33 TONS of Big Trout to be Stocked in One Oregon Lake

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While there are a few places in Oregon that will be stocked with higher numbers of trout, no body of water here will be stocked with as many trophy trout as Detroit Lake.

The popular reservoir, about an hour east of Salem, will be loaded with 44,000 large hatchery rainbow trout in 2024. The first delivery trucks will bring 12,000 fish in mid-May. Plantings will continue through June.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife defines trophy trout as at least 15 inches but often larger.

ODFW stocks trophy-sized trout in quite a few waters around the state, but Detroit Lake gets more by weight than anywhere else.

How much?

Using fisheries data from various sources, we figured that trophy-sized stocked trout have an average weight of roughly 1.5 pounds each. That means that the tens of thousands of fish heading to Detroit Lake would total somewhere around 66,000 pounds. For anyone who needs a reminder, there are 2,000 pounds in a U.S. ton.

Detroit Lake, a.k.a. Detroit Reservoir, is one of the most popular fishing and camping spots in Oregon. It’s within two hours driving for most Oregonians, whether you’re from Portland, Eugene or Bend. It also has one of Oregon’s biggest state parks.

Trout fishing here is simple, with trolling lures or bait common among boaters and still-fishing with bait the go-to tactic for shore anglers.

There are public launches and private marinas for anyone who wants to bring or rent a fishing boat.

Bank fishing also can be very good for trout. When fishing from shore, I like casting into a little bit of current near the mouths of the two major tributaries, the North Fork Santiam and Breitenbush rivers.

Bank anglers also fish from a designated area from the dam, where the water is deep. Especially in the summer, look for trout to concentrate in cooler water near the dam and where cooler water flows in from tributaries.

Detroit Lake also can offer very good fishing for kokanee, a landlocked sockeye salmon that often run about a foot long and are delicious. Boaters catch the lion’s share of kokanee, although they occasionally show up in the catch of anglers casting from Detroit Dam.

Here are some of our best resources for fishing at Detroit Lake: