Fishing Lakes in Oregon

Blue waters of Crater Lake in Oregon, on a sunny day.
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Oregon’s fishing lakes are a scenic haven for outdoor enthusiasts, that boast a wealth of pristine lakes waiting to be explored. With its captivating landscapes and abundant fish species, this Pacific Northwest state offers a haven for anglers of all levels. From tranquil waters reflecting towering mountains to hidden gems tucked away in lush forests, Oregon’s fishing lakes promise unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re a seasoned angler seeking a new challenge or a novice eager to cast your first line, these lakes provide an idyllic backdrop for indulging in your love for fishing while immersing yourself in the natural wonders of Oregon. Prepare to embark on a journey where serenity meets adventure, and the thrill of the catch awaits at every turn.

Best Fishing Lakes in Oregon

Oregon boasts numerous exceptional fishing lakes, such as Crater Lake and Diamond Lake, where anglers can enjoy breathtaking scenery while reeling in species like rainbow trout, kokanee salmon, and more, creating unforgettable fishing experiences in the Pacific Northwest.

  1. Crater Lake: Known for its stunning beauty and deep blue waters, Crater Lake is a popular destination for fishing enthusiasts. The lake is home to various species of fish, including rainbow trout and kokanee salmon.
  2. Diamond Lake: Located in the southern part of Oregon, Diamond Lake offers excellent fishing opportunities. Anglers can catch rainbow trout, brown trout, and tiger trout. The lake is also known for its scenic surroundings and camping facilities.
  3. Odell Lake: Nestled in the Cascade Range, Odell Lake is a prime fishing spot in Oregon. The lake is teeming with kokanee salmon, lake trout, and rainbow trout. Its crystal-clear waters and picturesque landscape make it a favorite among anglers.
  4. Wallowa Lake: Situated in Northeastern Oregon, Wallowa Lake is renowned for its fishing prospects. The lake is abundant in kokanee salmon, rainbow trout, and cutthroat trout. Visitors can also enjoy other recreational activities such as hiking and camping.
  5. Upper Klamath Lake: As Oregon’s largest freshwater lake, Upper Klamath Lake offers exceptional fishing experiences. Anglers can target species like largemouth bass, yellow perch, and brown bullhead catfish. The lake’s diverse ecosystem and scenic beauty attract both locals and tourists.
  6. Lost Lake: Surrounded by lush forests and scenic mountains, Lost Lake is a hidden gem for fishing enthusiasts. The lake is known for its healthy population of rainbow trout and brook trout. Visitors can also rent boats or enjoy camping in the area.
  7. Detroit Lake: Located in the Cascade Mountains, Detroit Lake is a popular destination for fishing and water sports. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout, kokanee salmon, and smallmouth bass. With its marinas and camping facilities, it offers a great fishing getaway.
  8. Timothy Lake: Situated in the Mount Hood National Forest, Timothy Lake is a serene fishing spot in Oregon. Anglers can catch a variety of fish, including kokanee salmon, rainbow trout, and brown trout. The lake’s tranquil atmosphere and beautiful scenery make it a peaceful retreat.
  9. Crescent Lake: Tucked away in the Deschutes National Forest, Crescent Lake is a scenic lake renowned for its fishing opportunities. Anglers can expect to catch kokanee salmon, rainbow trout, and brown trout. The lake’s pristine waters and surrounding wilderness create a tranquil setting for fishing.
  10. Willow Creek Reservoir: Located in the Ochoco National Forest, Willow Creek Reservoir offers fantastic fishing prospects. The reservoir is home to rainbow trout, brown trout, and largemouth bass. It also provides opportunities for boating and camping.

Each lake offers a unique fishing experience, coupled with breathtaking natural beauty. Whether you prefer to fly fishing, bait fish, or troll, Oregon’s lakes provide ample opportunities to indulge in your favorite angling pursuits.

Fishing Timothy Lake in Oregon

Species of Fish Can You Catch While Fishing Oregon Lakes

While fishing in Oregon lakes, you can expect to catch a variety of fish species. Some common fish species found in Oregon lakes include:

