What’s to Love: I just published “Haldeman Pond” located on Sauvie Island, where I admitted I had not caught a single fish to this day. Still love the spot! However, if you want to drive a bit up near Mt. Hood, you will (most likely) catch a fish at the Rainbow Trout Farm. It’s almost impossible NOT to catch a fish. The facility is a welcoming place for families with small children.
We got off to a slow start by making the mistake of heading to the “Big Lunker” pond. These trout were HUGE – they almost looked to be the size of salmon. You can literally see them swimming around, and it would have been fun to snag one. However, these fish are far too smart to be caught easily. We didn’t even get a bite at this pond (#6).
So, we headed over to pond #9 (there are 10 but not all are for fishing) and started hauling trout in at a rather alarming rate. I say “alarming” because it’s pretty easy to rack up a bill of $30 – $50 here for fish! We stopped because we didn’t want to spend anymore money on fish, not because we weren’t catching anything.
The entire operation is run very well. Plenty of parking leads to a streamlined way to pick-up a fishing rod (rods for small kids too!), bucket for fish, hook removal tool, a net, and worms. They have everything you need; however, you can bring your own gear as well. You might want to bring a towel for wiping your hands and holding the fish, if you don’t want to handle them.
The grounds and the ponds are immaculate. They have a huge lawn area for picnics or just relaxing. The area has some picnic benches and grills. There are a bunch of tractor tires setup as a play area for kids. We would definitely stop here again when we’re headed back from adventures around Mt. Hood. Here is a clip.
Caveats: Be mindful of how many fish you’re catching! You can easily spend $30 – $50 here on fish. It’s based-on the size of the fish – here is a price list. Some of the ponds were a bit crowded. So, if you’re looking for a peaceful fishing experience, this might not be the place on a nice weekend.
Wish they would ban smoking, especially around the ponds.
Website: Rainbow Trout Farm
Distance from Portland: Only 36.8 miles from Portland! It’s a nice quick trip out 84 to the Wood Village Exit. After you get out of Sandy, it’s a pretty drive. Here is a Google Map.
Recommended Ages: All ages! They have poles for young children.
Parental Stress Factor: Not too stressful at all. It’s a pretty laid-back place where kids and families can enjoy fishing together. It’s pretty easy to get your line snagged because the ponds are small. If that happens, you’ll most likely need to break the line and bring the pole back for another setup.
Physical Difficulty: Grounds are flat and much of the fishing is handicap-accessible!
Family Fun Factor: Excellent spot for the whole family, if everyone is into fishing.
Pet Friendly: Due to all the kids and families fishing, dogs are NOT allowed on the grounds. You certainly would not want to leave a dog in the car here due to little shade in the parking area.
Weather Considerations: Open 7 days a week from dawn to dusk. March 1st – October 15th. I personally don’t like standing around in the rain fishing. This is a nice summertime activity.
Insider Info: You can bring your own gear and fish with a bobber, but I don’t recommend it. “Fish off the bottom” was the line the gave me, and it worked well. My 7-year old caught the most fish – he just threw his line into the pond, let it sink to the bottom, and then slowly reeled it in and a fish would grab it quickly.
There is a wonderful family hiking spot very close by called The Old Salmon River Trail. If you’d like to spend more time, combine these activities for a great half or full day.
Family Tips: The paths are paved between some of the ponds making strollers an option for getting around. Bring some charcoal and side dishes, and you’ll have a fresh BBQ trout lunch or dinner, it’s almost guaranteed. They will even clean the fish for you!
Also, you might want to bring a couple folding chairs that you can transport with a jogging stroller. They do have some docks, but I wished that I would have had a chair in which to relax.
Other Posts of Interest...
Henry Hagg Lake on August 2nd, 2010
Salmon Creek Park/Trail on May 26th, 2008
Milo McIver State Park on August 12th, 2013