River Closing Due to Concerns Over Illegal Steelhead Fishing

CLACKAMAS, Ore. — ODFW is closing a section of Willamina Creek to fishing beginning today through May 21 due to concerns about illegal targeting of winter steelhead.

Willamina Creek is now closed to all angling between the falls commonly known as Lower Willamina Falls (located approximately 2 miles upstream of SW East Creek Road) and a line that is approximately 200 ft below the falls. (ODFW staff are posting signs to indicate the closed area.)

Willamina Creek is a tributary of the Yamhill River and normally open to catch-and-release trout fishing at this time of year. However, OSP is aware of a significant number of incidents of anglers targeting steelhead in this area while claiming to be fishing for trout or other species.

The lower falls of Willamina Creek presents a natural, but passable barrier to migrating winter steelhead. ODFW district staff have observed spawning winter steelhead above the falls.

“Winter steelhead aggregate below the falls in significant numbers and mix with other fish species, making the area’s fishing rules difficult to enforce and creating an easy poaching opportunity,” said Mac Barr, ODFW district fish biologist. “This closure is needed to protect this important species within the watershed.”

This area will reopen to fishing on May 22, which is the trout opener for retention trout fishing in streams statewide. By that time, winter steelhead will have completed their spawning.

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