  1. Rainbow Trout: Rainbow trout are one of the most popular game fish in Oregon. They are known for their vibrant colors and strong fighting ability. Rainbow trout can be found in many lakes throughout the state.
  2. Kokanee Salmon: Kokanee salmon are a landlocked form of sockeye salmon. They are highly prized for their delicious taste and make for excellent sport fishing. Many lakes in Oregon, particularly in the central and eastern parts of the state, support kokanee salmon populations.
  3. Cutthroat Trout: Cutthroat trout are native to the Pacific Northwest and are known for the distinctive red-orange slash marks on the underside of their lower jaw. They can be found in various lakes and streams across Oregon.
  4. Brown Trout: Brown trout are another popular game fish in Oregon. They are known for their elusive nature and can provide a thrilling challenge for anglers. Brown trout are typically found in larger, deeper lakes and reservoirs.
  5. Lake Trout (Mackinaw): Lake trout, also known as Mackinaw, are a cold-water species that inhabit deep, clear lakes. They are prized for their size and can grow to impressive lengths and weights. Some of the larger lakes in Oregon are home to lake trout populations.
  6. Smallmouth Bass: Smallmouth bass are a sought-after species for anglers who enjoy bass fishing. They are known for their aggressive nature and strong fighting ability. Smallmouth bass can be found in certain lakes and reservoirs in Oregon.
  7. Largemouth Bass: Largemouth bass are another popular game fish, known for their size and strength. They are primarily found in warmer, more shallow waters such as ponds, lakes, and reservoirs throughout Oregon.
  8. Yellow Perch: Yellow perch are a common panfish species found in Oregon lakes. They are popular among anglers, especially those targeting smaller fish for recreation or a tasty meal. Yellow perch can be found in many lakes and reservoirs across the state.

These are just a few examples of the fish species you can catch while fishing in Oregon lakes. The specific species available may vary depending on the location, size, and characteristics of the lake you’re fishing in. It’s always a good idea to check local fishing regulations and consult with local experts to determine the fish species present in your desired fishing location.

Best Time of Day and Months for Oregon Lake Fishing

The best time of day and months for lake fishing in Oregon can vary depending on the specific lake and the target fish species. However, there are some general guidelines that can help increase your chances of success. Here are some factors to consider:

Time of Day:

  1. Early Morning and Late Evening: During the warmer months, early morning (around sunrise) and late evening (before sunset) are typically the most productive times for fishing. Fish tend to be more active during these periods when the water is cooler.


  1. Spring: Spring is generally a good time for lake fishing in Oregon. As the weather warms up, fish become more active and move towards shallower waters to spawn. This is a great time to target species like trout, bass, and crappie.
  2. Summer: Early summer can offer excellent fishing opportunities, especially in the morning and evening when the temperatures are more comfortable for fish. However, as summer progresses and the water temperatures rise, fish tend to move deeper or seek cooler areas, so fishing during the cooler parts of the day becomes more important.
  3. Fall: Fall is another prime season for lake fishing in Oregon. Fish are active and feeding heavily to prepare for the winter. Cooler temperatures make the fish more active throughout the day, although early mornings and late evenings can still be particularly productive.

It’s worth noting that weather conditions, water temperature, and other factors can influence fish behavior, so it’s always a good idea to research specific lakes and consult local fishing reports or experienced anglers for the most up-to-date information. Additionally, fishing regulations and seasons can vary, so make sure to check the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website for any restrictions or special regulations that apply to the lake you plan to fish.

Rainbow Trout Fishing a High Mountain Lake in Oregon

Best Gear for Fishing Oregon Lakes

Here are some essential items to consider:

  1. Fishing Rod and Reel: Choose a fishing rod and reel combo that suits the type of fishing you’ll be doing in the lakes. For general lake fishing, a medium-action baitcasting rod and reel combo is a versatile choice. You could also bring a secondary spinning combo if you wish.
  2. Fishing Line: Opt for a quality fishing line that matches the targeted fish species and the fishing conditions. Monofilament and fluorocarbon lines are popular choices for lake fishing.
  3. Tackle Box: Carry a tackle box stocked with a variety of fishing tackle, such as hooks, sinkers, swivels, and artificial lures. Include a selection of sizes and styles to match the preferences of different fish species.
  4. Bait and Lures: Depending on your fishing style and the species you’re targeting, pack a range of bait and lures. Worms, minnows, and PowerBait are effective choices for live bait, while spoons, spinners, and crankbaits work well as artificial lures.
  5. Fishing Accessories: Don’t forget to bring essential fishing accessories like needle-nose pliers, line clippers, a landing net, and a tackle bag or backpack to keep your gear organized.
  6. Fishing Apparel: Dress appropriately for the weather conditions and consider wearing lightweight, breathable clothing that offers sun protection. A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are also essential for a comfortable fishing experience.
  7. Fishing License: Ensure you have a valid Oregon fishing license before casting your line into the lakes. Fishing regulations vary, so familiarize yourself with the specific rules and regulations for the lakes you plan to fish.

Research the specific fishing techniques and preferences of the fish species you intend to catch in Oregon lakes. Being well-prepared with the right gear will increase your chances of success and make your fishing trip more enjoyable.

