Wintertime still a good time to fish

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean the fish aren’t biting.

Steelhead and salmon abound in several rivers in the area, including the North and South Santiam, the mainstem of the Santiam, and a little farther away in the Alsea and Siletz rivers, and many others.

But if you just want to get away for the day, or just an afternoon with the kids, the mid-Willamette Valley is full of places to go fishing for trout, and some of the best are right here in Albany.

Mitch Smith, owner of Two Rivers Fly Shop in Historic Downtown Albany, says many local waters have been stocked with rainbow trout, some of which tip the scales at several pounds.

“Locally, the state is stocking the heck out of Timber-Linn Lake,” Smith said, adding that a couple of weeks ago a man came into his shop who had caught a 9-pound rainbow there. “The state also plants those brooders and they have put some big ones in there.”

Along with the normal planting of legal keeper-sized fish (8-inch minimum), the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife plants a few large brood fish – used to collect eggs for spawning more trout at hatcheries – to give the public a shot at landing “the big one.”

Albany has a fine selection of easily accessible lakes to fish, making it a perfect place to take the kids, particularly Timber-Linn and Waverly Lakes, which were planted recently. The ODFW has taken down its stocking schedule to keep people from congregating at any one place due to Covid-19 restrictions but is releasing some details about local stocking after the fact. For the latest information about fishing in the Willamette Zone, go to

Smith said right now a good bet to take fish is with Powerbait fished just off the bottom, or with Wooly Bugger flies in black, brown or olive on a fly rod or fished behind a casting bubble using spinning gear.

If you would like to talk more about fishing, visit Mitch Smith at Two Rivers Fly Shop, 204 1st Ave. SW, in Albany, give him a call at 541-967-9800, or drop him a line at The shop is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and Saturday 10 to 4.

To plan your next adventure in Albany, go to

Photo by Dan Bateman

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *