Goin', Goin', Gone Fishin'
I'm not finished with this post, but I'm going to publish it now and keep working on it . . .
Oregon Dept of Fish & Wildlife—Easy Angling site, list of places, amenities, what to fish
I have organized this post thus:
Rivers & Streams
At the Coast (including rivers, lakes, & the ocean)
Blue Lake Regional Park--Fairview OR
If you need to entertain little ones or big ones while your disabled friend/loved one fishes, Blue Lake is a great option. It’s a large park with many family and group friendly features. It does cost to park ($5/car is an inexpensive way to spend a day), but it’s a METRO park, so once a month it is free. To see photos and review, scroll down at
Horseshoe Lake Park, Woodland WA
Woodland hosts a yearly kids’ fishing derby in April, ordinarily. The lake is stocked with trout and has warm water fishing year-round. Getting on the accessible fishing dock looked a little iffy when we checked it out. It’s a family friendly park with picnic tables, covered picnic area, playground, no-wake boating, restrooms, skateboard park. No parking fee. Photos, review, other links at
Lake Sacajawea Park, Longview WA
A wonderful family friendly park, with accessible fishing piers. The city hosts a kids’ fishing derby and other fun events in usual years. Rainbow & brown trout are stocked Jan-May, and rainbow broodstock are planted late winter. Warm water fishing year-round. Street parking free; handicapped parking by restrooms. Quiet neighborhood except hospital at east end.
For photos, a review of the park, more info and links, scroll to the bottom of
Rivers and Streams
Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Portland OR
A great place to see the cherry blossoms about late March, and to walk or bike the approximately 1.5 mi long paved trail that runs right along the river so close that you can throw a fishing line over. The trail is wide enough to accommodate lots of people use, including picnicking. It’s very accessible, but you might need a helper to reel in your catch up over the barrier to falling in the river. I happened to meet the guy pictured with his fish above at Salish Ponds! It was great to chat a bit. He caught something big enough to break his line, and I had hoped to get a picture of him with a sturgeon! There’s a caution, “Don’t eat the fish.”
The waterfront park hosts several public events each year, has historic venues, the Japanese American Memorial, fountains for children to play in, others for drinking, restroom said to be accessible, grassy areas, a variety of restaurants within a half mile, and Portland’s Saturday Market is just across the street spring through Christmas. Chinatown/Old Town are only 2-3 blocks to the west at the north end, but you might have to make an L to get there on foot. The park is about a quarter mile walk from/to public transit (regional bus systems and MAX train}. Pay to park lots are within a half mile, but pretty expensive. The south end of the park is only 3-6 blocks from the center of Portland, and there are some very nice hotels bordering the south part of the park.
Rooster Rock State Park OR (Columbia River)
The website for this family & group oriented day use fee park says it has accessible fishing, but I didn’t find it in person or on the map. Further exploration required. More info, photos, review, and links: scroll down at
Steamboat Landing, Washougal WA (Columbia River)
Depending on the seasonal water level, the ramp down to the fishing pier on the river can be pretty steep; a helper is advised. It is steel grate, and signs warn of slippery sliding. The landing (no longer used for steamboats) is just off Hwy 14 on the north side of the Columbia. It has accessible restrooms, interpretive sign, views of the river, rather a rough sloping parking area not easily managed by manual wheelchairs, though there is a nice flat concrete disabled access to the ramp down to the fishing pier. For further info, photos, review, and links, scroll down at
Cascade Boat Launch, Stevenson WA (Columbia River)
A nice little spot to picnic with a view, launch watercraft, or fish off the dock in Stevenson WA. There are more parks and paved trails along the river in Stevenson, as well as other things to do and see. Scroll down to Stevenson (et al) for more info, photos, reviews, and links:
WDFW wheelchair Fishing Access,
Kalama River WA
Rather minimal facilities could be improved upon. The disabled parking place is paved, right next to the narrow paved path to access the river. When the water level is high it probably reaches the path. When it’s low, the river is past a cobble field. There’s a small vault toilet that was grossly lacking care when we were there. But if you are in a wheelchair and really want to fish the Kalama River, it’s at least something. The address is 1327 Kalama River Rd, Kalama WA—exit 32 off I-5. It’s easy to miss, so watch on the right as you travel east past Mahaffey’s campground. If you come to the Fallert Creek Fish Hatchery, you have gone too far. Fishing info:
Snake River at Oxbow OR, northeast of Baker City on Hwy 86
The bridge over the Snake River between Oregon and Idaho offers an opportunity to cast your line into the Snake River. Vehicles crossing the bridge are generally not traveling fast, but with limited space between the road and the railing, you'll want to be aware, and monitor any children in your group. We went night fishing for catfish. Copperfield Campground is right there, offering both camping and day use areas--no fee day use parking. We parked next to the bridge across from the campground for free. A little north of Oxbow is a boat launch, and there are other access points along the river on the Oregon and Idaho sides--not necessarily wheelchair accessible. The roads, however, can be intimidating for the timid--being narrow with steep sides.
