What’s to Love: This is an awesome fishing spot! Didn’t catch any fish, but I won’t retract my first sentence. If you’re looking for the perfect spot to teach your kids how to fish, head over to Sauvie Island’s “Haldeman Pond,” which is stocked with trout, bass, crappie, and catfish. I can almost guarantee a positive fishing experience, if you’re prepared with all the necessary gear.
So many things to love about this cute little pond! While fishing Haldeman, it feels like you’re far removed from the big city. I’ve been there three times now, and it has always been quiet and relaxing. The access is incredible – simply park in the lot (make sure you have a Sauvie Island Recreation Permit!) and walk about 30 yards to the pond.
As a fishing spot, it’s hard to beat Haldeman. After you park, you’ll be fishing within 5 – 10 minutes. The banks are mostly open and there are few obstacles to snag your line. We’ve gotten plenty of bites, but we’ve yet to catch a fish at Haldeman. Not sure what we’re doing wrong, but if you have some tips, please do share! Here is a short clip.
Caveats: The trail circling most of the pond is a bit rough and could use some work to prevent more erosion. All three visits, I’ve seen adults totally bite-the-dust with rather epic falls. Loose gravel can be very deceiving and often gives a false sense of security.
Recreation passes are now $7/day! That’s more than a NW Forest Recreation Pass. If you visit often, you’ll want to buy an annual for $22.00. I’m posting these prices on 8/18/2011. I may not update them regularly, so make sure you contact these locations to ask about prices.
Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife – 18330 N. W. Sauvie Island Road – 503.621.3488
The Cracker Barrel Store – 15005 N. W. Sauvie Island Road
Reeder Beach RV Country Store – 26048 N. W. Reeder Road
7-11 Convenience Store – 14491 N. W. St. Helens Road (off Island)
Distance from Portland: About 17 miles from downtown Portland.
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Recommended Ages: All ages! Toddlers will need some assistance casting and reeling-in the line, but kids 5 and older should be fine. You might want to practice casting (without hooks!) before you get to the pond. Teens will enjoy the easy access and trail around the pond.
Parental Stress Factor: Low! The only stress I felt was trying to keep my kids quiet. They were so excited to be there, and they loved running around on the trail.
Physical Difficulty: Easy access! Not handicap accessible and again, the trail is a bit uneven and unpredictable. I felt like I was walking on marbles sometimes.
Family Fun Factor: Fishing and being around water is always rated high by my family. If you’re not into fishing, this is not worth going out of your way for a visit.
Pet Friendly: In my opinion, dogs and serene fishing spots do not go together. However, I’m sure I’m in the minority with that opinion. As long as dogs stay on a leash, this is a great spot.
Weather Considerations: A beautiful little pond that’s perfect for a summer day. Of course, it’s open year round.
Insider Info: There are plenty of places to get bait around town, but I was surprised to find the refrigerator I kept walking by at Fred Meyer (over the years), actually had worms in it! This is the Fred Meyer on Interstate. Check your local store.
If you continue on the access road, it dead-ends into a boat launch area, which is a great spot for blackberries and just playing around the water.
Haldeman is filled with frogs, polliwogs, baby fish, tadpoles, etc. Bring along a small net (tight weave) so your kids can try catching some of these little creatures. My kids love catching these small water friends, handling them gently, and then letting them go.
This is VERY close to the most incredible blackberry picking on Oak Island. http://www.pdxfamilyadventures.com/2008/08/13/oak-island-nature-trail
Family Tips: Fred Meyer has free fishing licenses for kids, which isn’t necessary, but kind of fun to do. Fishing poles are not too expensive, so if you have more than one child, make sure everyone has their own pole. While it will probably be more work for you as a parent, you’ll be happy to avoid all the fights over the single fishing rod you brought.
Due to the easy access, it’s not a bad idea to bring along some folding chairs and/or a cooler. The bank can be a bit unstable and dusty. If you think your kids will move around a lot, the chair idea probably won’t work too well. Make sure you bring the proper gear to de-hook the fish, reset your line, net the fish, and string them.
Bring along a bowl for picking blackberries. The banks are lined with bushes.
Other Posts of Interest...
Washougal River Access on August 1st, 2012
Commonwealth Lake Park on May 18th, 2008
Horning's Hideout on July 31st, 2009