Would I be better off getting a good inflatable boat to fish lakes and give up on the rivers and streams?

U
uintaangler
After living in Salt Lake City for 25 years and fishing for trout in the tributaries of the rivers of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, I retired and moved to the Portland area.
After a couple of years of looking for good stream fishing for trout within a couple of hours drive here is what I have experienced so far: difficult access to fishable water, difficult wading when you get to the stream ( I'm 73 ), and tiny frakking fish when you find good water - I decided to try overnighting it to fish the Metolius and Fall Rivers - what a pain in the ass!

Even though I have always preferred fishing moving water - I'm wondering if I should bite the bullet and buy a nice inflatable boat, maybe a Watermaster or something similar, start fishing some of our mountain lakes and get back to catching 14" to 20" trout???

What do you think?

Thanks!
 
Diehard
Diehard
If trout is your passion then yes lakes are gonna be a better option for you our river's at least for trout fishing near PDX are gonna be pretty ruff and tumble for an older gent with that said I have not fished the McKenzie river much but I believe there is some decent access points and that river gets loaded up thick with trout every year also the breitenbush river that flows into Detroit lake may have some access for you and gets a yearly stocking of trout we also have cutthroat trout in some of are coastal rivers you will find some easy access around boat launches on both the Wilson and Trask if I was gonna get a cheap fishing vessel for lakes it would be a small pontoon I have used them in tons of lakes they are light and can be broke down to make them lighter they also can be outfitted with a trolling motor if you go through the hassle of getting them registered good luck and tight lines
 
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Irishrover
Irishrover
You would be much better off fishing from a float tube or pontoon boat on one of the many lakes around the area.

ODF&W manages the westsides stream for salmon and steelhead much more than for the production of trout. On the eastside of the Cascades there are plenty of stream and river to focus on trout, but even on the eastside lakes produce nice size trout. It's just a lot longer trip from the Portland area.

Years ago, ODF&W made a decision to focus their put and take trout fishing from the streams to the lakes. They did this to take the pressure off the salmon and steelhead smolts that were outbound to the ocean. For Utah, Montana, and Wyoming and to a lesser extent Idaho this is not a real concern.

Prior to the switch in policy, I can remember trout fishing the lower Clackamas, Eagle Creek, the Molalla, Johnson Creek, and other tributaries in the Portland area. On the slopes of Mt. Hood, the Zig Zag, the Salmon and the Upper Sandy were also nice trout water. Now I enjoy the trout fishing on the lakes in the area. The Mt Hood area has several that provide good trout water. Timothy, Trillium, Frog, North Fork Reservoir, Harriot, Laurence, Clear Lake and a host of others. I do miss wading the Sandy but also being in that mid 70s the pontoon boat creates a nice comfortable second option.

Jim Bradbury and Beverly Miller wrote an informative book on lake fly fishing "Oregon Cascade Area". The information on lakes locations and directions on how to get there are provided in it's pages. Any fishing method can be used at these lakes.

Here is a link that might help.

https://www.bestfishinginamerica.com/OR-willamette-valley-stocked-trout-fishing.html
 
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brandon4455
brandon4455
uintaangler said:
After living in Salt Lake City for 25 years and fishing for trout in the tributaries of the rivers of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, I retired and moved to the Portland area.
After a couple of years of looking for good stream fishing for trout within a couple of hours drive here is what I have experienced so far: difficult access to fishable water, difficult wading when you get to the stream ( I'm 73 ), and tiny frakking fish when you find good water - I decided to try overnighting it to fish the Metolius and Fall Rivers - what a pain in the ass!

Even though I have always preferred fishing moving water - I'm wondering if I should bite the bullet and buy a nice inflatable boat, maybe a Watermaster or something similar, start fishing some of our mountain lakes and get back to catching 14" to 20" trout???

What do you think?

Thanks!
You’ll catch much bigger fish than 14-20 inches if you’re on the right lakes. And you’ll catch more fish. Stillwater trout fishing is unmatched in terms of fish size and productivity. The insects are much more fun to imitate as well.

