Willamette River


Active member
Went on a guided walleye trip years back with my best friend. Feb and pretty cool out 20*! Spent 8 hrs on the water and we both got one fish! Had a great time but had no idea I had a fish on when I pulled up mine. Everybody say's they are great eating but I don't recall, but, I did eat it. Was out there 8hrs because the guide guaranteed we'd catch a fish! Had a great time with my buddy but we may have embarrassed the guide. When we got back to the dock, he flew out of there! Friend died a number of years ago, miss him! One of these days 'm gonna try them walleye again in my own boat!
Sounds like a great day, I think the warmer months are better, but I am told they can be caught year round.


Most Featured
Took me a while to get this written as yardwork and real work have been keeping me occupied.

I hit the upper Willamette out of 10th street on Thursday, August 6th. I had taken a week off of work to do yardwork but with rain in the forecast I figured I should just go fishing instead of working on a steep and slippery slope. I got to the river around daybreak and was on the water around 6am. The morning started out breezy and cloudy after an hour or two it changed to breezy, rainy and cloudy.

I was a bit underdressed and shivering off and on all morning. I almost packed it in a few times but I decided I didn't want to have to tell my wife what a wimp I had become. I could her her say, "So, you came home early because to were too cold on an August morning". Hypothermia did not seem so bad :)

It rained for most of the morning. A steady rain coupled with a decent wind blowing in my face did not make for the most pleasant of fishing conditions. Wind and current were aligned and I had to constantly pedal my kayak to not drift downstream really fast. There were even occasional whitecaps on the river. Definitely not my favorite conditions.

The fishing was decent. I ended up with 47 smallmouth and 1 tiny largemouth. My best fish of the day was a 2lb 11oz smallmouth that I caught on my favorite 3" white swimbait on a 1/4oz jighead.


I fished topwater a lot in the morning but I never hooked up. With the wind, rain and waves it was hard to even see my topwater. After a while I gave that up and switched to a spybait. I had never used one before but @portlandrain had tried them earlier with good success so I had ordered a couple and decided to give them a try. One of the great things about those spybaits is that they cast incredibly well.

I have to admit that up to that point I was spending a lot of time picking out backlashes in the gusty wind. The spybait was a godsend in that regard. It cut through the wind incredibly well and that definitely improved my mood. I caught a lot of fish on the spybait. My best was a 2lb 5oz smallmouth:


I caught a mixture of dinks and nice fish on it throughout the day. A really interesting thing is that I had tons of fish follow it to the kayak and tons of fish hit it right at the kayak. Exploding on it just as I was about to lift it from the water. I think I may have been fishing it a little too fast - mostly because the kayak was blowing around so much that it was dragging the lure on top of how fast I was reeling. I can't wait to try them on a calm day.

I would say that they seem to feel a similar role to the 3" swimbait but they do sink faster and seem to stay deeper on the retrieve. Those are nice features.

Throughout the day I would move along humps and points and when I spotted fish under the kayak I would quickly switch rods and drop down either a Ned rig or a drop shot. Both worked really well at picking those fish up. A lot of the fish were suspend 10' off the bottom and I would watch them follow the soft plastic down to the bottom on the 2D sonar and then feel the "thump" as they sucked it in. I really love my sonar!

Overall, I would say I caught a good number of fish on the spybait, 3" swimbait, Ned rig and dropshot.

I did catch on fish on a topwater. As I was heading back to the ramp in the late afternoon the weather had switched to a mix of clouds and sun. I decided to try another new lure (for me). A Berkley Choppo. They are a whopper plopper knockoff but I have been unhappy with the 90 sized plopper (the 110s are grea). The 90 sized ploppers take a while to surface after a cast in the kayak unless I raise my arms straight up overhead as it lands and check the cast just as the lure lands. I figured I would try the Choppo. I am happy to say that the Choppo surfaces really well after a long cast. I did finally catch a topwater fish late in the afternoon on the way to the ramp after missing and losing a couple others. I can't wait to fish that lure in good topwater conditions.

After that fish I made a few casts but mostly just sped back to the launch and called it a day.

