Fishing Near Prineville, Oregon

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Crook County sits right in the middle of Oregon, and in the middle of some pretty darned good fishing.

Among the angling favorites here are the versatile Prineville Reservoir, known for crappie, bass and trout, and the Crooked River, loaded with awesome numbers of redside rainbow trout in stunning canyon country.

This article serves as a simple introduction to some of the best places to fish in Crook County.

For additional information, click the links you will find within the article, at its conclusion, and in the blue box on this page. Those will take you to additional and usually more detailed sources on this website and elsewhere.

Prineville is the county seat and only incorporated city here, although unincorporated communities include Paulina, Post and Powell Butte. A large part of the Ochoco National Forest and Ochoco Mountains are here.

Find regulations for the waters listed below in the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Central Zone.

Listed alphabetically, here are some of the best fishing spots in Crook County:

Antelope Flat Reservoir

This 170-acre reservoir located in the Maury Mountains area southeast of Prineville is fished for stocked rainbow trout, which can be good-sized in this productive water. There is bank access, but a boat will improve your odds. There is camping available with some pine tree cover. Angling success and interest tends to wane during the hot months. It is over an hour driving from Prineville, and a bit farther coming from Bend. See: Fishing at Antelope Flat Reservoir.

Crooked River

This stream is most popularly fished for wild redside rainbow trout below Bowman Dam (Prineville Reservoir). While not restricted to fly angling, that’s a popular pursuit here. The lower river, with flows moderated by dam releases, typically has a large number of trout per river mile. And while it’s not known for big trout (though there are some pretty good ones), this is a great spot to get plenty of action of hard-fighting smaller fish. There is a fishery in the river above the reservoir as well, including some hatchery trout stocking in the South Fork Crooked River. This stream is listed among our best Central Oregon fishing rivers. More: Crooked River Fishing.

Ochoco Reservoir

This 1,100-acre reservoir is located about five miles due east of Prineville along Highway 26, and is popularly fished for rainbow trout, bass and panfish. Trout are typically stocked as juveniles and grow to respectable sizes. Fishing for them is best in cool water, slowing during the summer months. At times, smallmouth bass and crappie fishing can be pretty good here. There also are decent numbers of brown bullhead catfish. There also is a modest trout fishery in Ochoco Creek below the reservoir. Consult ODFW for special regulations. More: Fishing at Ochoco Reservoir.

Prineville Reservoir

This is quite a large reservoir (over 3,000 acres) created with the damming of Crooked River, and is one of the favorite warmwater fishing destinations in Central Oregon. Crappie and both species of bass are the prime targets. Crappie populations fluctuate wildly but fishing can be incredible some years. The reservoir has been a favorite bass fishing destination for year s, including having a nice population of largemouth bass and even more (but smaller) smallmouth bass. Bass harvest restrictions are aimed at improving the trophy bass fishery here. Less on the radar, Prineville also boasts quite a good population of brown bullhead catfish, which are easy to catch near shore and reach a respectable size.  Trout anglers also get their groove on here, with a good population of hatchery rainbow trout, which are released small but quickly reach good size. Trout can be caught all year but fishing for them excels during cool weather. There is bank access, but a boat will serve you well to reach the best holding water for most species. There is plenty of camping at the reservoir, located just 25 minutes south of Prineville. More: Fishing at Prineville Reservoir.

Prineville Youth Pond

This small Prineville pond, located across Crooked River Highway (Main Street) from the county fairgrounds (and next to the Christian school and the golf course), is open to anglers age 17 and under. The youngsters eagerly fish for trout, particularly soon after they are stocked, usually spring and fall. Bass also are present here. There is a special two-fish daily limit. More: Fishing at Prineville Youth Pond.

Walton Lake

This smallish lake (19 acres) is very generously stocked with rainbow trout during the late spring and on into the summer, offering very good fishing even in mid-summer. Larger stockers and some holdover fish results in the occasional big catch. It’s open year-round, but snow limits access for part of the year. There is bank and boat fishing (electric motors only) and camping. Walton is located about an hour’s drive northeast of Prineville in a forested setting in the Ochoco National Forest. More: Walton Lake Fishing.

Fishing in Neighboring Counties

Jefferson County: To the northwest, includes an excellent stretch of the lower Deschutes River’s great trout fishing plus the popular Lake Billy Chinook’s kokanee and bull trout.

Wheeler County: To the northeast, excellent access to the fantastic smallmouth bass fishing in the John Day River.

Grant County: To the east, the upper John Day River system has some excellent trout and smallmouth bass fishing.

Harney County: To the southeast, rich desert lakes with rainbow and Lahontan cutthroat trout, plus a couple of premier trout streams.

Deschutes County: To the south and southwest, one of the most-loaded counties in terms of fishing destinations, including lakes famed for trout and kokanee fishing along with some very good trout streams.

More Fishing Resources:

In addition to other sources, the following websites were very helpful while compiling these county fishing pages, and the information there is valuable to all Oregon anglers.

For current regulations, trout stocking, weekly angling reports and more, find links on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fishing Resources Page.

For boating information about these waters, see the Oregon State Marine Board’s launch locator map.

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