Wilson River bank fishing

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shrigsahoy

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I want to fish the Wilson river for salmon or steelhead. I know that nobody wants to give away the big secrets on fishing locations, but I'm gonna ask anyways. I'm a novice at this. I have no boat, so I'll be on the bank. I guess I'm just after a few suggestions on where along Hwy. 6 to try fishing from the bank. Also, with what type of hardware. Any suggestions for me?
 
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The Wilson River's easy bank access is one reason why it's a favorite salmon and steelhead locale. Sollie Smith Bridge, just east of Tillamook, is considered to be the head of the tidewater on the Wilson and offers a large holding pool with limited access. Along the south, or parking lot, side of the river anglers can find a number of spots that will allow them to perch on a rock or a tree stump while they drift bobber and bait combinations or drift fish the hole.

While catching fish in this hole isn't particularly difficult, landing them can be. The bank is steep and brushy, so it helps to have a fishing partner and a long-handled net if you want to get your catch into the cooler for the ride home.

Josi Hole, north of the highway on...
M

meluvtrout

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The Wilson River's easy bank access is one reason why it's a favorite salmon and steelhead locale. Sollie Smith Bridge, just east of Tillamook, is considered to be the head of the tidewater on the Wilson and offers a large holding pool with limited access. Along the south, or parking lot, side of the river anglers can find a number of spots that will allow them to perch on a rock or a tree stump while they drift bobber and bait combinations or drift fish the hole.

While catching fish in this hole isn't particularly difficult, landing them can be. The bank is steep and brushy, so it helps to have a fishing partner and a long-handled net if you want to get your catch into the cooler for the ride home.

Josi Hole, north of the highway on Olsen Road, offers two distinctly different types of water.

A pay-for-access hole, the lower end, below the riffle, starts with a deep holding pool at the upper end near an island and tapers off into relatively shallow water 100 feet downstream.

The upper drift at Josi's starts with deep, slow-moving water on a bend in the river and moves downstream towards the island marking the boundary with the lower drift.

The entire upper hole is deep and hugs the south bank, the side anglers pay to gain access to.

While this deep, bank-hugging run can be drift fished, it is most commonly, and successfully, fished with bobber and bait combinations.

Approximately a mile east of Olsen Road is Donaldson Lane. Turning north and following the lane ? and paying the fee at the gate ? will bring you to Donaldson's Drift.

Until the big flood of 1997 Donaldson's doubled as both a good bank fishing location and boat slide.

Unfortunately the river shifted and filled as a result of the flood and the boat put-in, for all intents and purposes, disappeared.

It remains, however, a good bank fishing hole. The run is along the opposite (north) side of the river and is best fished with drift gear, spinners, spoons and even flies.

Just a half-mile east of Donaldson Lane is a large turn-out on the north side of the highway.

From here an angler can walk down the bank to a series of relatively slow but very deep pools bordered by good riffles at both the upstream and downstream ends.

The deepest section is most commonly fished with bobbers and bait while the upper and lower drifts are good drift fishing water.

Near mile six, just behind The Guide Shop, is Mills Creek. The long run from Mills Creek to the big, deep hole right below the Guide Shop, is an excellent stretch of salmon water.

Normally running 6 to 8 feet deep, the slot is narrow and confined on the opposite bank by a high, sheer rock wall.

Just downstream from the Mills Creek slot is a very deep, easily accessed hole directly below the Guide Shop.

This is a very popular spot and anglers wanting a choice position need to arrive well before first light to stake out their territory.

While this hole can be drift fished it is very snaggy on the bottom and you'll lose a lot of gear. Most who fish it do so with bobbers and bait.

The lower end of this hole, along the south bank, is often overlooked and underfished. It offers slightly less deep water but is broken by a number of large rocks creating good holding water.

This piece of river can be very productive, especially if there is a lot of pressure in the big hole and along the Mills Creek run.

Under high pressure in the upper hole and run, fish will commonly drop down into this lower stretch to avoid anglers.

Just above the bridge over the Wilson near the Guide Shop, on the north side of the river is a pull-out and dirt road down to the river.

Although it offers very limited access, this small stretch of river provides good water, in-stream boulders creating resting spots for salmon, and is often overlooked by anglers.

At mile marker eight there is a public boat ramp, Siskeyville Slide. The ramp area, behind a small hill opposite a large tree farm, offers bank anglers about 100 yards of good salmon fishing water.

Just upstream from Alice's Restaurant and clustered in less than a mile of river are Vanderzanden (or Herd Hole), Yergen and Zig Zag holes.

Vanderzanden is located at a barely improved boat slide that's recessed below highway level, on the south side of Highway 6, amongst a large stand of alder trees and provides about a quarter-mile of access up and downstream of a good salmon hole.

Yergen is accessed from a small turn-out about mile marker 13.5. The trail down to the river starts nearly 100 yards downstream from where you park and provides access to a great, and very popular, salmon hole.

