WILLAMETTE RIVER: Now is an in-between time for anglers on the Lower Willamette with both coho and summer steelhead fisheries coming to a close, yet its a bit too early for decent numbers of winter steelhead to show up. The long Thanksgiving weekend has traditionally been the kick-off for winter steelies as the crowds gather along Melrum Bar and near the mouth of the Clackamas River.
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. Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon remains as another option for Willamette River anglers.
The summer steelhead counts came to close on Oct. 31 at Willamette Falls with the cumulative passage for the season showing 21,732 while adult coho passage was at 2,557 through Nov. 26.
USGS hydrological data for the Willamette River on Nov. 28 has flows up to 56,400 cfs, the water temperature down near 48°F, and visibility poor below 1.0 ft.
The Middle Fork Willamette River is open to bait below Dexter Dam only. 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. Steelhead anglers continue to be successful below Dexter Dam.
The Middle Fork Willamette above Lookout Point and Hills Creek reservoirs is open to angling 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.