These small reservoirs in Newport on Oregon’s central coast are heavily stocked with hatchery rainbow trout from late winter to late spring.
During that period, trout catches will be excellent at these reservoirs, located in the Agate Beach area on the north side of town. The lakes are an easy drive from anywhere in Newport and not bad on a bike, either.
I’ve certainly been known to run up to these lakes for a few hours of casting because our family fairly regularly spends a few nights in the Agate Beach area. If that trip coincides with Spring Break, I know I’m likely in for some quick trout action.
These are similar-sized reservoirs, the biggest of which is 20 acres, and impound the waters of Big Creek to provide municipal water supplies for the area.
The lower Big Creek Reservoir 1 is sometimes called Newport Reservoir.
Besides typical pan-sized “legal” rainbows, this is one of the locations where the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is fond of stocking fat “trophy” sized rainbow trout.
These thick trophy trout fight hard and make a bigger meal.
We’ve noticed some particularly big plantings of these larger trout in late spring, so check the schedule below to boost your odds when planning a trip.
Big Creek Reservoir 2, the upper reservoir, tends to be stocked more heavily and has very good bank access. Shore access is fair on the lower reservoir.
While bank fishing predominates here, some anglers launch small human-powered craft, including float tubes. No motors are allowed to help preserve water quality.
Bank anglers are often still fishing with bait, including the ever-popular PowerBait doughs, eggs and nuggets, and more natural style baits such as nightcrawlers or salmon eggs.
Come prepared to float some baits off the bottom or sink beneath a bobber, as either method can be the most effective at times. Bobber fishing adds a visual element to “seeing” the bite, which is especially exciting to many new anglers.
Lures are a more active way to fish these types of waters. Try casting and retrieving a Kastmaster, Mepps, Rooster Tail, or whatever spinner or spoon gets the job done for you.
Rainbow trout (even those raised in a hatchery) are also eager to snatch up insects, and fly fishing can be productive here. If you need a large back-cast area while fishing from shore, you’ll have to work a bit to find your spots.
A float tube or kayak will get you to more water around the lakes for the same types of techniques mentioned above.
Getting out on the water also opens up the option of trolling.
With human-powered craft, I often do well simply trolling a wet fly such as a wooly bugger or really any type of nymph.
A wet fly alone won’t sink much, so if they aren’t hitting your fly right below the surface, try using a very small bit of weight. I often use the smallest split shot I have.
New to trout fishing? Check out Trout Fishing: Basic How-To Techniques and Tips.
Perch and Catfish Fishing
Trout are clearly the main fishery here, but there is a decent population of yellow perch and bullhead catfish that are easy to catch with a worm or other bait fished close to the bottom.
The yellow perch can be caught in sizes roughly equaling the smaller stocked trout.
These Midwest natives are often under-appreciated in the Pacific Northwest, but they have a flaky, firm white meat that I honestly prefer to stocked trout. And they are fun and easy to catch.
You’re likely to catch perch, catfish and probably any fish commonly found in these lakes with a worm fished on or near the bottom. Other natural baits will also do the trick.
Use a smallish bait hook for yellow perch, which have a little mouth. Find more yellow perch fishing tips on our website.
Some largemouth bass and sunfish are also in the reservoirs, but these are of modest interest to most anglers.
Best Time to Go Fishing
Trout fishing will be best during the stocking season.
Generally speaking, the reservoirs are stocked multiple times from late winter through spring.
Fishing is usually the hottest in the days or couple of weeks after a stocking, so check the schedule on this page for ideal times to make the trip.
Warmwater fishing will likely be the main game here by mid-summer, as these shallow reservoirs get pretty warm (and often weedy) for trout to feed very actively.
Most trout will likely be fished out by the end of June, but you might pick up a rainbow or two.
You also might luck into a trout or two when the water cools again in the fall, if any survive the angling pressure and summer heat, but catching the perch or other resident fish is probably a likelier proposition unless ODFW plants trout in the fall.
Where are Big Creek Reservoirs?
To reach the reservoirs, follow the signs on Highway 101 just north of Walmart and Best Western, directing you to Big Creek Road on the east side of the highway. You’ll turn on Northeast 31st Street and then Northeast Harney Street before heading east on Big Creek Road.
You’ll reach Reservoir 1 first. It’s the one with the water treatment plant at the dam.
As mentioned, access at Big Creek Reservoir 1 isn’t quite as good as it is at the upper reservoir. It’s not that you don’t get close, as the road pretty well runs right along the edge for much of the reservoir’s length.
However, there are just a few roomy pull-outs for parking, and then there is a heavy electrical line running just overhead that is adorned with dangling tackle from ill-fated casts. You may want to practice your side-arm casts for best results at some of the spots.
The gravel road gets fairly narrow as you head up to Big Creek Reservoir 2, but in my opinion, it’s worth a few more minutes of driving.
Reservoir 2 has more areas to pull out, and short trails bring you to nice openings in the trees where you can comfortably cast into a prettier reservoir that’s more heavily stocked with trout.
There’s also a wide open area near the dam with room for several groups to park their vehicles and fish comfortably. If you need easy access from the vehicle to the lake, this is a great bet, as the ground is graveled and only lightly sloped.
The county road stops at the upper end of Reservoir 2.
2024 Big Creek Reservoirs Trout Stocking
**These plantings include 1,500 trophy-sized rainbows.
Stocked fish are legal-sized rainbow trout unless otherwise noted. Stocking schedules are subject to change for a variety of reasons. The ODFW Weekly Fishing Report linked under Oregon Resources below may provide updated information.