New Willamette Dock Opens For Fishing

The new fishing dock is now open on the Willamette River. It replaces bank access lost on the other side of the river with the closure of The Wall last year.

The 8-foot-wide by 350-foot-long dock is on the west shore of the river below the falls between the Oregon City Arch Bridge and West Linn Paper Company.

“We are pleased to be able to provide this opportunity for bank anglers,” said Jeff Boechler, manager of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s North Willamette Watershed District.

The structure was funded primarily through the sale of fishing licenses and, according to ODFW is “designed specifically to be used by anglers,” including sturgeon, springer, steelhead, coho and spinyrays.

“This is excellent,” said Molalla angler Steve Snegirev, according to an ODFW press release. “I’m really glad to see our license dollars being used for something like this. I’m sure it will get a lot of use and that people will like it.”

Back in our December issue, Terry Otto reported ODFW had “heard reports of some anglers slipping onto the still-closed site and giving it a try. The word is they have been catching and releasing sturgeon.”

STEVE SNEGIREV TRIES OUT THE NEW DOCK ON THE WILLAMETTE JUST ABOVE THE OREGON CITY BRIDGE. (ODFW)

The new dock replaces an old log “catwalk” which was deemed unsafe.

That and the closure of The Wall to protect a sturgeon spawning area left bank anglers out in the cold.

“Most of these guys can’t afford boats,” Mark Loveland of Oregon City told The Oregonian. “It shuts a lot of people out. I have no idea what they are going to do now.”

Development of the dock was a cooperative project of ODFW, the City of West Linn, West Linn Paper Company and Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation. It was built and installed by Ken’s Floatation Services, Inc., of Oregon City.

The new structure was an engineering challenge, according to Boechler, because it is anchored to the shore with pivot arms next to steep slopes that give the dock the ability to move with changes in river flows. It also required installation of a long ship’s ladder to allow users to safely cross a 20-foot cliff to the water below. The facility is accessed via a new path built by the West Linn Parks Department adjacent to Territorial Road. The new access point also means that anglers no longer need to enter the West Linn Paper Company mill to access the dock.

Total cost of the project was approximately $250,000. The funding package was coordinated by Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation, a nonprofit organization that champions projects that benefit fish, wildlife and habitat related projects throughout Oregon. Most of the funding was provided by a grant through the Oregon Restoration and Enhancement Program using surcharges from fishing licenses sold to Oregon anglers. Additional funding support was provided by the City of West Linn, West Linn Paper Company, the C.M. Bishop Jr. Family Trust, and Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation.

ODFW warns anglers that parking is pretty limited due to maintenance on the OC bridge. There’s limited parking along Mill Street adjacent to the West Linn Police Department. There is no parking available on West Linn Paper Company property or under the bridge along Territorial Road. Anglers may need to find other areas to park their vehicles or seek alternate methods of transportation to the site. Parking will remain limited for approximately two years while the bridge project is underway. During this construction period the Oregon Department of Transportation is offering free shuttle services between Oregon City and West Linn for bicyclists and pedestrians who previously used the bridge. For a shuttle schedule visit the project website at http://www.archrehab.com.

AN ANGLER YARDS A STURGEON UP THE WALL. THE FISHERY THERE WAS CLOSED LAST YEAR. (RICK SWART/ODFW)

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