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Weekly Recreation Report: Willamette Zone

September 23, 2014

 Willamette Zone Fishing

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
-Photo by Kathy Munsel-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • Coho are starting to show up at Willamette Falls and should be moving into the tributaries any time.
  • Coho are now being caught in the lower Clackamas River.
  • Alton Baker Canoe Canal will be stocked this week with a total of 1,365 fish, including 110 larger trout. These fish are released at multiple locations along the length of the Canal.
  • Foster Reservoir has been stocked with 10,000 trout over the past two weeks.

Warm temperatures increase stress on fish

With summer temperatures heating up throughout the state, anglers should take special care when catching and releasing fish.

  • Fish early in the mornings when water temperatures are lower.
  • Fish in lakes and reservoirs with deep waters that provide a cooler refuge for fish.
  • Use barbless hooks, land fish quickly and keep them in the water as much as possible in order to minimize stress.
  • Shift your fishing efforts to higher elevation mountain lakes and streams where water temperatures often remain cool.
  • Target warmwater species, such as bass, bluegill and crappie, that are available in many lakes and reservoirs statewide. However, even warmwater fish can feel the effects of the heat and anglers should try to land and release them as quickly as possible.

Send us your fishing report

We’d love to hear about your recent fishing experience. Send us your own fishing report through ODFW Fishing Reports -- the information will be forwarded to the local biologist who may use it to update various ODFW resources such as the Weekly Recreation Report.

2014 trout stocking

The 2014 trout stocking schedules for the North Willamette Watershed (pdf) District and the South Willamette Watershed (pdf) District are now posted on-line on the ODFW trout stocking page.

Check out the new trout stocking map

Find the location and details about the many lakes ponds and streams that receive hatchery trout from ODFW’s fish hatcheries on the new Google-based stocking map.

rainbow trout on a stringer
Rainbow Trout on a stringer
-Photo by Bob Swingle-


The Alton Baker Canoe Canal will be stocked this week with a total of 1,365 fish, including 110 larger trout. These fish are released at multiple locations along the length of the Canal.

The canal is located within Alton Baker Park and can be accessed off of Club Road in Eugene. A 4-acre pond at the midpoint of the canal is a good spot but it can be fished all along its 2-mile length from Day Island Road in Eugene to Aspen Street in Springfield.

BENSON LAKE: rainbow trout, white crappie, largemouth bass, brown bullhead

BENSON LAKE: rainbow trout, white crappie, largemouth bass, brown bullhead

Stocked the week of June 2 with 4,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a 40-acre lake located in Benson State Park in the Columbia River Gorge. From Portland, head east on I-84, park is located on the south side of the freeway approx. 1/2 mile west of Multnomah Falls.

BETHANY POND: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, bullhead

Stocked the week of May 5 with 2,000 legal sized rainbow trout. This is a 10-acre pond located at Bethany west of Portland. The pond is maintained by Tualatin Hills Park and Rec. Amenities include picnic tables, restrooms, and a paved, ADA accessible trail.

BIG LAKE: brook trout, rainbow trout, cutthroat trout

Here is a high-lake angling opportunity you can drive to! This lake is located at the top of Santiam Pass (same exit as the Hoodoo Ski Resort) off US. 20 and is equipped with restrooms, picnic and camping areas, and a boat ramp. The lake is popular with water skiers and recreational boaters, but receives very little fishing pressure. Trolling lures along the shallow-to-deep drop off can be effective. Brook, cutthroat, and rainbow trout are stocked and catches up to 16 inches have been reported.

BLUE LAKE: rainbow trout, largemouth bass, brown bullhead, black crappie, bluegill

Stocked the week of April 14 with 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a 64-acre lake located in Blue Lake Park 3 miles west of Troutdale. This family-friendly park as picnic areas, restrooms, walking trail, and ramp for small boats. Park is maintained by Multnomah County.

The lake was also stock with approximately 2,000 legal-sized rainbow trout raised by Mount Hood Community College Fisheries program students. Please be aware that some of the fish may be smaller than 8” due to challenges growing the fish this year in very cold water. Angling regulations require that any trout under 8-inches be released unharmed.

BLUE RIVER: trout, steelhead

Blue River above Blue River Reservoir was stocked for the last time this season the week of June 30. Steelhead are only available below the reservoir.

BLUE RIVER RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater species

Blue River Reservoir was stocked for the last time this season the week of June 30, although bass and holdover trout may still be available. Blue River Reservoir is located east of Eugene near the town of Blue River, north of Highway 126 and is open to year-round fishing.


This scenic river flows for approximately 30 miles into Detroit Reservoir. It is open from April 26 to Oct. 31. Along with cutthroat trout this river has been stocked fairly regularly this season with legal rainbows, up to the last scheduled stocking made on July 28. Because the water runs cold throughout the year there are usually good numbers of fish throughout the summer.

Forest Road 46 runs along most of its length so access is very good despite some steep and brushy sections. Daily limit is five trout over 8 inches, no limit on brook trout and the use of bait is allowed. The river is closed to salmon fishing but remains open for trout harvest until Oct. 31.

CANBY POND: rainbow trout

Stocked the week of April 28 with 1,400 legal-sized and 250 larger rainbow trout.

Canby Pond is a 1-acre pond located on the south end of Canby in Canby City Park. The park is south of Hwy 99E and adjacent to the Molalla River. Angling restricted to youth age 17 and under or holders of one of the Disabled Anglers permits.

Chinook Salmon
Nice summer buck from the upper Clackamas
-Photo by Nick Lewton-


Carmen Reservoir was stocked in late July for the last time this season. The reservoir is accessed via FS Road 750 off Hwy 126, about 2 miles south of Clear Lake, and is open all year. Motor boats are prohibited on Carmen Reservoir.

CLACKAMAS RIVER: Coho, summer steelhead, spring Chinook

The water is low, clear, and warm. Rain is in the forecast this week, if it materializes coho will move into the river and summer steelhead activity will increase. There have been few boat anglers out on the river as it’s primarily a drift boat or pontoon boat fishery; those that try will likely be out pushing their boats through the thin spots. Now that school is back in session the rafting crowd should dwindle on weekdays but there could still be fairly heavy crowds over weekends.

