WILLAMETTE RIVER: Still no hatchery steelhead Spring Chinook in the counts at Willamette Falls but 482 wild steelhead have made the crossing since Jan. 1. Spring Chinook likewise have yet to make an appearance, though there is one confirmed catch of a hatchery spring Chinook.
Catch-and-release sturgeon fishing is a good option on the lower Willamette and can be productive this time of year. The ODFW fishing dock on the river bank below the old West Linn Police Station is a good prospect for those who want to try catch-and-release sturgeon fishing from the shore. Kelly Point Park is another popular spot on the lower Willamette for some good catch-and-release sturgeon fishing. Remember to use single, barbless hooks.
Warmwater fishing can also be a viable alternative in the lower Willamette, Multnomah Channel and surrounding sloughs. Successful warmwater anglers tend to fish around bridges, pilings, wing dams, and other structures, which can be good spots to find warmwater fish, including walleye, crappie, and bass.
Further upstream, the section between Albany and Harrisburg is open year-round for trout fishing, which can be very good when flows are cooperating. Anglers are allowed to keep two trout per day. Smallmouth bass fishing can be excellent between Salem and Albany starting in May.
Hydrological data for the Willamette at Willamette Falls on Feb. 11 showed flows at 15,800 cfs, the water temperature at 39° F, and visibility at 3 ft.
The Middle Fork Willamette River is open to bait below Dexter Dam only. Reminder: Restrictions from Dexter Dam to approximately 700 feet 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.