Central Oregon is full of lakes that are great to fish. While some are remote destinations that draws people from all over the US, some can be found in the middle of town. We'll do our best to list the regulations for the current year, access and boating information, and confirmed spots that produce fish.
Bend Pine Nursery is in the middle of Bend Pine Nursery Park and contains bluegill, bass and stocked rainbow trout. It's a great place to take the kids - be sure to lookout for kids fishing events held in the park each year! While you can fly fish here, you'll find that often times the paths and pets often make it difficult to cast, but don't let that stop you. If you've got a kid that's eager to fish and wants to learn to cast a fly rod, it's a great spot - once they get bored a quick 2 minute walk gets you to the playground!
Crane Prairie Reservoir is the place to go if you're looking for large fish, so much so that the locals refer to rainbow trout coming out of the lake as "cranebows". This lake is huge, roughly 3400 acres of open water, but only has an average depth of 15 feet. If you haven't been there, get your boat, get your kayak, get your tube - anything that floats and your fishing gear. Most of the larger fish can be found in the channels, which are sometimes hard to find because they're only a few feet deeper than the shallows.
Davis lake is one of the best fly fishing only lakes in Central Oregon for large mouth bass and big rainbows. If you like throwing big streamers along weedlines - this is your lake. If getting up early or staying late isn't your thing, pull out that bass popper and throw them near the reeds and grasses - it's a lot of fun! You'll likely want to use a float tube, canoe or kayak to fish the best spots of this water.
Devils Lake is beautiful water and fishes easily from the bank, while motorized boats are prohibited a float tube can come in handy reaching the deeper parts of the water. Devils lake is regularly stocked with hatchery rainbows and contains a strong reproducing population of brook trout. It's a pretty shallow lake averaging just over 3 feet with a maximum depth of 10 feet.
East Lake has a variety of fishing opportunities for kokanee, rainbow trout, and large browns. This lake is the place to be in the summer, it's busy and has a great hatch during the summer. Just after ice out, the southern side of the lake is ripe for hungry rainbows and big browns in the evening. On the north side, the lake is nearly 160' deep and provides home to a large number of kokanee. Large browns can be hunted on the south side of the lake in the summer once the large underwater grasses have grown in.
Elk Lake isn't recognized by locals as a great fishing location as it draws crowds of recreational boaters and tourists alike. That said, Elk lake is a great brook trout fishery. In recent years, guides are adding this lake to their list and finding that their clients are limiting out on a daily basis. If you've got a way to do more than bank fish, Elk Lake is definitely worth your time.
Haystack Reservoir is is large and full of panfish and trout. Trout are difficult to catch in this lake, but not impossible. If you like throwing poppers or small crappie flies for panfish, this is a great place to do that. Make sure to checkout our recommended flies below for foolproof patterns to use on this reservoir.
Hosmer lake is one of the best lakes to fish in Central Oregon. That said, it can also be the worst if you don't protect yourself. You'll see black bears quite frequently and will definitely need to bring bug-spray if you plan on being here for more than a few pictures. If you take a boat, make sure it's self propelled or uses an electric motor only. Hosmer lake is usually open between June and October, the remainder of the year it's locked in by deep snow.
There aren't many places in Oregon where you can specifically target Bull Trout - but this is one of them. Large bull trout are the primary target of most fishermen on this section of water. There are two arms that provide good fishing, the Metolius arm and the Deschutes arm with water feeding each river accordingly.
Big Cultus lake is surrounded by great hiking trails, mountain bike single track, and campgrounds. Big Cultus lake and it's little brother are tucked away in the Hoodoo Recreation area near Crane Prairie Reservoir. Cultus Lakes Resort holds an annual mackinaw (lake trout) tournament for people interested in some competition. Little Cultus is a great place to take the family for a quiet weekend of fishing and camping. Rainbow trout angling, 11-17 inches are the primary fishery. Brook trout stocking ended in 1997 but some fish up to 16 inches are still found.
The Lava Lakes were created by lava flows that trapped water from springs in the north east side of the lake. While the lava flows are clearly old, fishing is alive and well. The Lava Lakes are just a couple of the areas that hold Lake Trout in Central Oregon. If you haven't had a chance to go after large bull trout or mackinaw (lake trout), these lakes provides a great opportunity.
Ochoco Reservoir provides opportunities for stocked rainbow trout, native redband trout, and warmwater fish including black crappie, largemouth bass and brown bullhead. The trout fishery is supported by a combination of natural production and through annual stocking of 25,000 fingerling trout. Trout angling is available year-round.
This large lake is 3562 acres, 6 miles long and 1 1/2 miles wide, and reaches a depth of 282 ft. The average depth is 132 ft. which makes it ideal habitat for lake trout (Mackinaw) and bull trout. Rainbow trout, kokanee salmon and whitefish also naturally reproduce in this lake.
Fishing in Paulina lake consists of kokanee salmon and brown trout. Paulina holds the state record for both brown trout and kokanee. The record holding brown trout was caught in 1993 and weighed in at 27 lbs. 12oz. The record kokanee was 4 lbs. 2 oz. and was caught in 1989.
Prineville Reservoir is known for crappie, bass and trout, and feeds the Crooked River which is loaded with awesome numbers of redside rainbow trout in stunning canyon country. Crappie and both species of bass are the prime targets. Much of the warmwater angling for all species is in the shallower upper end as well as within several major coves around the reservoir. Trout anglers also get their groove on here, with a good population of hatchery-stocked rainbow trout, including fish to good size.
This is a fly-fishing only lake (use barbless hooks) on the north end of the Cascade Lakes Highway, easily reached east of Bend after snowmelt. The quarries here are good-sized cutthroat trout ODFW plants annually and smaller brook trout that naturally reproduce.
Kokanee sizes currently average 9 to 10 inches. Still fishing from a boat is the best approach, fishing closer to shore early in the season and in the deeper water during mid-summer. It is possible to fish from the bank for kokanee near the Suttle Lake picnic area on the northeast corner of the lake.
Soon after the lake is stocked every spring, spin and bait fishermen do well near the dam on the northeast corner of the lake. A little later in the season, try still fishing the deep water along the cliffs on the south end of the lake and along the campground on the southeast shore. The largest fish are usually taken from these areas. Trollers do well near the dam, the boat ramp, and along the south end with both spinners and lures. The west shoreline between the two inlet creeks is also a popular trolling lane. Fly-fishing can be rewarding during evening hatches or while trolling nymphs along the west shoreline. Morning and evening are the best times to fish water this clear.
Todd Lake is home to stocked brook trout in the 12- to 16-inch size range. Fishing slows down in the summer; when fly fishing use sub-surface wooly buggers or leeches. Many of the standard stillwater flies work well in this area.
Early in the season when the water is high, the fish are scattered throughout the reservoir. However, a popular spot, especially for jigging, is at the confluence of the Deschutes and Davis arms. If it is your first time on the water, simply look for the congregation of boats on anchor.