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ODFW WEEKLY RECREATION REPORT
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Willamette Zone Map

Weekly Recreation Report: Willamette Zone

May 19, 2015

 Willamette Zone Fishing

Sturgeon Fishing
Sturgeon fishing on the Willamette.
-Photo by Rick Swart-

Weekend fishing opportunities:

  • The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host a family fishing event at Sheridan Pond on Saturday, May 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fishing gear and instruction will be provided by ODFW staff and volunteers.
  • Chinook salmon have begun moving into the Clackamas River and Santiam rivers.
  • Trout season opens at many western Oregon locations this weekend, including North Fork Reservoir, Estacada Lake, South Fork Yamhill and North Fork Santiam.
  • Fishing for spring Chinook continues on the lower Willamette River.
  • The following Willamette Valley ponds and lakes are scheduled to receive rainbow trout this week: Henry Hagg Lake, Silver Creek Reservoir, Timothy Lake, South Fork Yamhill River, Alton Baker Canal, Blue River above the reservoir, Blue River Reservoir, Carmen Reservoir, Clear Lake, Detroit Reservoir, EE Wilson Pond, Fall Creek, Foster Reservoir, Leaburg Lake, McKenzie River above Leaburg Dam, Quartzville Creek, Salmon Creek and Smith Reservoir.
  • Catch-and-release sturgeon fishery continues to provide some steady action in the Willamette River, with the St. Johns area and Milwaukie offering the best chance for success.
  • Anglers curious as to whether their favorite boat ramp is accessible in Willamette Basin Corps Reservoirs should consult the Army Corps Reservoir and river level information webpage.

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.

2015 trout stocking

The 2015 trout stocking schedules for the North Willamette Watershed (pdf) District and the South Willamette Watershed (pdf) District are now posted 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.

ALTON BAKER CANOE CANAL: trout

The Alton Baker Canoe Canal will be stocked this week with 965 fish, including 150 larger trout. Fish are released at multiple locations along the length of the Canal, which will be stocked approximately every other week through May, at which time it will be stocked more frequently.

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. The Canal is open to angling all year.

rainbow trout
Rainbow Trout
- Photo by Kevin Clawson-

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

Stocked the week of May 4 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 March 23 with 1,000 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.

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

Stocked the week of May 4 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.

BLUE RIVER: trout, steelhead

Blue River is located east of Eugene near the town of Blue River, north of Highway 126. Blue River above the reservoir was recently stocked. Only the river above the reservoir is stocked with trout during trout season. Wild and hatchery trout are available for harvest above the Reservoir.

BLUE RIVER RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater species

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. The reservoir was recently stocked. Saddle Dam boat ramp should be accessible at current reservoir levels. 

BREITENBUSH RIVER: trout

This fishery is currently open for trout. Trout are scheduled to be stocked the last weekend in May, but holdover and resident trout can be found throughout the river. Anglers may keep up to 5 trout per day.

Closed to salmon fishing.

CANBY POND: rainbow trout

Stocked the week of April 27 with 450 rainbow trout.

This 1-acre pond is located on the south end of Canby, in Canby City Park. Canby Pond is open only to youth 17 years old and under and persons who possess ODFW's Disabled Hunting and Fishing Permits.

CARMEN RESERVOIR: trout

Carmen Reservoir is accessed via FS Road 750 off Hwy 126, about 2 miles south of Clear Lake, and is open to fishing all year. Motor boats are prohibited on Carmen Reservoir. Carmen Reservoir was recently stocked.

CLACKAMAS RIVER: summer steelhead, spring Chinook

Flows on the Clackamas River remain low, making travel by sled very difficult, limiting anglers to drift boats or bank fishing. Fishing conditions are challenging and will likely remain this way for a few more days. Try fishing early or late in the day when the sun is off the water for increased chances of success. The low, clear water has led anglers to put little effort into fishing, however for those that do go fishing, catch has been slow to fair. A few summer steelhead are around but anglers are finding an occasional springer in the lower river. If you’re interested in catching steelhead concentrate below Barton Park. If spring Chinook are your target species concentrate your effort below Carver Park. Fish are acclimated near these locations.

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 landowners properties. If you have a boat you can put in at Riverside Park, Carver Park, Barton Park, Feldheimer’s off Springwater Road, and at both lower and upper McIver Park ramps.

Monday, May 18 hydrological data shows river flows at 1,350 cfs, a gauge reading of 11.44 feet and the water temperature near 53°. All of the readings come from the Estacada gauge near McIver Park.

Rainbow Trout
Rainbow Trout
-Washington Fish & Wildlife -

CLEAR LAKE: trout

Stocked the week of May 18 with 3,625 rainbow trout, including 1,125 half-pounders. Clear Lake is open to fishing all year. In addition to seasonally stocked hatchery rainbow 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.