The public area at Zig Zag begins almost exactly opposite Zig Zag Creek and offers about 900 feet of access including two good holding holes. Because of the brushy bank this area is commonly fished with bobber and bait.

The bridge at Kansas Creek ? easily seen from the highway ? marks nearly three-quarters of a mile of access on the south bank of the river and just under a half-mile on the north.

There is also an excellent hole right under the bridge. Just upstream from Kansas Creek is a small county park. The stretch of river contained within the park is commonly known as Boy Scout Hole while others refer to it as Demolay Camp Hole.

It offers some rough water but a good salmon hole. Be very careful wading here as the water can be very treacherous.

One of the most productive pieces of the middle river is known as the Big Narrows. The river runs for nearly a mile through a narrow, high-sided rock gorge that contains a number of deep pools.

There is a trail from the turnout just upstream from mile marker 14 that will take you right into the Narrows.

Because anglers are forced by the sheer walls of the gorge to fish from rock ledges above the river, this is another spot where a long-handled net is advisable.

And, again because of the terrain, it is almost impossible to fish this stretch with anything other than bobber and bait. Timed right, though, this can be one of the best producing stretches of the entire river.

Each of the several creeks that feed the main river between the Narrows and Lee's Camp offer good holding water just below the creek mouths.

It is important to read the regulations however as which creeks can be fished and when they are open changes almost every year.

Two prominent exceptions to this are the areas around both Jordan Creek and Jones Creek.

Although while fishing Jordan Creek you will need to limit your fishing to the area below the bridge, this area offers a couple of good holes and a really nice, relatively deep riffle.

Especially if the fish are moving after a heavy rain has brought the river up, this riffle offers exciting fishing to drift gear and hardware slingers as water levels drop.

For all practical purposes salmon angling opportunities dwindle drastically above Jones Creek.

While there are limited public access areas, especially on the big bend near mile 27, much of the river upstream from Jones Creek is bordered by private property.

The big hole under the Jones Creek bridge offers the best of the last of the good public access fishing on the river.

The main hole is best fished with bobber and bait or spinners while the lower end of the pool is good drift fishing water.

Although Jones Creek Campground has been closed for some time, there is camping available at Diamond Mill (cross the river, turn right at the first road and Diamond Mill Campground is about 3 miles down the road ? you can't miss it) and plenty of parking on the edge of the road.

Pay attention to the "No Parking" sign, however, as you will be ticketed if caught parking on the paved section of the road leading into the bridge.
 
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shrigsahoy

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Wow. That...is...perfect! Now if I can just figure out the different types of gear to use. What is "drift" gear and how is it different from bobber and bait fishing? Thanks Meluvtrout.
 
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FishFinger

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Drift gear.......... A dead drift presentation carried along with the current. ie corkies, yarn flies, jigs, etc. Anything you can bounce along the river bed would be drift gear.

And welcome to the forum. You'll come to discover we are a great group of helpful folks who all share the same passion of Fishin'.

Great to have you aboard!
 
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shrigsahoy

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Okay, so I bought some hardware at Joes. A 2 oz. Salmon Stalker float. Wanted a 1 oz. as well, but they were out. Hooks. Lead. Also bought a jar of Amerman eggs. My next question is......how do I bait the hook with those eggs? I have not opened the jar to get familiar with the consistency. Will the eggs stay on the hook, or is there some trick to it?
 
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FishTastic

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West of Forest Grove
Hi there. I fish the Wilson a lot. One thing I can tell you about choice spots on the Wilson is that there are tons of them if you look for them. Every year I add one or two new spots to my list of Wilson holes. One of my all time favorite places is right behind what once was the Guide Shop. I was there late Saturday afternoon and saw a nice 'nook landed. As for gear, I like small and medium rocket red corkies, put two or three and peg them next to the hook with a twig and drift them alone, sometimes when everyone else is fishing big clusters of eggs I go to 3 red corkies and a plain hook, no yarn. Just pay attention to what other anglers are doing and try to ask questions, some will be nice and give you good info and some might not. Good luck. I am going on Thursday if the weather holds:rolleyes:
 
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phish-on

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I was behind the Guide Shop today. For the first time. Saw one salmon landed and 2 on line. not mine. I used corkie and the plastic glow eggs with a slinky. nothing. There were about a doz people there. i might try to hit it on thursday also, but it seems like it would be over crowded. might wait till next week instead. i did score some new corkies from the river:D
i didn't think of using a bare hook. will try it next time.

speaking of skunked. I ran over one on the way back home.
 
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FishTastic

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oh man I hope that skunk did not stink up your vehicle. I was fooling with the tape player and hit a skunk once. I ended up parting out that truck because I could not get that stink out of it. :(

On another note, I do expect there will be a few fisherman on the river Thursday but they will clear out by noon to go be with their families. Last year I had the place to myself. If you do decide you want to fish tomorow, you can email me if you would like to meet up I will show you a good hole by the guide shop that usually never has a crowd. I usually don't give away my spots but afterall they are your spots too. It's not like I am the only one who knows about it, I just know how to fish it productivley. Anyway if you are interested you can contact me and we can meet up some place and fish together.

