This is a tributary of the upper Middle Fork Willamette River that flows along Highway 58 east of Oakridge. It long had been stocked with hatchery rainbow trout, but in a budget-cutting move ODFW halted stocking in 2014 in this creek and also in nearby Hills Creek and in the Middle Fork Willamette above Hills Creek Reservoir.
The legal-sized trout that would have been destined for these three stream sections will instead be planted in Hills Creek Reservoir, which likely will shift some anglers away from the stream.
As fishing pressure declines on lower Salt Creek, which is easily accessed from the highway, the numbers of wild cutthroat and rainbow trout may increase. There also are brook trout in the creek above the stunning Salt Creek Falls. That small upper section was not stocked but provides no-limit fishing for invasive brook trout.
When to Fish
With stocking trucks no longer stopping at pull-outs and bridges above Oakridge, weather will be the primary driver of when to fish this creek.
Look for hungry trout as soon as spring-like weather sets in, but wait until the fourth Saturday in April (through October) if you want to fish with bait. The upper stream is in high country and likely will take a little longer to get going.
Where to Fish
The lower river is easily accessible just east of Oakridge at numerous pull-outs and several bridges along Highway 58. For peace and quiet, and possibly more wild trout, look for areas where the stream flows away from this busy truck and tourist route.
Salt Creek and its tributaries are open to year-round fishing, although seasonal snow and wintry weather will interfere for long stretches. Bait fishing is allowed from the fourth Saturday in April through Oct. 31.
The limit for wild trout here is two per day, with an 8-inch minimum size, except you may keep any brook trout (a non-native species). Lots of those are above Salt Creek Falls, close to pass level, where winter hangs on longer.
Note that there’s a closure from the boat ramp at Gold Lake, where Salt Creek originates, for 100 yards downstream.