COAST FORK WILLAMETTE RIVER: trout

The Coast Fork Willamette River will be stocked this week with a total of 1,400 hatchery trout. Fish are released from approximately Harrison Avenue Bridge to Bennett Creek Road. Both native and hatchery trout are available for harvest from April 25 through Oct. 31. Bait use is allowed during the same period.

COMMONWEALTH LAKE: trout, bass, bluegill, crappie

Stocked the week of May 11 with 3,000 legal-sized rainbow trout.

This is a three-acre lake within the Commonwelah Lake Park in Beaverton, the park is maintained by Tualatin Hills Park and Rec. Amenities include ADA accessible trail, picnic tables, playground and restrooms.

COTTAGE GROVE POND (ROW RIVER NATURE PARK POND): trout, warmwater species

Cottage Grove Pond in the Row River Nature Park was stocked with 2,000 fish in early April. This was the last trout stocking of the Row River Nature Park Pond this season, although trout and warmwater fish will continue to be available to anglers.

To access this family-friendly fishery, travel east from Cottage Grove on Row River Road. The 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 wildlife viewing opportunities and is open to fishing all year.

COTTAGE GROVE RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater species

Cottage Grove Reservoir was last stocked in mid-April with 4,500 rainbow trout. This will be the last stocking until October. The reservoir is south of Cottage Grove and is open to fishing all year. Wilson Creek and Lakeside Park boat ramps should be accessible at the current reservoir elevation.

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 (Creswell Pond) was stocked for the last time this season in early April. Trout and warmwater fish should continue to be available. This family-friendly fishing pond is located in Garden Lake Park on the east side of I-5 in Creswell and is open to fishing all year. The pond and park offer additional wildlife viewing opportunities. Aquatic vegetation can be a challenge for anglers fishing Garden Lake.

DETROIT RESERVOIR: trout, kokanee

This reservoir receives over 100,000 trout throughout the year. It will receive another 10,000 legal size rainbow trout this week. There are plenty of holdover trout from last year as well as kokanee, mostly in the 10-13 inch range. Currently the reservoir is about 60 feet below full pool. Only Mongold State Park boat ramp is available. Check with local outfitters in the town of Detroit for fishing conditions.

NOTICE: A health advisory was issued on May 5, 2015 for Detroit Reservoir in Linn and Marion counties due to harmful levels of cyanotoxins associated with the genera of blue green algae present. Swallowing or inhaling water should be avoided. Skin contact may cause a rash for those with skin sensitivities. Visit the OHA website for more information.

DEXTER RESERVOIR: trout

Dexter Reservoir was last stocked near the beginning of May. Boat and bank access is available from state and county parks. Parking and bank access are also available from the causeway near Lowell. The reservoir near Lowell is visible from Highway 58.

DORENA RESERVOIR: trout, warmwater

Dorena Reservoir was stocked in late April with 6,300 rainbow trout. The reservoir is east of Cottage Grove on Row River Road and is open to fishing all year. Trout and warmwater fish are available. Both Baker Bay and Harms Park boat ramps are accessible at current reservoir levels.

DORMAN POND: trout

Stocked the week of April 27 with 2,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is an eight-acre pond west of Forest Grove at the junction of Hwy. 8 and Hwy. 6.

EAGLE CREEK: spring Chinook

Eagle Creek is low and clear, like just about every water body in the state. It’s still a bit early but look for some spring Chinook to enter the creek in late May if there’s decent flow at the mouth, as fish return from acclimation releases of two years ago.

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.”

EE WILSON POND: warmwater, trout

Dissolved oxygen levels are rebounding well after a windmill that will mix the water and provide more oxygen to the bottom has been installed. The pond will receive another 800 legal-sized and 200 larger rainbow trout. This pond is located at EE Wilson Wildlife Area, about a ¼ mile hike from the main parking lot. A Wildlife Area parking permit is required. A valid wildlife area parking permit is required.

ESTACADA LAKE: trout

This lake opens for trout fishing on Saturday, May 23 and has been stocked with 1,500 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: trout

Fall Creek above Fall Creek Reservoir (northeast of Lowell) was recently stocked with 1,750 rainbow trout. Fish are released at multiple locations on the stream above the reservoir up to Gold Creek.

Fishing
Fishing in Oregon
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

FALL CREEK RESERVOIR: trout

Fall Creek Reservoir is open to fishing all year, but boat access is limited due to low flows this spring. Currently the North Shore boat ramp near the dam is unlocked from approximately 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is the only accessible boat ramp. Cascara Campground and Winberry Creek Park boat ramps are still out of water.

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 just shy of full pool and all four boat ramps are available at this time.

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 April to June, 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. It will be stocked again this week with 4,000 legal-size and 300 larger rainbow trout. Water released from Green Peter has filled up this reservoir to about 6 feet below full pool. All boat ramps are currently available.

