Portland Outdoor Report: Turkey Season Opens


This past week has been some amazing weather which has warmed up our waterways. Spring in the Pacific Northwest is unmatched when considering outdoor opportunities.

Our Spring Turkey season just began on the 15th, Salmon fishing has been good and steelhead are still making their way into the local tributaries!


The Turkey season has begun as of April 15th! There have already been several stories of success less than a week into the season. The South Valley and East of the Cascade Mountain Range will hold the higher density of birds to harvest. Be looking for hillsides with tall pine trees for roosting, with access to small parcels of open land or fields for feeding. The Tom’s are beginning to Hen up and soon they will be laying eggs, slowing their movements!


chinook-verticalAlthough the Winter run is nearly complete, the Summer Steelhead have made strong showings in the Willamette, Clackamas and Sandy Rivers and are on their way south to the Santiams. With this warmer water, reaction lures will be your best. Look to using Mag Lip Plugs back trolled or behind a side planer. Swinging size 3 or 4 spinners in the tailouts will also be productive. When they begin to slow their upstream progress, drift fishing a size 10 red corkie with a size 1 hook or using a bobber and a 1/8oz jig in neutral colors will be very effective!

Spring Chinook

Last week made for some very good Spring Chinook fishing. However, last week, Monday was the final day for the season…Or so we thought! The Columbia River will be open one more day this week! This Saturday, April 19th, the Columbia will be open once more. One day only! For full Regulations, follow this link. Trolling herring, on anchor with bait wrapped plugs or plunking off the bank with Spin Glos will all be successful techniques for anglers. There are plenty of fish to be had, so go get them!

The Willamette River has shown a few bright spots in the Multnomah Channel and in the Oregon City area. Bait (Eggs, Prawns and Herring) have all been the most productive for Springers so far this season. Look to Spinners, plugs and wobblers if the water temperature warms to over 58 degrees this week!


With water temps in our rivers, lakes and reservoirs beginning to get above 50 degrees, both Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass are going into Pre-Spawn mode. Some smaller systems are even starting to see some early spawning behavior too! Look to the shallow bays and the first breaks and points off of these bays. Use bigger reaction lures to find the fish first, then slow down to continue to get a few more bites!


Sturgeon fishing continues to be a great option for those just looking to do some catch and release fishing. Herring has become the bait of choice. The fish are active and aggressive enough that when you find the schools, action should be fast. Remember it is Catch and Release ONLY in most areas, so be sure to check your regulations!

Good Luck out there this Easter Weekend, and Enjoy the Beautiful Weather!

Jake Donahue
Jake Donahue is more of a Ron Burgundy than he is a Ben Simmons. He does have a background in journalism, sports writing and marketing, though. And he owns the Donahue Media Group, a local web design and project management company, as well as a real estate marketing firm, Portland Picture. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, he grew up a Mariner fan before launching his own Little League coaching career.
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