Fishing for Catfish in Oregon's Willamette Zone

Fishing for Catfish in Oregon's Willamette Zone
Catfish are a "warmwater fish" that inhabit the tepid rivers, ponds and lakes in the Willamette Zone. This area is full of fishing holes as water runs to the lower elevations, and is warmed in the spring and summer months. Spots favored by anglers include the Columbia River, Henry Hagg Lake and Fern Ridge Reservoir.


Anyone fishing in the Willamette Zone must have an Oregon fishing license from the Department of Fish and Wildlife. The only exceptions to this are during the annual free fishing weekend or when anglers are under 14 years old. As of 2010, the cost for a fishing license is $33 for an Oregon resident and $106 for a nonresident.


In Willamette Valley, catfish can only be fished during daylight hours. Anglers can take them by fishing only, and are not allowed to use any snagging or trapping methods. Walking catfish can't be fished for, even with catch and release.

Limits & Season

There is no limit to the number of catfish that you can catch per day or per year in the Willamette Zone. There are also no restrictions on length. The catfish season is yearlong in all Willamette Valley lakes.

Fish Advisories

The Oregon Department of Human Services has advised that catfish in the Portland Harbor and Lower Willamette River should not be eaten, even with the fatty parts removed. This is due to the presence of harmful PCBs, dioxins and pesticides in all area catfish.

Article Written By Sarah Shelton

Based in Oregon, Sarah Shelton has worked as a freelance writer since 2008. She enjoys covering travel, home and garden, and automotive topics. Her articles have appeared nationwide with Internet Broadcasting, Adventure Travel and Real Estate Experts. With a major in biology, Shelton received her Bachelor of Science from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado.

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