Southeast Oregon’s Best Fishing Lakes and Reservoirs

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Source: Fishing in Oregon: The Complete Oregon Fishing Guide (11th Edition) by Madelynne Diness Sheehan

Also see:
Best Fishing in Oregon’s Southeast Zone (Rivers)
Best Fishing in Oregon’s Southeast Zone (Klamath Basin)

The Southeast Zone includes all tributaries (including impoundments) of the Snake River system above Hells Canyon Dam; the Silvies River drainage in Grant County; all waters in the Malheur and Lake counties; all waters in Harney County except the drainage of the South Fork of the John Day River; and all waters of the Klamath River Basin in Klamath and Lake counties.) The Klamath River Basin is where all streams and their tributaries drain toward Upper Klamath Lake or the Klamath River.) This zone does not include any portion of the mainstem Snake River.

The following are among the best fishing lakes and reservoirs (outside the Klamath Basin) in the Southeast Zone:

Beulah Reservoir

Also known as Agency Valley Reservoir, Beulah is a big irrigation reservoir on the North Fork Malheur River between Burns and Ontario. It is capable of growing large trout. During good water years, stocked rainbow fingerlings quickly grow to 20 inches or better. Fishing suffers during and immediately after drought years. Whitefish and bull trout also are present, although the latter must be released unharmed. The reservoir is open all year, but ice fishing is generally not safe enough to risk.

Chickahominy Reservoir

A desert reservoir west of Burns, just off Highway 20, Chickahominy grows large rainbow trout when the water level is relatively stable for a few years, allowing fish to take advantage of tons of insects. When conditions are good, trolling, bait fishing and fly fishing will all do the job. Float tubers can get to big fish that cruise the wed beds. This is in stark country without trees to shield the water from winds or people from intense desert sun. Editor’s note: Water levels have been poor in 2013, resulting in unproductive fishing conditions.

Mann Lake

When conditions are right, this is one of southeast Oregon’s premier trout fisheries and a rare opportunity to catch Lahontan cutthroat trout. Although due east of Frenchglen, the route to Mann Lake is through Fields (to the south of the lake). This is a desolate and windy spot, but the lake is rich with aquatic life and hatchery-grown Lahontans grow to 20 inches. Fish it after ice-out (as early as February some years) and into spring, then again in September and October. Only artificial flies and lures are allowed. Update: The ODFW treated the lake twice in late 2010 to kill off illegally introduced goldfish, which had wreaked havoc with the food chain.invaders. Fishing started off good in 2013.

Miller Lake

Miller Lake has some of Oregon’s very best brown trout fishing indeep, clear water. It is located on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains, reached by heading west near the town of Chemult (on Highway 97 between Bend and Klamath Falls). Miller also offers good fishing for stocked rainbow trout and has lots of undersized kokanee. This lake offers a rare opportunity to fish for trout at night, when the browns feed heavily and are prone to taking large lures and flies that resemble forage fish. Rainbow trout are stocked during the summer and fishing for them holds up until fall snows chase most anglers out of this high country. The kokanee are plentiful but typically so small that few anglers bother, instead letting the brown trout feast on them.

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Warm Springs Reservoir

This irrigation reservoir on the Middle Fork Malheur River, east of Burns, can provide very good fishing when there is sufficient water supply. In drought years, the level can almost go dry, and it takes a few years to bring back 20-inch trout. Trout fishing is best in spring and, if there is ample water, again in the fall. Smallmouth bass run to about 4 pounds. Channel catfish to 24 inches can be caught here, along with larger numbers of smaller brown bullheads. The lake also has crappie and yellow perch. Water levels are poor in 2013.

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