WILLAMETTE RIVER: The coho have arrived in the lower Willamette River and the best chance for angler success is around the mouth of the Clackamas River, where the fish will hold some on their way up into the Clackamas itself. Spring Chinook and summer steelhead fishing are essentially done for the season on the Willamette, leaving anglers to try the challenging coho fishery or waiting for late November when winter steelhead show up in good numbers. Warm water fish and sturgeon are still an option.
The last day of spring Chinook passage counts was Aug. 15 at Willamette Falls while the very slow summer steelhead movement goes on. Through Sept. 28 numbers for summer steelhead stood at a very low 2,120 and the unofficial final spring Chinook count ended up at 34,186. Although its very early the coho passage number at the Willamette Falls fish ladder stands at 210 adults and 478 jacks through Sept. 28.
Anglers will find there are still warm water fishing opportunities on the Willamette for bass and small pan fish, working the rocky shorelines and around areas with structure, particularly near Cedar Island and Milwaukie.
USGS hydrological data for the Willamette River on Oct. 2 has flows at 10,200 cfs, the water temperature up some to 63°F, and visibility still excellent at 8.0 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.