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 LAKE, EAST: trout

It was stocked again May 5 with 700 legal and 50 larger-sized rainbow trout. This water-body actually consists of three interconnected ponds and features some good size bass and crappie. A boat ramp is available at East Freeway Lake, and there is good bank access around Middle Freeway Lake.

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. It was stocked again the first week of May with 6,000 legal-size rainbow trout. Kokanee fishing has returned and with the warming temperatures the fish are becoming active. Most fish, including holdover trout, are being caught between 20-40 feet below the surface. Smallmouth bass can be found near underwater structure and at drop-offs. The reservoir level is currently about 40 ft. below full pool – both Thistle Creek and Whitcomb Island boat ramps are currently available. Water releases below the reservoir are being reduced to fill the reservoir more quickly. The lack of rain and snow pack, however, might not bring the reservoir to full pool by the beginning of summer.

HALDEMAN POND: trout

Stocked the week of May 4 with 2,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a stocked 2-acre pond on the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area that offers good bank access. Ideal for kids. A parking permit is required while on the wildlife area. Permits are available from all ODFW license vendors.

HARRIET LAKE: trout

Stocked the week of April 13 with 2,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a 23-acre reservoir on the Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamas River in the Mount Hood National Forest. Boat ramp is just past campground.

HARTMAN POND: trout

Stocked the week of May 4 with 1,750 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a year-round warmwater and spring trout fishing pond in the Columbia River Gorge. Excellent for non-boating anglers. From I-84, take the Benson State Park exit. The pond is adjacent to the Columbia River adjoining Benson State Recreation Area.

Trout Fishing on Henry Hagg Lake
Trout Fishing on Henry Hagg Lake
-Photo by Jessica Sall-

HENRY HAGG LAKE: rainbow trout, smallmouth bass, yellow perch, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, brown bullhead, yellow bullhead, native cutthroat trout

Stocked the week of May 18 with 3,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. This is a 1,110-acre lake and premier fishery located seven miles southwest of Forest Grove. Maintained and operated by Washington County, 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

This reservoir is located about four miles southeast of Oakridge and is open to year round angling. Hills Creek Reservoir was stocked in mid-April with 6,767 legal-sized rainbow trout. These legal-sized trout are in addition to the 60,000 adipose fin-clipped rainbow trout fingerlings and 100,000 adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook salmon fingerlings released annually to be harvestable size the following year. Adipose fin-clipped fingerlings get to good size and fight well! Trout and salmon must be adipose-fin clipped to be harvested. Warmwater fish are also available for harvest. Large native trout are available for catch-and-release fishing.

Packard Creek and CT Beach boat ramps are accessible. Bingham Landing boat ramp remains inaccessible for launching boats.

HILLS CREEK above HILLS CREEK RESERVOIR: trout

Hills Creek above Hills Creek Reservoir is no longer stocked, but native fish are available for harvest. Use of bait is allowed April 25 through Oct. 31.

HUDDLESTON POND: trout, bluegill

Stocked the week of May 11 with 1,200 legal-sized rainbow trout ande 25 trophy trout. 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.

JUNCTION CITY POND: trout, crappie

It was stocked again last week with 2,250 legal and 150 larger sized rainbow trout. Junction City is a popular stocked trout fishing pond located about 2 miles south of Junction City on 99W on the west side of the highway. There is excellent access around the entire 8-acre pond. A few large brood trout may still be available as well. As a reminder, zone regulations apply: five trout daily may be kept and only one over 20-inches.

LEABURG LAKE: trout

Leaburg Lake will be stocked this week with 1,400 trout, including 200 larger fish. Only adipose fin-clipped trout may be retained; all wild trout must be released unharmed. Leaburg Lake will be stocked weekly through July, and then every other week through Labor Day, and also benefits from upriver stockings. Use of bait is allowed during trout season (through October).

Fishing
Fly Fishing
-Royalty Free Image-

MCKENZIE RIVER below Leaburg Lake: trout, salmon, steelhead

The McKenzie River below Leaburg Lake was recently boat stocked from Leaburg Landing to Hendricks Bridge with a total of 9,000 hatchery trout, including 2,250 larger trout. All non-adipose fin-clipped trout must be released unharmed.

This river reach is open to retention of adipose fin-clipped 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 McKenzie.

Gear is restricted to flies and lures, except bait use is allowed upstream of Hendricks Bridge through the end of the year.

MCKENZIE RIVER above Leaburg Lake: trout, steelhead

The McKenzie River above Leaburg Lake is stocked with hatchery trout from the Goodpasture Bridge boat landing upstream to Forest Glen. This section of river was recently boat stocked with 9,250 rainbow trout and the landings will be truck-stocked this week with a total of 1,250 trout, including 250 larger trout. All non-adipose fin-clipped trout must be released unharmed.