While days are still warm, nights are cooling off which will trigger movement of coho into the Clackamas River. There have been reports of a few coho being caught this past week. Expect fish numbers to increase as water temperatures continue to cool.

Coho and summer steelhead are the primary target in mid September; coho and summers can be found throughout the river. Coho will bite if targeted when they are moving, Concentrate on riffles, pocket water, or holding areas adjacent to long stretches of fast water. Summers should be concentrated the reach from Carver up to McIver Park where acclimation ponds are found and recycled fish are available. Folks fishing up around McIver Park have been hooking an occasional summer or springer, mainly near Dog Creek and just below the dam; the small number of boat anglers out have had some limited success working the water from McIver to Barton. Any spring Chinook landed this late in the season will be of marginal quality at best.

The warm water and low flows make it very challenging this time of year and it’s become mostly a hardware fishery with spoons or spinners producing results. Fresh coho will fall to eggs fished under a bobber or behind a diver. Bank anglers working around Cazadero and above Faraday are also landing a few fish. Anglers should make note that an angling deadline is clearly marked up near Rivermill Dam and the fishway; it is illegal to fish or even cast above this deadline.

Of note for anglers is that recycled fish were captured at the North Fork fish trap or Clackamas Hatchery, taken downstream and released at Riverside and Carver parks, typically, every week through July. There have been several reports come in of these recycled summers being caught since these fish are typically marked with “floy” tags near their dorsal fin and have an ODFW phone number and the point of origin of the fish. Anglers who catch these fish are asked to call the information in; though it is not required, it is appreciated.

Tuesday hydrological data shows flows slightly lower than last week at 670cfs, a gauge reading in Estacada of 10.48 ft., and the water temperature still fairly warm at 57.5°F.


Clear Lake is open to fishing all year and was stocked in late August for the last time this season with 2,500 rainbow trout, including 500 larger sized trout. Naturally reproducing brook trout are also available. The lake is accessed from Highway 126 approximately 70 miles east of Springfield. Cabins and row boats are available for rent from Clear Lake Resort.


The Coast Fork of the Willamette River was last stocked for the season in mid-May at several locations within Cottage Grove.

Coast Fork basin-specific regulations and stocking schedule.

COMMONWEALTH LAKE: trout, bass, bluegill, crappie

Stocked the week of May 5 with 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a three-acre stocked lake within the Commonwealth Lake Park in Beaverton, Oregon.

Commonwealth Park is maintained by Tualatin Hills Park and Rec. Amenities include ADA accessible trail, picnic tables, playground, restrooms.

COTTAGE GROVE POND: trout, warmwater species

Cottage Grove Pond was last stocked for the season in early-April. Warmwater fish continue to be available.

To access the pond, travel east from Cottage Grove on Row River Road. Cottage Grove Pond is located behind the truck scales and may be accessed via an asphalt pathway. Only the pond with the dock is stocked with hatchery trout. This pond also offers terrific bird-watching opportunities, with bald eagles, various ducks, red-winged blackbirds, and other migratory songbirds frequently observed in spring.

COTTAGE GROVE RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater species

Cottage Grove Reservoir was last stocked for the season in mid-April. The Reservoir will be stocked again in mid-October. Holdover trout and warmwater species are also available to anglers. The reservoir is south of Cottage Grove and is open to angling all year.

NOTICE: The Oregon Health Authority has issued a health advisory updating information about eating fish caught in Cottage Grove Reservoir. Under the advisory issued June 5, 2012 people can safely consume up to nine meals per month of hatchery-grown rainbow trout month that are 12 inches in length or less. People can distinguish hatchery-grown rainbow trout by the absence of the adipose fin, which is clipped before hatchery fish are released into streams and reservoirs. Despite the new exception for rainbow trout, mercury contamination for resident warm-water fish, including bass, bluegill, crappie and bullhead continues to be a concern. Women of childbearing age, particularly pregnant or breastfeeding women, children under six years of age and persons having liver or kidney ailments should avoid eating any fish from this reservoir other than rainbow trout. Healthy women beyond childbearing age, other healthy adults and healthy children six years of age and older should eat no more than one 8-ounce meal of fish other than rainbow trout per month.

CRESWELL POND (GARDEN LAKE): trout, warmwater species

Garden Lake was last stocked for the season in early April. The pond is located in Garden Lake Park on the east side of I-5 in Creswell and is open to fishing all year, although vegetation can become a problem as the weather warms up. The pond and park offer additional wildlife viewing opportunities.

Detroit Lake
Detroit Lake
-Photo by Jerry Korson-

DETROIT RESERVOIR: trout, kokanee

This reservoir receives over 100,000 trout throughout the year. It was last stocked in mid-July with 4,500 legal size rainbow trout and is scheduled for the next stocking of 5,000 legal rainbows during the week of Sept. 22 when water temperatures begin to come down.

Kokanee fishing is winding down as the larger fish are getting ready to spawn, but there are still plenty of trout left. Currently the reservoir is about 30 feet below full pool. Most boat ramps are no longer in the water. Best bets are the three boat ramps at Mongold and State Park Ramp G. Check with local outfitters in the town of Detroit for fishing conditions.


Dexter Reservoir will be stocked this week with 5,000 rainbow trout. This will be the last release until early 2015. In addition to trout, some warmwater fish are also available. The reservoir is adjacent to Highway 58 near Lowell and is open all year.

DORENA RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater

Dorena Reservoir was last stocked in late April and will be stocked next in mid-October. The reservoir is east of Cottage Grove on Row River Road and is open all year. Trout and warmwater fish are available.


Stocked the week of May 5 with 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is an 8-acre pond west of Forest Grove at the junction of Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 6.

