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“We have a good return of spring chinook this year and fishing conditions are excellent,” said Todd Alsbury, fish biologist for ODFW’s North Willamette Watershed District. Alsbury said an estimated 6,500 spring chinook are expected to return to the Sandy River basin this year. Of the total, approximately 4,000 are hatchery fish, identified by clipped adipose fins, and are available for harvest. Wild fish must be immediately released unharmed under state fishing regulations.
The Sandy is open for fishing from its confluence with the Columbia near Troutdale approximately 35 miles upstream with its confluence with the Salmon River near Brightwood. Public access to the river is available at the following locations:
•Mouth of the Salmon River off Barlow Trail Road
•The former Marmot Dam site
•Marsh Road near Dodge Park
•Mouth of the Bull Run River at Dodge Park
•Mouth of Cedar Creek below ODFW’s Sandy Fish Hatchery
•Oxbow State Park
•Dabney State Park
•Lewis & Clark State Park
•Along Crown Point Hwy. next to the river between Lewis & Clark and Dabney state parks
The Sandy is closed to salmon fishing above its confluence with the Salmon River.
The best fishing is likely going to be between the mouth of the Salmon River downstream to Oxbow Park, according to Alsbury. “The fish don’t seem to be holding in the lower river due to the lack of deep pools that spring chinook tend to hold in,” he said, “but you still might pick a springer on its way through to the upper river.”
Alsbury noted that the dynamics of the Sandy River chinook fishery have changed in recent years. He said springers now return later than in years past. Despite this, the fish are in excellent condition, he said.
“People just aren’t used to fishing for spring chinook in the summer,” he said, adding, “This is a great time for an outing on one of Oregon’s most scenic rivers.”
Alsbury suggests anglers targeting these fish look for deep holes, fish earlier in the morning and later in the evening. He said effective presentations include a bobber and eggs/sand shrimp, spoons, spinners, and even wet flies in the long, deep riffles where chinook sometime lay.
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