I grew up fishing small streams and coastal rivers for trout. But once I started fishing the lakes, I never went back to that. And for good reason.

I say go for it! The rewards are waiting
8C03B58D-82EB-4C3C-A3B0-02690CB066C9.jpeg
 
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jamisonace
jamisonace
My brother and I were on way down from the Uintas in the lates 1900's (circa 1998) and saw some great looking water on the Upper Provo. We pulled over and started throwing dry flies on the water and catching fish after fish, every one bigger than the last. It was the most epic fishing I ever had on the Provo system and I fished the Lower for years while in school and later working in that area. Anyway, it wasn't until we were walking out that we saw all the No Trespassing signs. Whoops!

Anyway, if you're into small stream fishing, you should be able to find some good fishing around Portland. Although I do question your life decisions about retiring from SLC to Portland....LOL. Moving my homewater from the Provo River to the Wind River in Wyoming then the McKenzie I understand the frustration trying to learn a bigger system after fishing small streams. Also, the trout fishing in Oregon is nothing like what you're used to. My suggestion is get the boat but don't give up on rivers and streams. Better yet get a drift boat if you're comfortable rowing in moving water. That will give you the best access to both.
 
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No_Bad_Skunks
No_Bad_Skunks
uintaangler said:
After living in Salt Lake City for 25 years and fishing for trout in the tributaries of the rivers of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, I retired and moved to the Portland area.
After a couple of years of looking for good stream fishing for trout within a couple of hours drive here is what I have experienced so far: difficult access to fishable water, difficult wading when you get to the stream ( I'm 73 ), and tiny frakking fish when you find good water - I decided to try overnighting it to fish the Metolius and Fall Rivers - what a pain in the ass!

Even though I have always preferred fishing moving water - I'm wondering if I should bite the bullet and buy a nice inflatable boat, maybe a Watermaster or something similar, start fishing some of our mountain lakes and get back to catching 14" to 20" trout???

What do you think?

Thanks!
You can do both. I fish the lakes from an inflatable, and hit the coastal rivers for cutts from the bank.
 
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FairweatherFisher
FairweatherFisher
I bought a Dave Scadden XTC3, and it’s been good to me this far. If I could do it again, though, I’d probably go with a Saturn. They seem about equal quality, and 1/3 the price.

This one in particular has me kicking myself a little bit. (I have no affiliation with either company)
https://www.boatstogo.com/12.5-fishing-river-raft-fr380.asp
 
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O
olshiftybiscuits
Trout fishing in the small streams near Portland can be excellent if you put in the time to figure out where the larger fish reside. Access and wading, in my opinion, are the greatest challenges associated with those streams. But there are a few places that aren’t too hard on the body. My best advice is to look for areas that experienced fires in the last 3-5 years. Fires lead to land instability, which leads to a lot more food and nutrients making their way into the systems. The resident trout can grow quite large as a result. I’ve caught plenty of trout in the 16-20 inch range less than 45 mins from Portland, within sight of easily accessed boat ramps and trailheads.

Regardless, as others have mentioned it’s well worth it to get yourself a little watercraft for the local lakes. Skip the float tube though - the best fly fishing lakes are really cold, and it’s worth the extra money to keep your legs out of the water! I also think a full intermediate line is a must-have on our local lakes, it can be the difference between a dozen fish and zero on a windy day.
 
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Troutski
Troutski
uintaangler said:
After living in Salt Lake City for 25 years and fishing for trout in the tributaries of the rivers of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, I retired and moved to the Portland area.
After a couple of years of looking for good stream fishing for trout within a couple of hours drive here is what I have experienced so far: difficult access to fishable water, difficult wading when you get to the stream ( I'm 73 ), and tiny frakking fish when you find good water - I decided to try overnighting it to fish the Metolius and Fall Rivers - what a pain in the ass!

Even though I have always preferred fishing moving water - I'm wondering if I should bite the bullet and buy a nice inflatable boat, maybe a Watermaster or something similar, start fishing some of our mountain lakes and get back to catching 14" to 20" trout???

What do you think?