EAGLE CREEK: spring Chinook

Eagle Creek is still very low, clear and warm, despite some pretty good rainfall over the weekend in that area. Spring Chinook fishing is done for the season with perhaps a scattering of springers to be found in deep, shaded pools from the middle ladder canyon up to the hatchery. Fish quality at this stage will be marginal at best if you can get them to bite. A few Eagle Creek springers have also been caught below the mouth of the creek in the Clackamas River. Anglers can identify an Eagle Creek acclimation released springer from its unique fin-clips; not only are they adipose fin-clipped but they are also missing a right maxillary fin. Anglers are now waiting for the coho to show up in the creek but that won’t typically happen until late September after some fall rains move in. Due to decreased hatchery coho smolt releases in the past few years returns have been pretty low the last couple of seasons.

Long stretches of Eagle Creek run through private property, particularly up near the hatchery and from an area below the lower ladder on down past Bonnie Lure to the mouth. Anglers are advised to pay close attention to where you fish and we encourage you to ask permission prior to accessing or crossing private lands on your way to your favorite fishing hole. See Page 15 of the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulation pamphlet for more information on “Your Rights to Use the Surface, Bed, and Banks of Oregon’s Rivers and Lakes.”


Stocked the week of Sept. 2 with 1,200 legal-sized rainbow trout. Estacada Lake is a 150-acre reservoir on the Clackamas River behind River Mill Dam. There is a boat ramp in Milo McIver State Park at the lower end of the reservoir. A fishing dock next to the boat ramp provides non-boating access to the lake.


Fall Creek above Fall Creek Reservoir was last stocked for the season the week of June 16. Wild trout continue to be available. Fall Creek and Reservoir are northeast of Lowell.


Fall Creek above Fall Creek Reservoir was last stocked for the season in mid-June. Wild trout continue to be available. Fall Creek and Reservoir are northeast of Lowell.

Faraday Lake

Faraday Lake
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW


Stocked the week of Sept. 1 with 1,200 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a 25-acre reservoir located 1.1 miles southeast of Estacada on Hwy. 224 next to a PGE hydro plant.

FERN RIDGE RESERVOIR: largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, brown bullhead

This 9,000 acre lake just 12 miles west of Eugene is the Willamette Basin’s largest water body. This reservoir is 3 feet below full pool at this time, and all boat ramps should be available. For local information regarding the lake and available boat ramps, contact the Lane County Parks Department at 541-682-2000. This lake is mostly shallow with a band of deep water from the original channel of the Long Tom River. The reservoir produces crappie over 12 inches and bass angling has been very good in recent years. Best time of year for crappie is in spring after the water temperature reaches the mid-50s, but fish can still be found in deeper water year round. July and August are peak months for largemouth bass. Fish the shoreline along the southern part of the reservoir, especially the sloughs and inlets where there is underwater structure.

FOSTER RESERVOIR: trout, bass, perch, catfish

This scenic 1,200-acre reservoir on the South Santiam River is located just 30 minutes from Interstate 5. There is good bank access at several rest stops and campgrounds, and three seasonal boat ramps. The water level remains approximately 5 feet below full pool with all three boat ramps available at this time. It was stocked last week with 5,000 rainbow trout and will be stocked again with another 5,000 rainbows this week. Please remember that only kokanee and adipose fin-clipped trout may be kept and there are no limits on size or number of bass. From I-5 take US 20 east from Albany to the town of Sweet Home. The reservoir is 3 miles past the town on the left.

FREEWAY LAKES: trout, bass, bluegill, crappie

This water body actually consists of three interconnected ponds and features some good size bass and a few very large crappie. A boat ramp is available at East Freeway Lake, and there is good bank access around Middle Freeway Lake. Now that it is summer, the bass, crappie and other warmwater fish are the prize for most anglers. To get there, take the State Police exit in Albany and follow the frontage road south (3 Lakes Road) for several miles.

GREEN PETER RESERVOIR: kokanee, trout, bass

This large reservoir east of Sweet Home is a premier kokanee fishery with a bag limit of 25 fish per day. It also supports stocked rainbow trout and a good population of smallmouth bass. The kokanee fishery has been good this year, producing good numbers, but fish have been on the smaller side. Plenty of kokanee are being caught between 40-60 feet down. Smallmouth bass can be found near underwater structure and at drop-offs. The reservoir level is currently 65 feet below full pool. Thistle Creek boat ramp remains open, but Whitcomb Island is now closed until the spring water storage season.


Stocked the week of May 5 with 2,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a 2-acre pond located within the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area. From the Sauvie Island bridge, take Sauvie Island Rd. to NW Reeder Rd, then Oak Island Rd.
Harriet Lake

Harriet Lake
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW


Stocked the week of Aug. 25 with 2,000 legal-sized rainbow trout and 250 one-pounders.
Harriet Lake is located on Forest Road 56 up the Clackamas River drainage. Forest Road 56 is a left turn approximately 2 miles past the Ripplebrook Ranger Station. The lake scheduled to be stocked the week of May 12 with 500 one-pounders and 25 “trophy” trout which should provide for some exciting angling action.

HARTMAN POND: trout, bass, crappie, perch

Stocked the week of June 2 with 2,350 legal-sized rainbow trout. This pond is adjacent to the Columbia River adjoining Benson State Recreation Area.

HENRY HAGG LAKE: trout, bass, crappie, yellow perch, bluegill and brown bullhead

Stocked the week of June 2 with 6,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. This popular fishery has been stocked several times this spring and there should be plenty of fish for anglers who are willing to get out and work for them. Hagg Lake is located within Scoggins Valley Park. The park features numerous picnic areas, two boat launching facilities, more than 15 miles of hiking trails, and observation decks for wildlife and bird watching.

HILLS CREEK RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater fish

Hills Creek Reservoir is open to fishing all year. The reservoir will not be stocked this week as scheduled due to high water temperatures. The current plan is to stock it next week and again in mid-October. This reservoir is also stocked annually with 100,000 adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook fingerlings and 200,000 adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout fingerlings. These fish grow to catchable size within a year. All non-adipose fin-clipped trout and salmon must be released unharmed.


Native trout are available for harvest and bait may be used through Oct. 31 in Hills Creek. Hatchery fish released into Hills Creek in previous years will now be released into Hills Creek Reservoir.