Best Baits and Lures for Oregon Fishing Lakes

Using the right baits and lures can greatly increase your chances of success. Here are some of the best baits and lures to consider:

  1. PowerBait: PowerBait is a popular choice for fishing in Oregon lakes, especially for trout. It comes in various colors and scents that can attract fish effectively.
  2. Worms: Live worms are a classic bait option that works well for a variety of fish species in Oregon lakes. Thread a worm onto your hook and let it float or swim near the bottom to entice fish.
  3. Spinners: Spinners are versatile lures that create flash and vibration in the water, attracting fish from a distance. Choose spinners in different sizes and colors to match the preferences of the fish you’re targeting.
  4. Jigs: Jigs are effective for enticing a wide range of fish species in Oregon lakes. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors, allowing you to mimic the prey of your target fish.
  5. Crankbaits: Crankbaits are great for imitating baitfish and triggering predatory instincts in fish. Choose crankbaits that match the size and color of the local forage in Oregon lakes.
  6. Soft Plastic Baits: Soft plastic baits, such as worms, grubs, and creature baits, can be rigged on a variety of hooks and jig heads. They have a lifelike appearance and action in the water, making them enticing to fish.
  7. Topwater Lures: If you enjoy the excitement of surface strikes, try using topwater lures like poppers, buzzbaits, or frogs. These lures create commotion on the water’s surface, attracting fish that are looking for an easy meal.

The best baits and lures can vary depending on the specific lake, time of year, and target fish species. It’s always a good idea to research local fishing reports, talk to experienced anglers, and experiment with different options to find what works best in the Oregon fishing lakes you plan to explore.

Fishing in Dry Lakes

Best Guides and Charters for Fishing in Oregon Lakes

When it comes to fishing in Oregon lakes, hiring a guide or charter service can greatly enhance your experience and increase your chances of success. Here are some of the best guides and charters to consider for fishing in Oregon lakes:

  1. Oregon Fishing Guides: Oregon Fishing Guides is a reputable guide service that offers experienced guides for various lakes throughout the state. They specialize in targeting different fish species, including trout, salmon, bass, and more. They have extensive knowledge of the local waters and can provide valuable insights and techniques to help you catch fish.
  2. Fish Oregon: Fish Oregon is another top-rated guide service that operates on multiple lakes in Oregon. They offer guided fishing trips for both beginners and experienced anglers. Their guides are skilled in locating fish and can provide instruction on various fishing techniques. They offer trips for trout, bass, salmon, and steelhead, among other species.
  3. Diamond Lake Resort: Diamond Lake Resort, located in southern Oregon, offers guided fishing charters on Diamond Lake. Their experienced guides know the lake inside out and can take you to the best fishing spots. They provide boats, tackle, and gear, making it a convenient option for anglers looking to explore this popular fishing destination.

When selecting a guide or charter service, it’s essential to consider their reputation, experience, and customer reviews. It’s also helpful to inquire about the specific lakes they operate on, the target fish species, trip durations, and any additional amenities they offer. This way, you can find a guide or charter that aligns with your fishing preferences and ensures an enjoyable and successful fishing adventure in Oregon lakes.

Popular Fishing Tournaments and Events in Oregon Lakes

Oregon is known for hosting various popular fishing tournaments and events in its lakes. Here are some of them:

  1. Oregon Bass Fishing Tournament: A highly anticipated annual bass fishing tournament held on several lakes across Oregon. Anglers from all skill levels participate to showcase their fishing abilities and compete for prizes.
  2. Oregon Trout Fishing Derby: This exciting event takes place on select lakes in Oregon and focuses on trout fishing. Participants have the opportunity to catch different trout species and vie for prizes based on the size and quantity of their catches.
  3. Oregon Salmon Derby: Held during the salmon fishing season, this derby attracts avid anglers who are eager to reel in the biggest salmon. Participants compete against one another to land trophy-worthy catches and win various prizes.
  4. Oregon Family Fishing Festival: This family-friendly event aims to introduce fishing to beginners and create a fun atmosphere for all ages. Held at different lakes throughout the year, it offers fishing clinics, games, and activities to foster a love for angling in the younger generation.

These are just a few examples of the fishing tournaments and events that take place in Oregon lakes. Make sure to check local fishing associations, websites, and event listings for the most up-to-date information on upcoming tournaments and events.

