Figuring out Fall smallmouth on the Willamette


New member
Sep 30, 2016
Hey Fellow Anglers! I just started grad school at OHSU and have been spending alot of time bank-fishing the Willamette for smallies. I know the Willy is an awesome fishery but I cannot seem to pattern these dang fish! I've been going to George Rogers Park alot and have thoroughly fished the rocky peninsula/island you can scramble out too and then the rip-rap next to that old concrete tower a bit up-river. I'm averaging 1-2 fish an outing which is disappointing to say the least. When the sun sets and all of those little minnows start launching themselves out of the water (what are those??) , I always throw every topwater I can think of but I've only ever had two hits (back to back). I really can't believe that they don't key in on those little minnows feeding on the surface every evening!!!! I'm reading all of these older reports and throwing spinnerbaits, jerkbaits, swimbaits, and underspins (classic fall baits) but I have yet to get even knock on any of those. I always have two other rods rigged with something like a dropshot or a tube and those have been my only producers but not only have I been catching dinks, but they are few and far between. All fish have come out of 10-15 ft of water on rocks. I would consider myself a pretty experienced angler but these fish have me stumped! My only idea is that I must not be fishing where the majority of the fish are. I'll get a yak and a fish finder next summer but for now I would love to figure out where the hell the smallies are because I KNOW that these fish have got to be feeding up sometime soon. With water temps still in the low 60's maybe it's still early for that early fall transition? Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Also, if anyone is looking for a fishing partner, I'd be overjoyed to get out on a boat. I'll fish hard and pay for gas! Tight lines!!!:peace:


Apr 24, 2016
At the exact same rock pile in Lake Oswego i catch multiple each outing on a little walking bait. They eat it moving quick. Not many big ones right in there for me though, but plentiful. I've had the most luck on overcast days, no matter the time of day. If i lose that bait I'll buy 5 more in a minute, it's caught near 100 fish this summer alone 

Read the last couple posts from Bass. He's been killing em and all his techniques have worked for me as well.

That spot is well fished though too.