The planned release of 2,000 trout the week of June 30 has been cancelled due to a wash-out in the access road to the lake. Horseshoe is a 14-acre lake located in the Olallie Lake Basin on the Mt. Hood National Forest. There are a few campsites available at Horseshoe Lake Campground.

HUDDLESTON POND: trout, bass, bluegill

Stocked the week of June 2 with with 1,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is in addition to 750 legal-sized rainbow trout and 200 one-pounders released the week of April 21. Huddleston is a 5-acre pond located within Huddleston Pond Park in the city of Willamina, Ore. A former mill pond, it contains woody debris that provides habitat for bass and bluegill. It reaches a maximum depth of about 10 feet, with shallow "kid-friendly" edges. It is ADA accessible in places, with a restroom and picnic areas nearby. There is paved parking lot and small ramp for people who want to launch small, non-motorized boats.


Leaburg Lake was stocked just before Labor Day with 1,500 rainbow trout in excess of one pound each. These fish are in the 15 to 18-inch range and fall within the five adipose-fin clipped trout daily bag limit. This was the final release of fish into Leaburg Lake in 2014.

Vehicular and pedestrian access across Leaburg Dam is restricted weekdays from 8 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-4 p.m until mid-October. Angler access will not be restricted on the highway side of the lake, but anglers will need to consider dam access when planning their weekday fishing activities on the park side of the lake. Check EWEB’s website for updates.

MCKENZIE RIVER below Leaburg Lake: trout, salmon, steelhead

McKenzie River
McKenzie River
-ODFW Photo-

The McKenzie River below Leaburg Lake was boat stocked in early September for the last time this season with 3,000 rainbow trout. Fish were released from Leaburg Town Landing down to Hendricks Bridge. Gear use is restricted to flies and lures below Hendricks Bridge. Use of bait is allowed from Hendricks Bridge upstream to Leaburg Dam through the end of the year. A Columbia River Basin Endorsement is required for anglers targeting salmon and steelhead in the McKenzie.

Leaburg Dam is closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. weekdays through mid October. See the EWEB website for updates.

MCKENZIE RIVER above Leaburg Lake: trout, steelhead

The McKenzie River above Leaburg Lake was boat stocked in mid-September for the last time this season below Finn Rock with a total of 2,750 rainbow trout. All non-adipose fin-clipped trout must be released unharmed.

McKenzie basin-specific regulations and stocking schedule.


The Middle Fork Willamette River above Hills Creek Reservoir is open to catch-and-release fishing. Angling is restricted to flies and lures. The Middle Fork above Hills Creek Reservoir will not be stocked this year. Those fish will instead be released into Hills Creek Reservoir for anglers.

Middle Fork basin-specific regulations and stocking schedule.

MOLALLA RIVER: spring Chinook, summer steelhead

The Molalla is low yet fishable by drift boat or from the bank and with passage of spring Chinook continuing at the falls there should be some springers to be found in the Molalla. These Chinook are returning from direct releases of 100,000 smolts done every year above Feyrer Park; it’s also not unheard of for a few hatchery summer steelhead to poke their way into the lower river escaping the warmer waters of the Willamette.

MT HOOD POND: trout, crappie, bluegill

Stocked the week of Sept. 15 with 450 trout. The pond also offers angling for several different species of warm water fish including crappie, bluegill, and catfish. Anglers are reminded that from April 1 through Aug. 31 fishing at Mt. Hood Pond is restricted to youths 17 and under as well as individuals who possess a valid Oregon Disabilities Fishing Permit.


North Fork Reservoir

North Fork Reservoir
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW

The scheduled stocking for this week has been postponed due to the 36 Pit fire south of Estacada. This is a 350-acre reservoir of the Clackamas River behind North Fork Dam approximately 5.2 miles east of Estacada.

Fishermen are reminded that the boat ramp and marina at Promitory Park will be closed to all public access until the summer of 2016 while PGE constructs a surface collector to improve the downstream passage of native salmon and steelhead juveniles at North Fork Dam. All other access points to North Fork Reservoir are open, and ODFW will stock the lake with hatchery trout as in the past. For more information about the closure, visit PGE’s website (pdf).


Stocked the week of July 7 with 5,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is the largest of more than 200 lakes within the Olallie Lake Scenic Area on the southern edge of the Mt. Hood National Forest.

PROGRESS LAKE: trout, brown bullhead

Stocked the week of May 5 with 1,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a 4-acre pond next to the Progress Ridge Town Center in Beaverton, Oregon. The pond is an old rock pit and has a maximum depth of 54 feet. There is a sidewalk, fishing platform and viewing platform on one side of the lake.

The lake is owned by Tualatin Hills Parks and Rec. Boating and swimming are prohibited on this lake.


This beautiful stream is located above Green Peter Reservoir and provides excellent opportunities to fish for trout. There is good bank access along most of its length. Trout season opened April 28 and ends Oct. 31. The river was stocked several times through the summer with over 5,000 rainbow trout. It was stocked one last time for 2014 the last week of July with 2,000 rainbow trout. Wild cutthroat trout can be found here as well. Light gear works best and fly-fishing can be very good, but bait is also allowed. There are two BLM campgrounds as well as numerous designated campsites along the road. Please be cautious with any source of fire while enjoying your outings this season. To get there, follow the directions to Green Peter Reservoir and continue around the lake until the river begins.


Salmon Creek is a tributary to the Middle Fork Willamette River east of Oakridge. Salmon Creek was last stocked for the season in late August. Fish are released at several locations up to the Black Creek Road bridge. Bait use and both native and hatchery trout harvest are allowed through Oct. 31.


Stocked the week of May 5 with 1,500 legal-sized rainbow trout. This lake is located approximately 9 miles northwest of St. Helens on Pittsburg Rd.


Salt Creek is a tributary to the Middle Fork Willamette River east of Oakridge and is open to harvest of native trout through October 31. Bait use is allowed during trout season. Salt Creek will not be stocked in 2014. Instead, these hatchery fished will be released into Hills Creek Reservoir.

