This tributary of the Middle Fork Willamette River near Oakridge offers excellent trout fishing, thanks to regular stocking of hatchery rainbows.
After ODFW recently stopped stocking programs on nearby Salt and Hills creeks and the Middle Fork above Hills Creek Reservoir, Salmon Creek is the only stocked trout stream in the immediate Oakridge area.
Trout are generally first stocked each year in about April, although the stream is now open all year. More plantings are typically scheduled here periodically through a good part of the summer. Check the schedule and weekly recreation reports for updates, since fishing is at its best in the days immediately following a stocking.
Oakridge is about 45 miles east of Eugene on Highway 58. An easy way to remember is driving to the eastern edge of Oakridge and following signs north toward the fish hatchery. This road will hook up with Salmon Creek Road (Forest Service Road 24), where you’ll turn right. You also can get to Salmon Creek Road through downtown Oakridge.
The area that is stocked starts just a couple miles up the creek outside of Oakridge, above the falls at the campground, and goes upstream to Black Creek Road. That’s about seven miles of stream, but trout will be stocked in a handful of key spots where the access is good for both anglers and the hatchery stocking truck. Most trout stocked in streams don’t wander too far from where they were dumped, although it’s often a good idea to poke around riffles and pocket water on either side of a stocked pool when looking for survivors.
If you are looking for wild trout, your best bet is to steer clear of the stocked areas, because that is where you’ll find more native cutthroat and invasive brook trout that haven’t succumbed to angling pressure. The tributaries also are open to fishing and might be worth exploring.
Salmon Creek opens to harvesting trout year-round, but fishing with bait is allowed only from the fourth Saturday of April through Oct. 31. The limit is five hatchery trout per day. Two wild trout may be harvested if they are at least 8 inches. However, anglers may keep as many non-native brook trout of any size as they want.