CLACKAMAS RIVER: Winter steelhead anglers are starting to venture out, now that the river is moving into fishing shape following recent storms. Numbers of winter fish in the river arent exceptional yet but anglers have reported landing fish between Feldheimers above Barton and Cross Park in Gladstone.
Warmer rains forecast for most of this week will bring the Clackamas flows up considerably, melting all of the low elevation snow. Now that the river has begun to drop and clear, anglers should definitely get out and search for that elusive winter steelhead.
During the early portion of the winter steelhead run, fish tend to stay low in the system, downstream of Barton. At this time water tends to be higher and more turbid. Under these conditions, try using bait such as salmon eggs and sand/coon shrimp or hardware with attractive blades (spoons/spinners) as the angler will need something to attract fish. As the water drops and clears, try switching to smaller gear such as jigs and beads/single eggs drifted under a bobber.
Be willing to move around on your day of fishing as staying in one spot may lead you to miss fish all together. Barton Park provides access to substantial bank fishing throughout winter. There is also access to the river upstream of Barton Park from Eaden Road.
Boat anglers also should concentrate on the lower river from Barton to Carver and Carver to Clackamette as large groups of fish are known to hold in deeper pools. As winter progresses through February begin to move upstream to the Feldheimer to Barton and Barton to Carver section. March is typically the best month for fishing in the upper section of the lower river from McIver Park to Feldheimer.
Good bank access for can be found in many locations along the river from Gladstone, Cross Park, Riverside Park, along Clackamas River Road, Carver, Barton, and McIver parks. Clackamas River Drive closely follows the river below Carver Park, but be sure to not trespass on private property. If you have a drift boat, you can put in at Riverside Park, Carver Park, Barton Park, Feldheimers off Springwater Road, and at both lower and upper McIver Park ramps.
USGS hydrological data for Dec. 27 shows river flows at 3,020 cfs, with a gauge reading of 12.76 feet and the water temperature up 4° from a week ago to 36° F. All of the readings come from the Estacada gauge near Milo McIver State Park.