Here are a few more fish from the day:



Here is some video from the day. Most of the video I took was worthless as the lens had so much water on it that all you could see was a blob of colors. Also, I use voice commands to turn the gopro off and on and I guess the rain was distorting the microphone resulted in them working spottily (which I did not realize for quite a while). So I offer my apologies in advance :)



Active member
Thanks for the report @bass. Those are some nice looking fish. I had to Google what a spybait was. It’s always fun to try/learn new techniques.


Most Featured
Great video and nice setup. I have always wondered what it would be like to try to fish from a kayak.
It is a massive step up from banking it. There is very little water that I can't access. My kayak is really stable and comfortable and is a really efficient fishing platform.


Most Featured
Thanks for the report @bass. Those are some nice looking fish. I had to Google what a spybait was. It’s always fun to try/learn new techniques.
Definitely fun to learn a new technique. Spy baits are supposed to really shine on those calm, sunny days when the fishing is toughest. I am looking forward to trying them under those conditions at some point.


It is a massive step up from banking it. There is very little water that I can't access. My kayak is really stable and comfortable and is a really efficient fishing platform.
Immediately after watching your video, I started looking at kayaks... I really want one now.. after too many years of bank fishing I am ready to have access to the water.


Most Featured
Yep, that is exactly what gave me that last nudge necessary to get a kayak. You will not regret the decision.


New member
On the water about 1:20pm. Fished till about 6 with my son. We caught 30+ mostly smallmouth, but a smattering of small largemouth and 2 pike minnows. We were throwing tube jigs and ned rigs. I happened to hook what felt like a decent size smallmouth on a small tube jig, fought it for a little while, and then my knot connecting my mainline and my fluorocarbon leader failed. I ended up with NO fish, NO leader, and NO tube jig. Rather than immediately re-tying that rod, I picked up another one rigged with a ned rig, and a couple minutes later hooked a good fish. Upon landing the 2lb -ish smallmouth, it had several feet of leader coming out of it's mouth - MY leader! My lost tube jig was halfway down it's throat. Silly fish broke OFF my tube jig and still ate my ned rig a few minutes later. I was able to extract both baits without trouble and send the bass swimming back...

Also landed a really nice smallmouth (3lbs, 10oz)

Overall, a great afternoon on the river with my son and my dog.


  • IMG_1841.jpeg
    159.8 KB · Views: 19


great work. are you targeting shade and structures or trolling down the middle? I can’t believe some of the success you guys on this forum have! Outstanding.


Most Featured

Willamette River, 10th street, 27 August 2020​

I took a day off to fish the Willamette on the 31st. I went in with high hopes as it was supposed to be cloudy most of the day. Long story short, it was a pretty disappointing trip. I fished for 9 hours and only caught 19 bass. That includes a flurry of activity around noon where I caught 6 in less than an hour.

The wind started out of the south and was pretty stiff most of the morning. In the afternoon the wind was out of the north and pretty strong. That period where it was shifting over is where I had my good flurry.

I fished and caught fish from 5' to 30' deep. So many of the fish I caught were right after a move or a lure change. Each time I thought to myself "All right, here we go". Each time I was wrong.

Best fish on the day was 1lb 14oz fish. A handful of others were decent and the rest were dinks.

I am still not sure what the deal was. I was not marking many fish deep or shallow. I am not sure where they were. Maybe hugging the bottom and inactive or just not where I was looking or fishing (but that was pretty much everywhere).

That was a puzzler for sure.

Couple of fish pics from the day:

And some video:



Most Featured

Willamette River, Newberg, 5 September 2020​

I have been trying to avoid fishing on weekends as much as possible this summer. However, work has been so busy lately I just did not feel like I could take a day off so I decided on a weekend trip.

In looking at the weather it looked like Saturday was going to be the worst day from a pleasure boat view point (best day from a kayak fishing viewpoint). I decided I would fish on Saturday, but where to go.

After thinking on it for a bit I decided to launch out of Newberg. I know the ramp can get busy but the number of folks just hanging out around the ramp is often much smaller than other places that have a lot of shoreline facilities near their ramps.

I got there around daybreak and I was surprised that there were multiple other folks launching as well (I have become spoiled by my weekday trips). A couple of the boats headed in the direction I wanted to fish so I just resigned myself to fishing behind folks all day long.

I think that made the fishing a little tougher but I was still able to scratch out 30 smallmouth and 2 decent sized crappie.