The river is open to retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead and non-adipose fin-clipped steelhead greater than 24 inches in length up to Trail Bridge Dam. A Columbia River Basin Endorsement is required for anglers targeting salmon and steelhead in the McKenzie.

Bait use is allowed up to Forest Glen boat ramp, which coincides with the stocked portion of the river.

MIDDLE FORK WILLAMETTE RIVER above Hills Creek Reservoir: trout

The Middle Fork Willamette River above Hills Creek Reservoir is open to catch-and-release fishing for trout through Oct. 31. This reach of river is no longer stocked, although there may be some adipose fin-clipped trout originating from the reservoir available for harvest in the lower river reach. Gear use is limited to flies and lures.

MOLALLA RIVER: winter steelhead, spring Chinook

The Molalla River is running very low and clear, making for some tougher fishing conditions. For increased success, try early and late in the day when the sun is off the water. Spring Chinook passage is still high at Willamette Falls so there should be springers in the Molalla. These fish would be returning adults from the 100,000 smolts released upstream at the Trout Creek acclimation site a couple years ago.

MT HOOD POND: trout, crappie, bluegill

Stocked the week of April 27 with 1,000 rainbow trout. This is a 5-acre pond on the campus of Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham. Angling is restricted to youths age 17 and under and holders of ODFW's Disabled Anglers permits from April 1 - Aug. 31.

NORTH FORK RESERVOIR: trout

North Fork Reservoir opens for trout fishing on Saturday, May 23 and has been stocked with 10,000 rainbow trout.

This is a 350-acre reservoir of the Clackamas River behind North Fork Dam approximately 5.2 miles east of Estacada, Ore.

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)

PROGRESS LAKE: trout, brown bullhead

Stocked the week of April 27 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. Boating and swimming are not allowed.

QUARTZVILLE CREEK: trout

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 is currently open. The river will be stocked this week with 3,000 rainbow trout. There are opportunities to catch some nice wild cutthroat trout 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. To get there, follow the directions to Green Peter Reservoir and continue around the lake until the river begins.

ROARING RIVER PARK POND: trout

This is a small one acre pond in Roaring River County Park near ODFW’s Roaring River fish hatchery. To get there, drive highway 226 east out of Albany and turn right onto Fish Hatchery Road and continue for about 7 miles. Park is on the right. It was stocked again on May 5 with 160 legal and 20 larger-size rainbow trout.

SALMON CREEK: trout

Salmon Creek is a tributary to the Middle Fork Willamette River east of Oakridge and is open to trout harvest through October. Salmon Creek was recently stocked at multiple locations up to the Black Creek Road bridge crossing with a total of 1,750 hatchery rainbow trout. Bait use is allowed through Oct. 31. Both native and hatchery trout are available for harvest.

SALMONBERRY LAKE: trout, sunfish

Stocked the week of April 20 with 1,500 rainbow trout. Salmonberry Lake is owned by the city of St. Helens and is about three acres in size. It is a former municipal water supply secluded in the woods off of Pittsburgh Road. The road to the pond is gated and anglers must walk about 1/3 mile to access this pond.

SALT CREEK: trout

Salt Creek is a tributary to the Middle Fork Willamette River east of Oakridge and is open to trout harvest through October. This stream is no longer stocked, but native trout are available for harvest and bait use is allowed during trout season (April 25 through Oct. 31).

SANDY RIVER: winter steelhead, spring Chinook

The Sandy River flows are low and angler effort is light. A few late winter steelhead continue to be hooked, both hatchery and wild, but it’s very late into the season and fish quality will be suspect. Fresh summer steelhead should also be in the river from Cedar Creek downstream.

Best areas for hooking steelhead are near Cedar Creek, Dodge Park, and Revenue. There’s also been a few spring Chinook being caught in the lower river. This fishery should begin to pick up in the near future. If spring Chinook are your target species, concentrate your efforts in the lower river below Dodge Park. Spring Chinook are acclimated near the mouth of the Bull Run River and dropping flows should cause fish to begin to hold below Dodge Park.

Hydrological data for the Sandy River on May 18 shows flows at 992 cfs, a gauge reading of 8.68 feet, and the water temperature at 52°.

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

SANTIAM RIVER (NORTH FORK): steelhead, Chinook

River conditions are very good at the moment and should remain so for the next week. Steelhead and Chinook are entering the basin in good numbers. Over 120 summer steelhead and 2,135 spring Chinook have navigated Upper Bennett dam as of May 16. Best bets for these fish are in the lower river, from Green’s Bridge down to Jefferson, from Packsaddle to Fishermen’s Bend, and from Mehama down to Stayton.

More fish are on the way. Counts at Willamette Falls fish ladder show over 978 summer steelhead, over 32,375 spring Chinook, and about 4,300 winter steelhead have passed into the upper Willamette as of May 11.

