Sandy River Fishing

Fishing on the Sandy River in Oregon

Sandy river fishing for Steelhead is great. The Sandy river is one of the most popular Portland, Oregon area Steelhead fishing rivers. The Sandy River near Portland, Oregon and Gresham, Oregon flows into the Columbia River.

Steelhead fishing can be very good to area fishermen on the Sandy River. If you have tips or tricks for catching fish on the Sandy River, or photos of fish caught there please  Email Sandy River Fishing and we will post them here.

Oregon Fish And Wildlife


Washington Fish & Wildlife


Sandy River

The localized hatchery program is comprised of a native broodstock, meaning that the hatchery fish are derived from a portion of wild fish returning to the river. Since the Big Creek stock is no longer released into the river, the run timing has become more like the wild returns. This results in a later run than most anglers are used to in the Sandy River.

Winter steelhead begin returning to the river in December, but larger numbers do not start showing up in the catch until mid-February. The fishery usually runs from January through April. It is important to note that summer steelhead are also released into the Sandy River, and return from March through June. Look for an additional angling opportunity when excess summer steelhead are released into Roslyn Lake near Sandy. Counts of fish passing Marmot Dam on the Sandy River can be found.

All Sandy River winter steelhead are released from the Sandy Fish Hatchery on Cedar Creek, so the majority of angler effort should concentrate from Cedar Creek downstream. The river above Marmot Dam is managed as a “Wild Fish Sanctuary” and is closed to angling for salmon and steelhead.
The Sandy River is a glacier-fed system that typically runs very muddy when warm winter rains melt the glaciers on Mt. Hood. The river will clear up within 3-4 days after high water if the snow level drops below 4,000 feet and the rain stops or is reduced to showers. The Sandy fishes best at gage readings of 8-11 feet (measured at Marmot Dam; 
Anglers can access the Sandy River from many parks including Lewis and Clark, Dabney, Oxbow, and Dodge. Access is also available at the mouth of Cedar Creek near the Sandy Fish Hatchery.
Boat anglers access the river at Dodge Park (recommended only for expert boat operators due to hazardous rapids), Oxbow Park, Dabney Park, and Lewis & Clark Park near Troutdale. Jet boats are allowed downstream from Dabney Park. Please remember also that angling from a floating device is only allowed starting from a point that is 200 feet downstream of the Oxbow Park boat ramp.
An interesting change in the Sandy River will occur in 2007. Marmot Dam will be removed beginning this summer, with complete removal occurring late fall. Although this will not affect much of the steelhead angling this year, be aware that river flows and patterns will likely change during and after removal. It may take several years for the sediment to leave the system, possibly altering your favorite fishing hole in the meantime. Roslyn Lake will also be removed during this process. For more information on steelhead fishing in the Lower Willamette, Clackamas, or Sandy rivers, contact Todd Alsbury at the North Willamette Watershed District office at (971) 673-6011.

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Pat Abel Guide Service

PORTLAND, OREGON Fishing Guide Pat Abel Fishes Year 'round On The Most Popular Rivers In The Northwest
From 50-pound Tillamook Bay Fall Chinook to 2-pound Columbia River Shad, Pat pursues his prey with enthusiasm and determination. Pat pursues fish in every coastal river on Oregon's North Coast, such as the Kilches, Wilson, Trask and the Nestucca. The Sandy, Clackamas and Willamette Rivers are also home to Pat. You will be fishing out of either a custom 25-foot Motion Marine Jet Sled or a comfortable, and heated, 17-foot Willie Drift Boat, while using nothing but the finest gear and tackle.

Pro Green rods were created for the more aggressive angler who is fishing for inshore saltwater species. These rods are surprisingly light for their power, yet sensitive enough to detect even the lightest bite.

These new rods provide trout and steelhead anglers with fly fishing flexibility; allowing you to utilize a single-hand cast, roll cast, or even a full-on spey cast!


CLICK HERE to visit the Fishing & Hunting website.

Steve's Guided Adventures

Steve's Guided Adventures has over 20 years of fishing experience in Washington and Oregon and on the Columbia River and can take you to the premier fishing spots and provide a great outdoor experience. Come ride with us in our 21 foot large Willie Predator power boat down to the 16 foot drift boat, all fully equipped with everything you need to catch that big one.

How to catch Steelhead using jigs by James Isdell

I would like to discuss the use of jigs and floats for steelhead.  The use of jigs is very popular in Canada and is gaining popularity in the Northwest as well.  Several books and articles have been written on the use of a float and jig for steelhead.  Guide, Dave Vedder (Float Fishing for Steelhead Techniques and Tackle) as well as other guides will agree, that this is an exceptionally deadly terminal tackle for steelhead at certain times of the season.  Actually, I have used a float and jigs while guiding on the Situk River in Yakutat Alaska.  This was one lure the native run of steelhead there thought were the best thing since eggs.   We were averaging 13 native steelhead per person per day with the jigs.   Some days were better, some days we got a couple less, but the jig far outperformed other conventional terminal tackle, hands-down.   
So, how do you use a float and jig?  The best method I used is a main line coming down to a barrel swivel, tied to a leader which in turn it is tied to a jig.  At the swivel, connect it with a float.  If necessary, you can hang a split-shot or two between the swivel and jig to get the jig down and keep it at the desired depth.  The depth of the jig is also adjustable by adjusting the position of the float on the mainline.

Jigs come in all designs, materials and colors.  Floats also come in different materials, designs and configurations.  I use a plastic bobber since I pay for the terminal tackle my clients use while I'm guiding and a 1 ¼ to 2 inch diameter bobber works fine and is relatively inexpensive.  You should experiment with various colors and sizes of jigs.  The main thing is to ensure that the size or weight of the jig does not drag the float down into the water.  The float should act as a strike  indicator as well as give the jig buoyancy in order for the jig to move naturally through a drift.   If your float is moving ahead of your jig you need to adjust it so that the jig is drifting ahead of the float.  If you get a strike, your float will rise up in the upright position before it goes under.  This is the time to set the hook and hard.  This presentation is almost foolproof for setting the hook.  If the float goes down, more times than not, the fish has hooked itself.  I have also used this method successfully for salmon too.

By the way, the float method can also be used when you want to drift bait in drifts where there is too much trash on the bottom which won't allow a normal drift with a slinky or surgical tubing and lead.   The presentation is as normal as the current itself.   The main concern with this method is to get the bait at the correct depth (just above the bottom) and that the presentation is as natural as possible.  The float will need to be moved up or down the mainline or through shortening the leader to correct for the length  between the float and bait for a natural presentation. 

By James Isdell

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