It’s been another crazy week! We find ourselves leaning into the end of April with a confused state of affairs regarding our local fisheries. While some things have come clearer, others remain quite murky. For those of you who tuned in to last week’s update, forgive that there will be some redundancies herein. For those who didn’t, this will be an overview; the specific fishing reports can be found on that page of our website.
It has been very hard keeping track of our local fisheries for the last couple of weeks. Between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Forest (DNF), and State Parks, and then throw in the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), there are many powers that be involved, and so there are many entities creating new and evolving regulations. We’ve done our best to compile a list of what is open, what is closed, where there is access, and where there is not. Before going into what details we do have, we want to impress upon all of you, whether in Central Oregon or elsewhere, that we are still in the midst of a severe flu pandemic. And we need to conduct ourselves accordingly. Even a trip to the river or lake can involve stops for gas, snacks, beer, ice, and food. We need to remind ourselves not to let our guard down. Have wipes or gel, and use them regularly. Keep social distancing in mind all the time. Our movements in the world around us, no matter what, have ripple effects. We all need to remain hyper-vigilant. The way we get back to a sense of normalcy sooner than later is to minimize any risk of exposing ourselves while understanding that we can all be infected, not know it, and put those around us at risk unwittingly. No matter where you go, how long you stay there, or who you encounter, you have a heavy responsibility to conduct every manner of your travel with complete common sense. All of us will be better for it.
Okay, we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about places we can fish. As mentioned above, this is an ever-shifting landscape. We do not claim to be an authority in any regard. Please contact the local offices of whoever is in charge if you have questions. We’ve spent hours over the last few days reaching people who manage our area’s fisheries, and even at that, we’re not 100% certain what the score is in some places!
Let’s start with lakes.
This week so the opening day for both Crane Prairie and Wickiup reservoirs. While the official policy of the DNF, who manages the campgrounds and ramps, and the Sheriffs who enforce the rules is that all facilities remain closed, the boat ramps are available for use. We have not heard of gates restricting access at either lake. This could change at any time. The DNF has the authority to close these lakes to public access. But for now, you’re good to go.
Not open yet because of road closures are East, Paulina, Hosmer, Lava Lakes. We anticipate word on these roads by next week and will report what we find out. You can always check with the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) for up-to-the-minute road conditions throughout the state.
Davis is too low for motorboat access, but inflatables and drift boats can get on. Just know that the trout are either spawning or just post-spawn and should be left alone. Odell Creek is closed, and the arm of the lake is low. Bass fishing should pick up soon.
Both Twin Lakes remains a good option. Ramps are open, and they’ve both received injections of fish.
Ochoco has also received fish, has plenty of water in it, and a wide-open boat ramp.
For the rivers, there have been some changes, while several are the status quo. We have the latest fishing reports for each stream in the Reports Page. Up at the Fall River, access has gotten limited. The Hatchery is still completely closed to all access. The Campground is open for day-use only. The Guard Station parking lot is free. Down at the “Tubes,” it’s a little more complicated. We’ll break down as much as we’ve been able to discern. While the river down there is considered DNF, the road, the parking lots, and the picnic area are all State Park. The entire area is closed. There is a new sign a hundred yards or so before the first parking lot. There have been cones on the road too. You are not allowed to drive passed there but can park and walk in as long as you don’t block the road or upon native flora and fauna! The picnic area adjacent to the second lot is closed, so you can’t fish from that side of the river until downstream of the “Tubes.” Otherwise, the river is open as usual. The “Tubes” and Campground have received injections of fish.
The Crooked River is open for fishing, although running quite high. Always check flows before heading out for the next couple of weeks. It should mellow out by the first week of May. According to the BLM, the campgrounds are open for day use but no overnight camping. As of a week ago, Big Bend CG was chained off, but the others weren’t. Originally, we were told the campgrounds were completely off-limits, but that does not appear to be the case. There are plenty of spots to park along the road. That’s what we’re doing.
The Metolius River is open from Allingham down. All the campgrounds that have gates are closed. The Hatchery parking area is also closed. But there are plenty of areas open and accessible. The trails on both sides of the river are also open.
The Deschutes from Benham Falls to Lake Billy Chinook, while open for fishing, has been experiencing extreme flow changes, some fairly typical, some whacky even by usual Central Oregon Irrigation District standards. Without getting into what might possess people to do what they’re doing, just know that for the time being, that entire stretch of river is jacked up.
The entire Lower Deschutes River is now open for fishing. All boating is prohibited through April 30th as of right now. We are waiting to hear from BLM on this. The Reservation is not issuing any permits for fishing the left side of the river as of now.