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 year-round to adipose fin-clipped steelhead. Trout fishing opens this Saturday May 23, 2015.

River levels best for fishing are below 3,000 cfs at the Mehama gauge (currently the Mehama gauge is around 1,400 cfs as of May 18. 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.

NEW CAUTION: There is a large tree across the entire river between Green’s Bridge and the confluence with the South Santiam above Jefferson making this stretch of river extremely hazardous for boaters. Oregon State Marine Board is aware of this and are working on removing it. Better sections for boaters are below Jefferson and from Stayton to Shelburn.

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

SANTIAM RIVER (NORTH FORK) above DETROIT:

This section of the river is currently open to trout fishing. Trout are scheduled to be stocked the last weekend in May, but holdover and resident trout can be found throughout the river. Anglers may keep up to 5 trout per day.

Closed to salmon fishing.

SANTIAM RIVER (SOUTH FORK): steelhead, Chinook , bass

New summer steelhead and spring Chinook are arriving every day at Willamette Falls but it will take a few weeks before the majority of them arrive in the basin. Spring Chinook and a few summer steelhead are in the basin now and can be found throughout the river. So far, 73 51 summer steelhead and 1,295 spring Chinook have entered the trap below Foster as of May 16. 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.

Opens to trout fishing May 23, 2015.

SHERIDAN POND: trout

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host a family fishing event at Sheridan Pond on Saturday, May 23 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fishing gear and instruction will be provided by ODFW staff and volunteers.

The pond was stocked last week with 600 legal- sized rainbow trout and 300 larger-sized 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.

SHORTY’S POND: trout

This 4-acre pond is located within Ivor Davies Nature Park in Molalla, across from Heckard Football Stadium. It can be accessed by the Fifth St. Trailhead. The fishing is free for kids 13 years of age. All others will need to have fishing licenses to participate.

SILVER CREEK RESERVOIR: trout, catfish

Stocked the week of May 18 with 2,600 legal- and larger-sized rainbow trout and 200 larger trout. This is a 65-acre reservoir on Silver Creek 2.5 miles south of Silverton on Hwy. 214.

SMITH RESERVOIR: trout

Stocked this week with 5,000 legal-sized rainbow trout. 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. Both native and hatchery trout are available for harvest.

Stocking Rainbow Trout in St. Louis Pond.
-Video by Rick Swart, ODFW-

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

Stocked the week of May 11 with 3,000 rainbow trout.

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.

SUNNYSIDE PARK POND: trout, bass, bluegill

This 4-acre pond is located 2 miles above the upper end of Foster Reservoir. It was stocked again last week with 1,333 legal and 50 larger size rainbow trout. Sunnyside Pond also offers bluegill and largemouth bass year round.

The park has a campground and picnic area and is a great place to take kids fishing. There is also boat ramp access to the Middle Fork arm of Foster Reservoir. To get there from I5, take US 20 through the town of Sweet Home and continue around Foster Reservoir to Quartzville Creek road. Take a left and follow this road for two miles to the park.

TIMOTHY LAKE: trout

Stocked the week of May 18 with 5,500 legal-sized rainbow trout. This stocking is in addition to an additional 5,500 the previous week.

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.

TIMBER LINN POND: rainbow trout

This beautiful, family-friendly fishing pond is located within the 8-acre Timber-Linn Memorial Park in Albany. It was stocked again last week with 250 legal and 25 larger-size rainbow trout. Please keep in mind that only one fish over 20-inches may be taken per day. Timber-Linn Lake can be reached by turning east off I-5 onto the Santiam Highway (Hwy. 20), then immediately turning north onto Price Road and proceeding to the park entrance.

TRAIL BRIDGE RESERVOIR: trout

Trail Bridge Reservoir is open to year-round fishing. 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. Trail Bridge Reservoir will be stocked this week with a total of 3,085 trout.

TRILLIUM LAKE: trout

Stocked the week of May 11 with 4,500 legal-sized rainbow trout

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. Adjacent Trillium Lake Campground is administered by the Zigzag Ranger District of the Mount Hood National Forest. The large campground features a seasonal boat ramp and wheelchair-accessible floating dock.

TROJAN PONDS: trout

This is a 15-acre pond just east of Rainier on the north side of Hwy. 30 at the Trojan nuclear facility. The pond is located on the right side of the road as soon as you turn onto the Trojan Access Road.

WALLING POND: trout, crappie, bass

This pond was stocked again the first week of May with 300 legal-size rainbow trout. As a reminder, zone regulations apply: five trout daily may be kept and only one may be over 20 inches. This is an 8-acre privately owned pond located in Salem at the northeast corner of McGilchrist and 16th Streets, S.E.

