If you live within a short drive of Silverton, Silver Creek Reservoir is a great spot to fill a stringer full of rainbow trout during the spring and early summer.
Silverton Reservoir, as it’s also commonly known, is seasonally stocked with good numbers of hatchery rainbow trout (including some big ones). It also has a resident population of several other types of fish, although trout are the main focus here.
It’s a good choice in the mid-Willamette Valley for taking kids or others looking for plenty of fishing action.
The small reservoir provides drinking water for residents of this Willamette Valley community. It also helps prevent flooding on Silver Creek near Silverton.
The 65-acre impoundment also provides some nice trout fishing when the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife plants hatchery fish there.
Fishing can be very good during the planting season, which at last check was getting an earlier start with a late winter stocking of trout before offering a good string of springtime plantings when the weather warms up a bit.
As those fish are caught out and water temperatures rise, trout fishing success here is likely to slow way down by the middle of summer.
ODFW might put in more than 12,000 hatchery-reared trout during that short span, including a fair number of larger “trophy” trout.
How to Catch Trout
All the usual trout-fishing approaches will work here.
Bait including naturals such as worms and salmon eggs and artificial offerings such as PowerBait will always catch hatchery-reared trout.
You can fish these baits on the bottom or beneath a float.
If bottom fishing, a floating dough bait or marshmallow is often a great choice. Use a leader of 24-36 inches to get that bait above the bottom and into the pathway of cruising trout.
Often bottom-fishing with bait is the best approach when trout are holding in deeper water, such as when warmer weather starts to set in.
I like bobber fish, especially when I take newer anglers. It’s fun to see the bobber move or get pulled under. If trout are actively feeding near the surface, fishing beneath a float will put bait such as a half of a nightcrawler right in the zone.
Casting lures such as spinners or spoons is great if you like a more active technique.
I think it’s often a safer bet to limit out using bait, but I often want to release stocked trout for the next angler and also not deal with bait. Compared to bait, lure fishing results in more lip-hooked trout that can be easily released with little handling.
Casting flies is the most challenging type of trout fishing.
Don’t think that just because hatchery trout live most of their lives in concrete ponds, they don’t know to eat flies. They are hard-wired to feed on insects and will readily strike a streamer stripped slowly through the water. You might even get active trout to pluck a dry fly off the surface.
If you’d like more information about the various approaches to catching trout, check out our article Trout Fishing: Basic How-To Techniques and Tips.
Where to Catch Trout
Silverton Marine Park offers a good bit of bank access at the northwest side of the lake, within an easy walk of the parking lot.
This main access area is also closer to the dam at the west end of the reservoir, which offers some deeper water if trout are looking for cooler temperatures.
The park also has a boat ramp, and this is a good place to launch a smaller boat, but know that you can only use electric motors on this waterway. Kayaks, pontoons and other small craft will get you anywhere you need on this small water.
While shore fishing can be very good here, especially in the heart of the major stocking season, boaters do have an advantage.
Anglers with float tubes or small watercraft often report catching better numbers of fish than anglers fishing from shore.
Trolling lures, flies and bait will fool trout for boat anglers, as well as soaking some bait.
The advantage of getting away from the shoreline is even more true as warmer weather arrives and the numbers and willingness of trout to bite decreases. On top of that, the shoreline tends to fill more with people who want to splash in the water instead of fish.
Going into June, and perhaps beyond, getting out on the water and trying near the cool inflow of Silver Creek is a good idea. The creek comes in along the narrow arm at the southeast end of the lake, bringing not just cooler water but insects and other food for trout.
Silver Creek itself has wild trout, with a modest opportunity to harvest them above the reservoir. While it’s possible wild trout such as cutthroats would drop down into the reservoir, most trout you’ll catch in the lake itself are hatchery rainbows.
If the creek arm isn’t producing, try deeper water closer to the dam.
More information: Trout Fishing: How-To Techniques and Tips
Anglers occasionally report catching largemouth bass in the reservoir, although it’s not among Oregon’s best bass fishing spots.
Bass are opportunistic and will occasionally hit lures intended for trout. I’ve caught plenty on Rooster Tail spinners and other lures. Bass also will hit flies on occasion, especially streamers and other sinking patterns that might resemble a small minnow or crayfish.
Bring your bass lures just in case. Soft plastics, crankbaits and other typical bass lures should do the job if you can find bass in Silver Creek Reservoir. Check out our simple guide to bass fishing to learn more.
More common than bass here, there is a self-sustaining population of bullhead catfish that should be easy to catch with worms or other baits fished close to the bottom.
If you’re at the lake in the heat of summer and the trout aren’t cooperating, bullheads are a fun option to feel that wiggle on your fishing rod. And kids often don’t care what they catch.
Do use a tool such as needle nose pliers to unhook and handle catfish, as they have sharp spines in their dorsal and side fins that can cause a painful puncture wound.
Where is Silver Creek Reservoir?
To get there, take Highway 214, about 2.5 miles southeast of Silverton to Silver Lake Drive. That short road takes you to the Silverton Marine Park day-use area, bank fishing access, and the boat launch. It’s about a half-hour drive east of Salem.
There is a modest day-use fee at the reservoir. Frequent anglers can buy an annual pass.
We also should note that the tributary stream, Silver Creek, is the same creek that upstream forms the major attractions in Silver Creek Falls State Park, one of Oregon’s true gems for hiking, camping and other activities around stunning waterfalls.
The city of Silverton and the Oregon Garden are also nice places to combine with some fishing for a full-day trip.
2024 Silver Creek Reservoir Trout Stocking
|Apr 29-May 3
Stocked fish are legal-sized rainbow trout unless otherwise noted. Stocking schedules are subject to change for a variety of reasons. The ODFW Weekly Fishing Report linked under Oregon Resources below may provide updated information.