Tualatin River Fishing

Wilsonriverfisher

Wilsonriverfisher

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Tualatin river is actually a great place for fishing. I have caught cutthroat trout, squawfish, catfish, bass both largemouth and small mouth, multitude of different pan fry species, and a unidentified fish that was a very very big fish that could break 10 pound test and break it quickly. I have fished it at least once every summer for years now and prefer using a worm either on the bottom or under a bobber. Prepared to get hung up a lot, but for a good overlooked urban river that holds a lot of different species its worth it.

There is very good access all over Tualatin park in Tualatin and they have a decent ramp at Tualatin park as well but beware the river gets shallow in places and has many obstacles so a smaller boat is must. There is access at Cook Park in Tigard and they have a ramp as well. The best fishery on the Tualatin is the mouth of Fanno creek. These in my opinion are the best spots to access and fish the tualatin but you can virtually find spots all over the place on the tualatin. There is another new park in West linn that has good access and West linns Willamette park were you can fish the mouth of the tualatin Also the record Oregon white catfish came out of the tualatin in 1989 by wayne welsch and catfish in the tualatin are big i am sure another state record warm water fish can come from there. I hope this gets somebody to put in a little time on this river and enjoy it as much as I have.

Tualatin River Fishing Map

Tualatin River fishing map
 
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cavdad45

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Oh yeah, the Tualatin river is a fun warmwater fishery. No doubt.
 
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phillk6751

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I fished a lot on Tualatin river a few years back....my dad and I lived in apartments right next to the park in Tualatin off Nyberg Ln.
The majority of what I caught out there were Pikeminnow (squawfish), even at night when I was fishing for cats... All I used for those were hot dogs. I have been dissapointed in the rules surrounding the river now... Back then, I don't recall those fish being closed season until the "salmon, steelhead and trout" season is open....now that's how it is according to the recent regulation books.

I was out there a few months ago not knowing the regulations(by accident), and didn't catch a darn thing on hot dogs.
A week ago I was on the Tualatin river to test out my slip bobber setup....with just a jig head and no bait/worm/yarn(nothing!) and caught a line which had a crawdad attached to it(tangled in it's legs) which was black! and still alive, none the less!
 
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osmosis

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I agree wilsonriverfisher, great little river. There are sturgeon, salmon and steelhead in the tualitin which can break 10lb pretty easily. plus some burly carp.

my favorite rig for that river is wading through the river and drift fishing different current breaks and rapid sections/eddies. spinners and jigs work very well also.

I have a question though. are you sure they were cutts and not smolt? I've caught Very few searun trout in that river.
 
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Silverblade

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There were native inland cut's in the Tualatin river system at one time at least. Many years ago Dairy creek up stream quite a ways was a fun place to catch natives - don't know about now. Steelhead still run up Gales creek - it's not too much of a stretch to think of Cuts in the Tualatin when the water is cool and clean enough. Sea-runs though, not so sure. I think they occasionally go over Bonneville Dam though, so up the Tualatin isn't too much of a stretch.
 
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osmosis

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Think I'm mistaken?
:) the Tualitin river was 150' from my back door for 9 years.
You get to know a river pretty well when it's your own backyard.

at one time, long ago - maybe. but cutts are extraordinarily rare in that river system and have been for the last 10-15 years at least..

There are chinook, steelhead, and coho that run up the Tualitin. Steelhead in far fewer numbers than the chinook.

almost every single trout I caught in that river was sea run, and over 12 inches. every spring and fall all of those 8"ers are smolt, not trout.
 
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Silverblade

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I certainly don't claim any familiarity with the Tualatin itself, my "back yard" stream was Dairy Creek and a small stream running into it a ways out of Banks. I caught some good sized throut (and this was in the late 70's to be sure!) out of both streams, but none were searuns as far as I could tell - or at least their cutthroat colors were in full bloom if they were. Honestly, I am not sure how you tell the difference except that closer to salt water the searuns tend to be much more silver and less colorful. Guess they 'could' have been searun fish though, as could the ones you're talking about. My only point really is that the system used to have a good population of native inland cuts - and good sized ones too at that.