Sandy River steelhead fishing
Sandy River Steelhead fishing
-Photo by Jessica Sall-

SANDY RIVER: summer steelhead, spring Chinook

The Sandy River is a very fishable glacial green. Angler effort has been slow but the few who try will find that there are some coho, summer steelhead Chinook in the river, with an occasional fish being landed.

The overall catch reports have been poor to fair, with morning fishing offering the best opportunity to hook into a fish. The Oxbow to Dabney trip is a good choice by drift boat or pontoon and if you’re bank fishing try Oxbow Park, Dodge Park, the Cedar Creek area at the hatchery, Revenue Bridge, up around the old Marmot dam site, or near the mouth of the Salmon River. Reports of good quality summer steelhead still persist at Cedar Creek. Another quality year of coho returns is expected. . Rumors of coho catch abound with very few confirmed coho landed. This should change in the near future with rain predicted this week. Spring Chinook are still present in the river, but will not make good table fare because they are close to spawning. The large fall Chinook run in the Columbia River is expected to bring good numbers of fish into the lower Sandy, many of which will be unclipped. However, anglers may only retain Chinook with an adipose fin clip. Additionally, angling is closed between markers located in Oxbow Park September 16 – November 15 to protect spawning fall Chinook.

Please be aware the Lower Sandy River has changed recently with a new channel mouth flowing to the north/northwest about 0.75 miles downstream of I-84. The new channel is shallow and flows are irregular and controlled by the tide along with Columbia and Sandy River flows. Angling is currently allowed in this channel which is also accessible by foot from the Columbia Gorge Scenic Area parking lot on the Sandy Delta (downstream and east side of the I-84 Bridge crossing of the Sandy River).

Monday hydrological data shows the river flows below Bull Run at 375cfs, a gauge reading of 7.85 ft.

SANTIAM RIVER (NORTH FORK): steelhead, Chinook, trout

Fish can be found throughout the river, but are more concentrated in the upper sections (Mehama to Packsaddle), where summer steelhead can find cooler water. Counts at Willamette Falls as of Sept. 17 show just over 22,000 summer steelhead had entered the upper basin. Of those, over 3,400 made it above Stayton on the North Santiam through Sept. 13.

The river is now closed to spring Chinook harvest. There is lots of spawning activity going on, especially around Packsaddle boat ramp. Please be careful when launching boats there and avoid stepping on to spawning beds or otherwise harassing spawning fish. In a very short time the coho will arrive, providing another opportunity to catch salmon. The first 169 coho have already passed the Willamette Falls fish ladder as of September 17, but only a handful have made it above the Bennett dams at Stayton. When the ‘bite’ is on, bobbers and jigs are the preferred angling method with spoons, spinners and egg clusters also being effective. Currently the entire river below Packsaddle Park (near the Minto Fish Facility) is open to adipose fin-clipped steelhead and trout fishing and will remain open to Oct. 31.

River levels best for fishing are below 3,000 cfs at the Mehama gauge (currently the gauge is around 1,710 cfs). Current conditions

CAUTION: The section between Shelburn and Green’s Bridge remains hazardous for boaters because of downed trees and multiple side channels. Better bets are the floats below Green’s Bridge and above Stayton.

UPDATE: Maintenance work on the Upper Bennett Dam has been completed! The upgraded boat slide is once again available for use.

UPDATE: The gate at Green’s Bridge near Jefferson has been opened and will remain open until the next seasonal closure in June 2015.

North Santiam
North Santiam
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW-


Flows in the South Santiam below Foster dam remain at 1,530 cfs as of Sept. 22 and should remain fairly stable for the short term. These are excellent conditions coinciding with the diminishing influx of new fish into the basin. As a reminder, spring Chinook fishing closed on Aug. 15 and will not reopen until Nov. 1. This is the peak spawning season for Chinook and anglers are asked to avoid areas where fish are actively spawning and not to step on to spawning beds so that these remarkable fish can complete their lifecycle.

Best sections to fish are from Wiley Creek to Pleasant Valley boat ramps, around Waterloo County Park, and from Lebanon down to the confluence with the North Santiam. As of Sept. 14 just under 3,000 summer steelhead had entered the fish ladder and nearly 2,450 were recycled back down river for another angler opportunity. The recycling has now ended for the year.


Stocked the week of June 9 with 1,000 rainbow trout. Sheridan Pond is a 2 ½-acre pond located on the edge of town. An old mill pond, it has plenty of bank access, parking, and a restroom. To get there take Hwy. 18 to Exit 33 onto Balston Rd. Go south on Balston Rd. approximately half a mile and turn left onto a gravel road leading about a quarter mile to the pond.


Stocked the week of April 7 with 1,000 rainbow trout ranging in size from 10 inches to over two pounds each. A family fishing event was held April 12 but some holdover fish should still be available.

This is a 4-acre pond located within Ivor Davies Nature Park in the city of Molalla. It can be accessed by the Fifth St. Trailhead across from Heckard Football Stadium.


Stocked the week of June 23 with 2,600 legal-sized rainbow trout and 250 half-pounders. This is a 65-acre reservoir on Silver Creek 2.5 miles south of Silverton on Hwy. 214.


The stocking scheduled for this week has been postponed due to the 36 Pit fire south of Estacada. This is a small pond located next to Promontory Park and North Fork Reservoir near Estacada.


Stocked for the last time this season in late June. Smith Reservoir is north of Trail Bridge Reservoir and is accessed by turning off Hwy 126 at Trail Bridge Reservoir and following FS Road 730 north to Smith Dam. The reservoir is not visible from the highway and is open to year-around fishing.

Due to construction at the Carmen powerhouse at Trail Bridge Reservoir, the primary access road to Trail Bridge Campground and Smith Reservoir will be closed for approximately two weeks beginning Sept. 14. A secondary access route to the Smith Reservoir and Trail Bridge Campground via Forest Service Road 655 to the Trail Bridge Bypass Road is available to high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicles. The secondary roads are not suited for passenger cars, motorhomes or vehicles towing trailers or fifth wheels. Recreational vehicles and vehicles towing trailers are prohibited. See EWEB's website for updates.


