Fishing beyond the road – Salt creek

Oregon has so many rivers, creeks, and lakes that are just off any road or path and just waiting to be explored. This is the first in a series of hiking off the road, and into wild to find fish and adventures. Maybe this series will even include a float or two using the kayak’s and fishing major rivers.

Video journey through the wilds

The first stop on my journey is to Salt creek. Salt creek is one of many tributaries to the Willamette river. Salt creek can really be divided into two different sections that can be fished. the first section is below Oregon’s third highest waterfall. This steep canyon area has little to no access until the creek comes out miles below and borders the highway. The lower section contains mainly native rainbow trout. For this fishing trip I focused on the area above the waterfall which is mainly meandering meadow areas. I say meadow area but really it is brushy, horribly brushy. The headwaters of Salt creek is Gold lake. The creek outflows the lake, and meanders several miles until it flows under the highway and enters a meadow area that is extremely brushy and difficult to get through. This is the target I picked for the day. yes I know it is a bit crazy, but all the small Brook trout are fun to catch

After several scratch’s I was able to push my way through the brush and mosquitos to a nice tranquil creek. Now the fishing can begin. Salt creek is currently open for the use of bait, with no restriction on size or quantity of brook trout kept. Brook trout preproduce in such high numbers here that they really overwhelm the available food. There are also native rainbows in the stream, but I have rarely caught any due to the large quantity of Brook trout that inhabit this stretch of creek.

Nearly the entire section of stream has heavy Alder and Willow brush. Be prepared to get scratched walking through it.
This section of stream has some deeper holes with lot of fallen logs creating hiding places for the fish.
All the fish I have ever caught in this section are small brook trout.

Over the years that I have fished in this area I have never caught a fish over 10 inches in length. There may be some in there, but they are few and far between to catch. The best way to catch them is to use small spinners or a fly pole. Whichever method you use though the brush along the stream can cause a lot of trouble placing the lure/fly where you want. You can use worms or other bait in this section, but with brook trout they tend to just swallow any food and the mortality rate on release is very high.

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Adventure time with Katy

After our trip to see Salt creek falls we went farther up the creek to explore an area that my father used to take me when I was younger to catch fish.  Salt creek above the falls has a multitude of small brook trout in it that make it a great place to take children to catch fish.  The only issue is that it is very brushy along the edges.  You just have to find a break in brush where a tree fell and walk over it to the creek.  Then you can wade up or down the stream.  This ended up being more of a bug hunting trip then a fishing trip.  But Katy still caught 3 small brook trout as we wandered up the stream.  Most people never think of how many different types of insects live in a stream.  In the short time we looked for bugs we found close to 10 different varieties.  And a couple of frogs.

Beautiful small creek once you beat through the brush to get to it
Beautiful small creek once you beat through the brush to get to it

Katy with her D net and bug catching container
Katy with her D net and bug catching container

Large stonefly larva
Large stonefly larva

Small frog we caught that still has part of a tail
Small frog we caught that still has part of a tail

Dragonfly larva
Dragonfly larva

Katy and her net full of rocks and some crane fly larva.  (just little maggots not very attractive to look at)
Katy and her net full of rocks and some crane fly larva. (just little maggots not very attractive to look at)

Releasing the critters back into the creek for them to live another day
Releasing the critters back into the creek for them to live another day