As for smolts I beg to differ. :) I know how to tell the difference between a cut and a smolt, a rainbow (usually stocked) and a cut, etc. Most of the smaller trout I used to catch were cuts until a bit later, when they used to stock the creek with rainbows. I do remember getting smolts at times, and in fact remember chasing around a salmon in the little creek bordering our property. That fish had to come up a long ways to get there, in retrospect I am very glad it escaped me.
 
Wilsonriverfisher

Wilsonriverfisher

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the trout were caught at the mouth of fanno creek on the tualatin. I suspect it was actually a rainbow/cuthroat mix I caught two of these in a 5 minute span. They looked beat the heck up. They actually looked like a rainbow/cutthroat hybrid but being so beat up i called it a cutthroat maybe it was. I suspect it was just your normal resident cutt not your typical coastal searun at all.
 
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Silverblade

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Even wayyyy back when (1975-82ish) I caught what looked like hybrids between the stocked Rianbows that held over and the native cut's - would not surprise me at all if they were still "doing it".
I would think a sea-run cut that was in fresh water long enough to get all the way up to the Tualatin would darken like Steelhead and salmon do once out of salt/brackish water. I don't know though for sure - about the trout at least.
The fish I used to catch had orange meat like a salmon - I didn't keep many, but did when I thought they'd die anyway. That could be an indication that they were sea-run. I honestly don't know!
 
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osmosis

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Not worth aguing over. doesn't sound like you have any info about that river newer than 20-30 years old..
If you didn't know positively what species they were, you should not have kept them even if they were injured, period.

Of course the fish will sexually mature and darken as they head upstream, that is the carotene being redistributed. There is nothing in that river system's diet to provide carotene to the fish so if the meat was not white or damn near they were not residents.
 
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Silverblade

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Hold on, TRUCE!!! :cool: FIRST I was in high school and back then there wasn't an issue with keeping fish, even so I frequently let them go. 2nd they were legal to keep if I'd wanted to, and the ones I did were bleeding badly out the gills or what not and would have died - so I decided to keep them.

Second, they could be residents as crawfish have the carotene needed to make meat orange/pink. Of course it depends on their diet and in any case I fully admit I am not certain they weren't sea run, just don't think so.

Finally I wasn't arguing, and I appologize if it seemed that way. I was hoping that through and exchange of information we could determine what the fish were. If it seems like I was questioning your integrety then it wasn't meant to.

Hopfully I've cleared the proverbial water here - please don't get high and mighty with something done 20+ years ago AND fully legal by the regulations. If I did it today then I'd derserve it and I catch and release most fish even if I don't have to.
 
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osmosis

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I apologize for misunderstanding your side of the story.
I still have no doubt those fish aren't year round residents however. plus I have extreme doubts trying to rationalize that there are any fish in the tualitin feeding so exclusively on crawdads that it's meat has carotene transferred from them.
I suppose I should have rephrased my earlier statement to "enough" carotene.

Call me high and mighty if you really think so, but I still don't believe the previous legalities did our fisheries any favors.


"Sure hope they tasted great 'cus you aren't gonna catch them anymore" is all I meant by my previous posts.

I wasn't meaning to say it was wrong to keep and eat fish, but I wasn't clear enough. Unidentified fish however should be looked into further before harvest whether it was 1970 or now.
 
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Wilsonriverfisher

Wilsonriverfisher

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huh? Did i miss something somewhere?:confused:
Not worth aguing over. doesn't sound like you have any info about that river newer than 20-30 years old..
If you didn't know positively what species they were, you should not have kept them even if they were injured, period.

Of course the fish will sexually mature and darken as they head upstream, that is the carotene being redistributed. There is nothing in that river system's diet to provide carotene to the fish so if the meat was not white or damn near they were not residents.
 
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Silverblade

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I apologize for misunderstanding your side of the story.
I still have no doubt those fish aren't year round residents however. plus I have extreme doubts trying to rationalize that there are any fish in the tualitin feeding so exclusively on crawdads that it's meat has carotene transferred from them.
I suppose I should have rephrased my earlier statement to "enough" carotene.

