Willamette sturgeon help for a visitor


New member
Hello! I live in Colorado, but have been coming out to McMinville a few times this year (wife’s family). For my trip in January I did a lot of research regarding sturgeon fishing, and found the West Linn fishing dock. I have to admit I got beat that day, had a few runs, but kept getting hung up and breaking off. I’m heading back out there in a week, and was all excited because I was going to have time to try again, and this time my wife would be able to join me. I was going to change my approach with line and gear, and just finished refurbishing (a hobby of mine) a Penn Mariner 49 I was excited to try out. However, looking at the regs, I see that sturgeon fishing is closed for even catch and release below the falls. Which brings me to my question!

If you were going to fish for sturgeon above the falls from the bank, where would you go?

I’ve been researching possible areas, and this is what I’ve come up with so far, but am open to any suggestion. I will be strictly catch and release. And if you don’t want to mention your spot on the forum I totally understand. If you message me I would keep it to myself. I am not interested in giving away anyone’s spot! Also, if you have suggestions for below the bridge that would be awesome too!

Rogers Landing in Newberg
It is on the outside bend, so I would assume the deeper part of the channel runs along next to the park. Doesn’t look like there is much access for fishing for warm water species with heavy vegetation on the bank and no rocks for smallmouth.

Wheatland Ferry
I’m a little familiar with this spot, I fished it for about an hour on a previous trip, mostly just to put a line in the water. For sturgeon it looks like the boat ramp side is better, as that appears to be the deeper side. Also looks like there is a little better warm water fishing possibilities.

Willamette Mission State Park
Could hit both this and Wheatland Ferry on the same day. Looks like lots of bank access.

Grand Island Greenway across the river
Also in the Wheatland area, but the access is to the slough instead of the main river. Could be good warm water fishing, but not sure it would be good for sturgeon.

Wilsonville Memorial Park
A pretty straight stretch of river but fishing is now allowed from the dock, so that gives more access to the river. Kind of like Rodgers Landing, lots of vegetation along the bank and very little warm water species access.

Willamette Park in West Linn
This one looks promising, with access to the Willamette and also what appears to be good warm water fishing on the Tualatin.

Or we could go below the Lake Oswego Bridge and try Milwaukie Riverfront Park. It appears to have a lot of river access, plus some promising looking warm water areas.

Also, not sturgeon related, is Donkey Pond still open to the public? I can’t find any recent information and the most recent I found suggested it wasn’t.

Thank you for any help you can give me! I know above the falls isn’t the best for sturgeon, but it’s a species we don’t have in Colorado and I’d love to get my wife into one!
The closure is only from the LO Rail Bridge upstream to the falls so below that point you are still able to fish for them. A couple of good spots are Swan Island and Kelly Point Park. Swan Island is really tricky from the shore and there are very very limited spots to go and they are difficult to find so if you are interested PM me. Kelly Point Park is good except the water is running really high right now so the beach is still under water. I don't know if you'll be here when the river calms down but that is definitely a place to go when the water level falls. As afar as above the falls I've never fished there because I'm C&R too and the fishing is much better below the falls. Gilbert River is also a good spot but a while back there were some issues with people breaking the law over there so they closed it to all fishing for a while. I know they opened it for artificial baits a while ago but I'm not sure if its been opened back up for sturgeon yet. I would call ODFW to double check before you go. Good Luck!