Stocked the week of June 9 with 2,000 rainbow trout. The South Fork Yamhill from its confluence with the North Yamhill near McMinnville, upstream about 20 miles to Rock Creek near Grand Ronde is stocked with rainbow trout. Trout are released in multiple locations between Gold Creek Road Bridge and Willamina.

Yamhill River Road runs parallel to much of this section and provides adequate turnouts and parking at several locations near the river. The remaining 15 miles of river open to trout fishing has some public access but also meanders across private lands. ODFW reminds anglers to be aware of and respectful toward private property rights along the river.

ST. LOUIS PONDS: trout, bass, crappie, bluegill, yellow perch, channel catfish

A family fishing event scheduled for Sept. 27 has been rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 11 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. due to elevated water temperatures at the present time.

The fishing park has a number of ADA-accessible fishing platforms and a paved trail that meanders around some of the ponds. Parking is very limited, so carpooling is encouraged, and when parking lots fill up participants may need to walk in a mile from the gate at the entrance of the complex. St. Louis Ponds is located 13 miles north of Salem and west of I-5. To get to there from the north, take the Woodburn exit off I-5. Then go east to Hwy. 99E. At Hwy. 99E, head south to the town of Gervais. At the light, go west on Gervais Rd. through Gervais. Gervais Rd. changes to St Louis Rd. Continue west on St Louis Rd. as it crosses over I-5 to Tesch Lane, at the railroad crossing. Go left on Tesch Lane and follow the signs to the ponds. More information: Jeff Fulop, (971) 673-6034.

Timothy Lake

Timothy Lake
-Photo by Rick Swart, ODFW

TIMOTHY LAKE: rainbow trout, brook trout, cutthroat trout, kokanee

Stocked the week of June 30 with with 2,000 legal-sized rainbow trout and 50 trophies (3-pounders). Timothy is a 1,400-acre lake about 80 miles east of Portland past Mt. Hood. From Hwy 26 turn onto Forest Rd 42 (Skyline Rd), and then west to Forest Rd 57. Timothy is one of the most popular family camping and fishing destinations in the Mt. Hood National Forest. The lake's south shore features four developed campgrounds and boat ramps. Three smaller, less developed campgrounds are found in the north. A trail system for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians circles the lake. Motorboats are allowed on Timothy Lake, although a 10 m.p.h. speed limit is in place. The lake is currently accessible via Highway 26 as well as Forest Road 56 up the Clackamas River.


Trail Bridge Reservoir is open to year-round angling. It was last stocked for the season in late July. This waterbody is adjacent to Hwy 126 and is approximately 60 miles east of Springfield. Only adipose fin-clipped trout may be harvested from Trail Bridge Reservoir. Flies and lures only may be used.

Due to construction at the Carmen powerhouse at Trail Bridge Reservoir, the primary access road to Trail Bridge Campground and Smith Reservoir will be closed for approximately two weeks beginning Sept. 14. A secondary access route to the Smith Reservoir and Trail Bridge Campground via Forest Service Road 655 to the Trail Bridge Bypass Road is available to high clearance 4-wheel drive vehicles. The secondary roads are not suited for passenger cars, motorhomes or vehicles towing trailers or fifth wheels. Recreational vehicles and vehicles towing trailers are prohibited. See EWEB's website for updates.


Stocked the week of Sept. 1 with with 3,000 legal-sized rainbow trout and 250 trophies (3-pounders). Trillium is a 60-acre lake located approximately three miles east of Government Camp off of Hwy 26. This lake is popular for fishing, camping and photography, often clearly reflecting Mount Hood. A large campground at the lake features a seasonal boat ramp and wheelchair-accessible floating dock.

TROJAN PONDS: trout, warmwater species

The pond was stocked with 8,000 trout during the month of April, so there should be lots of fish available. Trojan Pond is a 15-acre lake about 4.5 miles southeast of Rainier on the north side of Hwy 30 at the Trojan nuclear facility.

WALTER WIRTH LAKE: trout, crappie, bass

This popular Salem lake in Cascade Gateway Park receives thousands of hatchery trout annually. It was stocked in early June with 2,000 legal and 250 larger size rainbow trout and stocking is set to resume during the week of Oct. 6. As a reminder, only one fish over 20-inches may be kept.

This wheelchair accessible lake is located just east of Salem within Cascade Gateway Park, west of I-5 at Hwy. 22. Take Airport Rd. or Turner Rd. to reach the lake.

WEST SALISH POND: panfish, trout

The Salish Ponds Wetlands Park restoration project is far enough along that anglers are able to go in and fish both the east and west ponds. A variety of resident warm water species can be found in both ponds, with the east offering the greatest opportunity.

The City of Fairview would like to give young plantings in the park another season to establish themselves before large numbers of anglers begin fishing there again; as a result ODFW likely won’t resume stocking West Salish Pond with trout until late 2014.

WILLAMETTE RIVER: sturgeon, Chinook salmon, summer steelhead

NOTICE: The Oregon Health Authority has issued a public health advisory for the lower Willamette River following tests that showed the presence of toxic blue-green algae. Public health officials recommend that people avoid all contact with Willamette River water through downtown Portland from the Ross Island bridge to the south end of Sauvie Island. Health officials are urging people and pets to avoid all contact with Willamette River water in this area until further notice.

Angling activity on the lower Willamette has been slow in the lower Willamette in the aftermath of the health advisory issued by the Oregon Health Authority.

Chinook salmon anglers have moved over to the Columbia and other streams.

Passage counts at Willamette Falls have ended for spring Chinook and switched over to wild fall Chinook. The summer steelhead passage continues however with counts marching on slow but steady; we also had the first coho pass a few days ago. A total of 30,071 adult spring Chinook passed this season while the summer steelhead have reached 22.114 counted up through the Sept. 18 date. Through that same Sept. 18 date 753 coho have also passed.

Monday hydrological data shows the Willamette flows at 8,540 cfs, the water temperature steady near 68°, and visibility still at an astoundingly clear 9.2 feet.

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  Willamette Zone Hunting


EVENT: Family Big Game Hunting Workshop

Free family big game hunting workshop, Oct. 26 at Douglas Ridge Rifle Club, Eagle Creek, Ore.

