Note: ODFW hasn’t stocked Walter Wirth Lake as often in recent years, at least in part due to a large encampment of homeless people at the park. This location is on the 2022 stocking schedule, but that schedule already has been pared back to fewer dates. We’d suggest checking the weekly reports linked below for updates. If not stocked at Walter Wirth, extra trout are likely to be planted elsewhere, perhaps including some additional fish headed to Walling Pond. See the stocking schedule below for an idea of when plantings will occur, but with the knowledge that schedules can shift.
These two Salem ponds are popular not just with the usual spring trout-fishing crowd but also are among the best places to catch hatchery rainbows during the fall and winter months.
Thanks for that goes to a long planting season by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The ponds tend to be stocked pretty regularly on the same schedule during the cool months. The first trout are dumped in during October most years and the truck makes semi-regular stops here into the following May.
Walter Wirth historically has been a great spot to take the kids fishing whenever a break in school lines up with a break in the weather. (But please see the note at the top of this article regarding recent conditions.)
Not only do these waters get pan-sized stockers but also regularly get a quite good number larger trout.
The ponds also can occasionally be stocked with brood rainbows that have finished their services at the hatcheries and planted to give anglers the chance at a rod-testing thrill. These fish frequently tip the scales at 10 pounds or more.
While the plantings of normal-sized fish are listed on ODFW’s annual stocking schedule, the additions of brood trout is more often announced with a press release on the ODFW website and listed in the weekly recreation report.
We’ve seen the brood trout stocking happen most often from late fall to mid-winter, depending on hatchery operations that year.
See the bottom of this article for helpful links as well as a focused trout stocking schedule built using ODFW’s schedule. Also note the ODFW regulation that allows retention of just one trout over 20 inches, which will apply to many brood trout.
Berkley PowerBait fished off the bottom or under a bobber is the go-to choice around here if you’re aiming for a limit, as is the case almost anywhere planted with keeper-sized hatchery trout. Power Eggs also have their fans.
One angler told the Statesman Journal’s Henry Miller that he switches to fishing with Acme’s Little Cleo or Kastmaster lures when ODFW stocks the brooders.
If you’re new to this type of fishing or need to brush up, we have a how-to article that more thoroughly covers trout fishing methods, tackle, baits and lures.
Both ponds are open year-round and have more modest fisheries for bass and panfish species.
Walter Wirth Lake Fishing
At 20 acres, this is the larger of the two stocked ponds in Salem. Historically it has gotten the lion’s share of hatchery trout, often in batches of about 1,000 to 2,000 fish, give or take a few hundred.
In fact, until recent years, Walter Wirth often would get close to the 20,000 mark with stocked trout over the course of a calendar year; that’s as many fish as many of the region’s must larger reservoirs receive annually, but spread out over time and in a more easily fished location.
Historically, Walter Wirth also is in the nicer setting of the two, sitting within Cascades Gateway City Park just on on the west side of Interstate 5 but reached from Turner Road Southeast. Use the access road just south of Walmart.
As we’ve mentioned elsewhere in this article, recent years have brought a lot of homeless people to the park and ODFW has at times decided not to stock the waterway, so especially if your goal is catching stocked trout, keep your eyes on the situation.
Bank access at the lake is very easy to come by, including availability of an accessible fishing platform appropriate for anglers with disabilities.
The deeper northern half of the lake is likely to be better for trout, especially in warmer weather, and has wide-open casting.
You can also launch a small craft at Walter Wirth, under human power or an electric motor (no gas motors allowed). A float tube or pontoon would work great.
Slowly trolling flies or lures should result in good catches here when the trout are in.
Walter Wirth also has a fair fishery for warmwater species, with populations of largemouth bass, bluegill, brown bullhead and white crappie.
Anglers also have reported catching large channel catfish here, though usually not many. (For more about this type of fishing, read our popular Best Catfish Fishing in Oregon.)
The shallower southern end of the lake would be worth exploring for some of these species, especially in the spring when bass and bluegill tend to be aggressively guarding their nests.
Note that the other pond in Cascades Gateway City Park is Bluegill Lake, to the north of Walter Wirth on the other side of Mill Creek.
Trout are not stocked in Bluegill Lake, so it doesn’t get the same angler traffic, but you can try your luck for the namesake sunfish and other typical warmwater species found in Willamette Valley ponds.
Trout also are not stocked in Mill Creek, which currently is open seasonally for catch and release fishing with artificial lures and flies (check the regulations link below for details before fishing any water).
2022 Walter Wirth Lake Trout Stocking
|May 23 – 27||1,900|
|Oct. 24 – 28||1,500|
|Nov. 21 – 25||1,000|
|Dec. 19 – 23||1,000|
Walling Pond Fishing
This private pond, a former gravel pit, is available to public fishing and frequently stocked with a good number of trout in the winter and spring.
It also tends to be stocked with a moderate number of trout several times in the fall, once the water cools off enough.
In recent years, some of the trout slated for Walter Wirth have instead been planted here, boosting the catch rates and popularity of this smaller water.
Fishing can be excellent soon after a planting, although the angling success will drop off quickly as the bulk of the fish are caught within a week or two.
Summertime trout fishing is poor at best, and we’d say non-existent by the time the hot weather really sets in. See the schedule below and ODFW’s weekly fishing reports to help narrow your timing.
Like several Willamette Valley waters, Walling Pond also may get some huge brood trout stocked, often during the fall or winter time frame. These aren’t typically listed on the annual schedule but are noted in the weekly fishing report linked below.
Walling Pond, about 8 acres in size, offers bank fishing only (no watercraft of any kind) from pond-side trails. There are no restrooms or trash cans here. Please leave the place clean to help keep it open to public fishing.
While trout are the main show here, the pond also has some largemouth bass and bullhead catfish that might offer a bit of action in the summer, when trout success will be slim to none (probably the latter).
Walling Pond is located in an industrial area at the intersection of McGilchrist Street Southeast and 16th Street Southeast.
From Mission Street, take 22nd Street southward and then turn west on McGilchrist. There is a parking lot on 16th about a block north of McGilchrist, providing good access to the pond’s west side.
2022 Walling Pond Trout Stocking
|Jan. 10 – 14||1,550|
|Feb. 7 – 11||1,400|
|Feb. 21 – 25||1,100|
|Feb. 28 – Mar. 4||1,100|
|Mar. 14 – 18||1,300|
|Mar. 21 – 25||1,400|
|Mar. 28 – Apr. 1||1,100|
|Apr. 4 – 8||1,400|
|Apr. 11 – 15||1,400|
|Apr. 18 – 22||1,400|
|Apr. 25 – 29||1,400|
|May 2 – 6||1,400|
|May 9 – 13||1,400|
|May 16 – 20||1,400|
|May 23 – 27||900|
|May 30 – Jun. 3||800|
|Oct. 24 – 28||600|
|Nov. 21 – 25||600|
|Dec. 19 – 23||660|