Fishing Portland’s Willamette River For Sturgeon

Want to catch pre-historic fish as you watch ocean-going ships being loaded with grain, or new Toyotas from Japan being unloaded? Or fish as you watch colorful dragon boats glide by, powered by volunteers digging hard on their paddles? Dragon boat races are a long-standing tradition of the Rose Festival, which traditionally is in June.

If you are lucky, you may watch in awe as a Peregrine falcon blasts from under a bridge — like a heat-seeking missile — to hammer a pigeon in mid-air.

Portland, Ore., provides such a diverse setting in the shadows of skyscrapers, grain elevators, and boathouses that line the banks of the Willamette River. 

"When I have out-of-state clients, I like the urban fishing setting. Not only is it a great fishery, but there is so much in Portland for them to see and do," explains Donald Koskela of Pastime Fishing Adventures. "There is a great zoo, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry with world class exhibits, the theater, and some of the top restaurants in the Pacific Northwest.”

Ray Miller (left) and Lenny McCreary with Ray’s 58-3/8-inch keeper.

Hiring A Guide
A number of good guides know the river well. They will know where the fish are and the best bait selection. It is a great way to learn a new fishery then possibly come back with your own boat.

Sturgeon fisheries are managed on a quota basis. Anglers should ALWAYS check the status of regulations prior to fishing as modifications will be made in-season.

A valid license and harvest tag is required.

Limits: One per day, 5 per year.

1) Minimum length 42 inches, maximum length 60 inches.

2) Only one single-point barbless hook may be used.

3) Oversized sturgeon cannot be removed totally or in part from the water.  

More Information
For more information contact:
John North, Fisheries Manager, Columbia River Programs. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, 971-673-6000, x6029.

Donald Koskela, Pastime Fishing Adventures, 503-767-2792,

Gordon Scheekloth, Reel Deal Guide Service, 503-390-0910.

Trevor Smith, Northwest Trails Fishing Adventures, 503-871-3948.

Fishing in the shadow of skyscrapers, or alongside an ocean liner at dock, can be exciting when you are hooking good numbers of such hard fighting fish. Give it a try!

For a fine assortment of fishing gear, click here.

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