OREGON: Smelt, Herring, Sand Shrimp & Earthworms Are The Baits That Get Bites

Willamette Valley/Metro

The Willamette River continues to put out the occasional, early spring chinook despite a slight rise and increased turbidity. Reported catches have come in from the Multnomah Channel all the way up to Oregon City, with Sellwood and Willamette Park being the hot spots. Green label herring is the bait of choice for the majority of anglers, but as you move upriver from Milwaukie, prawns, sand shrimp and cured roe are more prevalent. The random steelhead continues to get caught up at Meldrum Bar and the blacktop, but most anglers here are targeting salmon by now.

Catch and release sturgeon fishing remains good, when anglers put their time in on the outgoing tides. Smelt, herring, sand shrimp and earthworms are the baits that get bites.

McKenzie water levels are variable this week but the river will be productive whenever the water level is dropping. Caddis patterns will be effective for redsides.

The South Santiam is recovering from a spike in the water level, which occurred late last week. Boats are drifting the North Santiam from Mehama to Stayton during which a few steelhead have been caught.

On the Clackamas River, the water conditions are at optimum but the steelhead fishing could be better. Local anglers are getting a few and resident guides are having a hit or miss season, but the river has seen better seasons. Expect water conditions to remain steady through the weekend.

On the Sandy River, steelhead fishermen are enjoying better days despite the fluctuating river levels. This season, the Sandy River could be called NW Oregon’s “bright spot” for steelhead. The recent rains brought the river back up to healthy level and good reports have come in since the river began its drop. It’s been a mix of about 50/50 wild fish to hatchery fish and they have been averaging a bit on the large side.

Henry Hagg Lake opens for the season on Saturday, March 2nd. It will be stocked with 18,000 legal-sized trout this week.

The Guides Forecast