You can catch walleye during any season in the Oregon rivers that host them. The Columbia, Willamette and Snake rivers near Portland have plentiful populations of this popular, tasty fish, including many 10-pounders and even larger.

The Columbia River, especially, is known as one of, if not the best walleye fishing location in the entire country, with walleye not only large in size, but abundant in supply.

Walleye are called “toothy” because they have prominent canine-looking teeth. They also have two separated dorsal fins and opaque eyes, which are assumed to be the reason for their name.  Their color can vary, but walleye are usually dark brown on top and white underneath. They mainly eat small fish and crustaceans, but will eat worms, frogs and snails, among other things.

Spring through fall is a pleasant time to fish for walleye in Oregon – the weather is mild and most of them are a nice size.  Since walleye prefer darker water, a good time to fish for them in them in the summer months is from sundown to midnight.

Walleye like large, clean and cold or cool rivers with sandy or gravely bottoms, and spend most of their time staying close to rocky structures, where they hide, waiting to dine on small fish and other prey.

The walleye’s excellent vision makes them good hunters in low light.  They’re very good at speeding up to overcome their prey. Anglers can use this aggressive behavior to their advantage of this behavior with fishing techniques, like one called “power trolling” that has become popular with walleye anglers.  See our blog titled, “10 Tips for Catching Walleye in Oregon Rivers,” for a description of the technique.

Although it’s always good walleye fishing on the Columbia, the spring is when most trophy-size walleye are caught.  January and February can produce trophy fish, but during that time of year it takes a dedicated angler to brave the wind and rain.

In the spring, large numbers of pre-spawn female walleye move into relatively confined areas. They don’t feed aggressively, but some are catchable by virtue of their numbers. After spawning, the females scatter and return to deeper water where they start biting again, and growing in size.

In the late fall, walleye fishing is less predictable, but a larger percentage of them will be big females which, since the spring, have been eating six times more than their male counterparts!

Large walleye are very cautious.  If something unusual happens, they will head for deeper water.  This may be why so many walleye reach the 10-pound size. Professional fishing guides, using big-fish strategies, are able to catch many large walleye each year.

For more information on walleye fishing trips in Portland, give Buddy Dupell, owner and guide of Columbia River Fishing Adventures, a call at (503) 490-3099.

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