Welcome to my 2024 fishing reports for the Portland/Vancouver area, with an emphasis on the nearby Columbia and Willamette Rivers.

Right now, this report will focus mostly on spring chinook salmon fishing, which is just beginning for the year. I will share my first-hand experience guiding on these rivers as well as my network of guides and friends I’ve developed in the local fishing community after guiding here for a quarter century.

The Oregon and Washington Fish and Wildlife Departments have twice extended the early springer season on the lower Columbia River (below Bonneville Dam). The season is currently set to run through Thursday, April 9. Depending on how many fish actually show up, it’s possible additional days will be added once in-season forecast updates begin in May if the run is strong enough to allow it. I’ll report any season changes here.

We will also be able to fish the hatchery run of spring chinook on the Willamette River, likely without any closures. The early run forecast calls for just under 50,000 springers to turn up the Willamette, and roughly three-fourths of those are expected to be hatchery-marked fish. That’s roughly an average run size for the Willamette over the past decade.

As always, if you’re thinking about hiring a guide for salmon, sturgeon, or walleye and wondering what the fishing is like, feel free to call or text me at 503-314-5087. I keep close tabs on the changing fishing conditions and regulations.

Latest Portland Fishing Report

Wednesday, April 17

Fishing in the lower Willamette River has really picked up.

We had to let some wild spring chinook go today, but I saw about a dozen other salmon caught around us at the head of Multnomah Channel. Anglers up around Oregon City are also catching good numbers.

Basically, the fish are showing up and salmon fishing should be quite good for a while now.

Previous Portland Fishing Reports

Saturday, April 6

Smiling angler holds up a spring chinook salmon he caught with Marvin's Guide Service on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

This client caught a spring chinook salmon today while fishing the Columbia River with Marvin’s Guide Service.

There was a hot bite around Davis Bar near the I-5 Bridge for about the first hour of fishing this morning when we and other anglers put fish in the boat.

Things slowed after that. There was one caught here or there all day, which was just enough to make it interesting.

Friday, April 5

I saw more salmon hooked around Davis Bar today than I’ve probably seen in the last two weeks combined. The 2024 season has really hit its stride.

Unfortunately, we had our chances but lost a couple of springers before they hit the nets. Columbia River salmon can be a bit harder to land because we have to use barbless hooks. But on the bright side, I think we’ll see a lot more shots at salmon in the next few days. The Columbia River Compact has added several days to the season below Bonneville Dam.

Thursday, April 4

Happy angler holds up a spring chinook salmon he caught on the Columbia River near Portland on April 4.

My client holding a spring chinook salmon he caught on the Columbia River near Portland today.

We got one hatchery springer on the deck and another missed opportunity on the Columbia River in and around the Davis Bar area (on the Washington side near Vancouver).

Other boats also saw some success in that area and in a few other sections of the lower river, so we’re definitely seeing some better fishing as the state DFWs stretched our season out through this weekend and up to Tuesday, April 9.

I also know of a handful of spring salmon caught on the lower Willamette River near the head of Multnomah Channel. The Willamette will remain open after the Columbia closes, so there’s still plenty of Portland-area salmon fishing to be had.

Saturday, March 30

Spring Chinook fishing still isn’t what I’d call red hot, but it seems like every day there are a few more being caught. I’d look for that to continue this week as we finish out the open days we’ll have, at least until run forecasts come in.

Today springers were caught in the Columbia River, at least from Davis Bar downriver to Longview, including around St. Helens. The Lower Willamette River is also producing some catches.

Monday, March 25

We’re starting to see the numbers of salmon build. Today I know of a fair number of salmon caught in the Columbia River in the Longview area.

Davis Bar near Vancouver had light fishing pressure today but only one springer caught that I know of.

Spring Chinook also are turning into the Willamette River in increasing numbers. I know of salmon caught near the head of Multnomah Channel and farther upriver in Oregon City.

We should be seeing a good push of fish coming up.

Saturday, March 23

There were a few spring salmon caught in the Davis Bar area of the Columbia River (on the Washington side across from the mouth of the Willamette River).

There are still lots of sea lions on the Columbia, which is making things tougher. I’m hopeful the sea lions will head back downriver in the next few days, and fishing should really improve.

I also heard about three fish caught in the Willamette Park area on the Willamette River.

Thursday, March 21

The Columbia River from the Davis Bar area across from the mouth of the Willamette and downstream produced salmon today. So has the lower Willamette River.

In fact, it might be a safer bet for anglers to fish the Willamette right now because sea lions are so thick on the Columbia.

There are also steelhead still being caught on the Columbia River.

If people decide to fish the Columbia, try trolling slowly with herring close to the bottom.

Also, remember that regulations require barbless hooks on the Columbia. You can have barbs on the Willamette.

Thursday, March 14

We tried just a few hours of salmon fishing today, but the Columbia remains on the slow side. I’m expecting it to get quite a bit better for Oregon’s spring break during the last week of March and into the first days of April before it’s closed beginning April 6.

I do know of a handful of salmon caught so far, though most have been downriver closer to Longview and Kalama. A couple of bank anglers also have caught fish off Prescott Beach on the lower river.

After a while, we switched over to sturgeon fishing on the lower Willamette River, and this catch-and-release fishery continues to be on fire. We had similar success with sturgeon on Wednesday.

Saturday, March 9

I fished on the Columbia River today and saw only one other boat giving it a shot.

There are still lots of smelt in the river at least up to the airport, and a lot of sea lions, too.

I marked some fish but we didn’t get any bites.

It’s still early, though, so things will improve later this month and in the first days of April before the scheduled closure.

Friday, February 23

I won’t be booking trips for a few more weeks yet, but a few people I know have been giving it a shot in the last few days, with mixed results.

One guy I know tried his luck in the Lower Willamette River’s Portland Harbor but didn’t catch any.

Another guy fished farther up by Meldrum Bar. While he didn’t find any springers, he did catch a steelhead.

Also of note, there are smelt in the Columbia River at least up to Portland International Airport.





Last Updated on by Marv




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