WILLAMETTE RIVER: Spring Chinook fishing is in full swing on the lower Willamette, and Springers are being caught throughout. In the past week, anglers caught and kept 228 hatchery spring Chinook and four hatchery winter steelhead between Willamette Falls and the river mouth. Effort decreased this past week to just over 3,600 angler trips.
The lower Multnomah Channel by boat was again the best area for Chinook kept.
Steelhead fishing continued to be challenging,with only four hatchery winter steelhead kept in the past week, which isnt all that surprising given that only four hatchery winters have crossed Willamette Falls. The good news is wild steelhead counts are doing fairly well, as evidenced by the more than 2,400 wild winters that have crossed into the upper river, in what biologists believe is partly a positive response to the removal of sea lions at Willamette Falls. Eighteen California sea lions have been removed from the lower Willamette since mid-November, and preliminary analysis suggests this is helping the steelhead population by reducing sea lion related harassment and mortality.
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 be another option for fishermen 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, which are plentiful in the Willamette.
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 April 10 showed flows down at 143,000 cfs and the water temperature at 49° F.
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.