Header Slide 1

Willamette River Early Spring Chinook


It’s springer time, and who isn’t excited about that? It’s still early, and making a living as a fishing guide this time of year on the Willy might be a bit tough, but good numbers of Willamette River Salmon are just around the corner.

In this segment we talk about fishing the Willamette River for spring Chinook. The river is still somewhat blown out from last week’s rains, but as the river’s turbidity drops the fishing will improve. The big concern is rain to the south. If Eugene gets hit hard, even if it doesn’t rain hard up here, the Willamette can turn turbid and muddy again real quick.

There are still a few fish being hooked each day, even with the dirty water, but it should improve during the course of this week. That is, if the river clears. It’s still uncertain as to whether that will happen.

Once that turbidity level drops to 12 FNU’s, or even better, 11 FNU’s, it’s time to start fishing. A little color in the water can make the salmon aggressive, so don’t be afraid to get out there and fish while the river is still colored.

Springers will run shallow when the water is dirty, so don’t drop that bait too deep. It’s a good idea to target the upper 15 feet of the water column until the river clears out more.

As the Willamette clears, hit the harbor 

The Portland Harbor is always a good place to springer fish as the river comes off the mud. A lot of anglers will look to this reach-the Spaghetti Factory, the Willamette Park-all good places to be in the coming week.

Don’t be afraid to juice up your herring. Adding scents to your bait can give you an advantage in this dirty water. When the fish can’t see as well they are forced to rely more on their other senses, and smell is one that can turn a stubborn fish into a biter. So put a little garlic scent, a little bloody tuna or other scent, and give the salmon something extra to home in on.

The overall prospects are pretty good for springers this week on the Willamette, so keep an eye to conditions, and get ‘em while you can.

Here’s the segment from this past weekend’s show. 

Willamette springers in high water

Looking to stay in touch? We can do so on Twitter or Instagram.