Call me high and mighty if you really think so, but I still don't believe the previous legalities did our fisheries any favors.


"Sure hope they tasted great 'cus you aren't gonna catch them anymore" is all I meant by my previous posts.

I wasn't meaning to say it was wrong to keep and eat fish, but I wasn't clear enough. Unidentified fish however should be looked into further before harvest whether it was 1970 or now.
Glad that's cleared up, sure want to keep this forum friendly. That's the problem with this medium of communication, nothing but cold words to go on to tell what the other guy is thinking or saying. It's easy to get things wrong!

As for the fish I was catching. They were cuts for sure. It's too bad that the fish counts at Bonneville and Willamette falls don't appear to keep track of trout - it would be interesting to see if they get sea runs at either or both (or ever have). The web pages I just looked at didn't have them.

Sea runs are in a big decline and have been for a while, at least in coastal streams. As far as I can tell "they" don't know why either. What a loss, the fish were great fun in August and September. The fish I was catching were caught in spring though, does NOT mean they weren't searun though.
Also - I'm far from expert on what a fish needs to eat to have orange meat. I know shrimp, crawfish and such in a higher percentage will do it and ocean fish tend to have orange meat (at least salmonids) where lake bound often do not. Again - just discussion here, I am game to learn more!

As for keeping fish - apparently we have a philosophical difference here. If I have effectively killed a fish I'd I'd just as soon keep it and enjoy eating it as opposed to giving it to the crawfish in the river. Even today it pains me to toss back a steelhead that won't make it, though happily that's rare for me as I make very attempt to be very careful with them. If we really wanted to save the fish we'd all stop fishing though, so if you fish at all - even releasing them you're putting the future stocks in danger. It's all a matter of degree. My concience is clear today as far as my impact on the fisheries, I follow regulations and above and beyond that try to be a good steward of the rivers and lakes I visit.
Anyhow - handshake - hope to see you on the river some time!

Kyle a.k.a. Silverblade :cool:
 
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cavdad45

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It's still a great warmwater fishery for smallmouth, largemouth, crappie, catfish, carp.......and of course, crawdads!
 
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phillk6751

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True... but would you eat anything out of it? If so what parts of the river? I know down in Tualatin city and below I'd do no more than c&r... I've never been much further upstream than cook park.
 
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JBean

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Tualatin River Fishing Regs

Regs

Hey guys/gals, I thought according to the regs I have, that the Tualatin isn't open for any fishing until May 1. I've been waiting cause it's my closest river, and I love to fish it, snags and all. So am I wrong?

Oh, and as far as the water, I've heard that the quality is much better than it used to be.



EDIT: Regs say you can fish bait in the river starting May 24th. So, keep those worms outta there until then!
 
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Silverblade

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A lot of the water quality in the area is better in some ways than it used to be particularly sewage and stuff aren't getting in. These days it's mostly invisible chemicals and still lots of run-off from yards so it's fertilzers and what not. I do wonder what's happened to the local native trout that used to be in the upper reaches of the Tualatin and tributaries, last time I fished for them they seemed pretty scarce. I hope that they can figure out what's hitting the searuns so badly & maybe stop whatever it is. I miss fishing for them.
 
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JBean

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Took a trip to Cook park today, threw every spinner/top water/jig&bobber we had, no luck. But a park worker said that they fished out a body from there last summer :shock: yikes, a gal committed suicide there. It was a horribly sad tale. Also the guy said last May, someone pulled out a steelhead, a native, from the river. So, they are in there!:D I can't wait until it gets warmer......
 
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Silverblade

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If Steelhead are in Gales creek they have to head through Cook park to get there! I've seen people fishing there, but never tried myself. Bank access isn't great but you can get to the water in many places with enough room to flip a lure or bobber-n-bait (when bait becomes legal) out. I may give it a try sometime. There are just so many places to fish for so many different kinds - it's hard to decide what to do sometimes! If I had a boat it'd only be worse! I still wish it were worse.
 
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