Anglers will have an extra month this fall to enjoy the new amenities at the St. Louis Ponds public fishing area near Woodburn.
The gate to the fishing area will remain open through Oct. 31 this year, providing anglers drive-in access to the seven fishing ponds available at the popular fishing site located just west of the I-5 freeway between Salem and Portland.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will leave the gate open through Oct. 31 on a trial basis. The gate is normally opened each year from March 1 through September 30 then closed during the fall and winter. Anglers are permitted to fish in the ponds year around but must walk in during road closure months.
ODFW decided to leave the road open an extra month to give anglers an opportunity to try out several new fishing facilities that were completed last week. Managers also want to evaluate public interest in autumn fishing at the site. New angling facilities include two fishing platforms on the banks of Pond #6 as well as two floating fishing docks, on Ponds #2 and #5. In addition to these improvements, 875 feet of paved footpaths were added to an existing 2,300-foot paved path around Pond #3, The paths disabled anglers access to six of the seven ponds on this property.
The new facilities were built to Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards to meet the needs of disabled anglers. The improvements were funded by grants from ODFW’s Restoration and Enhancement Program and the non-profit foundation Oregon Wildlife, which provides funding for fish, wildlife, and habitat improvement projects throughout Oregon.
St. Louis Ponds is a 260-acre property that was purchased and developed to provide public angling opportunities primarily for warmwater fish. The site is owned and cooperatively managed by ODFW and Marion County Parks and was identified in ODFW’s 25 Year Angling Plan as a priority for improvement because of its proximity to urban centers of the northern Willamette Valley. ODFW frequently conducts family fishing events at St. Louis Ponds and also stocks several of the ponds with trout. Additional trout releases are anticipated in October to bolster the extended visitor season. In addition to stocked trout, the ponds contain popular species of warm water fish, including channel and bullhead catfish, largemouth bass, crappie, redear sunfish and bluegill.
St. Louis Ponds fishing park is located 13 miles north of Salem and west of Interstate 5. From I-5, take the Woodburn exit. Then go east to Hwy. 99E. At Hwy. 99E, head south to Douglas Avenue NE. Go west on Douglas Avenue NE through the town of Gervais. The road eventually changes to St Louis Road. Continue west on St Louis Road as it crosses over I-5 to Tesch Road. At the railroad crossing, go left on Tesch Road and follow the signs to the ponds.
Image courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife