Oregon is a fisherman’s dream in the summer. With an abundance of steelhead, salmon, and trout fisheries as well as over 1400 fresh lakes to choose from, no wonder Oregon is named as every fisherman’s paradise. But where do you go if there are too many choices? Well, luckily this list highlights the best fishing lakes in Oregon.
Best Fishing Lakes in Oregon
Diamond Lake spans approximately 3.40 acres, and it has been the host of the Major League Fishing Championship in 2019, 2020, and 2021. If you’re looking for some of the best trout fishing in all of Oregon, look no further than Diamond Lake. Although rainbow trouts are not natives of this lake, they are much larger than those found across state lines due to the abundant insect hatching throughout the summer months. The best time for catching these majestic fish is after the ice melt in April and May when they return from Kim Steelhead River upstream. If you are looking for a unique experience, ice fishing at Diamond Lake during the winter months is a highly sought-after family event.
Upper Klamath Lake
Upper Klamath Lake is known as the biggest freshwater lake near the western Rockies. With a surface area of 91,000 acres spanning 30 miles long, it is a favorite destination for fishermen and travelers. Aside from being the home to some of the largest rainbow and redband trouts in North America, it is also a fishing spot for largemouth bass, yellow perch, bluegill, black crappie, white crappie, pumpkinseed, Sacramento perch, warmouth, and channel catfish. Open year-round, Upper Klamath Lake is reported to have fishes average between 23 to 25 inches and a record holder of 37 inches and more than 25 pounds.
Do you enjoy night fishing? This 566-acres lake allows brown trout fishing 24 hours a day, making it one of Oregon’s best brown trout fishing lakes. It is located in the Winema National Forest along the Cascade Range in western Klamath County. Other common species found at Miller Lake are rainbow trout, yellow perch, brown bullhead, and kokanee salmon.
Crescent Lake spans 4008 acres along the eastern Cascade Range of Klamath County. It is a popular location for both fishing, camping, and boating. Yurt rentals are available at surrounding campgrounds for travelers to experience a unique camping experience. The lake has the Oregon usuals: rainbow trout, brown trout, kokanee, and whitefish. In recent years, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has introduced lake trout to the habitat, and they have been thriving ever since. Open year-round, Crescent’s best fishing months are June through October. Although summertime is the perfect fishing time, you may fun into many people boating and enjoying various water sports. September and October may be the most favorable time as the summer crowd is back to school and work if you are a serious fish fanatic.
Lake of the Woods
If you have heard of Minnesota’s Lake of the Woods, have you heard of Oregon’s Lake of the Woods? Although it is much smaller in size, measuring about 1146 acres (Minnesota Lake of the Woods spans 317,000 acres), its location in the forest between Klamath and Medford at 4949 ft elevation is equally scenic and breathtaking. There is a steady stock of kokanee, rainbow trout, largemouth bass, brown trout, bluegill, and crappie throughout the year. You may be able to catch some smallmouth bass as well as it has been illegally introduced to the natural lake recently.
The 3562 acres of deep blue water at Odell Lake is a fantastic destination for rainbow trout, lake trout, and kokanee salmon. Many anglers travel here to fish these giants as the source is great in both volume and size. They can easily grow up to 45 pounds and measure 8-9 inches long. If you are interested in making Odell Lake your next fishing adventure, keep in mind that It is only open seasonally from April to October 31st. Another note to remember is that Odell Lake is known to be extremely windy. The typical condition is calm early mornings and windy weather throughout the day.
Detroit Lake is an excellent learning ground for trout fishing because it has Oregon’s most consistent trout count. With the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife dumping their regular large loads of hatchery fish about an hour east of the lake, it is almost a guarantee that you will catch some good size trouts. Although the lake is more than 3500 acres, serious fishermen may want to avoid July and August due to the summer camping and water sports crowd. But if you want to introduce fishing to family members and still allow everyone to enjoy other outdoor fun activities, there is no better location than Detroit Lake.
Lake Billy Chinook
Lake Billy Chinook is one of America’s better places to catch kokanee salmon. Stretching over 4000 acres, the reservoir provides a home to bull trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, whitefish, minnows, and dace. And it is the only place in Oregon where you can keep a native bull trout. Even though bull trout is listed as a threatened species, the US Fish and Wildlife Service allows keeping one bull through over 24 inches.
East Lake is a historic fishing spot in Oregon where you can catch Brown trout over 10 pounds and the record-setting 22 1/2 pounder. Spanning approximately 1044 acres, it is one of the twin lakes in the La Pine city Deschutes National Forest. With its elevation 50 feet higher than Paulina Lake, East Lake tends to have bigger size rainbow trouts, brown trouts, brook trouts, Atlantic salmon and kokanee. Although it is open year-long, the best fishing time is between April and October.
Henry Hagg Lake
If you are visiting Portland or wish to fish in a less remote part of Oregon, Henry Hagg Lake may be the perfect fishing spot for you. Located 30 miles from Portland and situated in the Scoggins Valley Park, this 1153-acres lake is home to some of the record-class smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, bullhead, crappie, bluegill, yellow perch, coastal cutthroat, and other warm-water fish. And as part of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s stocking program, Henry Hagg has a healthy stock of legal-sized rainbow trout and brook trout.
Although there are more than 50 lakes around the Eagle Cap Wilderness area, the 1508-acres Wallowa Lake is the best trout fishing spot. At an elevation of 4,372 ft and a depth of 299 ft, the Wallowa Lake is always stocked with rainbow trouts, lake trouts, brook trouts, and kokanee salmon. It also offers the best steelhead fishing from October to March, with February being the prime season.
Best Ice Fishing Lakes in Oregon
Not all lakes in Oregon are suitable for winter ice fishing due to their high elevation and heavy wind conditions. But if you are a fan of ice fishing, here is a list of the best fishing lakes in Oregon suitable for ice fishing:
- Diamond Lake
- Chickahominy Reservoir
- Lake of the Woods
- Prineville Reservoir
- Fish Lake
- Thief Valley Reservoir
- Wolf Creek Reservoir
Before you leave for your next fishing adventure, remember to check on the latest full lake reports, weather conditions, and road reports so that you can prepare for the best fish experience.