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Fish Are Bitin’ on the Willamette

Updated: Mar 11, 2022

Some of my favorite memories along the river as a kid are of fishing. I remember reeling in one of my first catches along Riverfront Park and getting my hook caught in overhanging cottonwood branches while learning to cast near Monteith. My Dad spent most of the time getting my snagged hooks lose from the river bottom, baiting worms on hooks, and releasing catfish I was scared of being stung by. I look back now amazed he still managed time to cast his own pole in the water while helping me navigate the techniques and required patience for fishing.

My brothers and I always got excited the night before we headed out as we sorted our tackle boxes and rigged our poles. Dad would have the sprinkler on during the day and after sunset we would all head out back with flashlights in hand sweeping the soggy grass for nightcrawlers poking their heads up just enough for our fingers to grip a hold of as we yanked them out of their holes.

The Willamette River is a perfect place for a young rookie to reel in their first trout, a familiarized veteran to explore new bass fishing holes, or a casual weekend fisher to kick back on the river’s edge and watch their bobber dance on the surface.

The Willamette River is home to over 60 species of fish. The most common to reel in are Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, steelhead, rainbow trout, sturgeon, smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, and catfish.

If you’d like to cast your line in the river the Willamette Valley has several local shops to get you ready for a big catch:

You’ll find Watershed Fly shop off of 2nd in Corvallis with high quality fly rods and fishing equipment.

Albany has Two Rivers Fly Shop on 1st with friendly and knowledgeable service to get you set up for fly fishing in the local waters.

Fisherman’s Shack in Monmouth has all the lures, rods, and tackle you’ll need.

In Eugene you can get your fishing pole set up and take a fly fishing class at Caddis Fly Angling Shop.

Works Cited:

Josh E. Williams, Guillermo R. Giannico. “Field Guide to Common Fish of the Willamette Valley Floodplain.” Field Guide to Common Fish of the Willamette Valley Floodplain | OSU Extension Catalog | Oregon State University, Oregon State University, 1 June 2014,

“Plans, Programs and Research Information.” ODFW Fish Division Programs, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife,

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