WALTER WIRTH LAKE: trout, crappie, bass

This popular Salem fishery was stocked again the first week of May with 1,700 legal and 150 larger size rainbow trout. As a reminder, only one fish over 20-inches may be kept. Walter Wirth is a 20-acre lake located within the City of Salem’s Cascades Gateway Park.

WAVERLY POND: trout, bluegill, catfish

Waverly Pond is located in Albany and is regularly stocked in fall, winter and spring. It was stocked again last week with 160 legal and 20 larger size rainbow trout. Please keep in mind that only one fish over 20-inches may be taken per day. From I-5 take exit 234 west towards Albany. The pond is located a quarter mile down Pacific Boulevard on the right. A paved ADA-accessible path runs all the way around the pond.

WILLAMETTE RIVER: sturgeon, winter steelhead, spring Chinook

Spring Chinook anglers continued to get into the fish in the lower Willamette last week as water conditions held steady and more fish entered the river heading upstream. Once again Chinook were caught from Multnomah Channel up to Oregon City over the weekend with no one spot seeming to dramatically outshine another. The best catch rates checked by ODFW showed up in lower Multnomah Channel and up in the Oregon City area. The middle river around Sellwood and the upper downtown Portland harbor were once again the least productive spots as it seems the springers are passing through that stretch of river quickly. There’s also been a noticeable increase in Willamette effort now that the Columbia River is closed to Chinook retention.

Daily counts at the Willamette Falls fish ladder continue with the total passage for winter steelhead through May 4 standing at 4,262. The summer steelhead count sits at 735 fish passing. As of May 4 a total of 23,558 spring Chinook have passed through the ladder.

For anglers interested in sturgeon fishing, the “catch-and-release” sturgeon fishery remains a decent bet for hooking into fish and finding steady action with the St. Johns area and Milwaukie offering the best chance for success.

Hydrological numbers for the Willamette on May 11 show flows down at 8.760 cfs, a water temperature in Oregon City at 63°, and visibility good at 6.3 ft.

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  Willamette Zone Hunting

OPEN: COUGAR, COYOTE, SPRING BEAR, SPRING TURKEY

See the turkey hunting forecast.

EVENT:

Free archery instruction, EE Wilson Wildlife Area, May 16 and every third Saturday of the month. Volunteers from Oregon Bow Hunters will be on hand to teach beginners and intermediate level new archers. No RSVP or pre-registration required. Free but parking permit required; for sale online or at license sales agent but not at wildlife area so get it before you visit.

Basic Archery class with Benton Bowman in Philomath, June 20. Learn the art of archery at a workshop designed for beginners.

Spring Turkey

Spring Turkey season is currently open in Oregon for those with a tag. Gobblers are actively strutting and gobbling this time of year. With the favorable weather forecast hunting should be outstanding. Most turkey hunting in the Willamette Zone occurs on private lands. Hunters wishing to have the best chance for success should meet landowners and secure access to a place to hunt prior to the start of the season. If you didn’t secure access before the season you should work to secure access early in the season. Hunters should use a jake and hen decoy in attempt to draw in a tom to within range. Hone your turkey calling skills by listening to the sounds of live wild turkeys. Turkeys are abundant in the foothills surrounding the Willamette Valley and hunting can be very good for the hunters that have access to private lands that hold turkeys.

Big Game

Spring BEAR season is currently open in NW Oregon for those with a controlled spring bear tag. Biologists report many successful hunters have recently brought in bears to be checked in. Majority of bears being checked in have been harvested in NE and SW Oregon. NW Oregon bear harvest has been low. Hunting should improve as the weather improves. Bears feed heavily on grasses and other plants in the early spring and hunters should concentrate their scouting around meadows, low elevation riparian zones, and open hillsides. Bears also feed on insects and grubs which they find in rotting logs and stumps. Look for freshly disturbed logs and stumps to determine if a bear is feeding in the area. Tracks, scat and other bear sign should be easily located in areas where bears are frequenting. Glassing clearcuts and other openings early in the morning can be another productive method to locate bears. Please review the 2015 Big Game Hunting Regulations before your hunting trip to ensure that you are familiar with all of the requirements.

Successful bear hunters will need to check-in any bear taken at an ODFW office within 10 days of harvest. 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 bear checked-in. Be sure to bring in the skull (The skull must be unfrozen) without the hide, a copy of the spring bear tag, and harvest location information. Biologists recommend propping the bear’s mouth open with a stick after harvest; it makes for easier tooth collection and measuring. Please review the 2015 Big Game Hunting Regulations before your hunting trip to ensure that you are familiar with all of the requirements.

cougar
Cougar
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

The 2015 Cougar season is currently open in NW Oregon for those with a cougar tag. Opportunities to track cougars in the snow of the Cascade Mountains will be difficult due to the limited snowpack this winter. Hunters can use predator calls that mimic an animal in distress to draw cougar into the open. Hunters will have their best success calling cougars to them with predator calls that mimic a distressed deer fawn or elk calf. Approaching cougar can be difficult to see when you are predator calling so hunting with a partner is advised.

