white sturgeon.
Fishing for sturgeon, including catch-and-release, is prohibited seven days a week during May 1 through Aug. 31 from Willamette Falls downstream to the I-205 bridge. This area has been designated as a sturgeon spawning sanctuary during this period.
Willamette River above Willamette Falls: Upstream to Highway 20 Bridge at Albany is open for adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon, adipose fin-clipped steelhead, coho salmon and the retention of white sturgeon for the entire year. The use of bait is allowed.
Willamette River, Mainstem: Prospects should be excellent for native cutthroat and rainbow trout upstream of Corvallis. The stretch of river above the highway bridge at Albany to the Highway 99 bridge at Harrisburg opens April 27 to the harvest of trout with limit of 5 fish per day, 8-inch minimum length; bait allowed. Trout fishing is restricted to catch-and-release/artificial flies and lures between the Highway99 Bridge at Harrisburg and the mouth of the McKenzie River. There are also excellent opportunities throughout summer for smallmouth bass, crappie, and bluegill in the Willamette River from Salem to Willamette Falls. Retention of white sturgeon is allowed all year.
- Photo by Matt Framl-
Middle Fork Willamette River (below Dexter Dam): ODFW anticipates spring chinook and summer steelhead will arrive in peak numbers during May and early June. Some early catches may be possible depending on fish numbers, flow and weather conditions. Anglers should follow fish passage over Willamette Falls on ODFW’s website and allow 2-4 weeks for these fish to hit the upper basin. Most anglers target the area from Dexter Dam downstream to Pengra Boat Landing; however, during May boat anglers catch spring Chinook from Pengra Boat Landing downstream to the confluence with the Coast Fork Willamette. Summer steelhead will remain available through the fall.
Middle Fork Willamette River (Lookout Point Reservoir to Hills Creek Reservoir): Open to fishing all year to artificial flies and lures only. This is a wild trout area and all non-adipose fin-clipped trout must be released unharmed. Up to five adipose fin-clipped trout may be retained per day. These hatchery fish originate from upstream stocking locations.
Middle Fork Willamette River (Upstream of Hills Creek Reservoir): This section of river will be stocked with hatchery rainbow trout through late June. Anglers must use artificial flies and lures only and only keep trout with an adipose fin-clip.
Willamette River (confluence of Middle and Coast forks to Beltline Bridge): There are summer steelhead throughout this section (“the town run”), which offers some great fishing close to town. Steelhead smolts released at various boat ramps in this section of river return to the same area as adults, providing a popular fishery. This section is open the entire year for adipose fin-clipped steelhead and non-adipose fin-clipped steelhead greater than 24 inches in length.
Willamette Valley Lakes (Freeway Lakes, Wilsonville Pond, and Woodburn Pond): Warmwater fishing will start to improve as water temperatures become warmer. Bass, bluegill, crappie and catfish are available in many of the valley ponds. Sloughs and backwaters of the Willamette River also offer good opportunities for warmwater fishing.
Junction City Pond, EE Wilson Pond, Freeway lakes, Timber Linn Lake, Roaring River Pond, Waverly Lake, Walter Wirth Lake, Walling Pond, and St. Louis Ponds #1, #3, #6: Trout stocking will continue through mid-May or early June, depending on the water body and water conditions. The locations of and directions to many of these lakes are listed on the trout stocking schedule on the ODFW website.
Yamhill River: Fishing for warmwater fish with bait is allowed from March 1 – Oct. 31 up to the confluence of the North and South Forks. Fishing in the South Yamhill River from the confluence with the North Yamhill upstream to the mouth of Rock Creek is restricted to artificial flies and lures. This section of river is open May 25 – Oct. 31, five adipose fin-clipped trout per day, and no minimum length. The South Yamhill River will be stocked with trout in late May.
The rest of the Yamhill river system, and its tributaries, are open from May 25 through Oct. 31 for artificial flies and lures only. An excellent catch-and-release opportunity for native cutthroat trout that may exceed 14 inches exists in the main stem reaches and larger tributaries. Access in the Yamhill may be difficult due to large tracts of private ownership, so please ask property owners for permission before accessing the river. Fishing from a small boat would provide the best opportunity to access more water. Access points may exist at bridge crossings and small parks along the river.