See the bird and big game hunting forecasts.

Fire danger is a concern this time of year and hunters are asked to follow all Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) fire restrictions while hunting. See ODF’s webpage for the latest on restrictions (click Landowner/Corporate Closure Chart for private land closures)

Turkey Hunter
Hunters age 17 and under must wear fluorescent orange.
- Photo by Mary Hanson -

Hunter orange required for youth

Don’t forget: hunters age 17 and under must wear a fluorescent orange upper garment OR hat when hunting upland game birds (except turkey) and game mammals (deer, elk, bear, cougar, pronghorn, goat, sheep, and western gray squirrel) with a firearm.

Industrial forestland owners will usually have information regarding access to their property posted on their gates and usually have a “hotline” devoted to providing up-to-date access for hunters. In addition, many private timberlands use the following link to provide information regarding the access policy for their private lands. Hunters need to have permission to hunt or make sure hunting is allowed before accessing private lands.


Hunters should be preparing now for upcoming big game hunting seasons. Sight-in and practice with your firearms or bows to ensure that when you do get the chance to harvest an animal you are confident in your shooting skills. Many of the local gun ranges will have public sight-in days where you can practice your shooting skills and there are 3-D archery shoots available in the Willamette Valley where you can practice. This is also a good time to ensure that your hunting and camping equipment is in good condition. If not, you will have plenty of time to purchase those items that you need.

Hunters are reminded to be prepared for emergencies by keeping survival equipment such as food, water, signal mirror, whistle, sleeping bag and first aid kit with you and in your vehicle during your outdoor adventures. Don’t forget to wear the proper clothing; it is your first defense against the elements. Let someone know where you will be and when you expect to return just in case your vehicle becomes stuck or breaks down.

Archery Deer and Elk is open August 30 through September 28. This time of year temperature plays a major factor in deer and elk activity. Expect animals to be most active in the early morning and late evenings. During the heat of the day, look for animals in cooler north slope timber stands. As the temperatures cool, animals will become more active during daylight hours. The elk rut is underway and hunters are reporting seeing bulls with cows / calf groups. Bull are also beginning to respond to calling but hunters want to take care not to over call. Please remember fire danger remains high in many areas. Most private timber landowners in the southern portions of the Willamette Zone have closed to access. Hunters should always check access restrictions before entering private lands.

Upland Game Birds

Quail, Mountain / California – Open season from Sept. 1 to Jan 31. These brush loving birds are often found running between hiding and feeding areas in both brushland and riparian zones. Please remember that the daily bag limit is 10 birds singly or in aggregate when both California and mt. quail seasons are concurrent and the possession limit is 30 birds singly or in aggregate when both California and mt. quail seasons are concurrent.

Remember that wildlife laws state that the feathered head must be left attached while you are in the field or transporting the bird(s) home.

ODFW is conducting a survey to determine Mountain Quail locations east of the Cascade Mountains in Oregon. Please report and observations, including the date, specific location, county of observation, and number of quail to your local ODFW office.

Forest Grouse – Open season Sept. 1 - Jan 31. The forest grouse group collectively includes the Ruffled and Blue (dusky/sooty) grouse species. Look for grouse along the edges of timber patches during morning and evening times. The dry weather we experienced this spring was good for brood production and hunters can expect to find more young grouse in field this year. Remember that the daily bag limit is 3 of each species and possession limit is 9 of each species.

Remember that wildlife laws state that the feathered head must be left attached while you are in the field or transporting the bird(s) home.

Your participation is greatly needed

ODFW would appreciate your help in obtaining important information about the health of populations grouse and mountain quail populations. To do so we would like the tail and one whole wing off of any grouse or mountain quail you harvest. Look in the 2014/15 Oregon Game Bird Regulations for specific instructions for removing wings/tails and sending them in.

Special youth-only pheasant hunting opportunities will be offered at select locations this September. Within the Willamette Zone, opportunities will occur September 13-14 at Fern Ridge Wildlife Area and September 20-21 at E.E. Wilson and Sauvie Island Wildlife Areas. Please refer to pages 22-23 of the 2014-2015 Game Bird Regulations for reservation information.

The Western Oregon Fee Pheasant Hunts will begin September 15 at Fern Ridge Wildlife Area and September 22 at Sauvie Island Wildlife Area and October 1 at E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area. In addition to a current hunting license and appropriate validations, participating hunters will need a fee pheasant tag. Please see page 14 of the 2014-2015 Game Bird Regulations for more information.

Mourning Dove

Mourning Doves
- Photo by Maxine Wyatt-

Migratory Birds

Mourning Dove season has been expanded this year and is open from September 1 – October 30 with a bag limit of 15 per day. Hunters may find doves feeding in grain fields around the Willamette Valley. Remember to obtain permission before hunting on private lands.

Big Game

Cougar season is open in all zones beginning on Jan. 1, 2014. Hunters will need to purchase a 2014 hunting license and a 2014 cougar tag to hunt cougars. Successful cougar hunters will need to check-in any cougar taken at an ODFW office within 10 days of the kill. Hunters are reminded that biologists located in field offices may be out in the field handling other issues so call ahead to make arrangements to have your cougar checked-in. The hide and skull must be unfrozen and the skull and proof of sex must be attached to the hide. Hunters are required to submit the reproductive tract of any female cougar taken.

Pick up the Big Game Hunting Regulations before your hunting trip to ensure that you are familiar with all of the requirements.

Fall Bear season is open and hunters looking for the best chance for success will want to become familiar with the wide variety of food sources bears utilize during the fall and move throughout the season to stay on the best available food source.

Early in the hunting season bears will be spending the majority of their time in cool and shaded areas trying to avoid the heat. Although bears are most active in the mornings and evenings, on relatively cooler days bears may be active all day. They will be feeding on the abundant berry, apple, pear, and plum crops primarily in the early morning hours so hunters will need to be up and on stands before daylight. When out scouting, hunters should be looking for bear sign close to streams, lakes and adjacent to cool north slopes of timber.

