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ODFW moves Free Fishing Weekend event to St. Louis Ponds

May 30, 2012

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host a Free Fishing Weekend event Saturday, June 9, at St. Louis Ponds near Gervais from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event is free, open to the public, and requires no pre-registration. It replaces the Passport to Fishing event at Bonneville Hatchery, which will not be held this year.

The Free Fishing Weekend event at St. Louis Ponds is designed to introduce young people and their families to recreational fishing. The event will showcase St. Louis Ponds, a seven pond complex that ODFW owns and jointly manages with Marion County Parks. The department has made a number of improvements to the fishing complex, including a paved ADA accessible pathway and ADA accessible fishing docks.

“If you’ve never seen St. Louis Ponds, this would be a good time to do so,” said Jeff Fulop, ODFW biologist. “The department has worked hard to make this a family-friendly fishing venue.”

For this event, ODFW will have a limited number of loaner rods and reels with tackle for those who do not have their own fishing gear. Organizers are expecting a large turn-out and caution that there will not be enough loaner gear to go around. So participants are encouraged to bring their own fishing gear if they have it. Bait and ice will be provided to participants who want it while supplies last.

Two or three ponds will be stocked with legal-sized trout just for this event. ODFW staff and volunteers will be available to assist less experienced anglers in learning how to fish for trout.

Free Fishing Weekend falls on June 9-10 this year and is an Oregon tradition. During these two days the public is allowed to fish, clam or crab anywhere in the state without a fishing license or tag. ODFW encourages adults to use this opportunity to take youngsters fishing. Other than the two-day waiver on purchasing a license and tag, all regulations related to fishing locations, species and catch limits still apply.

St. Louis Ponds is a 54-acre complex of seven ponds owned and managed by ODFW. In addition to stocked trout, the ponds contain several species of warmwater fish, including largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, crappie and sunfish.

Parking is very limited, carpooling is encouraged, and participants may need to walk in a mile from the gate at the entrance of the complex.

St. Louis Ponds is located 13 miles north of Salem and west of I-5. To get to there from the north, take the Woodburn exit off I-5. Then go east to Hwy. 99E. At Hwy. 99E, head south to the town of Gervais. At the light, go west on Gervais Rd. through Gervais. Gervais Rd. changes to St Louis Rd. Continue west on St Louis Rd. as it crosses over I-5 to Tesch Lane, at the railroad crossing. Go left on Tesch Lane and follow the signs to the ponds.

Additional Free Fishing Weekend fishing opportunities in the Portland area are as follows:

  • Benson Lake will receive 4,000 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. Benson Lake is in Benson Lake State Park, the exit before Multnomah Falls, off of I-84 going east.
  • Estacada Lake will receive 4,000 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. This lake is located behind River Mill Dam at Estacada.
  • Harriet Lake will receive 5,000 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. Harriet Lake is on the Oak Grove Fork of the Clackamas River. Take U.S. Forest Service roads from Ripplebrook Ranger Station beyond Estacada.
  • Hartman Pond will receive 1,250 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. The pond is in the Columbia River Gorge, off the Benson Lake State Park exit going east.
  • Henry Hagg Lake will receive 7,000 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. Take Hwy. 47 south from Forest Grove and head west on the turn-off south of Dilley.
  • Huddleston Pond will receive 1,200 legal-sized rainbow trout and 100 trophy trout for Free Fishing Weekend. From Hwy. 18, take Willamina City Center Exit. Turn left on Main St., follow Main St. to NE E St. and turn right. Proceed to NE Yamhill St. and turn left. Follow Yamhill St. to the pond.
  • North Fork Reservoir will receive 7,000 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. The reservoir is located seven miles south of Estacada off of Hwy. 224.
  • Sheridan Pond will receive 1,100 legal-sized rainbow trout and 300 trophy trout for Free Fishing Weekend. Sheridan Pond is located just south of Sheridan. Take Exit 33 off Hwy. 18 and head south. The pond is in Sheridan Wetlands Park on the left side of the road.
  • Silver Creek Reservoir will receive 2,600 legal-sized rainbow trout and 200 trophy for Free Fishing Weekend. This reservoir is located on Silver Creek, 2.5 miles south of Silverton on Hwy. 214.
  • Small Fry Lake will receive 500 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. Fishing at this site is restricted to kids 17 years old and younger, with a two-fish limit. It is located on the Clackamas River 7 miles south of Estacada off of Hwy. 224.
  • Timothy Meadows/Lake will receive 4,000 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. Timothy Lake is about 80 miles east of Portland past Mt. Hood. From Hwy. 26, turn onto Skyline Road, also known as U.S. Forest Service Road #42.
  • The South Fork Yamhill River will receive 2,000 trout for Free Fishing Weekend. These fish will be released into the river between McMinnville and Grand Ronde.

For more information about Free Fishing Weekend at St. Louis Ponds, contact Jennell Hoehne at 971-673-6008 or email her at For more information about statewide Free Fishing Weekend events, check ODFW’s website




Jennell Hoehne (971) 673-6008
Jeff Fulop (971) 673-6034
Rick Swart (971) 673-6038

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