Lower Willamette Spring Chinook Report

On Monday, I joined my buddy, Phil Lyman for what has become our annual sortie for Springers on the Willamette near downtown Portland. Phil is a lifelong veteran of this fishery. I am a total rookie in all aspects of the deep-water bait game. But the promise of a chrome bright chinook makes me more than ready to surrender my fly fishing sensibilities at the ramp.

Although the morning bite was tepid at best, in amongst the 20 or so other boats, finally it was my turn. I waited patiently for the fish to turn and then let him have it. After a tense battle (where I admit I couldn’t tell if the fish was 5 feet or 50 feet away at any given time) we finally got the beauty to the side of the boat. At the last second as I lifted the heavy rod along with 6oz. sinker high (Bad Matt! Bad!), the fish shook its head and threw the hook. Phil calmly set down the net and went about rebaiting my rig.

“That was probably a $200 fish, you know,” he said a few moments later, reminding me of all of our fruitless trips in years past. I didn’t need reminding.

Back to business: not even 10 minutes later, the rod started twitching again. Unbelievable! Redemption! With an audience of some 100 Sellwood regulars all around, I managed to get this one to the net. Life is short on second chances. This one was truly sweet!

Check out the rest of the shots from the day. Thanks, again, Phil!