Largemouth and smallmouth bass may both be caught in the Portland, Oregon vicinity. There are many small ponds, reservoirs, lakes and rivers holding these hard-fighting fish. Here are some of my top picks for quality bass fishing in the Portland metro area.
The Columbia River is simply loaded with excellent fishing opportunities close to Portland, Oregon. Both smallmouth and largemouth bass may be found in this mighty river, with smallmouth predominating in the main river. Largemouth is more likely to be found in the connecting sloughs, canals and backwaters connected to the Columbia River. For those with boats, there are multiple launch locations all along the river. However, for those anglers shore bound, there is a lot of bank access along the Columbia in Oregon. One place I have seen several people fishing at is the rocky rip rap near the Interstate 205 bridge and PDX. Kelley Point Park also offers bank access to the River and a kayak launch spot. There may be good fishing at the Gleason Boat Ramp, although I haven’t checked recently to see if fishing is allowed at that park. One of the best ways to find access is to drive along the Marine Drive that parallels the Columbia, looking for good fishing spots with easy access and legal parking. Try plastic worms and jigs with grubs for smallmouth, and spinnerbaits and soft plastics for the largemouth. Tight lines!
Located in the town of Lake Oswego, this lake is one of the best bass lakes in the Portland area, especially for largemouth bass. It is an offshoot of the Tualitin River, dammed to allow for water level control. Fishing is supposed to be fantastic on this urban lake, but there is one big problem for would-be bass anglers here: almost the entire lake access is privately owned. There is one small public park for residents of Lake Oswego and another for the members of the local school. The rest of the lake is surrounded by private property, often in the form of large residential houses, many quite ornate and expensive. It’s one of the wealthier parts of the Portland area. So, if you want to access the excellent bass fishery here, definitely become friends with some of the people living here, it’ll be worth it! Otherwise, you will need to buy some land here to access this awesome Oswego Lake for fishing.
Check out the Willamette for largemouth and smallmouth bass action. I don’t have a lot of tips for this heavily industrialized river, but many bass anglers fish it, both from the shore and from boat, and catch big bass. Senkos, swimbaits and crankbaits are popular on this river.
Blue Lake and Fairview Lake
There is reportedly some very large bass in both of these lakes, along with some good populations of other warmwater fish. However, especially Blue Lake, has suffered from algae bloom and runoff issues, so keep this in mind when fishing here and make sure to wash your hands after any water contact.