Dexter Ponds Hatchery Visitors' Guide

Willamette Trout Hatchery and the adjacent Oakridge Salmon Hatchery were combined in 1983 and operate today as Willamette Hatchery. The trout hatchery was constructed in 1922 and the salmon hatchery in 1911. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) rebuilt the salmon hatchery in 1952 to mitigate for fishery losses caused by Hills Creek, Lookout Point and the Dexter hydroelectric/flood control projects. The trout side was rebuilt between 1950 and ‘56.

Today, Willamette Hatchery is used for adult holding/spawning, egg incubation and rearing of spring Chinook and rainbow trout. In addition, both summer and winter steelhead are reared at this facility. The Dexter satellite facility serves as an adult collection, rearing and acclimation release site for spring Chinook and summer steelhead.

Beginning Friday, April 1, the public will not be able to drive into the Dexter Ponds Hatchery due to bridge inspection by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Questions about this closure may be referred to the USACE Park Ranger Office at 541-942-5631.

Willamette Hatchery
Willamette Hatchery

Best time to visit: mid-June - September

Visiting hours: Dawn to dusk; 7 days a week

Fish raised: spring Chinook salmon and summer steelhead.

What to see and do: Dexter Pond has viewing ponds that hold young fish. Visitors can view adult Chinook salmon during summer months.

  • Wildlife: birds of prey, fish, songbirds, wading birds, waterfowl
  • Facilities: boat ramp, fishing, ADA accessible, small boats, trails
  • Nearby: Salmon and steelhead fishing is available in the Middle Fork Willamette River below Dexter Dam. The Willamette National Forest offers camping and fishing opportunities.

Directions: Dexter Pond is located 1.5 miles west of Lowell on the north side of the Middle Fork Willamette River, just below Dexter Dam.

Address and Phone:
Dexter Pond
39194 Pengra Road
Lowell, OR 97452
(541) 937-2714