First year on my own

Rferguson61
Hey all,

Starting this spring I intend to get out more often. Up until this year I have just gone with other people whenever they said and wherever they said. I have watched tons of videos and read tons of articles so I have a lot of understanding, I just don’t know how to piece it together. I think part of what I’m missing is tools and/or knowledge of how to tell when to start.

So the question is 1) how do I know when a run starts/when to start going; and 2) what tools/indicators can I use to beat estimate where in the river the fish are?

I don’t have a ton of time to spend on the river unfortunately so any help on resources/knowledge I could use to make the most of my fishing days is much appreciated.
 
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jamisonace
It would be easier to help you out if we knew where you intend to focus your efforts. I assume you're talking about salmon since you posted in the salmon section but you might clarify species too.
 
Rferguson61
Sorry about that. Mostly salmon, yes. I am interested in steelhead as well.
 
jamisonace
Rferguson61 said:
Sorry about that. Mostly salmon, yes. I am interested in steelhead as well.
Where?
 
Rferguson61
jamisonace said:
I am around the Salem area but am willing/do drive to fish. I used to be around Springfield and would be willing to go that far south regularly. I have a small utility boat with a 15 horse motor as well so I’m not strictly stuck on the bank but I also can’t really do the drifts that people take their drift boats through.
 
jamisonace
I'll tell you what I know but requests for info on salmon and steelhead get very few responses. Not because it's a tight lipped forum but I just don't think there are a lot of people that fish for them here.

If I were you, I would go to the freeway ramp on the Santiam with your boat. You can go up stream to the first riffle before it gets too shallow. I've caught spring salmon there in May. The Mckenzie produces springers from May to July. Same as the MF Willamette. I don't know much about fall salmon in your area but I would take that boat to the coast and troll bays in September. If you are specifically looking for info on the timing of the runs you can google something like "oregon salmon run timing charts" and you'll see various charts. I looked at a few of them and they are very general. Each river is going to have more specific timing and some vary based on weather. Most rivers will be inaccessible by your boat in the free flowing areas so you should look for info on bank fishing. I'm not a good source for that.

For any rivers above Willamette Falls, look at the fish counts. You can back through the years and see when the fish generally start going over the falls. Also look at the river flow and water temp. All these data can help you predict when the fish will get to the rivers. Fall fish are different, watch for reports as the guys that have been fishing them for years will be catching them before anyone else. Some of them can't help but brag immediately.

I'm kind of rambling at this point but I keep thinking of stuff and I don't want to edit what I've written. Speaking of Willamette Falls, before the fish start going over the falls, they are thick below the falls. I've never fished there but you can fish the Willamette below the falls by trolling for them. That is another area you could take your boat.

As for steelhead. I don't know where you could fish for them from your boat and I doubt anyone is going to give you spots for bank fishing them other than the really well known parks and boat ramps. Winters generally start coming in December and finish around March and Summers show up in May or June and can be caught into the fall. I'm speaking of rivers I'm familiar with.
 
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Shaun Solomon
jamisonace said:
I'll tell you what I know but requests for info on salmon and steelhead get very few responses…

🤣 Ask a question about rod holders for maximum engagement.
 
jamisonace
Shaun Solomon said:
🤣 Ask a question about rod holders for maximum engagement.
No kidding. LMAO
 
O. mykiss
jamisonace said:
I'll tell you what I know but requests for info on salmon and steelhead get very few responses. Not because it's a tight lipped forum but I just don't think there are a lot of people that fish for them here.

If I were you, I would go to the freeway ramp on the Santiam with your boat. You can go up stream to the first riffle before it gets too shallow. I've caught spring salmon there in May. The Mckenzie produces springers from May to July. Same as the MF Willamette. I don't know much about fall salmon in your area but I would take that boat to the coast and troll bays in September. If you are specifically looking for info on the timing of the runs you can google something like "oregon salmon run timing charts" and you'll see various charts. I looked at a few of them and they are very general. Each river is going to have more specific timing and some vary based on weather. Most rivers will be inaccessible by your boat in the free flowing areas so you should look for info on bank fishing. I'm not a good source for that.

For any rivers above Willamette Falls, look at the fish counts. You can back through the years and see when the fish generally start going over the falls. Also look at the river flow and water temp. All these data can help you predict when the fish will get to the rivers. Fall fish are different, watch for reports as the guys that have been fishing them for years will be catching them before anyone else. Some of them can't help but brag immediately.

I'm kind of rambling at this point but I keep thinking of stuff and I don't want to edit what I've written. Speaking of Willamette Falls, before the fish start going over the falls, they are thick below the falls. I've never fished there but you can fish the Willamette below the falls by trolling for them. That is another area you could take your boat.

As for steelhead. I don't know where you could fish for them from your boat and I doubt anyone is going to give you spots for bank fishing them other than the really well known parks and boat ramps. Winters generally start coming in December and finish around March and Summers show up in May or June and can be caught into the fall. I'm speaking of rivers I'm familiar with.
Good info here. I have fished for willamette basin salmon and steelhead for 20+ years now. Fish start running in earnest starting in may. The runs are not what they were 15+ years ago but with proper timing fish can be found. Steelhead have been almost a no-show for many years now. Fishing for spring chinook is much more doable.

Staring in may, check willamette falls fish counts regularly. When there is a week or longer of 1,000+ salmon over the falls it’s time to start fishing! It takes about a week or two for the fish to make it to the
MF Willamette and McKenzie. Less time for the Santiam as it’s lower in the system. With smaller runs, timing is pretty critical. Good luck!
 
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hookturn
Rferguson61 said:
Hey all,

Starting this spring I intend to get out more often. Up until this year I have just gone with other people whenever they said and wherever they said. I have watched tons of videos and read tons of articles so I have a lot of understanding, I just don’t know how to piece it together. I think part of what I’m missing is tools and/or knowledge of how to tell when to start.

So the question is 1) how do I know when a run starts/when to start going; and 2) what tools/indicators can I use to beat estimate where in the river the fish are?

I don’t have a ton of time to spend on the river unfortunately so any help on resources/knowledge I could use to make the most of my fishing days is much appreciated.
Bob Reese, 31 yr pro guide puts out the Guides Forcast. A great resource for everything salmon and steelhead
 
Grant22
The Santiam's my favorite Springer river. Not many people fish it either. At least the areas that I fish.
 
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