I started the day fishing this point that is the bane of my existence there. It is a perfect looking structure - a rock monolith rising out of 20-30' of water and topping off around 4-6'. If you were to create a smallmouth structure this is what you would make.

I never have much luck there but on Saturday that changed. I had no luck at all. Not even a sniff. That stupid point keeps me up a lot at night as I try to figure out what the heck I am doing wrong.

After that I continued downstream to an abutment that sticks up out of the water a little ways above the bridges. I dropped a dropshot down to the bottom and felt a bite. Swing and a miss. I dropped back down, felt another bite and this time I connected.

I was really surprised to really up a decent little crappie. I think I was getting lots of bites from them throughout the day. In lots of spots I would get those same bites that did not stick. I did manage to land a second one later in the day on a Ned rig. I don't catch many crappie on the Willamette so it is always kind of exciting when I do!

After that I spent a good bit of time fishing between the bridge and that abutment. I mostly alternate betwee a dropshot and a Ned rig and picked up the occasional fish.

I could not believe that I could not get bit on a topwater. It just seemed perfect. I threw a whopper plopper for a bit, then a Sammy for a bit and neither one got any interest.

I finally dug deep into my tackle box and grabbed a Heddon Tiny Torpedo and tied it on. That used to be my go to topwater before I started buying all these expensive topwaters. On the third cast I caught a small bass. Then a couple of casts later I missed a good sized bass.

I was getting really stoked but then the sun broke out and I just could not get another bite on that lure. I will be ready next time though!

For the rest of the day I mostly alternated between fishing a dropshot and Ned rig. I would occasionally throw a crankbait or jerkbait. I did not catch anything on the crankbait but caught a few on the jerkbait.

I think this was my first trip this year where I did not catch anything on my trusty 3" white swimbait - although I never do as well at Newberg with that lure as I do in other spots along the Willie.

The bite wassteady all day long. When I got on a good piece of structure I would fish it very carefully with the soft plastic and was able to catch fish at a reasonable pace. I spent a lot of time fishing sunken brush - which usually produces in that area - but those spots seemed to be mostly dead.

Some of my normally productive spots just seemed completely dead but I did stumble on a couple of new places.

I went further on this trip than I normally do and made it all the way down to the 219 bridge. I caught a couple of smallies of the mid-river trestle in 40' of water which was kind of fun.

I did as much scouting and mapping of that area as fishing and it looks really nice. I am excited to fish it in the future. I did manage about 1/2 dozen fish from the rocky structure under the bridge where it drops from ~10' into about 20' of water.

The thing that felt different about this trip (and the last trip) is that the fish do not seem to be schooled as tightly as they were earlier in the summer. I can catch multiple fish from an area but I am not getting the kind of back to back to back action I am used to seeing.

It kind of feels that rather than traveling in wolf packs that the fish are in similar areas but more spread out. I have no idea why.

No big fish on the day, best fish was probably around a pound a half (never got out the scale) but a decent number between 1 and 1.5lbs. Overall it was a pleasant day on the water. The boating crowds were never too bad. When I pulled out around 4pm the parking lot was only 1/2 full if that and no one was on the ramp.

Here are the crappie I caught:

Here are some of the bass:

Here is some video from the day:



First time bass fishing at this spot on Willamette.. its to the left of Stevens point, down between the last marina and bridge, tons of structure.

dropshotted from 7:30am to 3pm. Caught 15 bass, most were around 2lb, a few dinks.

Does anyone else fish this stretch? I’ve never seen a single fisherman even come near the pilings

here’s some pics:


Active member
Does anyone else fish this stretch? I’ve never seen a single fisherman even come near the pilings
I haven’t fished that area but I have occasionally seen bass boats fishing the rocky structure just south of the Willamette Park ramp and the Sellwood Bridge pilings.


Most Featured
Great job on the fish @nikita_pdx ! They look super fat and healthy!

When you said to the left of Steven's point I assume you meant downstream but I am not sure. I have seen videos of people fishing from the shoreline along the stretch that is upstream from Steven's point and a few videos of folks in boats and kayaks fishing both upstream and downstream from Steven's point.

I have never launched nor fished around that area - but you make a strong case for giving it a try :)
Top Bottom