Salt Creek spews sediment into Middle Fork Willamette

Last week the Middle Fork Willamette River looked pretty good around Oakridge, Oregon — big trout on the line, good water conditions. Seemed to be a sure bet. Then something happened — presumably having to do with the massive landslide about month ago east of Oakridge  that covered Union Pacific Railroad-owned tracks. Maybe it’s snowmelt, maybe it’s construction crews trying to clear the debris off the tracks, but Salt Creek looks like a chocolate milkshake and the river is off color all the way past Greenwater.

We did find some bugs in the town run — lots of caddis on the rocks, and we spotted a black winter stonefly. No March Browns observed.  It was raining on and off most of the afternoon. No fish observed.

Water level looked good. As soon as the sediment disperses, the Middle Fork should start fishing better. Size 10 Golden Stone Nymphs and Size 12 Possie Buggers will both be effective.

Willamette River March 1st

Willamette River March 1st

Later we headed upstream, above Salt Creek and the squiggling masses of caddis and mayfly nymphs just weren’t on the rocks. It might be a lack of oxygen or nutrients in the water coming from under Hills Creek Dam. A 1500 CFS flow will blow the muck off the streambed and get the insects started up there.

We also found some dead panfish.

Willamette River March 1st

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