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. Cougar hunters are reminded that it is required to submit the reproductive tract of any female cougar taken. The reproductive tract provides valuable information on the number and frequency of kittens born annually in Oregon and is a critical part of ODFW’s cougar population models. Pick up the Big Game Hunting Regulations before your hunting trip to ensure that you are familiar with all of the requirements.

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.

BE PREPARED

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.

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 Willamette Zone Wildlife Viewing

Valleywide

western pond turtle
Western Pond Turtle
-Photo by Keith Kohl, ODFW-

The WESTERN POND TURTLE is a species that was once extremely abundant throughout the Willamette Valley. Many factors have contributed to the decline of turtle populations including: filling and drainage of wetlands, introductions of exotic predators (bullfrogs, bass, and opossum), road kill and farming or development of areas used for nesting. Nonnative plants such as reed canary grass, Himalayan blackberries, and Scott's broom have also degraded or destroy turtle habitat. This is the best time of year to see western pond turtles. These turtles spend a lot of time soaking up the sun (basking) on warm sunny days in the spring. Look for them on logs that stick out of the water in ponds or slack water areas along any of the major streams in the Willamette Valley. Turtles are shy and often will dive into the water if they feel threatened by activity or disturbance nearby. Approach viewing areas slowly and quietly. Binoculars are very helpful for viewing turtles at a distance. If other people are nearby, turtles may not be visible although in some public areas turtles have become more tolerant of people. Some good public areas to view turtles include Kirk pond (N Fern Ridge Reservoir), Delta Ponds in Eugene, Truax Island greenway site (NE of Corvallis), Woodburn pond, and Brown and Minto Island (Salem). 

GREAT BLUE HERONS have young in their nests at this time of year. The young are very vocal when the adults arrive with food. One of the most visible colonies in the area is in a large cottonwood tree along the bike path at the east end of Alton Baker Park in Springfield (east side of I-5, north side of the millrace). Herons are usually very sensitive to disturbance and in other areas several instances of nest abandonment are known to have occurred due to human disturbance. This colony is especially acclimated to and tolerant of people. To minimize disturbance to the birds, do not approach the base of the tree from the north side of the millrace. Another very visible colony is in a stand of large cottonwood trees next to a pond on the east side of Delta Hwy, just north of the Valley River Shopping Mall in Eugene.

Ruffed Grouse
Ruffed Grouse
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife-

Ruffed grouse courting

Listen for a rhythmic drumming as you hike the forests this spring ― male ruffed grouse are out courting females and their rhythmic wing beating (drumming) is used to advertise their presence and draw females into their territories. Drumming starts with a slow but powerful wing beat every second, rapidly speeding up, and ending 8 to 11 seconds later. This acoustic “calling card” is repeated every 3 to 5 minutes in the early morning and late afternoon during the breeding season. Ruffed grouse are native to Oregon and can be easily identified by their relatively long, fan-shaped and distinctively banded tail in addition to their neck ruffs. Look and listen for these 16-19 inch long, brown or gray-brown, chicken sized birds in deciduous and mixed forest communities in western Oregon.

Turkeys strutting

Wild turkeys are actively strutting and courting during this time of year. These birds were introduced into Oregon from other parts of the U.S. where they are native. These birds are widely established in the foothills around the edge of the Willamette Valley. Look for them where there is a mix of wooded areas and pastures. Mixed hardwoods, especially oaks, are preferred over conifers. Tall pines or fir trees are often used for night roosts. Fortunately, turkeys are most active and easiest to see on warm sunny days! Landowners beware! While turkeys are fun to watch and have around, if you feed them you may create a serious problem for yourself and your neighbors. Turkeys will often become a serious nuisance when they concentrate in an area because they are being fed. Turkeys that are not fed will range widely and rarely cause such problems.

Elk Cow and Calf
A Roosevelt elk cow and her calf
- Photo by Chuck Wiegmann -

Deer and elk

Elk and deer are beginning to have their fawns and calves. Cow elk and black-tailed deer does carefully select their birthing areas, which are usually in locations close to food, heavy cover for hiding, and water. Deer often give birth along the edge of openings. Elk typically have a single calf, with twins rare, while twins are more common with black-tailed deer. Young of both species are spotted for the first several months of their lives, and are virtually scentless when very young. They rely on hiding and remaining motionless to avoid discovery by predators or man. If you find one in the woods, please leave it alone. The mother is typically feeding nearby.