Catching Huge Trout at Henry Hagg Lake, OR

Fishing Regulations and Licenses for Oregon Lakes

It’s essential to adhere to the fishing regulations and have the appropriate licenses. Here are some important details regarding fishing regulations and licenses for Oregon lakes:

  1. Fishing Licenses: All anglers aged 12 and above are required to have a valid Oregon fishing license. Licenses can be obtained online through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) website or from authorized license agents throughout the state. There are different types of licenses available, including annual, multi-day, and daily licenses, with options for residents and non-residents.
  2. Bag Limits: Oregon has specific bag limits for different fish species in its lakes. Bag limits refer to the number of fish an angler is allowed to catch and keep within a specified time period. It’s crucial to be aware of the bag limits for the particular fish species you’re targeting to ensure compliance with the regulations.
  3. Size Restrictions: Some fish species in Oregon lakes may have size restrictions. These restrictions specify the minimum or maximum size of fish that can be harvested. Anglers must carefully measure their catch and release any fish that do not meet the size requirements.
  4. Seasons and Closures: Certain lakes in Oregon may have specific fishing seasons or temporary closures to protect fish populations during critical periods, such as spawning seasons. It’s important to check the ODFW website or contact local authorities to stay informed about any seasonal restrictions or closures for the lakes you plan to fish in.
  5. Special Regulations: Some lakes in Oregon may have additional special regulations, such as bait restrictions, gear limitations, or catch-and-release only rules. These regulations are designed to ensure sustainable fishing practices and protect the fishery. Always familiarize yourself with any special regulations that apply to the specific lake you intend to fish in.

It’s essential to stay updated with the latest fishing regulations and license requirements, as they may change over time. The Oregon Department

Best Places to Stay for Oregon Lake Fishing

Oregon offers a variety of options for accommodations near its beautiful lake fishing destinations. Here are some of the best places to stay for Oregon lake fishing:

  1. Resorts and Lodges: Many lakes in Oregon have resorts and lodges located near their shores, providing convenient access to fishing spots. These accommodations often offer amenities such as boat rentals, fishing guides, and lakeside dining. 
  2. Campgrounds and RV Parks: For those who prefer a more rustic experience, Oregon’s campgrounds and RV parks near the lakes offer scenic settings and direct access to fishing opportunities. 
  3. Cabins and Vacation Rentals: Renting a cabin or vacation home near a lake can provide a comfortable and private retreat for anglers. Many lakeside cabins offer stunning views, proximity to fishing areas, and the comforts of home. 
  4. Nearby Towns and Cities: If you prefer a wider range of amenities and services, consider staying in towns or cities near the lakes. Places like Bend, Medford, and Klamath Falls offer a variety of lodging options, from hotels to vacation rentals, and are within driving distance of numerous lakes.

When choosing a place to stay, consider the proximity to your preferred fishing lake, the availability of amenities you desire, and any additional activities or attractions you might be interested in exploring. It’s recommended to book accommodations in advance, especially during peak fishing seasons, to ensure availability.

Kayak Fishing Applegate Lake, Oregon

Tips and Tricks for Successful Fishing in Oregon Lakes

Here are some tips and tricks to enhance your chances of successful fishing in Oregon lakes:

  1. Research the Lakes: Before heading out, research the specific lakes you plan to fish in Oregon. Learn about the fish species present, their behavior, preferred habitats, and feeding patterns. 
  2. Obtain Local Knowledge: Seek local knowledge by talking to experienced anglers, visiting bait shops, or joining fishing forums dedicated to Oregon lakes. Locals can provide valuable insights on the best fishing spots.
  3. Use Proper Fishing Equipment: Ensure you have the appropriate fishing equipment for the targeted fish species and fishing techniques. This includes selecting the right rods, reels, lines, hooks, and weights. 
  4. Choose the Right Baits and Lures: Different fish species in Oregon lakes have varying preferences for baits and lures. Research and experiment with a variety of baits such as worms, minnows, insects, or artificial lures like spinners and jigs. 
  5. Follow Weather and Seasonal Patterns: Pay attention to weather conditions and seasonal patterns that can influence fish behavior. Changes in temperature, wind, and water clarity can impact fish activity. 
  6. Vary Your Techniques: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different fishing techniques. Try casting from shore, trolling, jigging, or fly fishing to cover various depths and areas of the lake.

Enjoy the experience, be respectful of the environment, and embrace the learning process. Each fishing trip is an opportunity to improve your skills and discover the unique beauty of Oregon’s lakes.


In summary, by following these tips and tricks, anglers can increase their chances of success when fishing in Oregon lakes. Understanding the lakes, using the right equipment and baits, practicing patience and observation, and adapting to weather and seasonal patterns are key elements to a fruitful fishing experience. With each outing, anglers can continue to refine their skills and explore the diverse fishing opportunities that Oregon’s lakes have to offer.

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