Another day of big numbers but not fish on the upper Willie, 7 Aug 2021



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Aug 4, 2008
Cedar Mill area of Portland, OR
I hit the upper Willamette out of West Linn on Saturday, August 7th with a friend of mine and it was a repeat of my last several trips there. Tons of fish (43 bass and I was leaving biting dinks to search for better fish) but the big for the day was only 1lb 14oz.

Most of the fish were under a pound with only a handful in the pound and a half to pound and three quarters range. I am not sure whether the inability to catch better fish lies with us or if it is the stupid fishes' fault. I will say that the river was a toasty 76 degrees pretty much all day long (75 and change first thing then a little over 76 by the end).

I really did make a big effort to find better fish. When I caught dinks shallow I moved to mid-depths, when I caught dinks there I moved deeper, when I caught dinks there I went back to fishing shallow. I felt like I put in a sincere effort in my search for better fish but by and large I was denied.

The best lure (for both of us) was a Ned rig. I was fishing crayfish-like colors (green pumpkin and some other brown and orange color) and my friend was fishing a more minnow-like color. Both of us caught tons but the dinks definitely dominated the catch.

I did experiment a lot with other lures and caught only 1 on a topwater (I never saw fish splashing on the surface the entire day which is weird but maybe temp related), a handful on a swimbait (including my biggest) and a few on swim jig with a creature trailer (2 nicer ones and the skinniest smallmouth I have ever seen). I also caught plenty on a drop shot, but that is really similar to the Ned rig in terms of where I was fishing them. They both worked pretty much everywhere and I switched back and forth more out of boredom rather than need.

I will say that even the small fish fight like demons this time of year so it is not like the day was not fun - it was a beautiful day on the water - but the lack of quality fish out of West Linn (again) has me a bit flummoxed and confused. I am not sure if the big fish have just moved out or if I am just not catching them.

The lack of current may be a factor (and a reason to either head way upstream past the influence of the flashboards at the falls) or to fish the lower river (but the pleasure traffic on the lower is just insane in the summer). I know I will need to hit a different stretch of the Willamette (or get a low wind day and get to fish the Columbia, fingers crossed).

Anyway, here is a nice frame grab of one of the fish I caught on the swim jig+creature bait:

Here is a video of the day:

If you have any suggestions please let me know! I just can't seem to find the better fish around West Linn this summer and it is usually much better for good-sized fish.

Also, in the video you will see that I am starting to measure some of my fish and weigh them. I want to make a length/weight chart for the rivers around here. Most of the online ones seem kind of far off. I think those mostly come from lake fish that lead an easier life :)
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