Willamette Falls Fish Counts

Fish counting through Willamette Falls fishway occurs at the main viewing window. Video cameras and time lapsed video recorders are used to record fish passage 24 hrs/day, 365 days/year. Our schedule for reviewing the tapes is Monday through Friday.

An aerial photo of the Willamette Falls

The first fish ladder at Willamette Falls was constructed in 1885. It has been replaced multiple times since initial construction to improve fish passage including 1893, 1904 and 1975. As currently constructed, the Willamette Falls Fishway is composed of three individual fish ladders that come together before exiting above Willamette Falls. 

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) maintains a fish counting station at Willamette Falls, located on the West Linn side near the PGE Sullivan Power Plant. Biologists use the fish counts to monitor populations over time and make management decisions. A video camera records fish passage 24 hours/day and the video is reviewed by ODFW staff to provide daily counts by species, size, and origin (e.g., hatchery or wild). 

The primary species of anadromous fish counted at Willamette Falls are summer and winter steelhead, spring and fall Chinook salmon, and coho salmon. Pacific Lamprey also use the ladders but are not counted. 

View historic fish counts at Willamette Falls