WILLAMETTE RIVER: Willamette anglers have gotten very little cooperation from the weather so far this month as rainfall again left the river nearly unfishable last week. Add in the fact that many were out on the Columbia this past Saturday for that one day re-opener and it was tough to even find effort on the Willamette. Dry weather is in the forecast for late this week and once the water does begin to recede and clear this should be a perfect opportunity to try for some fresh Chinook that have just moved into the system.
ODFW began their creel program on the Willamette last month although the season effort has been somewhat light river-wide, impacted by the mentioned less-than-ideal conditions and the fact the Columbia has attracted attention when open. Angler checks over the past Friday-Saturday-Sunday period indicate very little catch or effort thanks to wet and windy weather. The lower river/Multnomah Channel section checked 2 fish kept for 33 boats, the middle river Portland harbor area had 0 fish for 13 boats, while the upper river Milwaukie/Oregon City stretch logged 0 chinook for 9 boats.
The passage numbers at the Willamette Falls fish ladder indicate winter steelhead counts through April 15
USGS hydrological data for the Willamette River on April 16 had flows of 41,800 cfs, the water temperature down at 48°F, and visibility poor at 1.0.
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.
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.