Field Care of Harvested wildlife

The proper handling of harvested wildlife is the most important criteria to ensure its value as table fare. After properly tagging the animal, the hunter should remove the entrails and get the hide off to start the cool-down process. Wipe down the carcass with a dry cloth to remove any foreign material and keep the carcass clean by placing it into a cloth game bag. Warm weather conditions (greater than 50 degrees) can increase bacteria loads so hunters need to get the carcass cooled/refrigerated as soon as possible. Never place the carcass inside of a plastic bag, tarp or in water since wet or damp meat spoils more quickly. Talk to your local meat processor or butcher to get additional information concerning the proper care of wildlife or go online to find websites that cover this topic.

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 Willamette Zone Viewing

Bats are out and about this time of year

Oregon has 15 species of bats most of which occur in the Willamette Valley. Look for bats foraging for insects at dusk. Anywhere close to water is a good place to see bats and they may even fly over your back yard. These little creatures are good to have around as they can eat up to 600 mosquitoes in an hour! The valley wildlife refuges are all good places to see these fascinating animals. Bats are the only flying mammal.

A nocturnal species, they have a nifty ability called echolocation that allows them to make high-pitched sounds and then listen to the echo of those sounds to locate where objects are. Using echolocation or sound waves, they can find even the tiniest insect! Some of Oregon’s bats migrate south in winter; some stay here and hibernate.

Lots of critters to see down on the river

Beaver, river otter, mink, muskrats and the introduced non-native nutria are common residents along waterways in the Willamette Valley. They can be seen by quietly floating the Willamette River in a canoe or other non-motorized boat and watching the shoreline. 

They are most visible early in the morning or in the evening when other boat traffic is minimal. Occasionally these animals are seen in the Delta ponds or from the river bike path in Eugene and Springfield or in many of the farm ponds on the valley floor. The non-native nutria has displaced the muskrat from much of the Willamette Valley.

Additional wildlife viewing opportunities

Eugene Area

American White Pelicans
American White Pelicans
-Photo by Maxine Wyatt-

Fern Ridge Wildlife Area

Watch the sky as white pelicans ride the thermals and spiral in the airspace above Fern Ridge Lake. These large white birds with black wing-tips have been observed frequently on the lake and in the flooded impoundments on the Fisher Butte unit. There are many access points around Fern Ridge Lake that provide entry for hiking, birdwatching, canoeing and enjoyment of the outdoors. Visitors are reminded that dogs are welcome on the wildlife area but must remain on leash at all times Fern Ridge Wildlife Area remains open daily for public use throughout the summer months. Bird checklists and maps are available at area parking lots or by contacting the Wildlife Area headquarters at (541) 935-2591. 

Directions to Fern Ridge Wildlife Area.

Hillsboro area

L.L. “Stub” Stewart State Park

Oregon’s newest state park as of 2009,this former logging site is being restored to a more diverse forest setting. More than 17 miles of trails traverse the park, including a 3.5 mile section of the Banks-Vernonia State Trail. Douglas-fir forest and undergrowth host Rufous Hummingbird, Steller’s Jay, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, and Varied Thrush. Located off US Hwy 26, west of Banks.

Monmouth Area

EE Wilson Wildlife Area

Go birdwatching at the EE Wilson Wildlife Area while the waterfowl broods and songbirds are caring for their young.

Directions to EE Wilsong Wildlife Area

Portland area

The migration has begun. Look for large chimneys in urban areas to view the fall migration of the Vaux’s Swifts. From late August to early September, swifts gather at migratory roosts— which include chimneys and large hollow trees—before traveling to their winter homes in Central and South America. In the fall, up to 40,000 birds may use the larger roosts at one time. Oregon City High School’s large brick chimney is one place to witness thousands of birds inhabiting a single roost site. Another is Chapman Elementary School in northwest Portland.

More information on Vaux’s Swifts in Portland.

Salish Ponds

Don’t overlook birdwatching near home on these busy fall days. Salish Ponds Wetlands Park, located between Halsey and Glisan streets at the site of an old rock quarry, is Fairview's largest city park and a great place to see birds.

Visitors can see hawks, geese, ducks and rabbits. At this time of year, look for barn swallows, tree swallows, red-tailed hawks, mallards, American coots, Western scrub jays and hummingbirds.

The two ponds are located within the 70-acre Salish Ponds Wetlands Park, on NE Glisan between 201st and 207th; off I-84 take 207th Avenue Exit and head south to Glisan and turn right.

Sauvie Island Wildlife Area

Sauvie Island Wildlife Area
-Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW-

Sauvie Island Wildlife Area

Sandhill cranes just started to arrive for the winter. Fall migration is in full swing for shorebirds. The best viewing areas for shorebirds and cranes are Sturgeon, Crane or Racetrack Lakes. Approximately 500 white pelicans are now using the wildlife area and are primarily being seen on Mud and Sturgeon lakes. Visitors to Sauvie Island Wildlife Area are welcome to pick the berries after obtaining a free permit from the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area office at 18330 NW Sauvie Island Road

Take Hwy. 30 to the Sauvie Island Bridge. After crossing the bridge, stay on NW Sauvie Island Road for about two miles. Stay left at the “Y” intersection. The wildlife area office is on the right about 1/4 mile from the intersection.

A parking permit is required for ODFW Wildlife areas, including Sauvie Island, and can be purchased at ODFW Point of Sale vendors. A daily permit is $7 and an annual permit is $22.

Salem Area

Foster Dam and Reservoir

Viewing sites are at the boat ramps, roadsides and a county park.A flock of Barrow’s Goldeneye regularlywinters just below Foster Dam,sometimes with Common Goldeneye.Deep water above the dam drawsmigrant Common Loon and Horned,Eared, Western, Clark’s and (rarely)Red-necked Grebes in migration, along

with Pied-billed Grebe, American Coot, Common Merganser, and other diving ducks. Red-breasted Merganser, Surf Scoter, Long-tailed Duck, and migrant terns may drop in as rarities. US Hwy 20 at the E end of Sweet Home, take 60th Ave/Foster Dam Rd N to North River Dr.

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