Diamond Lake and Toketee Lake OR
Not far from Crater Lake, Diamond Lake offers a lot of water fun, beside fishing. Accommodations include a resort as well as a National Forest Campground. John Williams’ “Accessible Adventures” has two superb videos that feature Diamond Lake:
Accessible Adventures: Diamond Lake in the Umpqua National Forest
Detroit Lake OR
take Hwy 22 from Salem OR
Detroit Dam holds back the waters of the Santiam River to create Detroit Lake. A road across the top of the dam provides for one-way vehicular traffic and has a barrier so pedestrians can throw a line over and fish the lake side. A person in a chair might find a helper useful, as the bulwark to keep you safe from falling in the lake is high enough to complicate the action of fishing.
A little further up the road is Detroit Lake State Recreation Area. It was still closed from the 2020 wildfire damage when I was there early April 2021, but their site shows a couple photos of their accessible fishing dock. Click on the “Tour Accessible Features” button at https://www.detroitlakeoregon.org/ Under “things to do” you can find fish species and a 3-day fishing derby generally held in May.https://www.travelpacificnw.com/accessible-travel-blog/driving-to-detroit-lake-or
Trillium Lake near Mt Hood OR
The fishing pier is by the boat ramp, has a paved path. There are day use sites with picnic tables, porta potties, and trails, as well as camping sites. Some trails or parts thereof are wheelchair manageable, but I still recommend having an able-bodied helper.
The US Forest Service site below includes an “Accessible Adventures” video
Estacada Lake (Milo McIver State Park), OR
Access Estacada Lake inside Milo McIver State Park. It has a wonderful accessible fishing pier that unfortunately is down a steep winding, though paved, path. For a manual wheelchair bring a helper. The park is lovely, with lots of family friendly amenities, and the drive to and fro through the countryside. There are accessible restrooms (the one by the fishing pier is a vault toilet), boat ramps for those that like to fish from a boat (as well as other water sports; you can rent some watercraft by the boat ramp), and stream fishing that requires maneuvering cobbles. A hatchery is within the park but was closed for COVID. Fee area (day use $5/car), accessible camping (including showers) can be reserved.
For more info, photos, review, & links, see
Mayer Lake, Mayer State Park, OR-- exit 76 off I-84
Near The Dalles OR, Mayer State Park is said (on its website) to have accessible fishing, beside accessible picnicking, vault toilets, and boat ramp. Not shown as accessible are beach access, flush restrooms, swimming, and viewpoint. A day-use fee is charged. (3-5-21 update): accessible fishing is an error on the website. When you take exit 76 and cross the RR tracks to the right you’ll eventually reach the east end with quite a lot of parking--obviously very popular (see link below for more info). Turn left after you cross the RR tracks to reach Mid Mayer, which doesn’t have a sign saying so, but it’s where the boat launch and accessible vault toilet is. No fishing from the boat launch, the sign says. Picnic tables are on a stiff and rough hill for wheelchairs. West end didn't look too wheelchair friendly.
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I've been in a wheelchair for 30+ years. It poses some challenges for traveling. Maybe others can benefit from my experiences.