Snakes bask when the sun shines

Three species of garter snake occur in the Willamette Valley. They are the most commonly seen snakes. Much variability in coloration exists in garter snakes but the best identifying characteristic is a stripe down the middle of the snake's back. No other snake species in western Oregon has a stripe down the middle. A good place to see these harmless snakes is on gravel roads and trails through wetland areas. Wildlife areas in the Willamette Valley such as Fern Ridge, Finley, EE Wilson, Baskett Slough and Ankeny are all good areas to see these beautiful animals. Best viewing conditions are on warm sunny days.

Osprey and turkey vultures are on the move

osprey
Osprey mother feeding chicks
-Photo by Maxine Wyatt-

Ospreys are now returning to northwest Oregon from their wintering grounds in Central America. Ospreys mate for life and are building nests, which can be observed on the tops of communication towers, power poles, and broken off trees. Turkey vultures are also on the move this time of year. Turkey vultures are migrating northward to their breeding grounds. Watch for these large birds on drier days riding the thermals and imagine what our world would look like (and smell like) if there were no turkey vultures to clean up all the dead critters!

Where to hear songbirds

Many of the migratory songbirds will begin returning to the area in the next few weeks. Good places to see these birds include Skinners Butte Park, Spencer Butte, Fern Ridge Wildlife Area, Howard Buford Park, Elijah Bristow Park, Brown and Minto Island Park, and Ankeny, Finley and Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuges.

EE Wilson Wildlife Area

Wildlife viewing will be improving over the next several months. A waterfowl blind is available to photographers. Call the office at 541-745-5334 to reserve the blind.

Directions to EE Wilson Wildlife Area: From Albany, take Highway 20 toward Corvallis and after 5 miles turn right on Independence Highway. Go 3 miles and turn left on Camp Adair Road, then proceed 2 miles to the wildlife area.

Fern Ridge Wildlife Area

Fern Ridge Wildlife Area

View from the Coyote Creek platform at Fern Ridge Wildlife Area
-Photo by Chris Schubothe, ODFW-

The East Coyote, West Coyote Fisher Butte and Royal Amazon units are now closed to public access six days a week to provide sanctuary for ducks, geese and other birds that are nesting in preparation for the upcoming migration. The closure will be in effect, except on designated trails, through April 30. These areas are open to public access on Saturdays.

Wintering concentrations of waterfowl can still be observed on the lake and surrounding mudflats and wetlands. Several thousand Canada geese use Fern Ridge Lake for an evening roost site and the sunset and sunrise departures and arrivals of the large flocks of geese provides an outstanding viewing opportunity. Observant visitors may also catch a glimpse of black tailed deer and furbearers including beaver, otter, mink, red fox and coyotes.

Royal Avenue and the trail to the Fisher Butte viewing platform remain open all day every day year round. There is a second elevated viewing platform in the Fisher Butte unit located 1/4 mile north of the Fisher Butte unit parking lot on Hwy 126.

The majority of Fern Ridge Wildlife Area is open daily for public use providing great wildlife viewing opportunities. Visitors are reminded there are seasonal access restrictions in place in five units during the fall and winter to provide wildlife sanctuary.

The entire Fern Ridge lake water area and surrounding mudflats remain open daily year-round. The mudflats surrounding the lake low winter pool can provide for excellent hiking on a sandbar type lake bottom that extends for miles. Dogs are allowed on the Wildlife Area but now that hunting season is closed must be leashed.

Parking areas are located along Highway 126, Nielson Road, Cantrell Road, Territorial Highway, and Clear Lake Road. Contact the wildlife area headquarters, (541) 935-2591 if you have any questions.

Sauvie Island Wildlife Area

Sandhill Crane

Sandhill Cranes Courting
- Photo by David Bronson-

Sandhill cranes and cacklers are still hanging around and normally stay until mid-April. Northern harriers, red-tailed hawks, and American kestrel may still be seen on the wildlife area and other points on the island.

Bird watching is excellent with spring migrants and summer resident arriving. White pelicans are showing up in larger numbers, as are purple martins and cliff swallows. The bald eagles and osprey are nesting and may be viewed from various observation points. The best opportunities for viewing are Coon Point, Eastside Viewing Platform and Rentenaar Road.

Most of the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area opened on April 16. However, the Eastside will remain closed until May 1st to protect wintering waterfowl and to minimize any human impact on the birds.

Sauvie Island is a main stopping point for migratory birds as they travel along the Pacific Flyway, and ODFW actively manages the Wildlife Area to provide food and cover for these creatures.

Sauvie Island Wildlife Area is located on Sauvie Island, only 10 miles north of Portland off Highway 30. A parking permit is required for the Sauvie Island Wildlife Area and can be purchased at ODFW License vendors or at the Sauvie Island ODFW office, Monday through Friday during office hours. For more information, call (503) 621-3488.

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   © ODFW. All rights reserved. This page was last updated: 05/20/2015 9:22 AM