Winter trout fishing within an hour of Portland?

Peaceful

New member
This obsession.

It's keeping me up at night, cross-referencing fishing regs with google maps while listening to Joe Rodder and Tom Rosenbaur podcasts and Jenson "As It Happens" fly fishing youtubes.

I'm looking for some trout water within an hour of Portland.

Here's what I've been trying... Tualatin. Went up to the headwaters of the Tualatin this week, kind of blindly. Unfortunately, too many tweakers have disrespected homeowners' private property up there -- the area is plastered with no parking, "get the hell out of here before we shoot you" signs (which I get). Caught a couple small trout on nymphs, but the whole time I was worried my car would be towed by the time I came out of the woods.

Seems like all the action is 2 hours+ out east or down south. I mistakenly thought the Molalla was open all year (I swear it was open, no?). I'm googling every little creek listed in the regs... seems like the Yamhill is open, but it looks like more people talk about warmwater species there?

Wondering what you Portland-area guys and gals do and where you go when you get the itch in the offseason. Don't need "holes" or secrets -- just hope. ;)
 

Peaceful

New member
Gales Creek fits the bill, although the few times I fished it this year the water was super skinny. Seems like it's mostly "find a bridge" access until you get up the campgrounds. Any other pointers on Gales access? Make friends with property owners? Any other streams like this nearby?
 
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troutdude

Moderator
I mistakenly thought the Molalla was open all year (I swear it was open, no?). I'm googling every little creek listed in the regs... seems like the Yamhill is open, but it looks like more people talk about warmwater species there?
Molalla is closed. Yamhill is open. And the Yam does have trout in it. So give it a go.

Unfortunately your 1-hour range won't afford you with many options, for streams, at this time of the year. It's mostly a lake thing for trout until next Spring.
 
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BrandonBeach

Active member
Some research will be required. Both with the regs and private/public property issues.

S.W. Washington has a few streams “close” in. The Lewis rivers, North and East fork have tributarys that are fishable for trout. The east fork has trout, but has some restrictions to protect steelie smolts.
The Washougal river has at least one tributary that has/had trout.

I have fished the aforementioned waters years in years past with moderate success.

Good luck, and if you do find some small stream trout, be judicious about how many you keep. Small streams just don’t hold the numbers of trout bigger streams do..and can be fished out easily.

bb
 
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Peaceful

New member
Sounds like you're looking for streams, but you can fish Hagg from bank or boat and the St. Louis Ponds.
That's the reality with which I'm still trying to come to grips; I love the streams, but lakes may just need to be my seasonal thirst quencher. Thanks for the tip on St Louis Ponds... never even heard of them!
 
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Peaceful

New member
Some research will be required. Both with the regs and private/public property issues.

S.W. Washington has a few streams “close” in. The Lewis rivers, North and East fork have tributarys that are fishable for trout. The east fork has trout, but has some restrictions to protect steelie smolts.
The Washougal river has at least one tributary that has/had trout.

I have fished the aforementioned waters years in years past with moderate success.

Good luck, and if you do find some small stream trout, be judicious about how many you keep. Small streams just don’t hold the numbers of trout bigger streams do..and can be fished out easily.

bb
Yeah, pure catch and release for me.

Funny you mention SW Washington as I was recently scouring their regs too. Am I reading them incorrectly? It seems like Washougal is closed for winter?
 
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Peaceful

New member
Molalla is closed. Yamhill is open. And the Yam does have trout in it. So give it a go.

Unfortunately your 1-hour range won't afford you with many options, for streams, at this time of the year. It's mostly a lake thing for trout until next Spring.
Thanks @troutdude ! I went out to the Yam yesterday. Super swollen and reeking of cow poop. Didn't get any action, but i will keep exploring it for sure.

What are a few of your fav lakes nearby?
 
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DOKF

Member
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Davpot

New member
Some research will be required. Both with the regs and private/public property issues.

S.W. Washington has a few streams “close” in. The Lewis rivers, North and East fork have tributarys that are fishable for trout. The east fork has trout, but has some restrictions to protect steelie smolts.
The Washougal river has at least one tributary that has/had trout.

I have fished the aforementioned waters years in years past with moderate success.

Good luck, and if you do find some small stream trout, be judicious about how many you keep. Small streams just don’t hold the numbers of trout bigger streams do..and can be fished out easily.

bb
In past years Tanner Creek up the Columbia has had lots of smaller Trout. Mite be worth a shot, but beware of tweekers/homeless with ill intent🥴
 
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troutdude

Moderator
You use streamers mostly in the lakes? Midge nymphs? Assuming you fly fish!
I haven't fly fished Hagg. But if I did my go to for lakes are Olive Green, Black, or Brown Woolly Buggers. Sometimes with a Teeny Nymph dropper (same colors). At Lake Harriet dries work well in the summer, where the creek flows in. And that lake has sculpins in it. So muddler minnows are also killer.
 
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DOKF

Member
Yes! I added that list to my Google maps and I'm exploring each one as I get an hour here or there. Is there something in that list where you like to go?
Any place that has water and looks fishy. My current fav is Hagg Lake. But in the past, I have enjoyed Trillium Lake, Harriet Lake, Breitenbush River, North Santiam, Little North Santiam, Wilson river ... But there are so many other choices.
 
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DOKF

Member
I haven't fly fished Hagg. But if I did my go to for lakes are Olive Green, Black, or Brown Woolly Buggers. Sometimes with a Teeny Nymph dropper (same colors). At Lake Harriet dries work well in the summer, where the creek flows in. And that lake has sculpins in it. So muddler minnows are also killer.
A black woolly bugger with flash has done me well at most lakes including Hagg.
 
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