If your little outdoors man or woman hasn’t experienced their first catch yet, there’s no reason to put it off any longer. Some of the best fishing spots in the PNW are just a short drive away from Portland waiting for your youngsters their first catch experience. So give your babes a chance to shout “Fish on!” when you pack your gear and head to one of these awesome spots. We’ve rounded up some of the best nearby fishing holes for families looking to work for their dinner.
photo: tom woodward via flickr
A small 2-acre pond that makes a great spot for kids to fish. It’s got good bank access with plenty of spots for little ones to try their lines. Hidden away in the middle of Sauvie Island makes the pond feel much further away than it actually is, giving you the illusion that you’ve truly escaped the city. It’s stocked around mid-spring, and can be fished all summer long. A parking permit is required for Sauvie Island.
Featured Fish: trout, crappie, bass, catfish.
Location: 17 miles from Portland, off Oak Island Rd on Sauvie Island
Henry Hagg Lake
This sprawling lake outside Gaston, Oregon has plenty of room to stretch out! Try your luck at the fishing pier or from any bank, or jump in a boat and explore the deeper waters. Experts recommend fishing the “arms” of the lake either from a boat or the bank for the best chance to catch something. When the kids tire, they’ll find picnic grounds, restrooms, and the chance to swim, too.
Featured Fish: trout, bass, crappie, perch
Location: 34 miles from Portland, past Forest Grove
Within Beaverton City limits, this stocked lake offers kids a great chance to practice close to home. A flat paved trail circles the lake, and an ADA fishing platforms makes a perfect spot to cast on. You’ll also find a playground, a picnic area, and restrooms. License required.
Featured fish: trout, bass, bluegill, and crappie
Location: 8 miles from Portland, off Highway 26 in Beaverton
photo: via Pexels
Reserved just for the young fishers, Small Fry is a 1-acre lake that’s kept only for those 17 and under. They can fish for two trout a day on the lake, which is located inside the beautiful Promontory Park. Make it a kids’ fishing weekend by booking an RV or tent site in the park, and spend any extra time hiking, boating, or enjoying your kid’s catch on the grill (cleaning station available).
Featured fish: trout
Location: 40 miles from Portland, east of Estacada on Highway 224. In Promontory Park
Blue Lake Park
Stocked with a variety of species, this lake offers bank fishing or an ADA accessible dock along with beautiful views. Rent a boat to get out on the water, and when the kids are done fishing they can cool off in the swim area or the splash pad.
Featured Fish: trout, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, catfish, sunfish
Location: 14 miles from Portland, off NE Marine Dr.
Another spot reserved just for young anglers, Canby Pond is open to fishers 17 years old and younger, as well as those who have a Disabled Hunting and Fishing Permit. The pond is stocked and is popular in summer, though fishing is available year-round. Check online for a rotating schedule of events aimed at family fun.
Featured Fish: trout, largemough bass, crappie, bluegill
Location: 25 miles from Portland, Off Highway 99E in Canby
photo: vsp via flickr
A prime spot for fishing on the Clackamas River, this park offers good bank access and a boat ramp. Camping spots are available for an all-weekend excursion, and there are a few hiking trails to explore. The easy waters here make a great introduction to river fishing for beginners, and the gorgeous scenery doesn’t hurt, either!
Featured Fish: salmon, steelhead, fin-clipped trout
Location: 26 miles from Portland. Off Highway 224 in Clackamas
An easy to reach lake in Beaverton, this makes a great quick stop when you don’t have the whole day. The small pond is stocked with trout, bass, and more with warmwater species added year-round. While it won’t trick you into thinking you’re in the wilderness, it’s a sweet little spot that makes an easy trip for the little ones.
Featured Fish: trout, largemouth bass, crappie, bluegill, and bullhead
Location: 12 miles from Portland, off Highway 26 in Beaverton
photo: vsp via flickr
When you don’t have a pole
If you’ve never really been fishing, or maybe you just don’t go enough to own your own gear, these full-service locations have got you covered with poles and tackle included in the entrance fee. It’s a great way to introduce kids to the sport-or maybe find a new family hobby!
Don’t have a fishing pole or bait? No worries! With our general entrance fee of $4 per person we supply your family with poles and bait!
Fishing is charged by the pound before they are cleaned at $8 per pound. Most of the time our fish weigh around 1/2 to 1 pound each (11 to 14 inch fish). We have a very nice cleaning station for you to clean your fish, and if you need a bit of instruction we can teach you to clean your fish!
No fishing license needed, available March through September.
Disc golf, picnicking, camping, and a beautiful outdoor area!
Featured Fish: Rainbow Trout
Location: 21277 NW Brunswick Canyon Rd, North Plains, OR
Rainbow Trout Farm
This beautiful location east of Sandy covers 30 acres and includes 10 fishing ponds. Everything is there to make it the easiest start for any beginner: poles, tackle, and tips. Afterward, you can clean it yourself at their facilities, or have them do it for you and put it on ice. No extra charge! The best part for beginners is that it’s practically impossible to *not* catch a fish at these ponds, so everyone will leave feeling great.
Ponds are dotted between meadows, trees, picnic grounds, and are wheelchair accessible. All stocked with rainbow trout– no license required.
Featured Fish: Rainbow Trout
Location: 52560 E. Sylvan Dr, Sandy, OR