Fall Creek enters the lower Middle Fork Willamette River just southeast of Springfield, and regular rainbow trout stocking make both the creek and Fall Creek Reservoir nice options for anglers who want to bring home dinner but want to try something different a bit removed from the busier McKenzie River.
There also occasional hatchery-reared summer steelhead and a few spring Chinook that stray into the lower creek from the Middle Fork’s nice runs.
Fall Creek and its namesake reservoir are open all year for trout fishing but they are usually stocked beginning in about April, so fishing is typically best in spring and early summer. The reservoir is likely to get planted with one good dose of trout in the spring, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has been known to make a fair number of those fish the larger “trophy” rainbows is raises to a larger size before release, in addition to the typical pan-sized legals.
Fishing success and water levels in the the reservoir are typically at their best at that time of year into the first part of summer. It’s drawn well down late in the calendar year (sometimes all the way down to the creek bed) before being refilled during the rainy season.
The creek above the reservoir is planted every few weeks from mid-spring and continuing perhaps into July.
The limit for trout is five, and two wild trout may be kept in the stream if they are at least 8 inches long. Bait is allowed all year in the reservoir and in the creek it can be used from the fourth Saturday in April through October, which includes the typical time of year that hatchery trout are caught in significant numbers.
In the lower creek, below Fall Creek Reservoir, fishing is open year-round for hatchery salmon and steelhead, as well as for wild steelhead at least 24 inches in length. Only a few salmon are usually caught, typically from mid-spring into early summer. Steelhead, by contrast, are caught year-round but usually in modest numbers compared to the Middle Fork. The brightest fish arrive in the Middle Fork in spring and summer, but it’s not uncommon for a handful to be caught in Fall Creek during the colder months.
To reach the primary trout-fishing areas, the most common way is to take Highway 58 east to Dexter Reservoir and crossing that reservoir on the covered bridge to reach the town of Lowell. Go north from town and pick up Big Fall Creek Road, which you’ll follow along both to the reservoir and to the stocked sections of stream above. You can also get there from Jasper Lowell Road heading out of Springfield, which also provides access points for the lower river.
Fall Creek is stocked in about eight locations over a pretty long stretch, from above the reservoir some 14 miles upstream to Gold Creek. To considerably narrow your search for stocked trout, look for likely looking fishing water that has good angler access and is close enough to pull-outs or bridges for a large hatchery truck to drop a load of fish. Most stocked trout will be caught at stocking sites or within a short walk. If you’re looking for wild cutthroat, avoid these high-pressure areas.
You can’t fish within 200 feet of the fish ladder below the dam.
Note: Fall Creek Reservoir is not known as a significant warmwater fishery. In the past, there have been some largemouth bass and crappie there, but more recently the reservoir has been drained down to the riverbed and this seems to have eliminated these non-native species.
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