Best Trout Lakes in Central Oregon

Best Trout Lakes in Central Oregon

Central Oregon hosts some of the best trout lakes in the Western United States. Not only are the lakes around here full of amazing trout, but they are also breathtaking. The Cascade Mountains make for a perfect backdrop while you wrangle in trophy trout.

Crane Prairie Reservoir

Are you looking for huge rainbow trout in a fairly shallow Stillwater fishery? Look no further, Crane Prairie is the place. Chironomids, callibaetis, and other aquatic invertebrates provide the trout with plenty of nutrients to grow to monster sizes. Locally, the trout that come out of Crane Prairie have gotten the nickname “Cranebows” due to their huge sizes. Typically, indicator fishing with balanced leeches, callibaetis nymphs, and chironomids gets the job done. Retrieving damselfly nymphs and leeches can also fool fish here. Every now and then, the lucky angler finds themselves among frenzied fish rising for callibaetis duns. Crane Prairie is open from April 22nd - October 31st. During the season, our guides get to know the feeding patterns of the trout incredibly well. We’d love to take you out and show you what the Cranebows are all about.

East and Paulina Lakes

Ever fished in the caldera of a dormant volcano? East and Paulina Lake can provide the opportunity. Not only is the geology of the lakes fascinating, but there are also some truly monstrous fish in these lakes. The state record brown trout came out of Paulina Lake, and East Lake also holds trophy brown trout. Both lakes also sport good populations of rainbow trout and kokanee. Paulina lake is very deep which can me fly fishing difficult; however, it is possible to fly fish in shallow waters or you can target the depths with a sinking line or a down-rigger. East Lake is much shallower than Paulina which makes it ideal for fly fishing. Both lakes are open year-round; although, the roads up to the lakes close once the snow begins piling up. Our lake trips often head up to East Lake, let us know if you’d like us to show you the ropes!

Hosmer Lake 

Do crystal clear water and sizable brook trout sound like a fun time? If yes, Hosmer Lake is the place to go. Hosmer Lake has a unique shape. The lower lake is deeper and less clear and the upper lake is shallow, cold, and clear. A channel connects the lower lake and upper lake. Many of the fish can be found in the lower lake and the channel. Callibaetis hatches make for fairly consistent dry fly action. Retrieving leeches and nymphs with an intermediate line produces fish. Indicator fishing with chironomids, nymphs, and balanced flies is the most productive technique. Hosmer Lake is a very popular location for paddling. We recommend fishing here on cooler spring and fall days if you want to dodge the crowds. Hosmer Lake is located along the Cascades Lake Highway slightly past Elk Lake. Hosmer Lake is fly fishing only and motors are not permitted. Give us a call or stop in the shop if you need advice on fishing Hosmer Lake.

Three Creek Lake

Want to go fishing in a water body situated in a high elevation hemlock forest at the base of a dormant volcano? Three Creek Lake is the perfect place. True to its name, Three Creeks Lake is formed by a dam that collects the water from three creeks. The shallow waters of Three Creek Lake hold brook trout and rainbow trout. There are good hatches of callibaetis, caddis, and midges. Subsurface fishing is mainly done with intermediate lines due to the lake's shallow nature. Dry dropper fishing is an excellent method as well. Indicator techniques are viable in a few of the deeper areas of the lake. Motors aren’t allowed here. We recommend fishing from a boat. Let us know if you have any questions about fishing at Three Creek Lake!

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