WILLAMETTE RIVER: Spring Chinook fishing continues on the lower Willamette, although the catch continues to be somewhat slow, and based upon ODFW recorded catch numbers it appears a bulk of the fish are still down in the lower river, slowly making their way upstream. Multnomah Channel saw a couple of decent catch days recently but the rest of the river has been sporadic at best, with an occasional fish hooked from Sellwood down to Portland harbor. There were also a few sturgeon anglers out doing fairly well on catch and release fishing with sublegals, legals, and oversize hooked.
Winter steelhead passage continues to be dismal but at a couple of spring Chinook passed a few days back. Through April 24 there have been 688 winter steelhead make their way into the upper Willamette via the fish ladder, a very low number for this date, along with 29 summer steelhead. Just 12 adult spring Chinook have crossed the falls so far this year.
Beginning Feb. 1, 2017, the use of barbed hooks is allowed when fishing for salmon, steelhead, or trout in Willamette River downstream of Willamette Falls (including Multnomah Channel and Gilbert River) and in lower Clackamas River upstream to Highway 99E Bridge. Barbless hooks are still required when fishing for sturgeon.
USGS hydrological data for the Willamette River on April 25 has flows down some at 34,500 cfs, the water temperature near 52°F, and visibility steady at 4.0 ft.
The Middle Fork Willamette River is open to bait below Dexter Dam only. Reminder: Restrictions from Dexter Dam to appoximately 700 ft downstream to the markers: No angling from the north shore, from a floating device, or while wading (pg 44 in regulations). This river reach is open to retention of adipose fin-clipped salmon and steelhead and non-adipose fin-clipped steelhead greater than 24 inches in length. A Columbia River Basin Endorsement is required for anglers targeting salmon and steelhead in the Middle Fork Willamette below Dexter Dam.
The Middle Fork Willamette above Lookout Point and Hills Creek reservoirs is open to fishing using lures and artificial flies. All wild trout must be released upstream of Lookout Point Reservoir. The Middle Fork Willamette River is not stocked with hatchery trout.