: Oregon State Parks

Oregon’s Most Accessible Fishing Spots

New facilities, better access and skilled guides help anglers find feisty fish.
March 4, 2024

Whether your catch is big or small, as the saying goes, even a bad day fishing is better than a good day at the office. Grabbing a pole and heading outdoors with your family and friends gets easier all the time in Oregon, no matter your mobility. There’s no shortage of awesome places to wet a line, and guides are ready to help you make the most of your time on the water. 

Accessible fishing in Oregon is having a moment. Visitors rejoice in the improvements that the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has been making to existing ramps and docks — and new facilities they’re creating around the state thanks to its Restoration and Enhancement program and other public and private partners. To review what’s available for your own specific needs, see more information about licenses for disabled anglers, a list of the state’s accessible recreation areas and a fishing map updated in spring 2024. Here are some of the state’s top places and outfitters that can help anyone hook up.

A person fishing on a short fishing dock at Honeyman over a lake on a sunny day.
Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park (Courtesy of Oregon State Parks)

Fish From Wheelchair-Friendly Spots on the Coast

On the Coast, a new half-million-dollar fishing pier opened in 2022 at the Bandon Marina to give people of all abilities and ages a place to fish in an area along the Coquille River that is safe and easy to use. Like all new constructions for accessible fishing, the pier was built to Americans with Disabilities Act  standards and has ramps, railings, kick plates, and walking- and rolling-friendly surfaces. 

Between Pacific City and Florence, you’ll find three inland lakes with accessible ramps with wheelchair-ready facilities: Cleawox Lake in Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park; Eckman Lake, about 4 miles east of Waldport; and Devils Lake at Regatta Park in Lincoln City.

On the North Coast, the North Nehalem Hatchery has an accessible platform inside the hatchery where anglers who hold a Disabled Veteran Angling License or Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing Permit can cast for salmon and steelhead during hatchery hours. The area provides nets and rod holders, too. Near Astoria Fort Stevens State Park has an accessible fishing dock on Coffenbury Lake.

A wood dock with steel railings at a large pond.
Junction City Pond (Courtesy of ODFW)

Cast Your Line From Accessible Docks Around the State

The Benson State Recreation Area on the Columbia River near Multnomah Falls has a paved path that leads to a wheelchair-accessible fishing dock. Nine miles from Forest Grove, Henry Hagg Lake has similar facilities and is stocked with rainbow trout for warm-water action. At the St. Louis Ponds near Gervais, you’ll also find rainbow trout — and a wide, paved pathway that leads to several fishing platforms and floating docks.

Just north of Eugene, Junction City Pond at Archery Park reopens for the season in March and will have a new accessible fishing pier with eight wheelchair fishing stations along it as early as summer of 2024. A gravel parking lot has been compacted for easier use. Improvements were recently completed for the E. E. Wilson Wildlife Area near Corvallis, too. There you’ll find three new docks — including an accessible one — as well as a new wheelchair-friendly bridge and a paved wheelchair fishing spot along the pond. 

In Central Oregon, the Metolius Pond at Camp Sherman gets stocked regularly with fish from the Wizard Falls Hatchery and is open only for kids 17 and under and disabled anglers. Sometime this year, ODFW will be making improvements including a new accessible picnic area, and the trails nearby will be regraded and compacted to make it easier for those of all mobilities to use them. 

Heading farther east, near John Day, the Brandon Pond, the 7th Street Pond, Magone Lake and Olive Lake all have good access with either fishing platforms or long docks to fish from. At Yellowjacket Lake, north of Burns, work begins in spring 2024 on a new accessible fishing dock and kayak launch. The McNary Channel Ponds, near Umatilla, have a series of eight connected ponds with lots of cottonwood shade and accessible platforms for fishing. The Marr Pond, in Enterprise, boasts some of the best accessible fishing facilities in the Grande Ronde watershed with paved, accessible pathways leading to three multiple wheelchair-ready fishing platforms and several seating options.

Two people fishing at the end of a small dock in a large pond.
E. E. Wilson Wildlife Area (Courtesy of ODFW)

Go Fishing With Experienced Guides

If you or someone you know is a deaf angler, get in touch with Salem-based Axiomatic Fly Fishing. Owner Charlie Allen and his wife, Roxie, are happy to take you out. Both are fluent in American Sign Language, and they select a deaf angler for a free fly-fishing trip each month on rivers like the McKenzie, Santiam and Willamette. “We’ll just drop anchor in a fishy spot so I can use my hand to communicate,” Charlie says.

Meanwhile, veterans working their way through the mental stress of civilian life often find their way to Tim Lenihan, who organizes salmon-fishing trips and multiday camping and fishing events through The Fallen Outdoors and the Association of Northwest Steelheaders. Go with Lenihan and veterans won’t even need a fishing license thanks to a law he helped pass.

About The

Tim Neville
Tim Neville is a writer based in Bend where he writes about the outdoors, travel and the business of both. His work has been included in Best American Travel Writing, Best American Sports Writing and Best Food Writing, and earned various awards from the Society of American Travel Writers and the Society of Professional Journalists. Tim has reported from all seven continents and spends his free time skiing, running and spending time with his family.

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