This small lake is a nice spot to catch trout and warm water fish during a visit to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
Butterfield Lake is located just off Highway 101, a very quick drive south from Lakeside (Tenmile Lakes) or north from Coos Bay or North Bend.
At last check, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife was stocking Butterfield with generous numbers of hatchery-raised rainbow trout a couple of times during the spring, and trout fishing peaks soon after those plantings.
Formerly the primary access was in private hands, but this now-public lake is a fairly new addition to the ODFW’s stocking schedule, thanks in part to excellent angling access.
This lake also can get a smaller batch of chunky “pounders,” thick-bodied trout raised to about 14 inches before their release, which typically happens in the fall (October is a good bet).
Some trout can survive and grow at the lake with the benefit of cooler weather and lower angling pressure, especially during the fall and winter seasons. Butterfield is open year-round.
If you are still learning how to catch trout, read Trout Fishing: Basic How-To Techniques and Tips.
Besides stocked trout, Butterfield is home to self-sustaining populations of largemouth bass and panfish species (expect bluegill and maybe crappie), as well as a less-common game fish in Oregon called a warmouth, which some people have described as looking a bit like a largemouth bass head stuck on a crappie’s body.
While it’s a fun and scrappy fish to add to your life list of catches, most warmouth are on the small side and numbers may be limited, so it’s probably best to release this fish.
Largemouth don’t necessarily grow as big here as they do at Tenmile Lakes, a nearby bass mecca, but they can be respectable. For such a small lake, there is lots of downed timber for bass habitat and also several small coves, including narrow fingers west of the railroad tracks near the dunes.
The lake is just 25 acres. Access is excellent and centered around Riley Ranch County Park, reached from Highway 101 using Riley Ranch Lane. The formerly private property now provides day-use and overnight options.
You can fish from the bank or launch a small boat at the park to get to more fish, but remember that you can’t use a gas motor here.
Butterfield is located only about a mile south of Saunders Lake, another trout and warm water fishery in the region.