Willamette Valley Projects Improve Fishing Opportunities

KokaneeThe Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and other organizations throughout the state, continue to improve boating and angling in Oregon lakes, rivers and streams. Here are a few highlights of recent and ongoing improvements in the Willamette Valley:

Mid-Willamette Watershed District
Detroit Reservoir– Nonprofit angling group Kokanee Power of Oregon is spearheading a project that began releasing larger fingerling Kokanee in the fall with the hope of improving fishing in Detroit Reservoir, said Elise Kelley, a District Fish Biologist for the ODFW. “We will release fish about four or five inches long in the fall over the next few years,” Kelley said, “rather than two to three inches in the summer.” Kokanee Power of Oregon is funding this initial pilot program and will survey anglers with “catch cards,” in order to help with assessing whether the new, larger kokanee are contributing to the fishery.

North Willamette Watershed District – Cascade Unit
Clackamette Park – The Clackamette Park boat ramp on the Clackamas River reopened in late 2016 after being closed due to damage caused by flooding in December 2013. The ramp is located near the mouth of the Clackamas River. Temporary repairs were made so it could be reopened. A much larger project to move the ramp location downstream and replace it is planned for later, likely in 2020 or 2021, said Todd Alsbury, district fish biologist.

Willamette Park – A popular bass, crappie and perch fishery and water recreation area on the Willamette River in Portland received repairs in late 2016. The last upgrade had been in 1997, and improvements were needed due to a large drop off at the end of the boat ramp and sediment accumulation. Boats were unable to use the ramp and boarding docks safely. This caused long delays in launching boats, especially during low-water conditions. Work, coordinated by several agencies, included repairs to the boat ramp toe and the debris boom, as well as dredging of the boat basin.  This project improved public access and safety for boaters launching and retrieving at this park.  Funding for the project was made available from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife through U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration funds, Oregon State Marine Board, and City of Portland.

North Willamette Watershed District – Coast Range
Scappoose Bay Marine Park – Dredging around the boat ramp and short-term boat tie up area at Scappoose Bay Marine Park completed in November 2015 has improved conditions for boaters, who were previously grounding out in the channel at low tide. The site is located at the mouth of Scappoose Bay at confluences with the Multnomah Channel and Columbia River. It’s a popular area for outdoor recreation, including fishing for catfish, crappie, yellow perch, largemouth bass, bluegill and carp; boating; water skiing; paddle boarding and sea kayaking. The project was done cooperatively by the Oregon State Marine Board, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife through U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration funds and Port of St. Helens.

Upper Willamette (South Willamette Watershed District )
McKenzie River – A new boat launch makes it much easier for boaters to get their vessels in the Upper McKenzie River near Frissell Bridge. The U.S. Forest Service project was completed in 2015. The launch was planned as part of the 1992 Upper McKenzie River Management Plan. The river is designated a Wild and Scenic River and an Oregon Scenic Waterway, and this segment of State Highway 126 is a Scenic Byway. The new boat launch replaces an old boat slide that was upstream and on the opposite side of the river. The project was funded with a Federal Highway Administration grant. Now, experienced boaters can use the location for catch-and-release wild trout fishing, said Jeff Ziller, a district fish biologist for ODFW.

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