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Willamette River Salmon & Sturgeon

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

It is early June in the Pacific NW and that means that Spring Chinook are still running and the June Hogs are starting to filter in too! It has not been a great run this year, but there are still fish to be caught, so I headed out with good friend and guide Dave Eng (FishEng Guide Service) Chris McBride of Big Rock Sports and Ed Wilder from Bi-Mart Corp.

Ed with one of the sturgeon he caught today!

Knowing that the Salmon bite would be tough, we decided that we would fish for salmon in the morning and then go after sturgeon in the afternoon.

We arrived at the Cathedral Park boat launch on the Willamette river at 5:00am and met Dave at the dock. Dave motored his River Wild boat a couple miles down river and we got the gear out and starting trolling. We had spinners rigged up behind flashers on two rods and Brads Original Super Bait on the other two rods. All were equipped with Trokar hooks.

We trolled for a few hours and only saw 3 fish caught. We knew it would be tough bite, and were getting ready to pack it up and go sturgeon fishing when Ed’s rod doubled over and it was on! Ed played the fish perfectly and guided the 15 plus pound salmon into the net, only to discover that it was a wild fish, so we had to release it. The 4/0 Trokar TK2V hook with the barb pinched did a great job of hooking and holding the fish! We got a quick picture and let it go.

Beautiful Willamette River Spring Chinook

We continued salmon fishing for another hour or so and decided it was time to play with some big sturgeon. Dave knew a good sturgeon hole not far from where we were so we motored over and dropped the anchor. Dave rigged up the rods with anchovies and herring slathered with Pautzke Fire Gel in both the anchovy and herring flavors. We were using 9/0 Trokar TK2V hooks. It did not take long for the first rod to start getting bit. Ed took the rod and set the hook and after about a 10 minute fight he landed a beautiful 6 foot sturgeon. The action stayed steady for the next couple of hours with Chris and I each landing big sturgeon, and Ed got a couple more as well.

Another big sturgeon!

It was a spectacular day, and its great to know that fishing this good is available right in Portland!

Thanks for reading,



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