WILLAMETTE RIVER: The Willamette winter steelhead fishery has yet to get going in earnest but improving conditions should give anglers the break theyve needed to effectively go after those winter fish. As we move further into February the Meldrum Bar/Dahl Park area and near the mouth of the Clackamas River are your best bets for action as the fish tend to hug the east bank of the river seeking out the cleaner Clackamas River. Its predominantly a bank fishery here so watch the locals for tips or visit your nearby fishing supply store for information on methods and gear.
Although its far too early to switch your fishing tactics over to spring Chinook there were reliable reports of a springer being picked up around the Sellwood/Waverly area last week. Its not at all unusual to have one caught in February as ODFW records indicate several years when the first fish were landed in January.
The final coho passage numbers at the Willamette Falls fish ladder ended on Jan. 31 at 3,041 adults and 2,682 jacks, while the ongoing winter steelhead counts through February 11 stand at 568 fish moving upstream.
USGS hydrological data for the Willamette River on Feb. 12 had flows down considerably at 16,800 cfs, the water temperature around 46°F, and visibility improved at 4.3 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 long. A Columbia River Basin Endorsement is required for anglers targeting salmon and steelhead in the Middle Fork Willamette below Dexter Dam.