I should have mentioned that when I drift a couple of corkies with a bare hook that I switch to a 1/0 or 2/0 red colored hook. For eggs or corkie and yarn I use big hooks like 4/0 and 5/0 nickel or black.
 
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phish-on

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if i do go i will more than likely stop at a couple of places that i know of before i hit the guide shop. if i get an early enough start.
no the bronco is ok. no stinky-poo.
 
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cchinook

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salmon stalker floats

salmon stalker floats

do not buy or use them ! they are a joke - way to heavy and they can barely support them selves , much less lead and bait - use West Coast bobbers - they are made of foam - cheaper and they will support a lot of weight - you can get them at Joes or just about any where else - check the
oz. support they provide , it is on the package - they come in 5 sizes that I have seen - I have slain many a steel and nook on them in the course of my salmon quests - as far as the Wilson goes it has been one of the worst years
that I can remember and I have been doing this for 25 yrs. from the bank and boat - however , you can not be a pesimist and be an angler at the same time - the big one is just around the corner - next year I will spend my money in Wash. St. or Alaska or B.C. , they actually allow you to fish in these places
 
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fishhammer

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Thats false salmon floats have a specific use. Depending on water condition should determine the type of float to use. And the correct amount of weight should be used.
 
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fishhammer

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you should be fishing the upper wilson start at elk creek campground. And go no further than milepost 20 towards tillamook. Look for big holes, you should fish the back of the hole where the water starts slowing down.use a #4 hook of your brandname you choose. With about 30 to 40 inches of leader with a pink pearly corky on the leader.you should also use a nightcrawler or sandshrimp tail with the corky. steel head usually bite within the first ten cast. if no luck try a #4blade all crome spinner "remember the fish are on the bottom"
 
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bmac_0021

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I just went to the Wilson River today to catch some steelhead but forgot my drift tackle. Ended up using a all pink rooster tail and landed a few decent sized trout but no steelhead like I hoped for :(
 
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ArcticAmoeba

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Pink RT's should definitely spit up some trout for you, but I don't think you would be able to get a Rooster Tail deep enough to hit any Steelhead in the face with it. I went two weeks without my drift rigging box, and just crushed 'em carrying my rod, bag 'o yarn, a bag 'o split shot, #4 Owner needle points, and 10 lb. UltraGreen. Traveling light was nice, but I like to have variety too. Sucks to forget the gear you intend to use primarily. But at least you got into some fish. In the summer bring a 5 wt. and drift fish orang, or red trout beads, with white, or peach yarn, or small chunks of nightcrawler. Every time we target trout specifically, we end up with Summer Steelhead taking the presentation too! Fun stuff on light-ish gear.
 
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bmac_0021

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Hey thanks for the info ArcticAmoeba. Yeah I knew I might not catch the steelies laying on the bottom but it seems you gotta get that RT in their face to bite it. I am just about to leave for the Clackamas river today. I have never fished it before. Probably will be back on the Wilson Sat. or Sun.
 
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ArcticAmoeba

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No problem man. Good luck on the Clackamas today. It is my home river, and I love it! Great pieces of water that appear to be secluded, but are within 100 feet of a road.
 
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bmac_0021

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I just got back from a long day of fishing on the Clackamas. People are catching steelhead and trout at McIver Park. Heading back tomorrow to try again. Do you have any secret spots you may feel to let me know about? :) I understand if you opt to not tell me.
 
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ArcticAmoeba

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Well, sorry this is no good to you now, since right about now you are probably fishing. But here is some info on the upper end of the Clack, around McIver. If you do walk down to Dog Creek, it is the farthest, down river parking lot in the upper end, below the boat launch, where the hatchery is located. If you head down there, and fish the riffle above all the crowds, you have a chance at hooking some early Summers. If you can cross the creek, and walk down river on the downstream port, or left side of the bank. You can bobber dog that whole wall for Chinook, and fat, lazy winters. If you fish the Dam hole, be careful hooking fish low in the drift of slower water. The water is high, and the fish are going to turn sideways, and plane down to the boat ramp pretty much, or the slack hole just above it actually, but chasing a fish with water levels this high will be a challenge. I have done it too many times to want to again. But if you can hook 'em in the pool, and keep them there you should be golden. The Clack is one of those rivers where if you see, a slot, seam, or lane, fish it. Chnces are at least one fish will be in every drift, or hole in that river right about now. If you have a float rod, bring it, the Chinook are in, but not many yet. There is still a chance though. We have been pulling out Chinook from a bit lower than McIver, but it does not mean there aren't fish up there. Good luck next time man.
 
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