Thanks!
Where do you live, I am in Springfield and I have over the years have made a handful of maps that I love to fish.
Let me know if you are interested
Chuck
 
U
uintaangler
Hi Chuck,
I live in the Portland area and YES I am interested in your maps.
Thanks
Bob
 
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Bank10
Bank10
How about going fishing with me for salmon, steelhead or some bay fishing for bass and crabs?
 
Troutski
Troutski
uintaangler said:
Hi Chuck,
I live in the Portland area and YES I am interested in your maps.
Thanks
Bob
Not sure you would be able to fish these places living in Portland but I in .. send me your email address and I’ll $hit some maps!
 
Troutski
Troutski
Send you some… sorry
 
Troutski
Troutski
Nasty auto correct
 
F
flylooper
uintaangler said:
After living in Salt Lake City for 25 years and fishing for trout in the tributaries of the rivers of Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, I retired and moved to the Portland area.
After a couple of years of looking for good stream fishing for trout within a couple of hours drive here is what I have experienced so far: difficult access to fishable water, difficult wading when you get to the stream ( I'm 73 ), and tiny frakking fish when you find good water - I decided to try overnighting it to fish the Metolius and Fall Rivers - what a pain in the ass!

Even though I have always preferred fishing moving water - I'm wondering if I should bite the bullet and buy a nice inflatable boat, maybe a Watermaster or something similar, start fishing some of our mountain lakes and get back to catching 14" to 20" trout???

What do you think?

Thanks!
Though I will fish both types of water, I prefer streams simply because the fish have more life in them than lake-caught trout. On the other hand, lakers are plentiful, large, and will produce for fishermen. I live on the McKenzie and fish it with flies. I get my share (I'm a catch and release guy) and compared to, say, Paulina Lake, which I fish around twice a year, I noted that the fish I hook in the lake are exhausted and give up very quickly. Same with Hosmer, another of my favorites. River caught trout have all kinds of fight in them.

The reason of course is the presence of dissolved O2 in the water. A moving body of water is usually well aerated and trout love their oxygen!
 
U
uintaangler
flylooper said:
Though I will fish both types of water, I prefer streams simply because the fish have more life in them than lake-caught trout. On the other hand, lakers are plentiful, large, and will produce for fishermen. I live on the McKenzie and fish it with flies. I get my share (I'm a catch and release guy) and compared to, say, Paulina Lake, which I fish around twice a year, I noted that the fish I hook in the lake are exhausted and give up very quickly. Same with Hosmer, another of my favorites. River caught trout have all kinds of fight in them.

The reason of course is the presence of dissolved O2 in the water. A moving body of water is usually well aerated and trout love their oxygen!

Thanks for the reply.
I couldn't agree more, I always prefer fishing for trout in moving water.
I just wish it wasn't so hard to get to the good water here in northwestern OR.
Access is tough and the wading is almost always sketchy for anybody over 65!
For instance, I would love to make frequent trips to the McKenzie, having floated it once, but whenever I drive along it it seems to me that access is a challenge.
 
F
flylooper
uintaangler said:
Thanks for the reply.
I couldn't agree more, I always prefer fishing for trout in moving water.
I just wish it wasn't so hard to get to the good water here in northwestern OR.
Access is tough and the wading is almost always sketchy for anybody over 65!
For instance, I would love to make frequent trips to the McKenzie, having floated it once, but whenever I drive along it it seems to me that access is a challenge.
Indeed, it's a problem. The lower McK is all spoken for when it comes to bank fishing. Seems every square foot of bank is private property. The upper McKenzie, though, is available. It's just that you need to be a mountain goat—a young one at that—to hike down to it. I guess that's why the original McKenzie boat (aka a drift boat) was invented. On that river they're almost mandatory.
 
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U
uintaangler
flylooper said:
Indeed, it's a problem. The lower McK is all spoken for when it comes to bank fishing. Seems every square foot of bank is private property. The upper McKenzie, though, is available. It's just that you need to be a mountain goat—a young one at that—to hike down to it. I guess that's why the original McKenzie boat (aka a drift boat) was invented. On that river they're almost mandatory.
My Mountain Goat days are waaaaay behind me
 
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