This small tributary stream gives its name to Hills Creek Reservoir, where it joins with the upper Middle Fork Willamette River southeast of Oakridge. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife had long stocked this stream with modest plantings of rainbow trout, but the practice was halted before the 2014 season to save money on multiple and costly truck trips. At the same time, ODFW also stopped stocking the Middle Fork above the reservoir as well as nearby Salt Creek. The legal-sized rainbows that would have been planted in those three streams are planned to go into Hills Creek Reservoir.
ODFW biologist Jeff Ziller said the end of the stocking program has had a positive effect on the fishing for native trout such as cutthroat, instead of a good number getting caught by anglers chasing hatchery-bred trout each summer. Without the stocked trout to draw as many people in, this stream is off the major roads and is relatively peaceful.
This stream is now open all year. Trout are likely to be hungry when the weather breaks in spring. Angling may get tough in low-water conditions of late summer and then rebound in the fall.
Taking Highway 58 eastbound out of Oakridge, follow the signs to the right to go to Hills Creek Reservoir just out of town. You’ll then go left to stay on Hills Creek Road (Kitson Springs Road), which follows the reservoir’s Hills Creek arm up the stream for many miles. It’s also known as National Forest Service Road 23.
The limit for wild trout has been reduced to two per day, with an 8-inch minimum. Bait is allowed from the fourth Saturday of April through Oct. 31.
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